McMaster Carr's oddly inexpensive turbopump

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ian_krase
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McMaster Carr's oddly inexpensive turbopump

Post by ian_krase » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:51 am

I was browsing McMaster Carr at work today looking for valves (seriously, why are compact, high quality brass ball valves so hard to find?) and was surprised to discover that they have expanded their high-vacuum offering to include turbomolecular pumping stations.

https://www.mcmaster.com/turbo-pumps

These contain what I believe to be a Pfeiffer 65 l/s turbopump with either ISO-LF or Conflat flange, some form of gauge (hard to tell, probably some combo-system), and a diaphragm backing pump. It may be a Pfeiffer off the shelf turbo station, but I am not sure. Cost is $7500 USD.


These things are out of most of our budgets, but they are surprising to me because they seem like they should cost more. Even refurbished small turbo pumps usually top $3000, sometimes a LOT more. Controller adds at least another thousand, often several. But these have all of that, plus the diaphragm pump, the gauge head, internal plumbing, enclosure/frame, bits and pieces, etc.


Is this just wholesale in action? Is Pfeiffer way cheaper than other vacuum brands, or Varian (what I have paid the most attention to) oddly expensive? McMaster has a reputation for being overpriced but this seems, if not a steal, rather economical.

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Richard Hull
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Re: McMaster Carr's oddly inexpensive turbopump

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Mar 10, 2020 3:51 pm

Turbo's, new, off the shelf, are always pricey. Had I not bought mine from the dying Bill Connery at HEAS 2018 for $60 with controller and cables, I fear I would forever champion diff pumps. Bill bought the Pfeiffer brand new for $4,000 long ago. He ran up 2400 hours on it. I knew him and knew his vacuum work since the 1980's. It was sad to see him go. He was a long-time good friend.

If this pump- ever goes bad, I will go back to diff pumps faster than you can whistle Dixie. I love this turbo pump and everything about it, but can kick it to the curb without regret and start boilin' oil again, if need be.

I feel $1000 for a complete working turbo system with cables as needlessly outrageous unless you are a true "vacuum head".

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Mark Rowley
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Re: McMaster Carr's oddly inexpensive turbopump

Post by Mark Rowley » Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:44 pm

I got a good chuckle from the title Ian. Saying $7500 is "oddly inexpensive" is like saying a Bentley is inexpensive compared to a Rolls Royce. Although true, its applicability only applies to the 0.001%. Just sayin' ;)

Mark Rowley

ian_krase
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Re: McMaster Carr's oddly inexpensive turbopump

Post by ian_krase » Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:06 pm

I'm saying it's oddly inexpensive for a brand-new complete turbo, gauge, and roughing pump set.

None of us have brand new turbos, but I still found this quoted price a bit surprising compared to others.

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Mark Rowley
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Re: McMaster Carr's oddly inexpensive turbopump

Post by Mark Rowley » Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:13 pm

Richard, I’m with ya on the diff pumps. One can look back in these forums and see that a very high percentage of turbo pump users only achieved successful operation by two primary means. Lots of money OR a very complex ordeal building a controller for a pump that many times is later found out to be bad or a poor performer. And yes, there are controller build projects that have resulted in stellar operation. But just like the Fusor, it’s a big project in and of itself. Some folks really enjoy complex assembly projects which can be equated from the enjoyment derived from a working on a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. So there is that, it’s a fun hobby to be enjoyed.

Compared to a bullet proof diff pump, a turbo is like a high performance race car. Yes, it’ll break records, but it won’t last 200,000 miles like the extremely reliable Chrysler 225 slant 6. And getting a used turbo is a total crap shoot, just like a race car engine. No telling what it’s been through. A shiny clean shell is almost meaningless. Seems that all too often folks wind up with snake eyes...the history of this forum (as well as others) proves it more often than not.

Just too darn expensive, but it is educational and interesting when folks share details about their operation.

Mark Rowley

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Richard Hull
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Re: McMaster Carr's oddly inexpensive turbopump

Post by Richard Hull » Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:45 am

Mark, I agree and like the car analogy. I haven't thought about the slant 6 or Ford's reliable big 6 in years. Some stuff gets a good rep due to being indestructible or so simple and easy to use that they live on in the memory of those who have seen a lot of real crap come and go. I would put the new turbo buyers here as being zero. If anyone within the sight of this missive bought a brand new turbo specifically for fusion work, at brand new prices, please chime in here. Inquiring minds want to know...... Vacuum heads excluded as they are in it for the long haul, rich or poor.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Scott Moroch
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Re: McMaster Carr's oddly inexpensive turbopump

Post by Scott Moroch » Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:49 am

Ian,
A brand new Pfeiffer Pumping station is $500 cheaper than the Mcmaster listing on IdealVac: https://www.idealvac.com/NEW-Pfeiffer-H ... pp/P107317

Still not affordable for the amateur, but available nonetheless.

Scott
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Jerry Biehler
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Re: McMaster Carr's oddly inexpensive turbopump

Post by Jerry Biehler » Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:53 am

Same kit is about the same price at lesker. https://www.lesker.com/newweb/vacuum_pu ... er_eco.cfm

With a diaphragm backing pump its a lot cheaper than a oil pump, the turbo by itself sells for about $6k.

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