[Histonet] cryostat... part DEAUX

From:Debbie Keith

hello all!

for those of you that read the written saga of my cryostat woes... i 
thought i would update you.  (actually, it's sort of like therapy.  getting 
it out is like writing "the letter" that you never send to your 
mother-in-law.)  i'm sure some of you KNOW what i mean. ;)

i went in on Saturday to face an add-on day of surgeries that we had to 
cancel during the week (because of cryostat issues).  i KNEW the machine 
was "challenged", but i was armed with 2 things. ONE, i picked up some 
anti-vibration lubricant (tip from Don at Leica!) AND Barry from Belair was 
over-nighting the part that was the source of my angst.  surgery started at 
7:30am... and the part was there by 9am!!  (Barry ROCKS!)

i would like everyone to know that installing that tiny pair of parts was 
VERY tricky, indeed!  it required Herculean effort, a hand mirror and 
positions i've only seen at cirque de soleil.  in a different 
setting...  it might sound like fun.  not in the lab. :)

after installing the bits...  there was a remarkable change.  alas, i have 
realized that my problem was multi-faceted.  here is my theory...  (i post 
this here... hoping someone might provide input to support or to the 

before installation of the half-moon-shaped parts inside the chuck assembly 
(generously and expeditiously provided by Barry at Belair!)....  it was 
totally unstable.  the chuck was never tight and given any challenge the 
machine would skip/gouge/chatter.   for a while it seemed fine... actually, 
it was GREAT!  (it even made THE sound!)

after a while it started the thick/thin thing... and that turned into 
chattering.  i decided to turn the thickness down, hoping that my "thick" 
section would be at least acceptable. i turned the dial to 4 
microns...  and the machine started cutting perfectly... even making THE 
sound.  no thick/thin... just perfect 4 micron sections every time! 

a few blocks later... it started again.  i "fixed" it by simply turning the 
dial from 4 to 50 and back again.  tell me how odd that is!?!?!?

here is my theory...  i THINK it has an issue with the "mechanical 
advancing business".  i think everyone that's cut on it in the past year or 
so (the techs...  are many) have tried to compensate by wrenching the bits 
that were wrench-able as hard as they could (therefore eliminating other 
slight instabilities)  ultimately, they caused enough physical damage to 
the wrench-able bits that it nearly stopped working all-together.  that is 
my theory.

for now, the machine is usable...  and the part that Barry sent improved 
the sections/quality/speed/my happiness by no less than 75%!

(thank you Barry!!!!)

to be sure...  cryostats in the Mohs Practice are ABUSED.  this thing has 
seen true combat-like conditions!

i'm determined to make it make the sound... EVERY time. :)

so?  why would turning the dial cause the machine to start working?

i would like to note here... that as a histotech that trained with someone 
trained by MOSES, himself...  i know that wrenching on any microtome is a 
bad idea.  if i had ever tightened a microtome as tight as someone 
tightened this cryostat.. that tech would've delivered a rap to my knuckles 
with her ruler that would make a Catholic School Nun proud!

on that note... i think i'll go have a glass of wine.... and write a letter 
(that i'll never send) to my mother-in-law.




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