A detailed description of the design and construction is available in the Review of Scientific Instruments: Design, construction, and properties of the large plasma research device: the LAPD at UCLA, W. Gekelman, H. Pfister, Z. Lucky, J. Bamber, D. Leneman, J. Maggs, Rev. Sci. Instrum, 62, 2875-2883, (1991).
Construction began in 1985 and was completed five years later. The machine was funded by the Office of Naval Research, with support from the University of California, Los Angeles.
We started with an empty room. Photo one at left shows the tracks that were built to support the vaccum chambers and the magnets on their carts.
Photo two, shown at right, illustrates the coil winding machine that was built to wind the 68 magnets. Each magnet had 60m of Cu in it and weighs 1/2 ton. Each turn of the magnet was insulated with glass tape. Han Pfister, at left, is cutting off excess material.
Photo three, left, shows the coils after brazing. The coils were then placed in a mold (which could be broken apart afterwards) and epoxied.
Photo four at right shows the happy-go-lucky coils drying in the warm California sun. The magnets took 1.5 years to wind, insulate and braze. We set up an assembly line and worked round the clock.
Photo five at left shows delivery of the three vacuum vessels. Holes were milled in the City of Industry east of Los Angeles. Ports were welded on in the LAPD lab.
In photo number six, right, we see the vacuum system. This consists of three stainless steel chambers. The chambers may be electrically isolated from one another. The length of the system including the source is 14 m.
In the final illustration, photo seven at left, shows a view of the 70 GHz interferometer and microwave reflectometer.