trouble locating a suitable vacuum chamber

Every fusor and fusion system seems to need a vacuum. This area is for detailed discussion of vacuum systems, materials, gauging, etc. related to fusor or fusion research.
Ian_B
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trouble locating a suitable vacuum chamber

Post by Ian_B » Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:24 pm

Hello everyone,

I wanted to take a moment and ask for suggestions on where I might be able to find a suitable vacuum chamber for my fusor. I have been watching e-bay & craigs list and have been unable to locate any vacuum chambers that are not extremely expensive. (well I did find one on e-bay but someone outbid me at the last second). I am currently in New York and I am preparing to return to Florida (in case anyone knows of any chamber for sale that require pickup). Any help in locating a reasonably priced chamber would be greatly appreciated; I am a college student so I don't have a ton of money.

If I am unable to locate a suitable vacuum chamber I am prepared to fabricate one but this will undoubtedly be more expensive and low cost is key for this project.

Thanks so much for the help!

~Ian

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Carl Willis
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Re: trouble locating a suitable vacuum chamber

Post by Carl Willis » Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:30 pm

Ian,

Most people build their chambers. Those well-connected with their local scrapyards and university surplus centers occasionally find serviceable vacuum chambers at good prices, but you must have those scrounging connections in place and be prepared to be patient. Scrounging takes time and good luck.

I'd be surprised to see anything technical on Craigslist!

-Carl
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Ian_B
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Re: trouble locating a suitable vacuum chamber

Post by Ian_B » Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:37 pm

I'd be surprised to see anything technical on Craigslist too but I've been told by one or two people that occasionally good stuff gets posted so I figured I'd cover all my bases.

~Ian

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Re: trouble locating a suitable vacuum chamber

Post by DaveC » Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:56 pm

Ian -

I would suggest finding a local (in FLorida) business that services vacuum pumps and related equipement.

Any University will either have its own facilities or have a place nearby. That type of shop is about the best place to find something out of the right materials (good grade of stainless steel, quite possibly with flanges and fittings.) They also can do the welding and testing, if you can't. Most of these places take a kindly attitude to students doing creative things, so they should be quite friendly and helpful. If you have to buy, most of these places have used things for sale at anywhere from 10 to 25 cents on the dollar. Not dirt cheap, but probably affordable.. and probably usable.

In Florida, you also have a couple possible "resources". There's quite a lot of NASA related industry around. A little bit of emailing and phoning could link you to some gear or to interested parties, that could help.

As Carl said, most folks here build their own chambers. For general tinkering and experimenting, a bell jar type system is easiest to reconfigure, but unless the chamber is metal, you have to be very careful about beams hitting glass walls and causing an implosion. Here a simple metal can inside can take care of most of the usual hazards

Bell jars tend to be a bit larger size and take longer to pump down and can be pricey. But (speaking from firsthand experience, here) it is very nice to be able to vent the chamber, lift the lid, make readjustments, lower the lid, pump down and resume the experiment, all within about 15 minutes..

The alternative, a smalll size (4 - 8 inches is pretty commone) chamber, either a pair of hemispheres with flanges or a vacuum Tee is straightforward, and nearly indestructible. The cost of this will be governed by the flanges and weldup cost
But getting something, these days for much less than about $500 finished cost, will require some very strategic purchases.

Take your time try to form a clear idea of what you want, need or could live with and haunt the sources of surplus gear.

Best regards,

Dave Cooper
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Mike Beauford
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Re: trouble locating a suitable vacuum chamber

Post by Mike Beauford » Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:39 am

I got my chamber from this outfit. Some of the chambers he has are nice and already have several conflat's already welded onto the main unit.

http://www.surplusvacuumchamber.com/Chambers.htm

I bought my chamber from him and am very pleased with the quality.

Mike
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Re: trouble locating a suitable vacuum chamber

Post by MarkS » Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:50 am

Cheap is all relative, I've seen TIG welder starter kits go for $175 at a sale, and to me a tool and skill like welding tends to be worth its weight in gold. If you're patient with with ebay you may have something come up. Remember to search words like "conflat", "kf", "qf", etc... Also look at vacuum supplier's listings occasionally they misspell words and something will fly under the radar. You can also use unconventional means to achieve a vacuum chamber, Frank Sanns (I think) is using an 8" conflat tee for his chamber. Others have used Ikea salad bowls.

If you want to get premium cheap, Sharon Vacuum in MA. is nice towards students.

Your biggest resource in Florida is LDS vacuum, they have special discounts for university students and they have sales constantly. If you ask really nicely they may have some stuff in disrepair for pennies. Try emailing Cindy Lee, she was instrumental in my fusion effort.

Sharon Vacuum: http://www.sharonvacuum.com/

LDS: http://ldsvacuum.com/

http://cgi.ebay.com/Conflat-UHV-Tee-Vac ... dZViewItem

cheap chamber, even has a few electrical feed thru's

Ian_B
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Re: trouble locating a suitable vacuum chamber

Post by Ian_B » Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:48 pm

I looked at this chamber:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 2759.l1259

it looks like an acceptable first chamber; what does everyone else think?

Much thanks,
~Ian

PS please don't snipe it from me on e-bay

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Richard Hull
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Re: trouble locating a suitable vacuum chamber

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:07 pm

This would be a nice chamber, but you would need the closure hardware which would probably exceed the price of the piece and shipping.

Stuff like this is really great until you look at the costs of closing it off or adapting it in some fashion to your specific application down the road.

You asked not to snipe it. It is a cruel world out there. I am sure sights are set on this from any number of last minute sniper "vacuum heads" and not from the fusor list either.

Good luck

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.

Larry Upjohn
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Re: trouble locating a suitable vacuum chamber

Post by Larry Upjohn » Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:38 pm

Hi all;
No intents to snipe at all but this is right down the street from me. Shipping would be $0.00 but again I am not bidding as I find this stuff gets out of control very fast in the last seconds. Best wishes to the winner and hopefully this ends up in Fusor land. Larry Upjohn
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Ian_B
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Re: trouble locating a suitable vacuum chamber

Post by Ian_B » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:20 am

Mark,

your response was very helpful to me, thanks!

~Ian

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