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August 4, 1976

Dr. John R. de Laeter
WA Meteorite Advisory Committee
Department of PHysics
Western Australian Inst. of Technology
Hayman Road
South Bentley 6102 W. A.

Dear John:

Brian Mason has passed on to me your letter of July 27, 1976 requesting information on our facilities for cutting iron meteorites. As I leave for a month's vacation within a few days, I can only take time to mention a few highlights. Should you want specifics, I would be glad to go into more detail on my return.

For at least the last 50 years the large iron meteorite surfaces that have been cut here have been done on a modified band saw. We use toothless iron blades and a carborundum abrasive slurry. The two 36' wheels are set on 4' centers. Properly managed, this saw still gives good cuts on small or medium sized irons. It is very slow, however, and requires the constant attention of an operator. All of the really large meteorites we have had cut in the past have been done in some other shop.

We are now in the process of installing a large wire saw of the type used by Buchwald (Meteoritics 6, 27-31, 1971), and subsequently by Ramdohr [[underlined]] et al.[[/underlined]] on Mundrabilla. Our saw is a modified standard heavy duty wire saw manufactured by the W.J. Savage Co. Inc. of Knoxville, Tennessee. Its turntable block car has a 10 ton capacity, and it will cut and clear a meteorite 5' x 8'. It uses a single short wire with a precision hydraulic feed system. There is an abrasive reclaim system involving a circulating pump, a trough in the floor, and a storage tank. Cutting rates remain to be established, but preliminary testing was encouraging. We hope to be able to cut any meteorite that can be brought to Washington in a reasonable time. We will know a lot better about this within the year.

I hope this will be helpful, and please do not hesitate to ask for more specific information.
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