the refractive lifestyle
Penny wise, dollar short. You know the saying.
A good refractometer is less than $200, but can save you thousands in tooling wear, machine repair costs & down time, excessive coolant usage, and we're not even getting into employee health & workplace environment.
Refractometers are a great tool for machine shops to verify coolant concentration; and can be used on other products as well.
The first step to using a refractometer is purchasing a reliable and repeatable unit from a reputable source. There are many cheap refractometers that will waste your money. Expect to pay over $100 for a good unit. We don't sell the cheap ones and never will. They'll cost you far more once you start using them. Stick with quality.
After you have a quality refractometer, be sure to calibrate it using the same water source your machines use for water addition. And do this on a routine basis, we recommend once a week minimum...it only takes a few seconds but keeps your refractometer accurate.
Know the product you're measuring. A lot of coolants on the market have a Refractive Index, or more simply a multiplier value. You need to know this in order to truly check concentration levels. This is critical.
Coolants can have a multiplier of 1, which means what the refractometer says is indeed your actual concentration. Other coolants have multipliers ranging from .1 to 3.0 or above. Meaning if your refractometer shows a value of 7, but you have a refractive index of 2.7, your concentration is really at 18.9%. You'd be surprised at how many people aren't aware of this, so if you're new to this you are not alone!