If you have been following my efforts up until now, you will know that my original Yellow Jacket 6 CFM vacuum pump, which was used as the foreline pump to back my main diffusion pump for vacuum testing, unexpectedly died months ago, and I have been since without vacuum capabilities for a while. With the big AIS-ILIS1 ionic liquid ion source electrospray thruster ignition testing coming up soon, I needed a new roughing pump for my system. After scouring eBay for a bit, I ended up scoring this beast for a few hundred dollars: an Edwards Vacuum E2M18 vacuum pump! At 12 CFM throughput this can even back my big 1200 L/s diffusion pump in storage! Powerful, reliable, and also very quiet. The ultimate roughing upgrade! Finally, I have a serious, legitimate scientific grade foreline pump for my infrastructure.
Since these usually go for around $5k new, hopefully this was a sound investment. Edwards pumps are a staple in the vacuum industry, and with rebuild kits available, quiet operation, and huge capacity of this particular pump, it should serve well if I expand testing capabilities down the road. Of course there is always inherent risk getting stuff used on eBay, but for the price, specs, and physical condition it was worth the gamble in this case. With any luck I will finally have serious vacuum capability again since the end of last year, and much faster pumpdown too.
The oil for the pump is currently on the way. I still have to hook this up to my chamber and verify that it works. Once I do, we will be a go for ignition testing!