As a recently appointed PDRA at Heriot-Watt, in 2013 I undertook a visit to the Combustion Research Facility at Sandia National Laboratory in Livermore, California. The research group I visited is a world leader in the application of velocity-map imaging techniques to gas-phase collision dynamics. Using their apparatus to perform experiments on gas-phase inelastic scattering, I learned a great deal about the design and implementation of such experiments and the subsequent analysis of the data. This work resulted in a paper, which was also chosen by the journal editor as a cover article. The skills I learnt in the Sandia laboratory, and the insights into the operation of the apparatus proved to be of great benefit in my subsequent commissioning and operation of a similar apparatus at H-WU. The acceleration of our research this visit provided was a substantial contribution to the success of this project and my post-doc period and the resulting publications. The collaboration between Sandia and H-WU has continued, with another PECRE funded visit to Sandia by a PhD student in 2017, and visits by the Sandia PI to H-WU.