Over the past week, the vacuum chamber arrived at the University and after inspection, it is definitely used but in great condition, certainly usable for our purposes.
Thanks to Kevin who took pictures of it:
I will be cleaning out the inside though:
I have purchased a cart like this which can handle 250lbs per shelf and is 26″ wide and 40″ long. The acrylic will be about 50lbs and the cavity another 150lbs.
Once everything is put together, it should look like this:
The front will have the clear cell-cast acrylic hinged to the table and the chamber will be bolted to the cart with the L-shaped lips along the side (not shown in the pictures). The vacuum pump will then sit on the bottom shelf and through a hose connected to the back (or top), evacuate the chamber. All the green parts are the ones that I have in my possession already. The DUT will then sit inside on an analog scale on a shelf and, through one of the ports, connect to the magnetron source via an N-type connector. We can then film everything through the front acrylic window. The vacuum we should get is 10-3 torr.
From the extra vacuum parts which also arrived this week, I got a blank to cover cover one of the three ports. I will use acrylic to cover a second one (thanks to an o-ring among the vacuum chamber parts) and the third one I still need a port through which the signal will pass. I also have to get a new “L” shaped o-ring for the seal that will sit against the acrylic.
I also got the second of the wood blanks cut yesterday:
I spent some time trying to rough the first blank into form, but it was too off center and starting moving the whole lathe around and heating up the electric motor. I have since rough it in more with the chainsaw and it should fit on the lather much better now. I will attempt more wood work tomorrow. Unfortunately I think the grain of the wood is too course and I will need finer grain wood to get the 1mm accuracy I want.
I also got some good advice from friends (Silica, one of the guys I game with) about how to mold the copper and he suggested quenching. Heat up the copper to red hot, then submerge it quickly – apparently this makes the copper very malleable which will make forming it around the mold easier.