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Rough and dirty vacuum testing: my path towards high vacuum

Cremona, 2018-ongoing...
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Welcome to the Vacuum Diaries! This is a collection of pages documenting some efforts to obtain High Vacuum. See a more detailed description below.

Basic vacuum setup: starting from scratch, testing the pump, building a reservoir, measuring pumping speed.

Building feedthroughs: once the reservoir is ready, it's time to build some feedthroughs for electrical wires and for gas feeding.

First plasmas! Obtained from some kPa (around 8 Torr) down to around 250 Pa (2 Torr).

Moving to a larger vessel: flanges, gaskets and a nice cart.

Turbomolecular pump ... and its power supply.

Plugging in a mass flow controller

COMING SOON Breaking the 1 Pascal barrier! An overview of the whole system.

COMING SOON An overview of affordable High Vacuum gauges.

COMING SOON Time for applications! Gridded Ion Thrusters and Hall Effect Thrusters.

So, why vacuum systems?

Vacuum systems are the basis for a number of technical and scientific achievements, such as electronic microscopy, fusors, space thrusters etc. However, almost every single component appears to cost tons of money, which is for sure out of the scope for many non-wealthy free-time experimenters (or poor PhD students as myself). This is a tremendous hinder to the development of this science, at least at the DIY level.

So, the questions that I wish to address are: A note for Torr/micron integralists and measurement unit nazis. I will most often use Pascals through these pages, sorry for whom is not used to Pa. After all... If I have to accept the weird imperial feet/slug*ozz^inch, then I guess you can do the effort of learning one SI unit, right? ;-P
As an appetizer, here's the first plasma obtained in the Vacuum Diaries' system!


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