Part 1 showed that basic dimensions are theoretically exact values that do not need to be measured and reported for conformance assessment of geometric tolerances. Part 2 showed that measured values of basic dimensions are commonly being reported in industry for other purposes, with varying success. Part 3 will examine specific configurations of basic dimensions, features, and tolerances to identify the situations in which useful information can be extracted (and those in which it cannot).
Basic dimensions can be thought of as dimensions that apply to the theoretically exact model. Because the model geometry is perfect, dimensions have welldefined and unambiguous meanings. When applied to imperfect actual part geometry, however, dimensions have ambiguous meanings. In other words, the part geometry that the dimension represents is not clear.
Higher Risk of Ambiguity 
Lower Risk of Ambiguity 




For most basic dimensions directly applied to imperfect part geometry, the risk of ambiguity is high. There is a low risk of ambiguity only in special situations. The lowest risk occurs for positional tolerances in which the basic dimension represents the distance between a datum feature and one particular considered feature.
Even on relatively simple part geometry, basic dimensions generally become ambiguous. On the following drawings, all of the basic dimensions have a high risk of ambiguity on real part geometry:
The basic dimensions all have one or more of the following highrisk properties:
Basic dimensions are sometimes extracted from the CAD model and measured directly on the part, in cases where model based definition was used. These basic dimensions introduce the same risks and ambiguity as when explicitly annotated on the drawing.
Summary
Directly measuring and reporting measured values of basic dimensions introduces high risk of ambiguity in the large majority of cases. This is because the meaning of the dimension on imperfect part geometry is not clear and could be interpreted in several ways.