But far and away our favorite putty is the Strange Attractor Super Magnetic Thinking Putty
So. homogenizers. Quite possibly the most violent of devices used in a laboratory. When you consider that the term ‘homogenize’ is a more scientific term for ‘beaten to a (literal) pulp’. This process is used for turning organic material (such as bone, wood, plants) in to a material that can be better examined.
While we joke about homogenizers beating organic materials to a pulp, keep in mind that what a homogenizer does is actually destroy the cell walls of a material. This process is called lysis. It has many uses, far too many to go into here.
Spectrum has already carried the excellent Benchmark Scientific Homogenizers the BeadBug and the BeadBlaster. These are fine devices but they have two disadvantages: one is their lack of portability, and two is that the material needs to be inserted in microtubes prefilled with mashing material (beads). Well, Benchmark has now added a new homogenizer to their product line, it is the D1000 Handheld Homongenizer:
OK, so we are continuing from Part 1 of this telescope assembly. Our base is pretty much together, but now we need to add the encoders. Here is where we shall see the major issues with the way Orion’s instructions are laid out.
First of all, as we mentioned in the 2nd to last paragraph of part 1, you have to stop working from the main instruction manual. There isn’t really an indication as to where you should do this, but if you continue to build your telescope you will need to unbuild it to attach all the pieces needed for the Intelliscope parts to be attached. In order to continue properly, you actually have to switch over to the manual that comes with the Intelliscope controller.
There was a time when there was good reason for why this manual was separate from the main manual. Orion originally sold the Intelliscope with and without the Intelliscope controller. Four years ago they ended that policy since the “Classic” SkyQuest was still available. Now all the Intellscopes come with the Intelliscope, so there is no legitimate reason to confuse the customer with different manuals. Especially ones that have errata and parts for versions of the Intelliscope that have not been made in 7-8 years.
A bit of a disclaimer here. This is not going to be as much of ‘what’s wrong with the Intelliscope’s instructions as much as it will be a ‘how to’ for helping set-up your Intelliscope.
First a little background: Dobsonian telescopes, with their large mirrors and lazy-susan bases have been around for ages but it wasn’t until Orion released their SkyQuest XT line in the late 90′s that they became popular. Previous Dobsonian telescope models had issues with balance and were trick to keep on target. Odd solutions like weights added to the outside of the telescope were clunky and awkward for basic users. Orion solved the issue by adding the CorrectTension system, which was a spring that held the optical tube of the Dobsonian to the base. It was a simple and elegant solution and it worked very well. The line got excellent marks and was considered one of the best Dobsonian lines on the market . At first Orion just sold a 6″ and 8″ model, then added a 10″ model, a 4.5″ kid’s model, and later a 12″ model.
For several years, Orion pretty much dominated the Dobsonian Market, but when imitators cropped up they decided to improve their classic Dobsonian by adding a computer guidance system (not a computer control system like many GoTo telescopes). Here you would get the advantages of having a computer system to help you find objects. It would not require batteries for any motors and the observer would be the person moving the telescope, using a hand controller to guide them.
The whole system using a pair of magnetic encoders, and development was tricky. The initial plan was to have the Intelliscope completely replace the original Dobsonian line where it would be sold with and without the controllers. This didn’t happen due to some development issues. Once the Intelliscope was ready it was sold with and without the controllers, but after a few years it was sold strictly with the Intelloscope system. This unfortunately left some ‘development scars’ that will show up from time to time as we assemble the telescope.
I should make a confession here: I worked for Orion during the development of the Intelliscope. I actually wrote the first set of instructions. There are some things I can take responsibility for, but since the instructions have been re-written and most of the errors were caused by design changes after I left Orion I won’t be feeling too much guilt.
So let’s get started: We had a customer purchase a SkyQuest Intelliscope XTi 8 and paid for us to assemble it at the store ( a service we offer).
First of all, your Intelliscope will arrive in 2 boxes, unless you got the XT12i and the mirror will be in a third box. One box holds the optical tube, intelliscope controller and some hardware, the other box holds the base pieces and some more hardware.
OK. there’s really not too much I can add to this video. It is Commander Chris Hadfield performing David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Mind you he is doing this while on the International Space Station.
Some complained that this cover is the most expensive music video ever made since it was done on the ISS, however some point out this simply is not true.
Dry Baths are a staple of labwork, and we’ve carried a decent variety of them – mostly supplied by BenchMark Scientific. But there have been some minor issues in that you can only do one heating run at a time. Sure, you can get models that hold multiple blocks but you end up with the same problem: the blocks are all being heated to the same program and having the same things done to each block.
Sure you can solve the problem by purchasing multiple Dry Baths and have each one run a different program, but in a small lab that means more benchtop real estate taken up, more cables, and more clutter.
BenchMark has decided to relieve the problem by adding a new product to their product line, it is the IsoBlock Digital Dry Bath:
The IsoBlock has two separate heating chambers the are insulated from each other by a blocking wall:
The IsoBlock’s two chambers can each be separately programmed to different heating programs. You effectively get two Digital Dry Baths in one!
The IsoBlock does not come with a block, but is shown with the popular QuickFlip Block that covers a lot of needs. It can hold tubes from 0.5 to 2.0ml, and with a quick flip can handle 0.2 tubes or PCR strips. The IsoBlock can hold two different blocks and different machined blocks are available for everything up to 50ml tubes (note: lid might not close with larger blocks).
Want to see more Dry Baths & Water Baths?
Want to purchase the BenchMark IsoBlock?
..and if you are anywhere near our store there is no physical way for you to get there in time to see it.
But don’t worry, you can see the eclipse online at the following link: http://events.slooh.com/
The date here is 5/9/2013 at around 3:30 PM ET . If you are reading this any later you are probably too late.
Have fun and enjoy!