Tolerance

Dimensional tolerance is related to, but different from fit in mechanical engineering, which is a designed-in clearance or interference between two parts. Tolerances are assigned to parts for manufacturing purposes, as boundaries for acceptable build. No machine can hold dimensions precisely to the nominal value, so there must be acceptable degrees of variation. If a part is manufactured, but has dimensions that are out of tolerance, it is not a usable part according to the design intent. Tolerances can be applied to any dimension.