ASM Online Member Community

  • 1.  Is this SEM worth salvaging?

    Posted 04-29-2022 15:48
    Edited by Ana Diaz 04-29-2022 17:21
    A compact SEM machine (what seems to be an Evex Mini Scanning Electron Microscope 3000) has been sitting unused and semi-forgotten in the engineering school at Widener University. It is similar to the SEM pictured in the link

    A few professors and I would like to have SEM capabilities......even if those capabilities are primitive.  The manual we have is a total of 60 poorly-written pages and we have nothing to guide us.

    According the a professor that is playing around with it, the beam is not aligned, gun is not aligned, and there is nothing describing how to properly calibrate it, and we lack any sort of alignment guides for how to to do it manually.

    Does anyone service these antiques? Are they worth salvaging?  Any ideas or suggestions are appreciated. 

    I can be reached via this chat or at aediaz@widener.edu

    Thank you
    Ana E Diaz, PE


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    Ana Diaz
    Principal Consultant
    APV Consulting
    Chadds Ford PA
    (610) 388-2027
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    Metkon USA - Technology behind Specimen


  • 2.  RE: Is this SEM worth salvaging?

    Posted 05-01-2022 18:12
    Thank you all who have sent me emails regarding this SEM.  I have replied to those who included their contact emails, but wanted to acknowledge the help and say that any and all information has been very helpful.

    If anyone here maintains aging/ancient lab equipment please share any insights or useful tips. At some point old equipment is not worth the bother maintaining, but I recall in grad school working on a huge ancient horizontal metallograph that used a carbon arc lamp for illumination. Ancient hardware that is still functional may not be worth discarding if parts are available and the equipment can be made to work.

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    Ana Diaz
    Principal Consultant
    APV Consulting
    Chadds Ford PA
    (610) 388-2027
    ------------------------------

    Metkon USA - Technology behind Specimen


  • 3.  RE: Is this SEM worth salvaging?

    Posted 05-02-2022 11:23
    Ha, I remember the old Bausch & Lomb Research I Metallograph. My school's B&L metallograph worked as well, but mostly just took up space by the time I got there. I don't think any one but me was successful at maintaining a good automatic arc on the light. Too much time playing mechanic and not enough time doing research and I didn't use it either. I later used a B&L Research II Metallograph and quite liked it.
    Joe Tylczak

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    Joseph Tylczak
    Metallurgist
    Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory
    Albany OR
    (541) 928-2193
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    Metkon USA - Technology behind Specimen


  • 4.  RE: Is this SEM worth salvaging?

    Posted 05-02-2022 15:27
    Joe - Thank You!  At least there were others here who slogged thru school babying old equipment. 

    I figure the B&L-I was circa 1940's....and found an interesting paper published 50 years later on upgrading this machine. If the optics & mechanical work, why not?  Now curiosity has got the better of me and I'm looking to find:
    "Upgrading the Bausch & Lomb Research I Metallograph," Ted Clarke, The Microscope, 45, 47 – 52,  (1997)

    It seems Purdue University is de-inventorying their antique B&L
    https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?fa=Main.Item&itemid=229&acctid=3844




    ------------------------------
    Ana Diaz
    Principal Consultant
    APV Consulting
    Chadds Ford PA
    (610) 388-2027
    ------------------------------

    Metkon USA - Technology behind Specimen


  • 5.  RE: Is this SEM worth salvaging?

    Posted 05-03-2022 12:23
    In grad school (70s) and when I went to work (80s), we had Research I metallographs that had been upgraded from the original arc lamps. They were very flexible and worked well (better in my opinion than the Research II models), but eventually (90s) the bellows wore out and were replaced by compact upright metallographs with electronic cameras.
    Also, when at the university (and at work) we scrapped some SEM and microprobe equipment because it cost too much to maintain. 

    --
    John Grubb



    Metkon USA - Technology behind Specimen


  • 6.  RE: Is this SEM worth salvaging?

    Posted 05-02-2022 09:20
    I think you would be much happier and more productive to instead contract with a local commercial lab whenever you need to do SEM and EDS work. Resurrecting an ancient piece of equipment seldom works as expected and costs much more in the process. If you find  you do sufficient amounts of work, you can then budget for a new SEM for your department.

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    Aaron Tanzer
    Senior Metallurgical Engineer
    Metallurgical & Materials Technologies
    Baton Rouge LA
    (407) 247-9557
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    Metkon USA - Technology behind Specimen


  • 7.  RE: Is this SEM worth salvaging?

    Posted 05-02-2022 15:35
    Aaron - I agree with you, but as they say a "bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush"......even if the bird has a broken wing.  I have a local lab I use for my failure analysis work, so I have contacts if the need arises.

    Thanks for your observations.....if I do failure work at Baton Rouge, I might reach out to you

    ------------------------------
    Ana Diaz
    Principal Consultant
    APV Consulting
    Chadds Ford PA
    (610) 388-2027
    ------------------------------

    Metkon USA - Technology behind Specimen


  • 8.  RE: Is this SEM worth salvaging?

    Posted 05-03-2022 14:59
    Aaron,  It's worth salvaging for somebody.  We reviewed the mini-SEMS or tabletop SEMs in the past and they were good for student learning but had limitations on range of both sample size and magnification.  In other words, all SEMs are not equal, so you need to determine up-front if this one would even suite your needs.  Things like lens/column alignment are generally known by experienced users and translate well to any SEM, but that assumes you have access to an experienced SEM operator.  Best of luck.

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    Gary Shade
    Sr. Microelectronics Engineer
    Samtec
    Monument co
    (719) 465-6579
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    Metkon USA - Technology behind Specimen


  • 9.  RE: Is this SEM worth salvaging?

    Posted 05-26-2022 14:31
    Hi Ana,
    As you have student labor available, the costs of running an old machine are probably quite a bit less than going to contractors.  :-)  But you have to maintain a labor pool that knows how to operate/maintain it, and students eventually leave.  Those professors who would like to have it, are they willing to kick in funding or are they just hoping for a free SEM they can use whenever?

    I spent quite a bit of time running an antique JEOL SEM.  We did have a service contract with the manufacturer but it got more expensive every year, probably because the service group was worried that we would need a part that they couldn't scavenge off of a dusty unit sitting in a barn somewhere and they'd end up having to hand-solder some Russian transistors to make it work.  Finally we got a new upper manager who realized that we needed to have rapid response and reliable service in-house (large public utility company) and we were able to buy a current unit.

    We did look at the tabletop style units, even as an auxiliary or second machine to have, or possibly to use in a 'met lab in a van' proposal, but that did not go forward.

    I expect that you have done 'Net searches, but there is a YouTube video about that approximate unit from 2010,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaLpj1gK0G4

    and there were references to similar machines that lead to
    www.nanoimages.com/mini__sem
    where you will certainly find someone who wants to sell you something new, but there may be reference material or even service availability for your older unit.  You may even learn that a service visit can be obtained.  That may be a better expense in the long run than having people just tinker with it. Ask if the tech might be coming to your area so you can split the travel expenses with other customers.

    It's important to have service techs who will explain what they are doing to whomever is going to be doing the work.  As you probably know, the basic purchase of an SEM is only the first expense, there's maintenance, a sputter or carbon coater, possible additional purchases (people really like elemental information but you need a detector and software to run it).  Kinda like getting a pet.    Best of luck!   Paul T.


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    Paul Tibbals
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    Metkon USA - Technology behind Specimen