The rock and ice mechanics lab at Lamont-Doherty is led by PIs Heather Savage, Christine McCarthy and Ben Holtzman. We are in the process of growing our lab and building our experimental program. Along with a team of postdocs, undergrads, grads, and longtime staff engineer Ted, we are rehabilitating and revamping some of the old equipment and building new rigs for exciting new experiments on both rock and ice. You can follow along with our progress here.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

building a meter panel from scratch

Parts are beginning to come in for the new ice rig. I'm getting excited about putting things together. One thing that I knew I could begin working on while we wait is the electronics to run the rig. We'll have a tower sitting next to the friction apparatus, which will have panels for temperature control, load and position monitoring, signal conditioners for the strain gauges etc. The easiest of these to wire up, in my opinion, is the temperature control. So I started there first. The triax was once used for high temperature work and so it had a panel of thermocouple meters that I could salvage. However, that panel wouldn't fit into my tower, so I had to start from scratch. Here is a pretty piece of painted aluminum specifically made for this purpose (circa 1970 I suspect). First I measured and penciled on my desired cuts,...
...loaded it into the milling machine,...
...and got to work.
I made five squares that will hold the meters, five half-inch holes to hold the fuses, and 10 tiny holes to hold five switches and five blanks (in case something comes up in the future). 

The next step was to fit all those pieces in their places and wire it up. I first wired it up just like it was done before, so Ted could draw me a circuit diagram for the existing set up. Then I could decide what I wanted my rig to do instead and make the appropriate changes. In this case I will have one meter that will control the temperature of the cryostat and the other four will just be monitoring the temperature in various parts of the rig.  I attached all the thermocouples (blue type Ts for low temp work) and Voila!

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