- Better at lapping
- Purchased a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
- Got a drivers license!
- Gave me access to industrial auctions and ability to move to bigger place with garage
- Travel to Russia to play with old ICBMs (one of which has since been launched)
- (wanted to post a picture with me hugging it and the caption "you can't hug with nuclear arms...but you can hug nuclear arms!")
- Joined Cupertinker to encourage me to work on a project for Maker's Faire
- Transferred from the software to the electrical engineering team at work so that I can learn computer engineering / FPGAs
- And much more...
Since my SEM shipped today, seems like a good place to start. I've been looking for a SEM for a while as I find an increasing number of chips that I need sub-optical imaging on. I even drove up to northern california for a weekend to check out a Cambridge Instruments Stereoscan 150u. This is a pretty typical size for these beasts:
This was from Craigslist, but I was also looking at eBay and industrial auctions.
Many were available, but had onerous power requirements (three phase), were too large, or cost too much. None of these were necessarily a problem but were going to be a big enough hassle that I didn't want to deal with it.
Noisebridge had a ISI TV Mini-SEM that didn't seem to work (although did at one time) and I enquired into getting it with the intention of fixing it up and using it. Overview:
Ultimately someone else snagged it and its out of the picture.
Eventually I found an ISI Super IIIA on eBay essentially for its scrap price:
Made by the same manufacturer, it looks similar to the noisebridge unit. It took about 4 months to pack it up and work out shipping but today it was loaded onto a truck and should arrive in a week!
If you are in the SF Bay area and are interested in helping fix it up or using it, gimme a ring!