Our workshop and IKEA have something in common…

…they both lack windows. No windows – no sunlight, no sunlight – no track of time. At IKEA you buy spoons, as Bill Bailey so intuitively pointed out on QI (a show which I highly recommend), but in our workshop you clamp, you mill, you lathe, you file…

With the EAR (Experiment Acceptance Review) around the corner — most likely next week on the 19th — all of ISAAC is working double shifts (except french people who, as always, chose to party instead…) in order to be as prepared as possible and of course show off. As you have seen in the previous post the electronics guys are working around the clock soldering and testing the little flat, green slices of magic that are the PCBs. We (the mechanical team), on the other hand, spend our days with oily hands and rolled up sleeves tinkering with milling and lathing machines. In just about 2 weeks we’ve gotten very far in terms of “what does this button/lever do” and now we have the confidence to tackle manufacturing issues just like …ah, I’ll let the .gif do the talking. 

So we started up easy, focusing on the Aluminium parts, while we got accustomed to the machines (see previous post by Audrey), but now we’ve moved on to “reshaping” steel into trickier parts. Just today we fiddled around with this:


A part which its designer so originally named “14.008 Corner Rounding”

Doesn’t it look cute and cuddly in the CAD ? Well, in reality it’s a nasty beast. It took us about a day to lathe the groove and cut it to its specified dimensions, losing 2 or 3 pointy, sharpy, golden tools in the process (weep not for I am sure they are in Tool-Valhalla with all their relatives and brave ancestors). Then again today, we battled for about 5 hours to cut it in half. And millimeter by millimeter we conquered it! But we’re only half the way through, with it needing to be a quarter of a cylinder and all…


Half clamped, half flying off!


Do I look content or what ?

Tomorrow we start before sunrise! And by Odin we shall slice it again!


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