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Thread: The United States will never go metric

  1. #71
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    I was once the lead designer on a major robotics project for a company in Spain. The first question we had to resolve was systems of measure. I insisted that the fasteners be metric, and the drawing dimensions were both. I made sure that the American dimensions produced metric dimensions in preferred numbers. All fabrication notes I wrote in both English and Spanish. Some parts were made in Spain while the bulk were manufactured locally. Had no problems from the Spanish fabricators. Very few locally. It did help to be multilingual as well as multi-dimensional.

    But your average housewife will look at a measuring spoon marked in both systems of measure, and use that system called for by her recipe: American. And when I received my Tender Behind plans from Mr. Welsford, the first thing I did was to order a metric tape measure. So yes, the metric system is making inroads, but officially, we won't change.
    "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." William Gibson

  2. #72
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    No wukkas, you will still pay for 2m though.
    In one of my favorite exchanges with the purchasing department, I had specified an aluminum extrusion for a conveyor belt. From SKF, in Sweden. So I wrote 5 meters on the requisition. The length needed, in the system the part was sold in. Our Purchasing Agent, a retired Navy Petty Officer, came to my station: "Bill, I'm an old Sea Dog. I know feet and inches. I don't know metric. Can you change this to feet and inches?" I replied "Sure, I can do that. But you know those wily Swedes--we can order the part in feet and inches, but they're going to ship us the part in metric units."
    "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." William Gibson

  3. #73
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by webishop14 View Post
    I was once the lead designer on a major robotics project for a company in Spain. The first question we had to resolve was systems of measure. I insisted that the fasteners be metric, and the drawing dimensions were both. I made sure that the American dimensions produced metric dimensions in preferred numbers. All fabrication notes I wrote in both English and Spanish. Some parts were made in Spain while the bulk were manufactured locally. Had no problems from the Spanish fabricators. Very few locally. It did help to be multilingual as well as multi-dimensional.

    But your average housewife will look at a measuring spoon marked in both systems of measure, and use that system called for by her recipe: American. And when I received my Tender Behind plans from Mr. Welsford, the first thing I did was to order a metric tape measure. So yes, the metric system is making inroads, but officially, we won't change.
    Warning, thread drift.

    Hows the project coming along Webi?

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  4. #74
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    Warning, thread drift.

    Hows the project coming along Webi?

    John Welsford
    Too slowly, Sir.

    However, the insides of the hull are now painted, the gunwales have eight coats of varnish, and the hull is now upside down. The transoms and topmost side panels have been painted, leaving only the bottom and lower two panels to paint. Sadly, there is some checking, so I'll need to sand, fill with epoxy, and then paint. I'm guessing 6 weeks to completion. The rudder and dagger board are halfway to completion, and the spars are cut to length. I need to attach hardware and finials (also completed). Six weeks, Sir. Maybe.
    "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." William Gibson

  5. #75
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    More thread drift: the dinghy is/has been a wonderful learning experience, learning how to build a boat as well as learning about myself. I'm very pleased with what I have learned; the boat is looking better than it has a right to look, considering the number of my mistakes it must bear.
    "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." William Gibson

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by woodpile View Post
    A typical elitist/left comment, ever give any thought to the economic impact it would have in the US, if the USA is that stupid move to a smart country.
    There is the problem. metric is all a "liberal conspiracy".
    "'Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."

    C.S. Lewis

  7. #77
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by Reynard38 View Post
    In the airplane only temp is metric. Otherwise it’s knots, nautical miles, feet, pounds and inches of Hg.

    Well nautical miles are (I'm not explaining this for you R38) minutes of latitude, and for my purposes, longitude in the tropics.
    I hope that never changes

    On a boat I generally use litres for liquid measures. A litre of water weighs a kilo...makes it easy.

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by woodpile View Post
    A typical elitist/left comment, ever give any thought to the economic impact it would have in the US, if the USA is that stupid move to a smart country.
    Strongly considering just that, woodpile.

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    In Australia it would depend on the factory and the market it's being made for.
    Metric is 2400x1200
    Imperial is 2440 x 1220
    It is pretty much the same here in NZ, except that sheet goods for cabinetry can be 2440x 1220 to allow for the saw kerfs so you could still get, for example, two 600 shelves from a nominally 1200 wide sheet of ply or whatever.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by woodpile View Post
    A typical elitist/left comment, ever give any thought to the economic impact it would have in the US, if the USA is that stupid move to a smart country.
    Short-sighted comment. Think of the money it'd save long term - actually using the measuring system the rest of the world uses.

    ETA: Talk to kids. They are learning metric in school & most are very comfortable with it.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Short-sighted comment. Think of the money it'd save long term - actually using the measuring system the rest of the world uses.

    ETA: Talk to kids. They are learning metric in school & most are very comfortable with it.
    It certainly makes engineering a damned sight easier.
    Kg and Newtons v.s pounds, poundals, pounds force, and slugs. Then start on density and so on.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by webishop14 View Post
    More thread drift: the dinghy is/has been a wonderful learning experience, learning how to build a boat as well as learning about myself. I'm very pleased with what I have learned; the boat is looking better than it has a right to look, considering the number of my mistakes it must bear.
    Good to hear that it going well. Do please keep me in mind when you take your camera to the launching.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  13. #83
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Strongly considering just that, woodpile.
    if it weren't for age/finances, I'd likely be giving Peter or Seanz a call from the harbor.. Their harbor..




    ever give any thought to the economic impact it would have in the US
    typical "don't think of the future" comment, if the country had only followed Congress' lead in the late 1800's, it'd all be moot.

  14. #84
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    It certainly makes engineering a damned sight easier.
    Kg and Newtons v.s pounds, poundals, pounds force, and slugs. Then start on density and so on.
    Not necessarily. In my field, aircraft structural engineering, US practice is to dimension everything in decimal inches (no fractions) and use pounds as either force or mass. I spent ten years working in other countries using our designs. Some converted to metric, some didn't. One that converted to metric did so in a strange way. Kilograms were used as both force and mass units, no Newtons. So a US bending moment in inch-lb​f was converted to kgf-meters in their system.

    The only conversion problem we ever had was when we hired a local contractor to build a fifty ft. swimming pool. He didn't read English very well, and the pool turned out to be fifty meters.

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by johnwill View Post
    Not necessarily. In my field, aircraft structural engineering, US practice is to dimension everything in decimal inches (no fractions) and use pounds as either force or mass. I spent ten years working in other countries using our designs. Some converted to metric, some didn't. One that converted to metric did so in a strange way. Kilograms were used as both force and mass units, no Newtons. So a US bending moment in inch-lb​f was converted to kgf-meters in their system.

    The only conversion problem we ever had was when we hired a local contractor to build a fifty ft. swimming pool. He didn't read English very well, and the pool turned out to be fifty meters.
    So how does a pound as both a force and a mass work without causing confusion? What acceleration links the two? G or ft/s^2?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    For the military amongst us: one mil subtends one metre at one thousand metres. Simple fire support calculations being the most effective argument I know for the metric system !

    For the OP, my wife and I are of the UK generation where maths went metric halfway through school. She has both metric and imperial measures in the kitchen and just uses whichever the recipe calls for. She's quite happy with both
    Nick

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by johnwill View Post

    The only conversion problem we ever had was when we hired a local contractor to build a fifty ft. swimming pool. He didn't read English very well, and the pool turned out to be fifty meters.
    How many cubic meters to fill?
    "'Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."

    C.S. Lewis

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by Whameller View Post
    For the OP, my wife and I are of the UK generation where maths went metric halfway through school. She has both metric and imperial measures in the kitchen and just uses whichever the recipe calls for. She's quite happy with both

    At the start of my career the standards were being metricated so the vast majority of my experience is metric but "reality" to me is still imperial.
    I mentally convert back in practical situations.
    I can not imagine 160km but 100 miles is easy
    Similarly a 6.1m boat means very little but a 20 footer does.
    Body weight in kgs, even in pounds I convert to stones for it to have meaning.
    I prefer atmospheric temperature in Fahrenheit for higher figures but Celsius for near or below freezing.
    Just shows how messed up I am.

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Short-sighted comment. Think of the money it'd save long term - actually using the measuring system the rest of the world uses.

    ETA: Talk to kids. They are learning metric in school & most are very comfortable with it.
    I can handle metric even engineering units. But I don't need to. I am not going to save anything in the long term.

    I have a pop bottle here marked 12 fl oz (360 mL). I don't know which one the can contains, but I am sure the difference is not enough to consider for either the manufacturer of myself.

    When I drive a car miles/kilometers; gallons/liters, the difference in distance/time or pricing will be insignificant.

    If I buy fasteners at the store, material seems to matter more than measuring system. I am sure that the US manufacturers could export metric sizes if they wished.

    As long as I don't have to tear my house down and replace the 2x4' with their metric equivalents I don't see a real change. I am sure that if metric dimensions take over the building industry people will buy slightly different tools (same tools; different markings) but not much will change.

    I think a universal measuring system is overrated. As are the savings in moving to one.

    I have more trouble with the length of months (I do the knuckle trick) than I do with unit conversions. Perhaps changing the calendar would provide some savings. We could get rid of Daylight saving time also.
    Life is complex.

  20. #90
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    I can handle metric even engineering units. But I don't need to. I am not going to save anything in the long term.

    I have a pop bottle here marked 12 fl oz (360 mL). I don't know which one the can contains, but I am sure the difference is not enough to consider for either the manufacturer of myself.

    When I drive a car miles/kilometers; gallons/liters, the difference in distance/time or pricing will be insignificant.

    If I buy fasteners at the store, material seems to matter more than measuring system. I am sure that the US manufacturers could export metric sizes if they wished.

    As long as I don't have to tear my house down and replace the 2x4' with their metric equivalents I don't see a real change. I am sure that if metric dimensions take over the building industry people will buy slightly different tools (same tools; different markings) but not much will change.

    I think a universal measuring system is overrated. As are the savings in moving to one.

    I have more trouble with the length of months (I do the knuckle trick) than I do with unit conversions. Perhaps changing the calendar would provide some savings. We could get rid of Daylight saving time also.
    Not even close to what I was talking about - though often soda is sold in metric (2 liter bottles for example).

    What I was referring to is:

    Labeling: requiring both measures on a container, pair of shoes, shirts, you name it.
    Manufacturing - especially when working with plants in the US & another country - forcing 2 sets of dimensions, the time to convert & the extra possibilities for errors
    Container manufacturing - a US company wanting to expand abroad must make different sizes, add new assembly lines, etc.
    Hardware manufacturing - have to make 2 sets of sizes that fulfill the same purpose
    Machine tools: makers of them must offer 2 versions & often the differences are not trivial. This makes them more expensive
    Hardware stores must stock double the # of fasteners and nuts & bolts are not cheap
    Computer Printers - every printer must handle US & metric sizes - adding to both the hardware & software costs

    etc. etc.

    Even if we switched to metric tomorrow, the need for US hardware won't go away quickly - but the sooner we do it, the more the savings down the road.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  21. #91
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Applying the principle of cui bono, who benefits, tool and ruler manufacturers would fight the metrication of the US tooth and nail. If we went metric everyone could get by with one set of wrenches...

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by Stiletto View Post
    I agree, Unless you want to divide. A foot can be divided evenly by two, three, four, six, and twelve.
    In the building industry here, centimeters are not used, just metres and millimeters. Centimeters are for dressmakers!

    . . . and decimeters are for . . . ?
    Enjoy a good rum on the rocks at sunset.

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by Art Haberland View Post
    There is the problem. metric is all a "liberal conspiracy".
    No not the problem, my issue is if you live in the US and think it's a "stupid" place then why do you live here.

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcodger View Post
    At the start of my career the standards were being metricated so the vast majority of my experience is metric but "reality" to me is still imperial.
    I mentally convert back in practical situations.
    I can not imagine 160km but 100 miles is easy
    Similarly a 6.1m boat means very little but a 20 footer does.
    Body weight in kgs, even in pounds I convert to stones for it to have meaning.
    I prefer atmospheric temperature in Fahrenheit for higher figures but Celsius for near or below freezing.
    Just shows how messed up I am.
    I am similarly confused:

    I think of weapon ranges (ie: up to about 30km) in metres
    When I drive my car, I think in miles and mph and mpg
    But if I was in a military vehicle I would think in Km and Km in the hour (rate of advance, not speed) and litres/100km
    and on foot, I think in metric (m & km)
    I think human weight in stones
    I think material weights in metric
    but food weights in both metric and lbs/oz
    I agree with you on temperature and boat measurements
    Don't get me going on fluids ......

    Between our education system in the late 60s/early 70s and the Army, I am completely mixed up !
    Nick

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    As an engineer, I believe that keeping the standard or Imperial system of units actually hurts our country. It makes engineering harder when using the old system (I know and use both systems).

    I understand that Brion Toss is very well respected in his field, but I couldn't really follow his logic on the benefits of the standard system. It seems that the suggestion is that the ability to divide a foot into its various factors without using a calculator is of prime importance. I'm wondering what someone does who needs to divide a length which is not a whole number of feet? For example, let's say you need to divide 15 feet 3-11/64 inches into thirds, is there a way to do that without using a calculator? I would have to first convert the feet to inches (12 X 15), add the 3 inches, convert the 11/64 into decimal inches and add that to the total. Then I would take the total, divide by three to get my answer, then use a chart to convert the decimal portion back into the nearest fraction of an inch (in this case that would be 1/16"). The other way would be to take the distance in millimeters and divide by 3 (4652.57 / 3 = 1550.86mm). Which way sounds easier to you? Which method is less prone to error?

    The main benefit is not having to remember all the wierd units used in the Imperial system. Are they pounds force or pounds mass? Are the ounces weight or volume? How many pounds per ton? How many feet per mile, quarts per gallon ,pints per quart? How many cubic feet per gallon? I could go on and on.

    With the Metric system all the units are consistent, and you don't need tables of conversion factors to solve simple problems.

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    As a carpenter working in the country I became pretty quick at converting (old) customer's imperial measurements to metric but the thought of having to multiply and divide feet, inches and 64ths on the job is a horror !
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    It helps to have benchmarks in your life that are a known quantity. Back in the 70's a friend worked in a toolroom (in the UK). He spent a week measuring all the windows and doors, and putting large signs on them saying their dimensions in metric. I worked in another company's toolroom and put that idea in the suggestion box. They didn't think it was a good idea at the time, but implemented it a year or so after I left..I got nothing of course.

    Similarly, I coach sailing in 420's, whenever a student asks how long they are, I say 4.2 Metres.

  28. #98
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    So how does a pound as both a force and a mass work without causing confusion? What acceleration links the two? G or ft/s^2?
    Understood. First day on the job, a rookie new hire might be confused, but that passes very quickly. Any good engineer will always do a units check to make sure everything is in order. My undergrad curriculum in ME strongly emphasized that process. Those engineers using Kg force also have to be careful about units. The confusion between weight and mass still exists even in metric system. Ask a German engineer how much a Porsche weighs and he would probably say, "about 1300 kilo". Wrong, as 1300 kilo is the mass.

  29. #99
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    I am an engineer in aerospace and I work in metric all day long. This is because all purchased machine components are metric. Linear rail, ball screws, rack, etc.. The trouble is that raw material is all sold in inches. This leads to some ugly numbers on dimensioned drawings, but everybody in the office is perfectly fluent either way until you get down to tight tolerances. Precision grinding is still to four-tenths (.0004") or whatever, but not in mm.

    There is one big american airplane company that insists in still building planes using the imperial system. They refer to their fasteners by the number of 1/32nds of an inch they are. Ridiculous.

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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by johnwill View Post
    Understood. First day on the job, a rookie new hire might be confused, but that passes very quickly. Any good engineer will always do a units check to make sure everything is in order. My undergrad curriculum in ME strongly emphasized that process. Those engineers using Kg force also have to be careful about units. The confusion between weight and mass still exists even in metric system. Ask a German engineer how much a Porsche weighs and he would probably say, "about 1300 kilo". Wrong, as 1300 kilo is the mass.
    But we'll know what he means.
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by webishop14 View Post
    but officially, we won't change.
    Officially America is metric. It is the official measurement system.
    If the speed signs ever change to metric, as they officially should, imperial would die quickly.
    It’ll hang on in places like cook books and some phrases, “about an inch”. But for broad use it’d be gone.
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    The USA did go metric where it really mattered, in all engineered devices. Because the engineering calculations are vastly easier, that is the primary advantage of the metric system. Football fields, cooking, it doesn't matter. However I think US commercial and military aircraft may STILL use "english" SAE fasteners (bolts and nuts) because of AN (Air Force/Navy) standards. At least last I looked many years ago, well after the auto industry had metricized. Anybody know?

    And by the way, a "calorie" is actually a kilocalorie, so 1000 calories.
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Canada went metric in 1976 i believe ... Trudeau imposed it on us like any dictator . Why ? I see no good reason for it. Everyone I know even kids know there height and weight in imperial measure , that's feet and inches and pounds . We still buy lumber and plywood in imperial . .... and during the last century two world wars were fought and won by the sides not using the metric system

    The near air disaster that was called the Gimli Glider incident ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimli_Glider ) was as a result of confusion regarding the metric system .

    What i never liked was the difference in Imperial and US gallons and quarts . Yes i am a curmudgeon sorta maybe like
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  34. #104
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Having the US as your neighbour and main market and supplier that makes perfect sense. Australia deals with everyone.
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    Default Re: The United States will never go metric

    Quote Originally Posted by Whameller View Post
    For the military amongst us: one mil subtends one metre at one thousand metres. Simple fire support calculations being the most effective argument I know for the metric system !

    For the OP, my wife and I are of the UK generation where maths went metric halfway through school. She has both metric and imperial measures in the kitchen and just uses whichever the recipe calls for. She's quite happy with both
    Mil == milliradian?

    Thank goodness there is no imperial equivalent of volt or amp.
    Someday, I'm going to settle down and be a grumpy old man.

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