JILA has one of the most comprehensive instrument shops available anywhere. Instrument shop staff designs and fabricates a wide range of state-of-the-art experimental apparatuses and offers training courses in the use of shop equipment. The shop's four main areas are Precision Instruments, the Glass Shop, the Cleaning Room and the Staff Shop.
The Instrument Shop supports precision instrument design and manufacture with Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing (CAD and CAM) software, two Computer Numerical Control (CNC) vertical machining centers, CNC EZ trak mills, Hardinge Tool-Room lathes and a variety of other lathes, mills, grinders, and saws. These state-of-the-art capabilities make possible the fabrication of custom mirror mounts, microscopy modifications, vacuum chambers, custom table mounts, precision mechanical devices such as rotary stages, electro-optics, complex structures overlying optical tables, and just about anything else an experimental physicist can dream up. Instrument Shop staff members enjoy collaborating with JILA scientists to meet the challenge of creating so many different kinds of precision equipment.
The Glass Shop is set up for working with nontraditional materials such as ceramics, glass, and fused silica. Here, we use scientific glass blowing techniques to make vacuum cells, manifolds, glass to metal seals, and other custom glass parts. Additional capabilities include: lapping and polishing, ultrasonic milling, induction heating, induction brazing, heat treating, electroplating, electropolishing, vacuum processing, precision weighing, and optical assembly. We have a large variety of glass, fused silica, refractory metals, ceramics, heaters, polishing supplies, and decades of accumulated special tools and materials.
The Instrument Shop staff and students use the Cleaning Room to clean parts before they are placed into vacuum. Instrument Shop staff also use this room for anodizing and chromate-conversion coating of aluminum as well as electropolishing of stainless steel.
Researchers are encouraged to use the Staff Shop where they can build parts and make modifications to their experiments. Instrument Shop staff supervise the Staff Shop and are available during normal working hours to answer any questions about technique, safety or design. Prior to using the Staff Shop, researchers should take the Basic Machine Shop Course or consult with an Instrument Shop staff member before using any equipment. Safety glasses are required at all times, and shop users are expected to clean up after themselves.