Gas Detectors

Okay, let me start this off by admitting that gas detectors are a perfectly valid and necessary product. I mean, obviously you need some kind of gas detection system in place for companies that are manufacturing using toxic chemicals or using toxic chemicals in their manufacturing processes. The employees in those plants need to be safe and all kinds of hazardous gas detectors are not just normal, but expected.

But within a home environment you really don’t need that level of gas detector present. About the most that could reasonably be expected in your house is a carbon monoxide detector (CO) — this is an odorless colorless gas that can be present in houses. But aside from that, you would not expect household toxic gas detectors. There is no way a reasonable person will ever have to worry about all those kinds of gases and frankly, if you are worried about them then you’re doing something that you really, really shouldn’t be doing in your house.

Wikipedia tells us that gas detectors are used to detect the following types of hazardous gases — let’s see which ones you might have in your home:

  • Combustible gases: this is literally gases that are likely to explode. You turn on a light switch, the spark sets off an explosion and the only thing to survive is the cockroaches. I don’t know what you do in your house, but we’ll call this not a danger.
  • Flammable gases: not quite the same thing as combustible, these gasses can burn, but don’t blow up. The closes thing you’d have in your house is the burners on your stovetop, if you use natural gas. And even then, your nose can act as a gas detector for that.
  • Toxic gases: these are industrial grade chemicals and gases at extremely high concentrations. You might think that your oven cleaner fumes are toxic, but they wouldn’t even register on a toxic gas detector.
  • Oxygen depletion: this kind of detector measures if there is too little oxygen in the area. Unless you’re house is deep in a mine shaft, not a danger.

My point here isn’t to dismiss gas detectors or their value, but to suggest that you need anything more than a carbon monoxide detector for your home is just silly. Instead invest in some new batteries for your smoke detectors.

Metal Stamping Companies

So here’s one for you guys today: metal stamping companies. These are giant industrial manufacturing companies, the kind of giants that have plants located all around the world and pump out millions of parts every day. Why do these guys need to sell their stuff online?

I’m serious. I can see having a nice simple website that’s all, “Hey dudes, I’m a metal stamping company, here’s our locations and our contact info and some corporate junk.” But why would you actually need detailed page after page of information about metal stamping and deep drawing, complete with videos to show you how the process works and describing every different kind of metal that can be stamped.

Don’t you think that if I was the kind of person looking for metal stamping companies online, I would already know what metal stamping is? And if I really wanted to know what metal stamping was, why wouldn’t I just go to Wikipedia’s metal stamping page? Does it really help your business to have people just trying to figure out what the heck this deep drawing thing is go to your site?

I’m trying to envision the situation in which this ends up in a sale. I hear someone talking about metal stamping companies and I wonder what the heck this thing is. I search online to learn about metal stamping and I find a manufacturer’s website explaining it in language that I can actually understand. I think to myself, “Hey, this is neat. Looks like the minimum amount I can order of a single part is hundreds of thousands! Aw, why not? I’ll go ahead and buy me some deep drawn metal stampings!”

You see, right, how unlikely that scenario is? I can appreciate a metal stamping company taking time and resources to explain their business to me, but I honestly don’t really see how that’s beneficial to them.

CNC Mills are not Mills Damnit

Okay, here’s another one in the “CNC” category (you can get a definition here). We talked about 5 axis cnc machines before, and this is directly related to that: the CNC mill. What is a CNC mill you might ask? Is it like a big windmill, or the kind of mill that grinds up wheat into flour that makes tasty cookies for me to eat?

A CNC mill

Does this look anything like a windmill? A flour mill? NO IT DOES NOT!

The answer is neither. A CNC mill is an entirely made up term that has no relationship to any kind of logical mill that you’ve ever heard of. They just didn’t know what to call it and were watching some pretty windmills flapping while debating names and decided on mill. Or maybe not, I don’t know, I just know mill is a stupid thing to call it.

A CNC mill is kind of like a giant computer-operated drill press, only rather than only drilling holes, the entire mill can move around so that the spinning drill bit actually slices big chunks out of whatever your milling (usually metal). By slicing off small strips in each pass, they actually us CNC mills to make very complex and intricate parts. Tons of parts are make through CNC milling, from stuff in your car to ammunition casing for the military.

Often we refer to this system of cutting metal as “machining.” And that’s accurate. You use a machine, you machine it. But at the exact same time they realized that you can’t refer to the CNC mill as a “machine.” So we somehow got the silly and pointless “CNC mill” which then lead to “milling” rather than machining. They’re both used, they’re both right, but only one makes any damned sense. And that one is not CNC mill.