In which I acquire a scanning electron microscope

I’ve been in the (slow) process of building my own Scanning Electron Microscope (S.E.M.) for a couple of years now. Apparently I got a reputation about microscopes that paid off bigtime this week.

One of the Unis had decomissioned a 20+ year old SEM and was in the process of getting rid of it. Multiple memebers from the BioFoundry group heard about it and forwarded the message on to me. Apparently quite a few people thought of me when they saw it, which is simply awesome 🙂

Here’s the main microscope body in the courtyard. Over half a ton of science sitting here:

Microscope in courtyard

Apparently they’d put out a call for interested facilities, but couldn’t find anyone suitable so it was disposed of. On the way the cables were cut, some detectors and accessories were removed and it was scrapped.

Within hours after confirming it was still there, I’d arranged a 3-ton moving truck with a hydraulic lift, and the services of Scott and Meow who kindly helped out with loads of heavy lifting at extremely short notice.

The only access was through a tunnel to the courtyard. To say the truck was a snug fit would be a bit of an understatement:

truck snug fit

The console desk rolled easily enough, but we had to use a pallet jack for the main SEM body:

Hitachi SEM

We ended up having to crane it into the truck, getting the pallet jack onto the hydraulic lift would have been too tricky. Craning the electron microscope

Not shown here are the console/control desk, ion pump controllers and other miscellaneous bits and pieces we picked up too.

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1 Response to In which I acquire a scanning electron microscope

  1. Kean says:



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