The View Up Here

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Back to the Cameras

Posted by Tom Benedict on 03/11/2012

I haven’t posted anything recently because my life was almost entirely out of my hands for a while. Since my last post I’ve been cutting down four of my trees every spare moment I’ve had from work. And when I’ve been at work I’ve been working on two of our existing instruments in addition to working on the new one we’re building. In the middle of all this my son fell behind in his school work, so I’ve been a tutor as well. Non-stop action!

And not much sleep. But my son is caught up with his work, my trees should be done this weekend, and the servicing on the two instruments at work is nearly complete. That just leaves the cameras for the new instrument. As luck would have it, there has been progress on that as well!

CFHT Sitelle Parts Anodized

The parts came back from the anodizer! And the color? Love it!

There’s still a good bit of work to be done on the cameras, though. For starters, you can’t have an anodized surface inside a vacuum vessel. So our machinist at work is going to take the two camera bodies, machine off all the anodizing on the insides while he’s doing all the finish-machining, add all the side ports, and then either he or I will polish every internal surface to a high shine. This isn’t so much for looks (though it does look cool!) It’s to minimize the surfaces to which gases can stick when we pump the cameras down to hard vacuum.

In the meanwhile our machinist has been making most of the other camera internals. He just finished those today as well, so I’m test-fitting everything to make sure it goes together as it’s supposed to. And therein lies the rub, so to speak. Already I’ve found one set of parts I made that had the wrong size screw holes in them. I needed to re-make one set, anyway, so I’m going to make entirely new parts with the right hole size so they’ll mate with the parts our machinist made. Then there’s the whole set of experiments to characterize the getter. And then the experiments to characterize the cryogenics. And then the pump-down and hold-time tests. And then fitting the actual detectors. And and and… Yeah. Still some work to be done.

But we’re a lot closer now! And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get a chance to fly a kite soon.

– Tom

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