Vote to Repair SEM Vacuum Pump

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  • A. Catherine Noon
  • Elizabeth Koprucki
  • Ryan Pierce


  • Mailing List Announcement: 2014-11-2
  • Officially Proposed: 2014-11-4
  • To be Voted on: 2014-11-11 - Vote Passed


PS:One is the only hackerspace in the US with a working scanning electron microscope. We currently have 27 authorized users. The Applied Sciences Chicago Meetup group has 68 members, and many of them have come to PS:One for the twice monthly SEM Office Hours which started in June 2014. The SEM has been used for a number of member projects, including art, elemental analysis of black sand from Chernobyl, investigating 3D printing nozzles, the effects of picking on locks, and imaging integrated circuits.

The rotary vane vacuum pump is in urgent need of service. It is making extremely loud noises, overheating, and burning oil. These pumps are designed to be rebuilt periodically, with moving parts like seals, vanes, and springs replaced. This service costs $1000. Should the service technicians determine that parts not normally covered in a rebuild need replacement (e.g. the motor), this will be extra. We are adding a contingency of $500 to the vote if this should occur. However, after talking to a service technician, the symptoms the pump is exhibiting seem like they should be included in the base cost. We are also using rates determined by for shipping, but are adding in a $100 margin to guard against anything unexpected.

As such, we do not anticipate needing to spend $600 of the funds authorized by this vote.

Additionally, the vacuum pump needs maintenance supplies to keep operating. Consumables include vacuum oil and exhaust filters, both of which must be changed periodically. The budget below includes supplies expected to last at least a year.

Funds Requested

Description Price
Professional overhaul by Midwest Vacuum $1000
Contingency for additional pump work $500
2 boxes (18x18x24") (UPS) $4
2 EcoBox 22x27" Instapak expanding shipping foam + shipping (Amazon) $42
Additional packing supplies $20
Shipping, est. 75 lbs 18x18x24", $1000 insurance, Chicago to Terre Haute (UPS) $61
Shipping, est. 75 lbs 18x18x24", $2000 insurance, Terre Haute to Chicago (UPS) $70
Additional shipping margin $100
4 1L bottles Edwards Ultragrade 19 vacuum oil + shipping (Amazon) $87
Carbon odor filters (5 pack) (Tring Enterprises) $135
Total $2019


Authorize the Board of Directors to spend up to $2019 on repair and supplies for the SEM vacuum pump.