Probe station status ...

John Shott shott at
Wed Mar 10 19:10:43 PST 2010

EE410 and other Micromanipulator 6000 users:

It was brought to my attention that the Z-axis (up/down motion of the 
stage) had "gotten frozen".  I was able to salvage our one 
quasi-functional brass threaded piece that controls this motion.  
Micromanipulator has not had these in stock for 25 years.  The last 3 
that we had were custom machined for us.  In fact, since the last new 
one that I had was put into service just before EE 410 started, I 
haven't even been able to get over to the Physics Machine Shop to get 
them to make a half-dozen more of them for us.

Here are a couple reminders:

If turning the Up/Down knob seems hard, quit turning it!   Someone 
really was forcing this thing to damage the brass piece this badly.  In 
the 35 years that we've had this tool, I've never seen both the internal 
AND the external brass threads damaged. (I can usually rebuild the 
Z-motion in about 2 hours ... this time it was so badly jammed that it 
took me 4 hours.)

The stage height when the lever is down should always be well within the 
upper and lower range marked with tape near the lever and should never 
be far from the optimum height.

I also put four brand new probe tips and adjusted them for proper 
height. I think that four new ones may have been put on yesterday ... 
and somebody had already bent them so that they had a 30 degree kink in 
the shaft.  The height of the probe can always be adjusted with a 0.035" 
hex key ... there is never a valid reason to bend the probes.

As of this moment, the probe station is behaving very nicely.  Please be 
gentle with it ... there are still a few days of around-the-clock 
testing before EE 410 is complete.  Lots of folks will be inconvenienced 
if this is mangled again between now and then.

Thank you for your continued support,


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