Measuring order
November 1, 2008 9:02 AM   Subscribe

In what order should one measure and record a three dimensional object? L x W x H? W x H x D? Is there a standard?

I always measure Width x Height by Depth. Length seems kinda nebulous... maybe apopropraite as a single measurment, but there seems to be no clear standard.
Even Ikea is not consistent,,, One product is spec'd with W x D x H and another product is L x W x H.
posted by pmaxwell to Grab Bag (10 answers total)
In America I've always found LxWxH to be the norm for 3D measurements. Google Fight agrees
posted by Science! at 9:17 AM on November 1, 2008

Looking at your examples, I think they both use the same order of measurements, but are using different words to describe those measurements. Basically, if you're standing facing the thing, the measurements describe the "left to right"-ness, then the "front to back"-ness, then the "bottom to top"-ness. Those ness-es are variously termed, depending on whether the thing seems more long or more tall. For what it's worth, that's also the order I measure things.
posted by donnagirl at 9:18 AM on November 1, 2008

In all the math classes I've taken, when you are finding the volume of a solid, its always base X height, and area is usually length X width, so the norm is usually length X width X height
posted by Mach5 at 9:20 AM on November 1, 2008

"Length", "width", "depth," "height" could refer to any of a solid objects dimensions arbitrarily. They're just shorthand ways for distinguishing between dimensions. One fairly consistent convention is to put the longest dimensions first. So 50'x30'x25', not 30'x25'x50' or 25'x50'x30'. But as long as the information is there and correct, it doesn't really matter.
posted by valkyryn at 1:36 PM on November 1, 2008

There's such a thing as the normal orientation: for example, it might be more important (as in the trucking industry) to know the floor space something takes up first: A skid might be 45x48x65 inches tall, for example. The fact that it sits on a 45x48 pallet tells me how much floor space to allot for it, the 65 inch height is less important (unless one wishes to put it into a small truck!)

So the general common sense would be to put the most important dimensions first with respect to the audience (or anyone who will need to know the dimensions)
posted by pjern at 1:50 PM on November 1, 2008

I tend to default to LengthxWidthxDepth, but I usually try Googling how others measure the same item.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:20 PM on November 1, 2008

Sometimes there are conventions based on the type of material. I think timber is always specified with length being along the grain direction (even though that might not be the longest dimension).
posted by theyexpectresults at 1:31 AM on November 2, 2008

I once ordered and brought a window (for a house), that came built 'sideways' - they explained that windows are *always* ordered A x B and I'd asked for B x A. I just can't remember which way around they said was the norm. But it was a very important (and expensive) distinction.
posted by Xhris at 4:59 AM on November 2, 2008

Response by poster: In design, It's always width x height (e.g 8 1/2 x 11 paper). If a third dimention is added, It's generally added as depth. Each label is fairly descriptive. Length, to me, is very non-descriptive and could be assigned to any of the dimentions – usually the longest.
posted by pmaxwell at 8:04 AM on November 2, 2008

In the cabinet world it's side to side then up and down then front to back, to spare you the arbitrary terms. It's width height depth in my mind though I try not to impose the contents of my mind on others when possible. Apparently I'm on a limb as usual
posted by Redhush at 7:04 PM on November 2, 2008

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