WARNING! Super tech nerd type stuff to follow.
At anytime you can go to my flickr stream to see the rest of the photos.
Sooooo. Earlier this week I got an email from an online acquaintance Susan Lomuto. Susan runs the infamous Daily Art Muse web site. Susan informed me that a friend of hers recently acquired a large LCD research center/factory where he was moving his solar panel company. From what I understand he bought the place with everything inside. The whole package. Apparently the equipment needed to make solar panels is pretty close to the equipment needed to make LCD screens. Susan knows that I have been doing the upcycling/recycling workshop thing. Well, put the two together: he had to get rid of a lot of odds and ends and I needed some odds and ends. The following pictures were taken while I was getting the grand tour of the facilities. It was very much a nerd in a nerd store. Also even better all of the dismantled machines are being recycled and or re-appropriated. What a great thing.
So first off this place is about two miles from my house. I was told that it was where the first LCD was designed and made in the US. The place is HUGE. 96,000 square feet or something. Anyway. They had some really cool things Like a 1000 watt laser cutter! Just to put it into perspective the laser cutters that I have been using to make my work have been 30-40 watts. Anyhoo Prism Solar Technologies have been developing (and I know I am going to get this wrong) "designer holographic films" that when laid on top of solar cells redirect the suns rays more efficiently to get more power out of the cells. This in combination with a specific arrangement dramatically increases the amount of energy generated from a normal panel or solar array.
So here is where they cut the glass for the panels with CNC cutters (the glass is paper thin so it is super fragile and very flexible
Here is the 1000 watt laser cutter. It is currently being used to cut solar cells into strips in order to make unique and more efficient arrays. Notice the yellow bars on the opening. If anything passes beyond those bars the machine shuts down. So no giving your self a fancy haircut.
This is one of the "clean" rooms. Note the tiles that look like vents. They are vents. This whole room circulated clean air and created a vacuum so there was no dust. This is where they almost made me put on little booties. Since they are reconstructing everything I don't think they cared so much. This room housed CNC controled microscopes that inspect the solar panels (or LCD screens) for errors (or dead pixels). This room also houses a vertical laser cutter that fused the circuits if there was a problem (All super precise CNC stuff down to microns)
Vertical laser cutter
CNC microscope. This machine was on a huge slab of granite (AKA machinist's stone)
They also on top of all that had a TOOL and DIE room with two CNC mills a CNC router and a bunch of other dream tools!!!