University of Wisconsin-Madison Physical Sciences Lab

Archive for September, 2013

On the Cutting Edge

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

PSL is responsible for fabricating the Anode Panel Assembly prototype for the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment. One of the key identifying characteristics of the APA is the thousands of thin copper wires wrapped around the APA panel.

Each of those tiny wires is supported by a fiberglass edge board, where the wire sits in the valley between two teeth.

In the following video, PSL instrument maker Bart Dana cuts the board edge profile two boards at a time on his CNC machine (requires Quicktime).

Holding it just right.

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Dr. Carol Mitchell is the Director of the Diagnostic Imaging Laboratory and Diagnostic Imaging Programs at UW Milwaukee. Some of the research that she is involved with requires taking a measurement with an ultrasonic sensor in each of the cells of six-cell culture plates. In order to get consistent results the operator must lower the sensor to the same depth, within a few thousandths of an inch, into each cell. She asked if PSL could help design some equipment to assist with this job.

At the heart of the device that we produced is a Starrett height gauge – an instrument for making very accurate measurements of part dimensions above a flat surface. We mounted this device to a granite surface plate and added a sensor holder in place of the height measuring probe that is normally part of the device. When the sensor is at the desired height the device is zeroed. The sensor is then lowered down in each cell so that the readout comes back to zero and a reading taken. An adjustable stop was added so that the sensor could just be lowered to the stop (the readout is then used just as a check on the sensor height). This is a faster way of reaching a consistent height.

Mike Hughes, a machinist at PSL, did much of the actual design of the device.