Thursday, December 23, 2010

The antique x-ray movie prop donation letters

So it all started when an old rock & roll buddy, now in the medical field, offered us an antique x-ray machine as a prop for the silent movie we are making, Go South for Animal Index, which is a fable of Los Alamos, of the making of the first atomic bomb. The good doctor asked me what did I think.

I wrote back
I think I love you.YES!YES!YES!
The good doctor responded,

can't wait for you guys to get the stuff. you will love it. i found some really old x-ray tubes...straight from a classic frankenstein b & w.
also, i can let you guys borrow a few old x-ray light boxes and a few old x-rays to lighten up in the background if you are interested.

very cool.
I agreed, very cool; and wondered what was the next movie. The good doctor had a plan.
so here is the deal...

we need to set up a time where you can come over here (with some help) and have some fun.
you will need a truck or decent sized trunk to fit stuff in.
so we don't die in the process, we need to find someone who is familiar with electricity, better yet radiology.

i will make a few calls regarding the dismantling of it, but i am pretty sure that it will only take disconnecting the fuse and chopping some wires.
I told the story of the donation in a blog post and sent a link to the doctor with a note.
The fricking ridiculous thing is, our zombie wrangler is a radiologist who lives on the East Side. He is copied.
We make silent movies with zombies. This requires a zombie wrangler. Ours happens to have a degree in radiology. I know, this is weird, because in this movie the zombies are uranium-poisoned uranium miners and millers. The zombie wrangler /  radiologist played spoiler about the antique x-ray machine thing, though.
Well, I'm going to be a spoiler. Those exam tables weigh tonage. And everything else is just cabinets. Lotsa weight there. The face of the control panel would be very cool. Inside the cabinet, the generator usually looks like a telephone pole transformer kinda. The problem with all of this stuff is that it has cooling oil in parts of it that is likely full of PCBs,especially inside the exam head where the x-ray rotor is. So I'd be careful about dragging it around and where you put it. You might wind up with a Superfund site in the back of your pickup.

If this is a functioning machine, has he checked into donating to any schools?
I sent this to the good doctor, with a defeated note.
Maybe light bulb going off during lunar eclipse about tearing apart radiological devices is dangerous.
The good doctor was not convinced, however.
I agree about the table but there are other things that are only electrical but look cool that I am sure we can piece out. We will not be touching anything that has PCBs in it for sure. It is not worth getting poisoned for a silent film in my opinion. Great idea about the schools but no one wants to deal with the table even though it is functioning unit. It is a shame but I have tried for 2 years and the table is just too big and heavy. I almost had it shipped off to Africa, but that too fell through.

Still interested in the non PCB stuff?

I said something like ... I ... think ... so, now ... being a little spooked. This really was a light bulb about radiation that went off during the lunar eclipse.

The good doctor went out and got his own expert opinion from one of his previous radiology professors. Professor said:
I think the concern about the "box" (actually I think they are talking about the transformer) is due to the type of insulating oil found inside. If the unit is old, and I think a Westinghouse single phase fits that category, there is a real possibility that the oil is PCB (polychlorobiphenyl) which is toxic. If that's true then that same oil was probably also used in the tube head. I suppose you could have it tested although I don't know who does that kind of testing in this area.

There is no radioactivity to consider here. However, when you remove the federal terminal cables you might get some oil leakage. Thus the nature of that oil is important.

It may be that there was an elective "oil change" sometime in the past and the PCB oil was replaced by mineral oil. If that's the case then there is no toxic hazard.

As far as dismantling, I've always left that up to the professionals. If you choose to try, just be careful as some parts are quite heavy. I had a former classmate who tried to move his x-ray unit and ended up breaking his arm as the tubehead went flying when he removed the counterweights!
So we won't be poisoned, but we might snap off an arm. No, said the doctor.
i don't think we will break any arms since we will not be messing with anything heavy, we're just gonna strip the cool looking stuff.

let it roll.
Okay, let it roll.


Image from One Letter Words.

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