FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We've compiled some of the most common questions we get. Don't see your question? Ask Our Specialists or Contact Us. We're here to help!
Short answer – SAFETY FIRST, ALWAYS USE A GUARD! OSHA requirements are that a tool be guarded anytime you are using a cutting wheel or a flap disc. You are not required to use a guard on a tool less than 55mm (roughly 2.3”) diameter. Abrasives that need a guard should include a regular hard grinding wheel.
NO – there is a more enclosed style for cut-off wheels than for coated abrasives.
Most coated abrasive manufacturers will warranty their product for 12 months past the manufacture date. Coated abrasives will see regression in belt splice, resulting in splice popping. This is especially prevalent in narrow belts (1/4-1/2”) due to limited area of adhesive.
Bonded abrasives will have a date stamped on the metal band in the center. It will have a year and a Vxx code, which will correspond with end of quarter with listed year. (For example, V01 is quarter one). Bonded abrasives can become brittle and break during use, potentially causing injury. Heat and humidity both play into this. Excessive heat will shorten shelf life. The best plan is to store at room temperature.
ADVANCED CUTTING SYSTEMS
Whether you are purchasing a base or high-end CNC cutting machine/table, these are the factors that must be considered regardless of which manufacturer you decide on.
- Type of Projects you’re going to use it on (including material, degree of precision needed, etc.)
- Amount of Space you have
- Full Cost of Machine, including initial price, service and replacement part costs
- How Easy or Hard it is to use
- Level of Support provided by brand and supplier
- Reputation and Reliability of the machine and manufacturer
Talk to our Cutting Systems Specialist to help with questions you may have about your equipment options.
The size will vary based on the size of the material/project you'll be using in for.
The cutting process used is a main factor in determining the thickness of the material that can be cut. The manufacturer of the plasma cutting machine can help determine this accurately.
Oxyfuel Cutting heats metal to ignition temperature using an oxygen and fuel gas flame. A chemical reaction between the oxygen and carbon steel creates iron oxide, referred to as slag, which is blown out of the gap by the high pressure of the gases used. Fuel gases used include: propane, propylene, natural gas, and acetylene.
It is only suitable for cutting ferrous materials (not effective on aluminum or stainless steel), and typically only used to cut thicker materials because other methods (namely plasma) are faster on thinner materials
Plasma Cutting uses a high-temperature, electrically conductive gas to cut through any material that can conduct electricity. It can be used for both ferrous and non-ferrous materials, and works on rusted, painted or grated materials because of its smaller heat-affect zone. Most commonly used to cut metal between gauge and 2 inches in thickness. However, newer systems can pierce or sever greater thicknesses.
Plasma cuts faster and does not require a pre- heat cycle.
Laser cutting uses a computer-directed beam of light combined with oxygen, nitrogen and compressed air to vaporize material. It is highly accurate, making it perfect for thinner sheet metals with tight tolerance specs or precise cuts. It also produces superior edge quality for very square cuts. It can cause heat distortion, especially on thicker plates.
By comparison, plasma cutting blows inert gas out of a nozzle which an electrical arc is passed through—changing the gas to plasma. The plasma is hot enough to melt the metal which is then blown away from the cut. Plasma cutting is better for simpler cuts, thicker materials, and materials that are highly reflective.
Both laser and plasma are able to provide high-quality, accurate cuts, and can leave dross and pierce spatter—though plasma moreso.
The method you choose must be evaluated carefully and discussed with your supplier.
Dry ice is the common name for the solid form of CO2. It's called dry ice because it sublimates instead of melting, which means it goes from a solid directly to a gaseous state. It’s made by compressing and cooling CO2 until it liquifies. Once it liquifies, the pressure is reduced which causes some of the CO2 to vaporize resulting in a drastic drop in temperature. This causes the liquid to freeze, creating CO2 “snow” (CO2 freezes at -109.3°F or -78.5° C). The “snow” is then hydraulically pressed into dry ice blocks, or formed into nuggets and rice by extruding it through special dies.
No. Dry ice is extremely cold -109.3°F (-78.5°C) and should not be touched with unprotected skin as this could cause freeze burns or even frostbite.
DOWNLOAD our Dry Ice Safety Sheet
It should be kept and stored in well-ventilated areas and containers that are not air-tight. It must be kept out of the reach of children and animals.
DOWNLOAD our Dry Ice Safety Sheet
Dry ice should never be ingested or used in drinks or beverages, and kept out of the reach of children and animals.
DOWNLOAD our Safety Sheet
Depending on weather and type of dry ice and container, dry ice sublimates about 2% to 10% per day. Keep dry ice in a high-quality insulated container. The thicker the insulation, the slower dry ice will sublimate (process of changing from a solid directly to a gas).
ColdZERO, our brand of dry ice, is available by order for large customers and for pickup by the public at Central McGowan’s three retail stores. NOTE: our dry ice is produced in St. Cloud and not stocked at other locations so it must be pre-ordered for pick-up at locations outside of St. Cloud.
ColdZERO comes in:
- Blocks (approx.. 14 lbs., 5 ½” x 5 ½” x 10”) & Half Blocks (approx.. 7 lbs., 2 ¼” x 2 ¼” x 10”)
- Nuggets (approx. ¾-inch pieces), and
- Rice (approx. 1/8-inch pellets).
FOR LARGER ORDERS, Central McGowan offers same-day, convenient delivery and pickup which are sold in returnable, rolling insulated totes. Products are volume-priced, so the more customers buy the better the price. Totes are lined with plastic to ensure purity and hold about 500 lbs.
FOR CONSUMERS, ColdZERO can be purchased by the pound from any of the company's retail stores for $1.50/lb. Product is packaged in brown paper, double-walled dry ice bags. Reusable, dry ice cooler bags can also be purchased for transport.
Dry ice is used in more than 20 different industries and hundreds of applications, including everything from industrial cleaning and dry ice blasting to medical manufacturing to food processing and equipment cleaning to things like wood finishing, mold remediation and historic restoration. Plus, it works for preserving food, fish and game and providing emergency refrigeration during power outages.
Dry ice sublimates which means it changes directly from a solid to a gas—so there's no secondary waste, residue or watery mess left behind.
Welders come in a wide variety of sizes and ranges. There are many types of welding processes suitable for many different types of applications, including:
- MIG / Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
- TIG / Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
- Stick Welding
- Flux-Cored Welding
For a first time buyer, it can be confusing to know which welder to buy. You need to gain a good understanding of the types of welders available, how each performs, and the amount of welding skill required to operate each. It's important that you match your needs and welding skills with a process before you begin to consider specific welder model options.
Here are four key questions to ask:
1) What Is your Primary Welding Application Going to be? Is it generally going to be used as a repair tool? In a small business or hobby? For small, important, tight-tolerance or aluminum items?
2) What is your Budget? While you are likely to have a price in mind when you are purchasing your first welder, it is important to consider all the factors. Don’t forget to calculate the cost of accessories and consumables that you will need to operate your welder. And make sure you get the appropriate personal protective equipment. A good helmet, nice gloves, a protective welding jacket and welding cap are money well spent.
3) What Materials will you be Welding? What you'll be welding is a big determining factor in choosing a welder.
4) How Important is Ease of Use? MIG welding is the easiest process to learn but may not be best suited to your application.
The key to success is picking the machine that is best suited for the functions you are going to be doing. If you are planning on welding thicker material, select a welder that has more power and amperage. Once you've purchased the right welder, then it’s all about practice.
Check out these resources from some of the brands of welders we carry OR contact us at 320-257-4800 or 800-569-1322 (option #1), and one of our skilled customer representatives can help you.