SCREW (G.E. scrue, from O. Fr. escrow., mod. ecrou; ultimate origin uncertain; the word, or a similar one, appears in Teutonic languages, cf. Ger. Schraube, Dan. skrue, but Skeat, following Diaz, finds the origin in Lat. scrobs, a ditch, hole, particularly used in Low Latin for the holes made by pigs boring in the ground with their snouts), a cylindrical or conical piece of wood or metal having a groove running spirally round it. The surface thus formed constitutes an external or male screw, while a similar groove cut round the interior of a cylindrical hole, as in a nut, constitutes an internal or female screw. The ridge between successive turns of the groove is the " thread," and the distance between successive turns of the thread is the " pitch." The present article will deal with the standard pitches in common use and with modern methods of manufacture, the earlier history of which, down to the time of Sir Joseph Whitworth, may be read in Holtzapffel's Turning and Mechanical Manipulation. For the screw as a mechanical power see MECHANICS; for the screw used to propel steamships see SHIPBUILDING.
Standardization of Screws. All screws made to-day are copies of pre-existing or master screws, which are familiarly known as " guide screws," " hobs " or " leaders," " chasers " or " comb tools," " taps," and " dies " in numerous forms. These are so standardized that a thread cut to a given standard in England fits its fellow thread cut to the same standard in America, Germany or elsewhere. At one time screws cut by one firm would not match those cut by another. Formerly there was no " tackle," but large screws were cut with chisel and file, and a nut was cast around them and used for correction, up. til gradually the coarser errors were eliminated. Another method was that of the mathematical instrument makers, who used a screw and tangent wheel by which a cutter was moved along synchronously with the revolution of the screw blank, a method only suitable for short screws. The first attempt at securing uniformity in screw threads was made by Sir Joseph Whitworth, who communicated a paper on the subject to the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1841.. In the course of about twenty years the Whitworth system generally displaced the previous heterogeneous designs of threads, by the existence of which engineers' repairs had been rendered most inconvenient and costly, almost every establishment having its own " standard " set of screwing tackle. In fact it was suspected that firms thought their interest lay in this separation of practice in order to capture repairs, each of its own work.
When Whitworth began his work he made an extensive collection of screw bolts from the principal English workshops, and an average observed for diameters of j in., 5 in., i in., and ij in. chiefly was taken and tabulated in exact numbers and equal fractional parts of threads per inch, the scale being afterwards extended to 6-in. diameter. In cases above an inch the same pitch is maintained for two sizes, the object being to avoid small fractions, and to simplify the construction of screwing apparatus. The system is therefore a practical compromise based on previous practice. The proportion between pitch and diameter varies throughout the series, and at the extremes the amount of power required to turn a nut is either in excess or insufficient.
When the Whitworth threads were accepted in England, Germany and the United States, it appeared as though they were established for ever in an impregnable position, as a unification evolved from chaos. Moreover, Great Britain at that time occupied a position of pre-eminence in manufacturing engineering, which was favourable to the establishment of an English system. But two things were wanting to permanence the facts that the Whitworth threads were not based on the metric system, and that the United States was destined to come into rivalry with Great Britain. Metric systems became standardized on the continent of Europe and the Sellers thread in America overshadowed the Whitworth, though it is impossible to doubt that the Sellers like the Whitworth must in time be swallowed up by some one metric system.
It is easier to devise new standards than to induce manufacturers to accept them. Change means the purchase of a very costly new equipment of screwing tackle, both hand and machine, besides the retention of the old for effecting repairs. There is no question of accommodating or bringing in the threads of one system to others nearly like them. They either fit or do not fit, they are right or wrong, so that a clean sweep has to be made of the entire screwing tackle in favour of the new. The two great attacks that have been made on the Whitworth thread came, one from the Franklin Institute in 1864, when the Sellers thread was adopted and recommended to American engineers, and the other in 1873, when Delisle of Carlsruhe initiated a metric system. As a result, after several years of effort, the Society of German Engineers took the matter up, and the appointment of a committee gave birth to the International Screw Thread Congress, which has met from time to time for the discussion of the matter. We have thus two broad lines of departure from the Whitworth standard.
The history of the battle of the screw 'threads in England, America, Germany, Switzerland and France would occupy a volume. The subject is highly technical, involving practical points concerned with manufacture as well as with questions of strength and durability. We can merely state the fact that the threads now recognized as standard are included in about eight great systems, out of about sixty that have been advocated and systematized. Their elements are shown by the diagram, fig. i; but tables of dimensions are omitted, since they would demand too much space.
Methods of Cutting Screws. There are four methods employed for the cutting of screw threads: one by means of a single-edged tool held in the saddle of the screw-cutting lathe, and traversed horizontally only, the cylinder which is to receive the thread revolving the while; another by means of short master screws, hobs or leaders, controlling chasers or comb tools; the third by means of screw taps FIG. i. Sections of principal Screw Threads.
Formulae: * = pitch, or distance between centres of contiguous threads; d = depth of thread; h = total height of thread construction; r = radius;/=flat.
A. Whitworth thread. =0-9605 p\ ^ = 0-6403 p; leaving 5th h to be rounded at top and bottom.
B. Sellers, or Franklin Institute, or U.S. standard thread. fc = o-866 p; ^ = 0-6495 ;/=ith p.
C. Sharp Vee thread. d = o-866o/>.
D. British Association standard thread. d=o-6 p', r = 3*fth p.
E. C.E.I, or Cycle Engineers' Institute standard thread. fc = o-866 p; <f=o-5327 p; r = Jth p.
F. Lowenherz or Delisle thread (metric, used largely on the continent of Europe), h p; ^ = 0-75 A;/ = ith h.
thread (metric). d =0-6495 p; G. International standard =lth h;r = ^thh. H. Thury thread (metric). T. Square thread. <i = J p. K. Acme thread. d = \ />+o-oio;/ = = |th p; r = Jth p; r' = |th p.
and dies, either the work or the tool being absolutely still. The fourth is by means of a milling cutter presented to the work in a special screw-milling machine, both the work and the cutter revolving.
The problem of screw-cutting in the lathe in the simplest form resolves itself into the relative number of revolutions of the lathe spindle and of the lead screw (fig. 2). If the two rotate at the same speed, the thread cut on the spindle axis will be '" ' equal in pitch to that of the lead screw. If the spindle revolves more slowly than the lead screw, a thread coarser than that in the latter will result ; if it revolves more rapidly, one of finer pitch will be produced. The spindle is the first factor, being the driver, and the lead screw is driven therefrom through the change wheels the variables which determine the number of revolutions of the latter whether the same, or slower, or faster than the spindle. Screwcutting in all its details is an extensive subject, including the cutting of what are termed odd or unequal pitches, that is, those which involve fractions, the catching of threads for successive traverses of the tool, the cutting; of multiple threads and of right- and left-hand threads, which involve much practical detail. The principle of screwcutting may be stated briefly thus: the pitch of the guide screw is to that of the screw to be cut as the number of teeth on the mandrel or (headstock) wheel is to the number of teeth on the lead screw wheel. It is therefore simply a question of ratio. Hence for cutting threads finer than that of the lead screw, the guide screw must rotate more slowly than the lathe mandrel ; and for cutting threads coarser than those of the guide screw, the lead screw must rotate faster than the lathe mandrel (fig. 2, C and D). When the ratios are ascertained, these facts indicate when the larger or the smaller wheels must be placed as drivers, or be driven. " Simple trains " are those which contain only one pair of change wheels; " compound trains " have two, three, four or more pairs (fig. 2), and are necessary when the ratio between the guide screw and the screw to be cut exceeds about six to one.
A device which has become very popular under the name of Hendey-Norton gears comprises a nest of twelve change wheels, mounted and keyed on the end of the lead screw. A stud wheel is made to engage through an intermediate wheel with any one of the twelve change gears, on the simple movement of a lever, giving twelve different ratios for screw-cutting. These again are doubled or trebled by altering the ratios of other gears connected therewith, so FIG. 2.
A, Simple train which rotates lead screw in opposite direction to mandrel, and makes sliderest feed away from the headstock.
B, Simple train with intermediate wheel on stud, which rotates lead screw in same direction as mandrel, making slide-rest feed towards the headstock. Intermediate on " stud " does not alter ratio.
C, Typical compound train ar- ranged for cutting a screw finer than that of the lead screw.
D, Ditto for screw coarser than that of the lead screw.
that for each position of''engagement of the stud wheel, two, or in some cases three, pitches can be cut. This avoids the waste of time involved in setting up fresh wheels on the swing-plate as often as a screw of different pitch has to be cut.
Another step in the direction of economy depends on the removal of all screw-cutting, except those screws which are of several feet in length, from the ordinary lathe to the special chasing and screwing machines. The screw-cutting arrangement of an engineer's lathe is a cumbrous apparatus to fit up and set in motion for the cutting of screws of small dimensions. When there was no other method available except that of common dies operated by hand or carried in a screwing machine, there was good reason why a true cutting tool should be operated in the lathe through change wheels. But the reason no longer exists, since for the single cutting tool of the lathe the two or three cutters of the chasing and screwing machines (figs. 3 and 4) are substituted, and the hollow mandrel embodied in the latter permits of screws being cut and parted from the solid bars of several feet in length. Except for the cutting of long screws and screws of odd pitches, the ordinary lathe is now a wasteful machine.
FIG. 3. Bolt-Screwing Machine" (John Stirk & Sons, Ltd., Halifax).
J, Handle for opening the A, Bed. B, Spindle.
C, Four-step belt pulley, driving through triple spur gears D, to B.
E, Opening die head.
F, Bolt carriage racked to or fro along the bed by rotation of hand-wheel G.
H, Handle for opening and closing vee-jaws at a for gripping and releasing bolts by means of a right- and left-hand Handle dies.
K, Lever for automatically opening the dies, operating through J.
L, Rod having adjustable dog b, struck by carriage at a definite position of its travel, thus throwing the dies off the work.
M, Pump drawing lubricant from reservoir in bed.
The second method of cutting screws is that by means of hobs or leaders, and either comb or single-edged tools. That is, a short FIG. 4. Opening Die-head for Screwing Machine.
A, Spindle end.
B, Sliding collar.
C, Ring bolted to B, and enclosing ring having three coned grooves a, a, a, set eccentrically to close in or let out the chasers D.
E, Curled spring keeping chasers outwards in contact with a.
F, Piece screwed to end of A, and provided with three grooves to carry the chasers.
G, Cover plate confining the chasers, and unscrewed from F when changing chasers for other sizes.
standard screw is mounted somewhere on the lathe, at the rear, or in front, and a nut partly embracing this becomes a guide to .... a bar which is attached to the tool slide directly. These 9y hobs. afe terme( j c hasing lathes. Their value lies in the cutting of screws of but a few inches in length, of which large numbers are required, a familiar example being the screwed stays for the fire-boxes of steam boilers, hundreds of which are used in a single boiler.
The third method jembodies the use of taps and dies in their numerous designs. The simpler forms used are those operated by _ . hand at the bench, from which all the machine taps and dies an ^ ^' es have been elaborated. The tap is the solid screwed cylindrical tool which cuts an internal thread (fig- 5) I the die is the hollow tool which cuts a thread on the outside of a cylinder (fig. 6).
FIG. 5. Taps. A, Entering or taper tap; B, middle or second tap; D, bottoming or plug tap; E, machine tap; F, hob or master tap.
These taps and dies are, or should be, true cutting tools, and if we examine any of those of approved form we shall see that they are so in fact. But none of the early taps was in any sense a cutting tool. They ground, and scraped, and squeezed, but never cut. They were usually made of round steel rod, screwed, and having three or four flats filed down upon them. The angles therefore which abraded the work were always obtuse, and as proper backing off was often neglected, or insufficiently done, the labour not only of running them down, but also of running them back out of their holes, was very FIG. 6.
A, Dies cut over hob of same size as screw to be cut ; the lead is bad, there is coincidence only at the completion of the thread, and they are seldom used except in solid screw plates.
B, Dies cut over hob one thread deeper than the screw to be cut, the standard form; the lead is good and there is great. This, combined with the inefficient form of solid screw plates used at the same time, made the work of fitting nuts and bolts one of constant trial and error, of easing and doctoring ; and when this had been done, nuts and bolts were not interchangeable, but each nut was marked for its own bolt. The earliest screw plates were probably of the same forms which are used now for screws below T \ in. diameter mere hardened plates of steel, having holes of graduated diameters, screwed to the various sizes required.
coincidence at about middle of action.
C, Dies cut over hob two threads deeper than screw to be cut, frequently used; the lead is good and there is coincidence at the beginning of action, a, dies at beginning of action, b, at completion.
D, Screw stock.
In all taps and dies the problem is to cut a screw, of which the angle of thread changes from point to root, with tools whose angle must remain constant. In taps there is no choice of angle, since they must be the exact counterparts of the tapped threads when finished. But in dies a compromise is made by cutting them with hobs, or master taps (fig. 5), one thread larger than the thread to be cut by the dies. Briefly, the practical effect is that the dies are only counterparts of the thread to be cut at about the middle part of their action (fig. 6, B).
Though the action of taps resembles in some respects that of common dies, the results achieved are better, partly because the backing off is generally superior, partly because taper taps are commonly used to start a screw hole. Tapered solid dies are also used in some kinds of turret work with the same object, namely, to facilitate the work of an inherently badly formed tool. With a tapered tap, or a tapered solid die, the full threads do not come into operation until after the tapered threads have started the cut. A properly made throughfare tap, or a tapered die, will cut an averagesized screw at one traverse, provided lubrication is ample. Taps are now made with very narrow edges and wider clearances than formerly, very different from the common taps with broad edges and narrow grooves. There is thus little friction, and there is plenty of clearance for the chips, essential conditions for cutting screws rapidly at a single traverse.
Dies are held in stocks. In the common die stocks one adjustable die is moved forward with a screw, which forms one of the handles of the stock, or a separate tightening screw is used at right angles with the handles, or the tightening screw is set diagonally in relation to the handle (fie. 6, D). Sir Joseph Whitworth's well known " guide " screw stock (fig. 7) is an example of the embodiment of the principle FIG. 7. Whitworth Guide- Screw Stock, o, Guide; 6,6, cutters; c, adjusting bolt.
just stated, the dies being cut over a hob two depths of thread larger than the screw; one, a broad die, is used for guidance only, and two narrow dies do all the cutting. The guide-screw stock derives its name from the fact that it embodies a guide o distinct from the cutters 6,6, the guide doing very little actual cutting ; it is one of the best tools for screw-cutting outside the lathe, but some of the American types of dies, such as in fig. 8, A and B, give very accurate results, especially when they are combined with a guide in advance of the dies, to keep them truly parallel on the work. The common dies are inferior in operation to those used in the guide-screw stock. Nevertheless, the common die stocks are used most extensively. The reason is that, although they are of faulty construction regarded strictly from the mechanician's point of view, yet they dp their work in a very satisfactory manner it moderate care be exercised in their construction and working.
Machine Work. Hand tapping and screwing has long been confined to occasional pieces of work done by the fitter at the bench, the FIG. 8.
Common split spring die, adjusted by taper screw, o.
Split die held in collet, 6, and C, expanded or contracted by turning in the taper-pointed screw, c, and slackening the screws d,d, or vice versa. Spring die for lathes, adjusted to cut larger or smaller by means of the split ring e.
erecter and repairer. Screws and tapped holes required in quantities are done on machines which include numerous types, at a rate of Production which would seem incredible were it not so common, or cutting common screws of no very great length the lathe has long been superseded by the various screwing machines. The earlier forms were provided with clutch mechanism for running the solid dies back off the thread, in imitation of the action of the hands, and the dies could not cut a complete thread at one traverse, two or three traverses being necessary in the production of a full thread. In the modern screwing machines (fig. 3) the cutters are closed and released by cam mechanism, and all threads except those of large diameter are cut at a single traverse. Common bolts and nuts are cut in machines of this kind, machine taps, which are longer than hand operated taps, being employed in the same machines.
But the smaller screws made in large quantities, and screws which have to be cut on pieces of work on which other operations, as turning, boring, facing, knurling, have to be performed, are made in the numerous capstan or turret lathes, the dies or taps being held in the turrets. Often a cam-operated screwing plate is pulled into line with the work, operating independently of the turret head. But in most cases the dies (fig. 8) are held in a chuck which is inserted in one of the holes in the turret and which is better for the cutting of the finer screws. More valuable than any other single improvement is the automatic opening of many dies used in turret lathes, by which the running back of the die over the work is avoided. These opening die heads are of several designs. They are so beautifully contrived that contact with a stop, the position of which can be regulated, arrests the cutting action and causes the dies to fly open away from the screw, so that the turret can be slid away instantly, while the dies close in readiness for the next screw.
Sizing Taps are used for the finishing of threads which are required to be finished so uniformly as to be interchangeable one with the other. These are ordinary plug or second taps, generally short in length, and as they remove but a mere trifle of material they retain their size for a very long time. The case of sizing taps is more difficult than that of dies, because a die can be readily compressed to compensate for wear (fig. 8), but a tap has to be expanded. The result is that while plenty of adjustable dies are made, there are few expanding taps. Many have been designed, but they are used to a much less extent than the dies. A sizing tap is kept true as long as possible by careful use. and when it falls below the limit dimensions it is replaced by a new one.
Screw milling, the latest development in screw-cutting, involves the use of a special machine, something like the lathe in outline, the piece gcre^, of work to be threaded being rotated in the axis of the .... machine. The cutter is carried in a head, with swivelling arrangements, to provide for variations in screw angles, and is rotated at speeds suitable for the metal or alloy being cut. The necessary traverse is imparted either to the work or to the cutter, according to the design of machine, by lead screw and change gears. This method is employed to a considerable extent, chiefly for cutting coarsely threaded screws and worms. The great advantage which the revolving cutter possesses over the single-edged tool is its rapidity of action, by which threads may be produced more quickly than in the lathe.
Testing Screws. The screws cut in engineers' shops are sufficiently true for all practical purposes. But the fact remains that no guide screw yet made is true, and no true screw can be made apart from the use of devices which are unknown in the machine shop. Actually no screw ever has been, or probably ever will be, made perfect, but the variation from truth has been in some cases only 8 5,000 or -jo^VoTi part of an inch. The microscope is brought into requisition for testing standard screws, but commercial screws simply have to pass the test of gauges. A screw 21 ft. long was made by the Pratt & Whitney Co., and tested by Professor VV. A. Rogers. _A scale, the corrections of which were known to within sr^aao ln -< vi . as mounted parallel with the axis of the screw. A microscope containing a cross bar was mounted on the carriage actuated by the screw. The cross bar was furnished with a micrometer by which the deviations for any revolution of the screw could be measured. A reading was taken for each half inch in length of the screw. Special tests were made at various points by turning the screw through 45 at a time. The maximum error in the entire length of the screw was found to be less than T J^> in.
The problem of producing a true screw has occupied investigators since the days of Henry Maudslay (1771-1831). The great difficulty is that of attaining accurate pitch, so that the distances between all the threads shall be uniform, and consequently that a nut on the screw shall move equably during the rotation. The importance of this point is felt in the dividing engines of various classes employed for ruling, and in measuring machines used for testing standards of length. The ordinary screw, cut by dies or in the screw-cutting lathe, is found, on applying comparatively coarse tests, to be far from accurate in pitch, while the thread may be wavy or " drunken " and the diameter may not be uniform at all points. There are several methods of correcting the errors in screws; the principal one is that of retarding or accelerating the traverse motion of the screw-cutting tool by means of a compensating lever bearing on a compensating bar, which is formed after observations have been made on the degree of accuracy of the leading screw used to propel the tool carriage. The original errors in the leading screw are therefore eliminated as far as possible. The inspection of the screw is done by means of the microscope working in conjunction with a line measure fastened down parallel with the axis of the screw, so that the coincidence or otherwise of the screw pitches with the subdivisions of the measure may be compared. (J. G. H.)
Errors of Screws. For scientific purposes the scrw must be so regular that it moves forward in its nut exactly the same distance for each given angular rotation around its axis. As the mountings of a screw introduce many errors, the final and exact test of its accuracy can only be made when it is finished and set up for use. A large screw can, however, be roughly examined in the following xxiv. 1 6 manner: (i) See whether the surface of the threads has a perfect polish. The more it departs from this, and approaches the rough torn surface as cut by the lathe tool, the worse it is. A perfect screw has a perfect polish. (2) Mount it between the centres of a lathe and then slip upon it a short nut which fits perfectly. If the nut moves from end to end with equal friction, the screw is uniform in diameter. If the nut is long, unequal resistance may be due to either an error of run or a bend in the screw. (3) Fix a microscope on the lathe carriage and focus its single cross-hair on the edge of the screw and parallel to its axis. If the screw runs true at every point its axis is straight. (4) Observe whether the short nut runs from end to end of the screw without a wabbling motion when the screw is turned and the nut kept from revolving. If it wabbles the screw is said to be drunk. One can see this error better by fixing a long pointer to the nut, or by attaching it to a mirror and observing an image in it with a telescope. The following experiment will also detect this error. (5) Put upon the screw two well-fitting and rather short nuts, which are kept from revolving by arms bearing against a straight-edge parallel to the axis of the screw. Let one nut carry an arm which supports a microscope focused on a line ruled on the other nut. Screw this combination to different parts of the screw. If during one revolution the microscope remains in focus, the screw is not drunk; and, if the cross-hairs bisect the line in every position, there is no error of run. Where the highest accuracy is needed, we must resort in the case of screws, as in all other cases, to grinding. A long solid nut, tightly fitting the screw in one position, cannot be moved freely to another position unless the screw is very accurate. If grinding material is applied and the nut is constantly tightened, it will grind out all errors of run, drunkenness, crookedness and irregularity of size. The condition is that the nut must be long, rigid and capable of being tightened as the grinding Eroceeds; also the screw must be ground longer than it will finally e needed, so that the imperfect ends may be removed. The following process will produce a screw suitable for ruling gratings for optical purposes. Suppose it is our purpose to produce a screw which is finally to be 9 in. long, not including bearings, and Ij in. in diameter. Select a bar of soft Bessemer steel, which has not the hard spots usually found in case steel, about if in. in diameter and 30 in. long. Put it between lathe centres and turn it down to I in. diameter everywhere, except about 12 in. in the centre, where it is left a little over I J in. in diameter for cutting the screw. Now cut the screw with a triangular thread a little sharper than 60. Above all, avoid a fine screw, using about 20 threads to the inch.
The grinding nut, about II in. long, has now to be made. Fig. 9 represents a section of the nut, which is made of brass, or better, d d FIG. 9. Section of Grinding Nut.
of Bessemer steel. It consists of four segments, a, a, which can be drawn about the screw by two collars, b,b, and the screw c. Wedges between the segments prevent too great pressure on the screw. The final clamping is effected by the rings and screws, d,d, which enclose the flanges, e, of the segments. The screw is now placed in a lathe and surrounded by water whose temperature can be kept constant to 1 C., and the nut placed on it. In order that the weight of the nut may not make the ends too small, it must either be counterbalanced by weights hung from a rope passing over pulleys in the ceiling, or the screw must be vertical during the whole process. Emery and oil seem to be the only available grinding materials, though a softer silica powder might be used towards the end of the operation to clean off the emery and prevent future wear. Now grind the screw in the nut. making the nut pass backwards and forwards over the screw, its whole range being nearly 20 in. at first. Turn the nut end for end every ten minutes and continue for two weeks, finally making the range of the nut only about 10 in., using finer washed emery and moving the lathe slower to avoid heating. Finish with a fine silica powder or rouge. During the process, if the thread becomes too blunt, recut the nut by a short tap, so as not to change the pitch at any point. This must of course not be done less than five days before the finish. Now cut to the proper length; centre again in the lathe under a microscope; and turn the bearings. A screw so ground has fewer errors than from any other system of mounting. The periodic error especially will be too small to be discovered, though the mountings and graduation and centering of the head will introduce it; it must therefore finally be corrected.
Mounting of Screws. The mounting must be devised most carefully, and is indeed more difficult to make without error than the screw itself. The principle which should be adopted is that no workmanship is perfect; the design must make up for its imperfections. Thus the screw can never be made to run true on its bearings, and hence the device of resting one end of the carriage on the nut must be rejected. Also all rigid connexion between the nut and the carriage must be avoided, as the screw can never be adjusted parallel to the ways on which the carriage rests. For many purposes, such as ruling optical gratings, the carriage must move accurately forward in a straight line as far as the horizontal plane is concerned, while a little curvature in the vertical plane produces very little effect. These conditions can be satisfied by making the ways V-shaped and grinding with a grinder somewhat shorter than the ways. By constant reversals, and by lengthening or shortening the stroke, they will finally become nearly perfect. The vertical curvature can be sufficiently tested by a short carriage carrying a delicate spirit-level. Another and very efficient form of ways is V-shaped with a flat top and nearly vertical sides. The carriage rests on the flat top and is held by springs against one of the nearly vertical sides. To determine with accuracy whether the ways are straight, fix a flat piece of glass on the carriage and rule a line on it by moving it under a diamond; reverse and rule another line near the first, and measure the distance apart at the centre and at the two ends by a micrometer. If the centre measurement is equal to the mean of the two end ones, the line is straight. This is better than the method with a mirror mounted on the carnage and a telescope. The screw itself must rest in bearings, and the end motion be prevented by a point bearing against its flat end, which is protected by hardened steel or a flat diamond. Collar bearings introduce periodic errors. The secret of success is so to design the nut and its connexions as to eliminate all adjustments of the screw and indeed all imperfect workmanship. The connexion must also be such as to give means of correcting any residual periodic errors or errors of run which may be introduced in the mountings or by the wear of the machine.
The nut is shown in fig. 10. It is made in two halves, of wrought iron filled with boxwood or lignum vitae plugs, on which the screw is cut. To each half a long piece of sheet steel is fixed which bears against a guiding edge, to be described presently. The two halves are held to the screw by springs, so that each moves forward almost independently of the other, to the carriage, a ring is attached to the plane is vertical and which can turn axis. The bars fixed midway on the two nut bear against this ring at points ox> axis. Hence each half does its share inthe other in moving the carriage forward, parallelism between the screw and the tricity in the screw mountings thus the forward motion of the carriage. The which the steel pieces of the nut rest can form as to correct any small error of run the screw. Also, by causing it to move forwards periodically, the periodic error mountings can be corrected, gratings Tor optical purposes the periodic very perfectly eliminated, since the , placement of the lines only one-millionth ' their mean position will produce "ghosts" (See DIFFRACTION.) Indeed this is the most sensi- _. detecting the existence of this error, and it is practically impossible to mount the most perfect of screws without introducing it. A very practical method of determining this error is to rule a short grating with very long lines on a piece of common thin plate glass; cut it in two with a diamond and superimpose the two halves with the rulings together and displaced sideways over each other one-half the pitch of the screw. On now looking at the plates in a proper light so as to have the spectral colours show through it, dark lines will appear, which are wavy if there is a periodic error and straight if there is none. By measuring the comparative amplitude of the waves and the distance apart of two lines, the amount of the periodic error can be determined. The phase of the periodic error is best found by a series of trials after setting the corrector at the proper amplitude as determined above.
A machine properly made as above and kept at a constant temperature should be able to make a scale of 6 in. in length, with errors at no point exceeding mutant of an inch. When, however, a grating of that length is attempted at the rate of 14,000 lines to the inch, four days and nights are required and the result is seldom perfect, possibly on account of the wear of the machine or changes of temperature. Gratings, however, less than 3 in. long are easy to make. (H. A. R.).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)