The procedure to replace the ionizer on a 04-303 or 06-350 ion gun is one of those things that once you see it done, you know how to do it. You can expect to replace your ionizer anywhere from once every few years to once every few months, depending on how much sputtering you do. For most people it will be about once every 6 months.
It takes about 10 minutes to replace the ionizer once the system has been vented, and this video takes you through the process from start to finish:
TIP: Be careful not to drop the flat head ionizer retainer screws into the source as you remove or install the ionizer assembly. If you do, they usually fall down to the inside of the ion gun wall and you can get them out using a screw driver or wire with some tape on the end of it (clean the screw afterwards). If you can’t see them, you will need to pull the source off and find them for sure as there is a slight chance that they can fall into the differential pumping port and eventually work their way down to the turbo pump. Turbo pumps blades that are spinning at 60,0000 RPMs or more do not like to get hit with small stainless steel screws.
RBD Instruments provides a rebuilding service for the 04-303 and 06-360 ionizers as well as an Argon bottle gas refill service. Our filaments typically last for 1100 hours under normal operating conditions.
In addition to the 04-303 ionizers, we also provide filaments for the 04-300, 04-191/2 and 04-161/2 ion guns.
For more information, please visit the Ion Gun Filaments and Grids section of our website.