Did I mention that the microscope needed some work? To see the gruesome details, follow the links. I decided to start with the most obvious problem, a high vacuum valve that had been damaged in the earlier overhaul attempt. Since the valve is the central piece of the high vacuum system, I figured the best approach would be to pull out the whole system, repair the valve, clean all components, install new seals and reassemble. Another problem centered on the oil filled high voltage power supply that had been unsealed, allowing oil to slosh out and dirt to enter. This was resolved by the straight forward, but tedious, recovery and filtration of the oil, cleaning, refilling and sealing of the case. A less immediate problem is the disintegration of the original vibration isolation mounts for the microscope column. Currently, that part of the instrument is mounted on the rigid shipping mounts. Eventually, I plan to replace the rubber sleeve over coil spring mounts with air springs. Right now, I'll just try to get the 'scope working and worry about ultimate resolution later. Other deficiencies included the lack of a roughing pump (to back the high vacuum diffusion pump) and chiller/circulator (to cool the diffusion pump). I have a POS vacuum pump from e-Bay, which I can use for some initial leak testing, but I will need to get a better pump for operation. If I lived in a warmer climate, I would probably try to find a used, refrigerated, circulating bath to cool the diffusion pump. But, here in sunny Syracuse, the basement is usually ~ 50ºF, so I'll try to make a simple circulator with an air to water heat exchanger.
That was easy (NOT). Only slightly easier was finding a dedicated
circuit to plug into
(warning, if you are a building inspector, following this link may result
in a heart attack, cerebral hemorrhage, or, after drinking enough to get
it out of your head, liver failure). Alrighty then, time to fire