Dennis sure is fast!
I was about to ask who else remembered that old Amateur Scientist column, from the era that I grew up with. Really cool projects, including plenty that could kill you if followed carelessly. And things that today would scare people for miles. Amateur glassblowers could work their way up to DIY mercury-vapor diffusion pumps. Bookstores were allowed to sell the magazine to just anybody!
Ian, do you live in the San Francisco Bay area?
My day job is across the street from a company called Meivac, where they manufacture industrial sputtering systems & similar vacuum gear. I got a tour & some free stuff once, years ago, when I was mentoring some science fair kids and first joined this forum. Could find my old contact info if you're interested.