How to Measure to a MILLIONTH of an Inch (The Dawn of Precision) - Smarter Every Day 206

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    Read about Joseph Whitworth
    Surface Plates
    Whitworth Rifle:
    Checkout "Machine Thinking". At the moment this video was published he had 77k subscribers. I predict much more if he continues to make such high quality content.
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    Preston Bain owns and found the "Whitworth hex drop". He sells actual artifacts from the US Civil War out of Brentwood, TN.
    Mike Potucek ( is the gentleman who re-engineered and created the replica Whitworth Cannon.
    The Phantom cameras I used:
    The Smarter Every day v2511:
    I borrowed a v2640 from Vision Research for the wide shot
    A special thanks to Keith from the Royal Society for providing a couple of images from Goodeve & Shelley’s book on the Whitworth measuring machine, 1877. Checkout the Objectivity SEprom channel here:
    I recommend this video from Machine Thinking:
    I recommend this video:
    A special thanks to Keith at my local Auto Parts store for letting me film in his bolt bin area.
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    Publicerades den År sedan


    1. SmarterEveryDay

      Click here to tweet me a picture of whatever bolt/screw is within arm's reach.

      1. Pandora TheClay

        X-acto blade

      2. Rednaxela

        Almost 2 years late to comment on this video, but on the off chance you see this Destin, just wanted to say that at 1:30 into the video, I love you and your dad's dynamic, reminds me of my own and I think y'all are super wholesome!

      3. African Rover

        @Rebecca Donaldson I am sure it is M6 x1

      4. Bob Willits

        I've been selling screws for 43 years. I can tell size and thread count by looking at it. Most common are 1/4-20, 8-32, 6-32, 3/8-16 10-24, 10-32

      5. Adrian Bociu

        iPad I’m holding has a ton of threaded fasteners.

    2. Joel

      metric system, Yay or Ney.

    3. Ryan Ripley

      1/4-20 bolts lol

    4. Zach Young

      Joseph Whitworth: I've devised a standardised thread system that will solve myriad compatibly issues. The British: Excellent. We will adopt this system and bestow a knighthood upon you. Also the British: Let's build a car that uses BSW, BSF and BSC threads.

    5. Pimpernickel


    6. Xavier Malouin

      I come for the science and I stay for the cool people.

    7. kanukkarhu

      Wow! I knew nothing about any of this! I am truly smarter today! 👍🏻

    8. PaPa POVEY


    9. Justin Stone

      PMEL shout out!

    10. Alpha Wolf_a

      its a rubiks cube

    11. Gidjon

      What kind of things have you measured to a millionth of an inch? *awkward silence* alot of things

    12. Drew Johnson

      Screws in my eyeglasses... very close to me.

    13. Ahmed Bilal

      Thanks for sharing the gems from history.

    14. Daniel Jones

      I worked in the warehouse that packaged all, and I mean ALL of the fasteners for Lowe's when they were getting ready to open across the land. I learned about all the threads and pitches, and a lot more. Went to a Lowe's not long ago, looking for a specific bolt, and told the store associate that I packaged all of it, and I KNOW what they have. She said I knew more than she did, and took off to help someone else!

    15. Shon

      Roll tide =(.... OH-IO

    16. Donald Alm

      Old grenade Primer 5/8 - 11

    17. N. J.

      That whitworth cannon firing is one of the coolest things I have ever seen on this channel, and also probably just one of the coolest things I’ve seen. I love the music playing in the background for those shots. Bravo 👏

    18. noobmaster 0

      Your ugly

    19. Stephen Rose

      Great video guys, I too am one of Sir Josephs' fans, a giant of his time I feel. I think I am correct in saying that for a long time the standard rifle helix was 1:48 (1 rotation in 48 inches). Can anyone verify this please? I wonder how he first machined the internal helix? Can you imagine the bullet getting stuck halfway down the bore and just when is the fit (windage) correct. Incredibly difficult to achieve at the time.

    20. Timothy Jenkins

      Seeing the speed of that cannon round really puts the supersonic baseball into a different light. What an incredible achievement!

    21. Nathan Enos

      Sitting in the driver's seat of a bus right now, so I'm literally surrounded by threaded fasteners. The closest ones are indeed small machine screws holding the switch panel in, probably 10/32 or 8/32 if I had to guess. There's probably a bolt or 3,000 somewhere close by too.

    22. Frank Rittie Jr

      A home made pipe made of various sized electrical conduit threads!! My threaded thing!

    23. TopFeedCoco

      Love the video, but shilling for Israeli 23 and me...

    24. John Snuh

      you literally look identical to your dad lol.

    25. trrrewr

      I love falling down the rabbit hole of "how did we arrive here?" when it comes to machining & manufacturing. I think part of it is while computers are great and give us things like 5-axis CNC mills, it's current and I understand them and the underlying concepts already. Whereas it used to be very mechanical and due to said computers, it's no longer current so we just don't think like that as much any more. So much truth to the saying "Everything old is new again." Thanks for the great video!

    26. JoeA1974

      No picture but there is a 1/4"-20 bolt probably 1/2" long in a Dewar handle to my left

    27. trespire

      Looked like a BSW 1/8"

    28. Theknifedude

      I remember older motorcycle people referring to SAE,Metric and Whitworth fasteners.

    29. Nelson Hochberg

      The first car I bought myself was a Ford Cortina. I didn't know until after I bought it, it had US inch, metric and Whitworth nuts and bolts. I had to have three different sets of wrenches to work on the thing.

    30. shane

      Elizabeth Warren could do with one of those kits.

    31. Ecktor

      12:53 “Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.” Man, what’s the deal with these?

    32. Ecktor

      Of course your dad has a super cool and exotic profession. Who could’ve expect?! 🤷‍♂️

    33. Tim Sullivan

      A hexagonal round? Wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it!

    34. J. V.

      it´s funny, that you ask about screws, because I got 7 mechanical devices in arms reach. I know there´s a ton of screws around me, but due to glue (these days), covers and clips I can see none of them.

    35. Death By Unicorn

      What kind of things have you measured? 😏 all kinds of things

    36. Nick Barnett

      Night stand 1/4” 20 and 1/2” 13.

    37. PushyPawn

      Winner #1: Mine's 0.000001" longer Winner #2: Mine's 0.000001" wider Who's the *real* wiener? 🤔

    38. Just Salty

      99.99% of people watching this are in arms reach of a computer (either mobile phone, desktop, tv). Those have very tiny screws to hold in the motherboard.

    39. Iron Eagle

      I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering Why did I not know about Whitworth until now?

    40. Iron Eagle

      I love the way your dad talks

    41. Jeremy Heck

      Fan, there are forwards and reverse threads on the fan

      1. Zach Depa


    42. Joe Clarke

      Nice high speed photography.

    43. Michael Zdanis

      For the ruler step-down, it might have been better to describe the first step as "one-tenth of an inch" rather than "one hundred thousandths of an inch." Both are technically correct, but the latter, which Destin chose, tends to sound like "one one-hundred-thousandth of an inch." In other words, just an order of magnitude up from a millionth of an inch. You have to listen very carefully to distinguish the difference. A tenth of an inch would be the much more common way of referring to that measurement. That's my only criticism of an otherwise outstanding and informative video.

    44. Lane Mitchell2001

      I am a young machinist still learning more about this field and this field gave a me a little more background knowledge, but this is great. Thank you!!! I love your content and I hope i get the chance to meet you an help with a video idea one day!!! Thanks again 😅😁

    45. Jeff Knott

      mine had a curly thread........nailed it!

    46. Hell Storm

      My phone and small

    47. Mindwipe96

      You and your Dad don’t look ugly to me. Also this was all extremely fascinating and cool to learn.

    48. PneumaticFrog

      imagine using imperial units, kinda cringe.

    49. Zane Winyard

      Forgotten Weapons has an excellent video on a whitworth sniper.

    50. Tyler Sills

      You two are the coolest father son duo Ive ever seen. I never had a dad to help me shape my knowledge and view of the world, and I would’ve given anything too.

    51. Cro Magnon

      "My favorite bidet" in the description 😐

    52. Paavo Bergmann

      The tiny screws that hold the rubber collar to the base of my Joystick. I´m not gonna unscrew them, but from the look of the heads, I´d guess M3

    53. Skiplock Fredo

      You don't need standardized threads if you have a long enough wrench

    54. D.G.B

      Goes to a sure that hexagon Is the bestagon

    55. frank denuts

      Object that has bolts and screws that is Closest to me is a 1972 nova ss

    56. jake janiak

      ok yeah but how big is the block you're chipped off of.

    57. Jon Rau

      I am a surface plate mertrologist. I measure for flatness and also restore flatness with a casting iron lapping plate and diamond dust. Loved the video !

    58. Trystin Keck

      U thinl your ugly im hella ugly

    59. Eric Salidbar

      Threaded screws all around me in the bathroom faucets, cabinet handles door Nob. Can’t name the sizes cause they’re all in use and I don’t think anyone would be happy if I started taking it apart in the middle of the day lol.

    60. SOKO™

      My collar bone, shoulder and neck all have precision screws

    61. J&J Bassing

      What’s crazy is a whitworth rifle cost $1000 back in the 1860s, which with inflation is probably well over $40,000

    62. Walton Huggins

      I love seeing cool people, even better I love to see cool people’s parents! It’s awesome to see specific mannerisms that are passed from parent to child...

    63. Ryan Carter

      23 and me: When you want to pay for the honor of giving your DNA to the government, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies and get nothing worthwhile back in exchange.

      1. Kenton Nigrelli

        Seriously, for a graph that has a huge margin of error but will make you going around happy that it told you are European haha.

    64. Chase


    65. TigerBlitzX

      Thought I got a discord message at 0:17

    66. Chris Davies

      Funny to say this, but if you are measuring ANYTHING in inches, then it's Dumber Every Day! Metres are what we measure things in, and factors of 10 thereof. When I use a metal rule in my workshop, if the inches side is facing up, I turn it over because it makes me feel dirty. Inches are the devil's work; despicable stupid things which can't be mathed easily, have stupid gradations, and insane fractions. Your country is officially a metric nation. 95% of the world's population have not a single clue what inches and feet are, and you are firmly stuck in the 19th century by continuing to use a ancient and deprecated system of weights and measures - especially as EVERYTHING is defined in terms of SI unit. Even your stupid inches are defined in millimetres! :P

    67. WarDragon

      Hexagons are the bestagons

    68. Kevin Grönroos

      You should make a video with demolitionranch!

    69. JC

      That's so weird how the projectile looks so fake while it's flying through the air in slo mo 😎

    70. Jeremy Parks

      1/4-20 x 2.5"

    71. Aetohatir

      Hexagons are the bestagons.

    72. Pablo Castillo Quezada

      I have like a dozen of computer bolts

    73. Corey Lu

      Hexegon is the bestagons

    74. Ruiluth

      I'm watching this from a Peterbilt 579 semi tractor. I can't even imagine how many types of threaded fasteners are in this thing. Imagine where the transportation industry would be without screws, and where the world would be without reliable transportation.

    75. Josh L-J

      Hexagon is the bestagon.

    76. dat boi

      But he can't measure the metric system

    77. Alexander Andrews

      Hexagons are bestagons

    78. CoBy

      hexagon is the bestagon

    79. Patch King

      Me, im made by a human (thanks mum) and i ate 14 m6x1.25 socket head capscrews just so i could write this comment

    80. Stroopwafel Falafel

      Precision was achieved using hexagons, because hexagons are the bestagons

      1. Teh Yong Lip

        Cgp grey approves

      2. The Scoot

        Hey, a fellow science stickman watcher!

      3. Mutated__Donkey

        Hehe cgp reference

    81. Tom

      or just use centimeters

    82. molko

      finally i can measure my sausage most accurately

    83. IRMacGuyver

      With side mounted scopes like that you fired them laying on your back with the rifle supported by your leg and the butt of the stock supported by your off hand wrapped around your head. It's called the supine shooting position. Do a cross over episode with InRangeTV and they'll teach you.

    84. jim ewok

      how to tell if someone you've never heard of is actually important n. topographical place with their name … 2. they are a unit of measure 1. ?

    85. jim ewok

      what _is_ the width of an RCH?

    86. Bmann92

      My spectacles have threaded fasteners

    87. Ethan Black

      I comment to help statistics

    88. Glen Ayers iil


    89. Serai Resana

      Hey hey hey... wait up. I watched this to find out how they drilled out a hex borehole. And ya never told me!

    90. l. kerr

      I was taught by Whitworths grandson. Also called Mr Whitworth. Lovely guy.

    91. since1876

      So if this is so accurate, why aren't guns using barrels like this anymore? What's better about round barrels?

      1. Matthew Denis

        Hexagonal barrels are harder to manufacture and due to the extremely tight tolerances run into reliability issues Nowadays rifling gives all the accuracy and distance advantages while also being easier to produce and allows for a lot looser tolerances

    92. A -

      'Millionth of an INCH' ... c'mon Destin, you're all the scientist here, so use metric, which is clearly better and more scientific, because it scales by a factor of 10. (1km = 1.000m = 10.000dm = 100.000cm) Much easier to work with then imperial (1mi = 1.760yd = 5.280ft = 63.360in WTF WHY) Why do you guys use this impractical system?

    93. Bao Vuong

      Hexagon is the bestagon

    94. First Name

      If Sir whitworth 'got given a title by the queen' then he is sir whitworth not just whitworth

    95. nikomania2

      just a regular bottle of water that has a plastic cap or a bottle of soda or maybe liquer even there its not uncommon first think because i was putting the cap of a water bottle

    96. CleaveMountaineering

      Very nice overview, this field is entirely underappreciated by the general public, and could use a much more thorough investigation.

    97. Alcatote

      Hexagons are the Bestagons

    98. Aimless Idiot

      I love your videos Destin, thank you for making them! 😁👍

    99. mortega16

      Rocking patio chair in Palm Springs California haha

    100. Jason Haley

      My cell, bigger screws lookin like M2x.4... I've actually tapped a.... M-0.5 x .15(???) Ya know, one of those "not in the bible" sizes. OH SORRY, typically machinists refer to "Machineries Handbook" as The Bible, blasphemy certainly unintended. We have a 4th edition up to 27th (a few in between)...gotta be up to...32nd? 34th? Life hack: holesize for ANY thread (minor diameter) is tap size - pitch. Pitch (threads per inch; EX.: 5/16-18....1÷18= .055555 5/16(.3125-.055555 = drill to use: letter f

      1. Jason Haley

        .... METRIC TOO!!!