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"Off" as nomenclature

"Off" as nomenclature

(OP)
Recently our quality engineer took exception to the use of the word "off" being used in a tech doc when ascribed to a quantity.

eg. M5 x 20 Hex head set screw (3 off)

Logic dictates "of" would be grammatically correct but I have a niggling feeling that Off is perfectly acceptable as nomenclature.

Our office is split on this but half are from an RAF background and the the other half industry. I won't tell you which way they're voting!

Can anyone advise?

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Off is the way I learnt it. Makes a little sense... but I can see the opposing POV.

Cheers

Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

In UK/Ireland, I have only ever seen engineering quantities written as 1off, 2off etc. Whereas in written/spoken text 'of' is correct (I was one of the five people who noticed that...or there were 16 of us at the comcert)

This may be another of the great UK/US English divides

Kevin Hammond

Mechanical Design Engineer
Derbyshire, UK
 

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

I thought it came from a manufacturing or prototype route into the engineering vernacular.

For example: 1 off the process / 1 off the machine, etc. when specifying how many pieces were needed to complete the assembly.

Bill

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

It makes me cringe every time I see it but "off" is the way it is always written here. I prefer to use "3No." instead to hide the fact that I think "off" is just stupid

(although from WGJ's explanation it doesn't seem quite so stupid now but that doesn't excuse it when referring to 6m tall 4m diamter tanks - they don't just roll off the machine - at least not the ones we buy anyway!)

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

2
People here in The Colonies would be confused by either "off" or "of", and would be less confused by "ea" or "each".

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

2
Assuming you're in the UK, especially if in military/defence circles then 'off' is correct and your quality engineer is a dufus.

My last place was in the UK, with alot of the staff ex RAF or Navy.

My place actually prepared APs and BRs etc and as I recall 'off' was always the term used in these.

However working with the US, especially Raytheon & USAF, this caused massive confusion.  Try explaining that '2 off' means the same as '2X', they just didn't get it.

Now I'm in the US so it's X's all aroundsmile

Kchayfie, my old tech pubs guy would have had your guts for garters!  I think a lot of the things I'm 'hardline' on are because he gave me such a hard time!

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

(OP)
<b>KENAT</b> - I was against changing to 'of' for the simple reasons of

a) A quality man questioned it,
b) I was pretty sure that was the convention anyway and was told this as an apprentice
 
and

c) A quality man questioned it!

Thanks everyone.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Hmm, I often wondered what "ea" meant.  I eventially came to realise it was probably a colonial version of "off".  Neither really is that understandable by Joe Public - maybe that's the whole point?

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

How old is your Quality Man?

Bill

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

(OP)
He's older than me, late thirties I think. Also ex RAF so he should know better...

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

KENAT - re-reading the thread, I came to realise where my 'off' use came from.
As an apprentice, I was dealing with air/shipborne stuff and my second job was in an aerospace manufacturer/contractor. Probably 30% MOD / 70% UK defence contractors.

Bill

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

back to your 10:31 post ... way to go gordy !

says it all !

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

If he's ex RAF then he should be well aware of the penalties for such a school boy error...

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Yes, the rotter should get a damn good thrashing in the mess.

Bill

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Other alternatives I've seen and used are (3 PCS) or (QTY 3)

cheers

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

   I was rattled the first time I heard anyone say "one off" or "two off", etc.   I understand it now, which is fine if I am the person you are talking to.

   What is wrong with "1X " and "2X ", etc.?

                      JHG

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Because 4X and 6X have specific meanings in Australia (4X) and England (6X).

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

(OP)
Please no mention of xxx!

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

I have never heard of "off" used as qty.
Per drawoh, 1X, 2X, etc is per standard here in USA.

Chris
SolidWorks 06 5.1/PDMWorks 06
AutoCAD 06
ctopher's home (updated 02-10-07)

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Wow!  This is all new to me.  I never realized there was this controversy.  In my teens, mid 1950's, I 'helped' in the restoration of early WWII aircraft and in searching parts, found that "1 off", "2 off" quite normal.  In college and later years it was usually "qty 1" or "1x"...I don't think I ever saw "1 ea" until watching the Shopping Channel winky smile !

Rod

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

drawoh - 1X, 2X etc is American Engineering speak per ASME standards.

1 off, 2 off etc is English Engineering speak (I'd guess to a Def Stan but couldn't be sure)

Here in America I wouldn't dream of going outside to 'Smoke a fag'.  In the UK this is common practice.

Different situations different languages.  

English and American English aren't the same.  Heck both can vary with geographic location or even industry, age etc.

The same word in different situations can have completely different meanings.

From what gordyclarke states about his situation I would expect ‘off’ to be the correct terminology based on my experience.  Certainly using ‘of’ would probably lead to ridicule and confusion!

Evelrod – your comment may say more about the state of British Industry than about language!winky smile

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Kenat,
rofl

Chris
SolidWorks 06 5.1/PDMWorks 06
AutoCAD 06
ctopher's home (updated 02-10-07)

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Having worked for a large internation conglomerate in my past, we ran into confusion in several areas, relating to "local" customs of how things are done.  This was one of them.  We standardized on using abbreviated english quantity (e.g. qty 3), and that ended the confusion.  If your paperwork is entirely local, then whatever everyone seems to understand, and causes the least confusion, is what you should use.

-Tony Staples
www.tscombustion.com

RE: "Off" as nomenclature


I worked 7 years doing structural steel shop drawings and never saw 2of, 2off or, 2 ea.  We used 2X or 2 thus, American Bridge and Iron Standards.

"If you are going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance!"

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

The only context that I am familiar with "off" used in that manner is as a number of limited copies.  I'm used to 2X for example, though I used to use 2 PL back in the day.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

gordyclarke,

   XXX does not have to be porn, it can be whiskey!

   Or should that be, XXX does not have to be whiskey, it can be porn!

   Or better yet, it could be Roman numerals!

                           JHG

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Roman Numerals are better than Whiskey or Porn ???????

cheers

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

KENAT,

   My old American drafting book is that home, so I cannot refer to it quickly.  I seem to recall a lot of drawings saything things like "6 PLACES", often shortened to "6 PLCS".  

   The ASME Y14.5M-1994 uses the 1X, 2X procedure.  This makes it officially American, but that does not stop it from being a good internationalization standard, except in Australia, apparently.

                        JHG

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Or Britain, at least in military/MOD circles.

For quantities 'off' is the correct term.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Thinking about it, in the UK on the drawings I worked out the terminology used was often 'Pos' as in short for positions.

In tech docs, contracts etc it was always 'off'.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

I learn something new every day.

It's time for me to get off, pos myself on the couch, have 2X beers.

Chris
SolidWorks 06 5.1/PDMWorks 06
AutoCAD 06
ctopher's home (updated 02-10-07)

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

(OP)
Excellent stuff. Thank you all for the ammunition.

It's nice to be vindicated every once in a while.

“Here, QA chap. I thought you were supposed to know about enghineering?”

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

I've been in UK defence projects for many decades, and '3 off' is certainly standard nomenclature here. However, it is not mandated, just common usage in UK. It doesn't make any sense (neither does '3 ea').

I always use 'qty 3' which is correct (it is, after all, a quantity) and unambiguous. Probably our US counterparts understand it too.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

I always thought that "4 off" would mean "make 4 off this drawing"

In the days of pen and pencil drawings of sometimes dubious quality it was not uncommon to write "4 required" or "4 req" to reduce the chance of accidentally getting 40.

Jeff

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

I had always understood 3 off to mean that it was 3 off the inventory / stock list.

Stephen Argles
Land & Marine
www.landandmarine.com

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

harrisj, I don't know about it not being mandated but I'm pretty sure all the RAF (APs) & Navy manuals (BRs if I recal correctly) we prepared for our equipment at my last place used "off", our tech pubs guy was ex RAF and had written manuals while in the service.  In this instance, while I couldn't quote the DEF STAN, or whatever standard controls it, I'm pretty sure use of "off" was mandated.

Also if I recall correctly contracts both from the MOD and other UK Defence contractors used off.

Used to confuse our American partners no end!

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

I’m now working in the US but from the UK originally.

Someone in sales sent a message at work saying to add “3xMESP” to the sales order.

The receiver replied saying, we don’t have a part number 3xMESP.

Of course the person in sales originally sending the message meant add quantity 3 MESP to the sales order.   We do have a part number MESP.

I was only CC but seriously considered sending a message saying:

“I think he meant 3 off MESP”

I thought better of it given who was on the distributionsmile.

Drawoh, I guess this means “X” isn’t even universally recognized in the US, although of course the sender did miss a space.  

So much for ‘X‘ “being a good internationalization standard” smile.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

You're right; 'X' is frequently used as a character in a part number, so that is somewhat confusing.

I cannot imagine that there is anyone involved in business who cannot understand the terminology "3 only", "3 off", or "3 each".

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

TenPenny I don't know your nationality but most of the American Engineers I've ever dealt with don't have a clue about 'off' and even if you explain it some of them still seem to struggle.  (Please note that isn't a dig at American Engineers)

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

TenPenny,

   The old DOD-100 standard explicitly banned some characters from part numbers.  I would assume that the newer standards ban them too.

   I, O, Q, S, X and Z.

   Most of these look like numbers or they look like each other.  The character X has other uses, as discussed above.

                     JHG

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

I must confess, I've never heard of "off" used for a quantity designation until stumbling upon this thread.  For myself, I'd typically say something like "3 required" or "total 3".

I have noticed that my colleagues in our India office tend to write "3 Nos"  which I've taken as an abbreviation for numbers.

Edward L. Klein
Pipe Stress Engineer
Houston, Texas

"All the world is a Spring"

All opinions expressed here are my own and not my company's.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

I'd never heard it, except for 1 off, until I got my first job in industry (Aerospace/Defence) in the UK.  However, once there it was the standard term used pretty much everywhere including government documents.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Before reading this topic through just now, if I saw an engineering drawing with "3 off" on it, I would've struggled with it to, immediately thinking "If they didn't want 3 on the part, they don't need to say to take 3 off the part". :)

Matt
CAD Engineer/ECN Analyst
Silicon Valley, CA
http://sw.fcsuper.com/index.php

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

"off" wasn't usually used on drawings as I recall.

However until you're used to the terminology it can be confusing.  Point was in the situation the OP refers to "off" is probably the correct terminology and his Quality guy is apparently untrained/unqualified for the position.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

I believe the term 'off' originates from the requirement to remove from store '3 off' before starting work on a project. The original meaning was that the storeman strikes 'off ' his stocklist, the number of items removed from store.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Having been in all branches of the construction industry and been concerned with, amongst other activities; procurement, taking off, quantities, we have always used 'off'. For example '21 No. off M12 bolts complete with nut , & washers.  

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Off is wrong. It means off, not of. Doesn't matter who used it how many times. Does anybody see anything here (Merriam Webster's definition) about quantity? Thank you.

Function: adverb
Etymology: Middle English of, from Old English -- more at OF
1 a (1) : from a place or position <march off>; specifically : away from land <ship stood off to sea> (2) : at a distance in space or time <stood 10 paces off> <a long way off> b : from a course : ASIDE <turned off into a bypath>; specifically : away from the wind c : into an unconscious state <dozed off>
2 a : so as to be separated from support <rolled to the edge of the table and off> or close contact <blew the lid off> <the handle came off> b : so as to be divided <surface marked off into squares>
3 a : to a state of discontinuance or suspension <shut off an engine> b -- used as an intensifier <drink off a glass> <finish it off>
4 : in absence from or suspension of regular work or service <take time off for lunch>
5 : OFFSTAGE

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Is anyone "turned OFF" by this thread yet? %-)

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

PV

You state it doesn't mean of, then give an etymology that refers to of for the more complete information. ??

Try looking up one-off.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

"one-off"

We have a winner.

Cheers

Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

PVinspector (Industrial)

Have you worked in the UK in the engineering/defence field?

If no then how are you qualified to definitively state that 'off' is wrong?

The meaning or implication of words can vary by situation, in fact vary so significantly that the definition from the typical 'summarized' dictionary doesn't appear to cover it.

Plus it would help if you were using the correct dictionary.  If you read and understand the OP it is strongly implied that the location is UK.

As such the dictionary you reference is in the wrong language.

You want an English Dictionary not an American English Dictionary, the Oxford is probably a good choice.  Plus you want the full version all 2 shelves worth (or however many it is now) not the concise or otherwise abridged version (which is usually what is available on-line).  

In the situation the OP appears to be in 'off' is almost certainly correct.

I'm not sure of the Etymology of this particular usage but suspect it comes from the same source as 'one-off' as mentioned more than once above.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Oxford English Dictionary says....

"Used with a preceding numeral to represent a quantity in production or manufacture, or an item or number of items so produced. Usu. as one off: see ONE-OFF n. Cf. once-off adj. and n. s.v. ONCE adv. 24. "

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Star for you Stego1, I was starting to doubt myself.

Which version of the Oxford was that in, I only had access to the web version of the compact which didnt' have it listed.

gordyclarke looks like you just need to go to the library or wherever and photocopy that page for your QA guy!

If your place is anything like mine was in the UK then blowing it up to A3 size or larger and pinning it to his door for all to see should be appropriate!

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

(OP)
KENAT - Just found it in the Ninth Edition of the Oxford Concise. Apparently it's especially Brit.

UPDATE: QA Guy has now taken on the role of *gulp* Health & Safety bloke... I suppose it must be true what they say about success breeding success. Or something about breeding anyway.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Funny, one of our quality guys took on health & safety at the place in the UK.  He'd harang us for not wearing hard hats on the mechanical structural test rig.  So I put one on, the added height meant I repeatedly hit my head!

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Should have taken your stilettoes off, then you'd have been OK.

Cheers

Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Wish I'd thought of that, would have stopped me twisting my ankle when my heal missed the beam toosmile

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

KENAT
I got it from the full online Oxford dictionary... www.oed.com which unfortunately is subscription only.
We don't tend to have up to date dictionaries in our office as we find MS word spell check gives us PERFECT British English results every time!!

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

(OP)
MS Word has to be the ultimate in reference when it comes to the English language.

Worked with an Italian chap once, here in the UK, who kept using the wrong (American English) dictionary. We eventually gave him a Rogers Profanisaurus. Much more useful for the environment we were in!

http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/blrevocation_cleese.htm

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

I have the Profanisaurus on my desk too! It's amusing when people borrow it thinking it's Roget's Theasaurus then seeing them red-facedly putting it back!
Nobody saw the funny side when I laughed at our graduate who gleefully announced that he had been in an 'old claypit'!!

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Funny how we get used to hearing things said a certain way without really thinking about it.  A few years ago my friend's 3 year old was in my car when my radar detector buzzer sounded.  He asked what that was and I told him that "something set the radar off".  He paused for a moment and then asked me, "Does off me on"?

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

haha?I think "off" is used for "workshop" or " tool makers".

For purchasing, people don't usualy use "off".

Off is more related to machines such as mill, lath etc.

and off appears in drawings for machine operators and tool makers.  off means taking off from the machine.  haha.

I don't know.    ?????

Forever Young

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

Purchasing at my last place in the UK would use off, If I recall quotes sent/received also had off.

However, the stench of rotting equine flesh is filling the air and I don’t' think flogging it anymore will achieve much.

Off is apparently in the Oxford English dictionary in this usage, that should probably suffice to answer the OP.

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

(OP)
I concur! The QA man has been suitably chastised and I am extremely happy with the response from you chaps. Thank you again,

KENAT: There's no sense in beating a dead horse. Unless it died from swallowing too many whoopee cushions -- then let the games begin!  - Rob Tierney

www.ruminate.com/arcs/arcs04.htm

RE: "Off" as nomenclature

deadhorse

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