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The regularity for recalibrating a set of gage blocks is not standardized. However, overseeing entities, such as American National Standards in Dimensional Metrology (ASME) and Federal standards do suggest a particular period of time after which you ought to recalibrate your gage blocks. The higher the grade of your gage blocks, the more infrequently you can recalibrate them. Gage blocks with a grade of 0.5 or 1 will usually be recalibrated once a year or annually. Gage blocks with a grade of 2 or 3 are typically recalibrated semi-annually or as often as monthly. Once you reach the level of master blocks, since they are not used as commonly as other grades of gage blocks, the typical length of time between calibrations is about 2 years. As a general rule, the regulatory power for matters such as recalibration rests on the shoulders of agency inspectors, rather than the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

How often a gage is calibrated is completely up to the end user or their company. Most companies have to follow a specific calibration cycle set in place by their company or their customers. Higherprecision.com recommends having a gage calibrated at least once a year depending on how often the gage is used and how careful the operators are with the tools.

It is completely normal for a micrometer to become un-calibrated. This is easily fixed by just recalibrating it. Often, you will be able to zero a micrometer by using a small pin spanner that adjusts the sleeve in order to realign its zero line with the zero line on the thimble. Once this adjustment has been made, you can double-check the accuracy of your micrometer by adjusting it such that the anvil and the spindle faces are touching, and seeing that the micrometer reads zero. Another way in which to test the accuracy of your micrometer is to measure a standardized item, like a gauge block or rod, for which you already know the exact measurement.

The grade of a gage block is a specific rating given to the gage block that represents the degree of tolerance it has. Gage blocks used to come in grades depicted by letters – A, AA, AAA, B. Now the standard labeling is in the form of numbers ranging from 0.5 to 3. Each grade has a different purpose, but generally, the higher the grade, the tighter the tolerance. Tighter tolerances, and therefore higher grades, will result in a greater amount of accuracy and precision in your measurement. Depending on the country and the company you are working with there will be different ways to label grades. Higher grades, representing smaller degrees of tolerance (or higher degrees of tolerance tightness; ±0.05 μm) are often used to establish standards and calibrate, while higher grades, representing slightly larger degrees of tolerance (or lower degrees of tolerance tightness; 0.25 μm to − 0.15 μm) are used as shop standards for precision measurement purposes.

That the Fowler zCat DCC CMM is direct computer controlled means that all of the features and capabilities of the CMM can be controlled by and recorded in the connected computer. The advanced technology of the zCat allows for direct communication between the tool itself and a computer through a wireless connection. The machine can be operated through the computer, or previously manual operations can be stored and repeated through the computer at a later time. Furthermore, all measurements captured by the zCat are swiftly and automatically transferred into the computer and stored in an Excel spreadsheet. Every Fowler zCat comes with built in ControlCAT software that performs all of these functions. The ControlCAT software is easy to use and operated by the touchscreen interface built into the zCat.

A coordinate measurement machine, commonly abbreviated to CMM, is a measurement tool that takes a geometric reading of an object using a probe that senses the angles and points that make up the object. The probe on a CMM can be one of many types including white light, optical, laser, or mechanical. Furthermore, the probe on a CMM can be either manually or computer operated. On the Fowler zCat DCC CMM, the probe is both manually and computer operated and transitions smoothly just by how the operator decide to use it. Most CMMs utilize the Cartesian coordinate system to determine the discrete points on an object. This movement along the X, Y, and Z axes helps to create a precise three-dimensional model of a part.

The Fowler zCat DCC CMM is the top notch CMM device available in the field of precision measurement today. The most distinguishing feature is its portability. The Fowler zCat weighs only 30lbs and runs on the included 10.8-volt lithium battery for up to 4 hours. Unlike any other CMM available, these features make it simple for you to bring your zCat to any part that needs to be measured rather than having to bring the part to the CMM. Additionally, the entire design of the Fowler zCat was created with the user in mind. Intended to be simple to use, the zCat has intuitive controls and a basic interface. Easily switched from computerized to manual, the zCat offers the best of both worlds for anyone that needs both functionalities. Finally, the Fowler zCat comes built with ControlCAT software, a specialized programming software made just for the zCat that is simple to use and incredibly precise.

Knowing the tolerance of your gage blocks, or their grade, is an important tool to simplify the process of using them. Essentially, the tolerance is a way in which to classify how accurate your gage blocks will be. When calibrating a fixed gage, you might normally need to know the tolerance to stay within the required accuracy. The grade, or tolerance level, of your set of gage blocks helps to standardize this process and ensure that the µm is where you need it to be in order to perform the calibration. This eliminates the need to calibrate the length of the block stack from the calibration report. Various grades, or tolerances, are used for various calibration and precision measurement purposes, but as long as you know the tolerance of your gage blocks, you are at an advantage.
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