What am I missing when I only measure average roughness?

Here are two of our favorite pens: the “Uniball Grip” that we use with our logo, and the Pilot G-7 that we use for the Notepad Series. Both are relatively inexpensive, but they both write very well, and both grips feel great to hold. Speaking of “feeling great,” we put the pen grips under the … Read more

Measuring the surface of an O-ring

Here’s a challenging measurement. We want to look at the surface texture of this O-ring: With a small radius and cross-section, steep sides, and soft material, it’s almost impossible to measure with a stylus. An optical system can do the job, though. Here’s a measurement made with a Zygo ZeGage at 10X magnification, shown in … Read more

Are those valleys in my measurement data real?

Can I trust my measurement? Asking that question every time we measure drives us to be careful—and that keeps us producing meaningful results. Let’s look at a “simple” shop floor measurement of surface finish, made with a skidded instrument. And, let’s explore something that you might not imagine: “upward” dirt on the surface can cause … Read more

The Material Ratio Curve

The “material ratio curve” tells us how much material we encounter (as a percentage) as we slice through a surface at various depths. You may also see it called the Abbott-Firestone Curve (based on the two engineers who developed it) or the Bearing Ratio Curve. The curve appears is a standard component of our OmniSurf, … Read more

Pickleball paddles: does “rougher” equal “more friction?”

It seems like the sport of Pickleball is everywhere these days! It’s definitely a game of skill…but having the right equipment doesn’t hurt, either. We were curious how big a difference there might be between Pickleball paddles, so we put a couple under the microscope (this is the kind of thing we do for fun). … Read more