Friday, 28 December 2018

Building Diamond

I have written a series of blogs on How Diamond Light Source was built. It was done by various teams of people who cooperated together and make the finished project which came in on time and on budget. This is how I helped to create a little piece of history with a lot of other skilled people.
March 2004 I started my new job at Diamond Light Source. My Friends and I had been told we would be making the equipment that would be used for the running the strange ring. We would be the ones building it. When we got there the place was still a construction site, we would be working out of a new building called R79. What we found out was the building was not finished and we ended up working out of a portacabin. After being given a desk with a PC we were told to get quotes for the tools and equipment we were going to use. After three months my two friends Doug & Wolfie moved into R79, I was left in the portacabin and informed my workplace would be the storage ring which was still in the process of being built. While my friends were building the girders that would be used. I would be keeping an eye on the finished equipment that was being stored in the building on top of helping back in R79 along with looking after all the lifting equipment that we were purchasing.

The portacabin where I worked for the first six months

R79 where the girders were to be built, the Vacuum office is next to the black car

This is what the place looked like when we started, the building you see is Diamond House, the storage ring building is behind

And this is what the Storage ring building looked like when we started some ribs and no roof.

When visiting the place you looked at the immense project

Cranes lifted beams into place

forming the roof of the building

On subsequent visits more had been done

and at last you could see the curve of the building roof

what would be a service corridor

This shows the the storage ring tunnel being built, the rebar is part of the ratchet wall and you can see the outlets to what will be the experimental hall

One of the finished concrete walls with the outlets in place

Above  the tunnel is  the storage ring  being built. Tons of special concrete were poured here, at one stage 1200 cubic meters of concrete was poured each day

Right looking across at the ratchet wall of the storage ring from what will be a laboratory on the outside

Above a view from one of the works cabins

This is courtyard at the centre of Diamond, this is where all the cooling plant will be

We were shown inside a partly finished Diamond house and here we look down into the atrium

One of the things I did see what the partly finished roof of Diamond, if you look on Google earth you will see the circle, this is what it looked like from the side

Outside the curve could now be seen and the outside was curved as well

One of the concrete roof beams of the storage ring tunnel, the lightest of these was around 8 or 9 tons with the heavy ones being nearly 12 tons

The experimental hall floor being made and built up

This is what the floor looked like when it is poured and polished

As the months went more and more of the place was finished, this is the Linac where the light beam is fired off, the pipes you see poking out of the floor are where the cables come through

In the courtyard more of the equipment was being fitted in place

More was stored outside on the perimeter road

The three cranes were lifted in through the roof , they can lift 20 tons each

One of the two bridges in place, this one is at Zone 5

This wooden frame will form part of a CIA this is where the electronics equipment that would control the vacuum is stored

This is one of the three loading doors you can see  beside what became known as a pod most were used as kitchens and rest areas for the staff

Not far away from the loading bay the walkway that would bring you from Diamond House to the main Hall, the pod you see will be the control room that runs the light beam.
Looking across from by R79 you can see a crane lifting equipment into Diamond House

Above the perimeter road in winter, in a few more months we will be bringing the girders that will make up the storage ring along here

Left the linac now fully painted and with survey monuments on the wall

The booster ring looking towards the break out wall, eventually this will be filled in when the equipment is in place

An empty storage ring, the steel plates on the floor cover the cable run from the CIA outside

The storage ring was nearly finished with the roof beams in place

I doubt many people saw this other than the guys working on it. This was the last part to be done on the storage ring , it closed up the part where they had access to the courtyard in the centre

The walls on the far side were being built closing off the building, when the concrete was poured the ring would be finished

Once the ring was closed equipment was being brought in like these stands for the linac
The booster ring was the same with a curtain over the breakout wall
These were the cradles for the girders that will be brought in place an form the storage ring itself.
Things were beginning to happen and it would not belong before we started to install the equipment itself. I will show you how that happened in the next blog.


  1. You documented it very well. I see you have changed your blog name. Confused me at first.

    1. Changed it because I went back to a blogger profile and it wanted a name, nearly used Billy Blue Hat

  2. ...Bill, you idea of 'Rural Explorations' and mine are a bit different.

    1. Could say that, I cheated a bit as I worked there