Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Note from Nick About His Telescope....

That's me w/ the new scope!  It performed wonderfully. My mod to add the QuickFinder worked great. Skies were pretty smoky but M13 had that intangible 3d quality. 

A friend of mine won a 20mm 100 degree eyepiece - I put it in my scope and WOW. At 60x I could get M31, M32, and M110 in the same field. I did not want to give it back. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Joshua Says Hello!!

Joshua writes: for Jupiter,  M13, Saturn, Mars and
the dumbell nebula, among other targets
(fickle New England weather permitting)

Joshua lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Friday, August 3, 2018

More on a 10" and 12.5" Telescope . . .

The altitude bearings and rocker box sides are coming together
for John's 12.5" (R) and Rich's 10" (L) strut telescopes.
Both of these have the Easy Transport Telescope option.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Note from Len in Pineville, Louisiana...

Hi Dennis. 

Here's a preview... Around here, St. Augustine grass is very common and as it ages, it builds a thick and soft underlying mat of grass and leaders. The furniture glide feet on the scope aren't tall enough to reach the solid ground without the middle of the ground board resting on the top of the grass / mat, which reduces stability. I bought three hockey pucks off Amazon and replaced the feet with them.

A nice thick layer of contact cement on both the puck and the wood, let it dry and they're not coming off. If I have to down the road, I'll drill a hole and put a screw through them. As a bonus, if it rains at a star party, they're waterproof and will hold the scope a little higher out of any potential standing water. I also suspect with the larger "bearing surface", they (technically) might make the scope a bit more resistant to vibration.


A 10" and 12.5" Telescope . . .

Here's a 10" (L) for Rich and Newberry, Florida and a
12.5" (R) for John Howell, Michigan. Both of these telescopes
have the Easy Transport Telescope option and strings.

I'm getting head-start before leaving town for a couple of weeks vacation!!

Friday, July 27, 2018

A 16" Kit Ready to Ship . . .

Ron's 16" kit is ready to ship to Crafers, Australia.
This kit is completed except for Ron's own optics
and includes mirror cell, focuser, spider -- even
a Sky Commander .....

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A First Light Report from Joshua . . .

Joshua sent along this note about his first light event.

First light luckily coincided with a shadow transit on Jupiter and the GRS on view. Both jumped right out at about 100x. The seeing quickly went south, alas (we have unsettled weather this week), but it was a very promising view. I think the primary kept its collimation on the journey, and with the help of a film-canister collimating tool I got the secondary very close to perfectly aligned before going out. Pictures when the weather improves. - JR

A 16" Kit for Ron in Australia . . .

Here, the altitude bearings and clamps, DSC stage, eyepiece
tray and some rocker box components.

The rocker box sides taking shape. The altitude bearings
are 24" in diameter insuring a smooth and stable
telescopes on its rocker box.

The Easy Transport intermediate ring, mirror board and mirror
 box and wood struts for the mirror box.

And, finally, the top rings with 2-speed focuser and curved-vane
spider installed. The focuser sits on a heavy-duty bracket.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Our Rancho Mirage Observatory

Another Note from Nick in Spokane, Washignton . . .

Hi Dennis. Last night was clear from my suburban front yard and an ideal night to test out my new 13.1" Swayze /  DobStuff telescope!  A waxing gibbous moon was high in the south about 8:30.  It took about 10 minutes total to attach the poles and collimate - seconary axial alignment is simple with the provided spring / adjustment screws.

At 120x, the moon was impressive - details in Tycho's rays and the southern highlands just popped.  Fortuitously, Jupiter then 

peeked out from behind a tree.  I was able to catch a shadow-transit of Europa in less-than-ideal skies and pick up flashes of detail on the planetary disk that I had not seen before. Saturn was next - I've often struggled to resolve the Cassini gap. Not tonight - it was obvious again at 120x, as was banding on the surface and distinct variations in color.

The scope looks very cool and I give Dennis the bulk of the credit for that - his craftsmanship is obvious immediately. Several neighbors walked by to see what the heck I was up to and were treated to first-time views of Saturn and Jupiter - lucky them :)

I learned a lot with this project - about optics, simple woodworking, and staining.  It took me about 2 months from start to finish, working on weekends. About half of that was staining, sanding, and re-staining. This would have taken much less time if I knew what I was doing.

Scope movements are just fine (I need to cut the grass for better az movement :P).  I cannot wait to get this instrument to darker skies.

Clear Skies,

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Nick's Completed Truss Kit . . .

Hi Dennis, here are some thoughts / issues:

* I love the movement - buttery smooth.  The "new" non-Ebony Star laminate stuff works really well.

* The alignment of the bearings to the rocker box isn't perfect, but it's more than adequate, I think. One of those things that will bother me until I actually use the scope :)

* No issues with balance, and I don't think the scope is sitting too high.

* The finder clamp doesn't quite fit between the focuser and the truss poles. I can make it fit if I turn it around the other way, but then the giant washer that goes under the finder scope shoe covers up the nylon set screw hole.  Before I drill another hole for the set screw - am I missing something here? The second pic attached may show what I'm talking about...

* Can I shorten the  bearing struts?  I don't see myself changing the balance point much, if at all.

Should get first light tonight!!!

Thanks again for everything - I'll write up a summary w/ pics for your blog in the next day or so.

Clear skies,


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

10" F4.6 for Bob Completed . . .

Bob's 10" with Easy Transport and Sky Commander. This is an F4.6.

This nice 10" mirror sits on a Baltic 6-point mirror cell.

Note the red dot finder, curved spider and 2-speed Moonlite focuser.
The Sky Commander sits on a "stage" for ease of use.

Another view of the top ring. Note the focuser baffle and
sliding counter-weight.

I include a custom mirror cover with all my telescope. Here the
intermediate ring and Sky Commander are in detail.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Len's Secondary Cover . . .

From Len in Pineville, Louisiana: Here's a preview, my secondary 
cover made from a vegetable can, painted with hammered  finish 
spray paint and featuring  a rubber strap 'handle' to hold it in place.

Len has a 12" string-strut telescope.

A Nice Note from Al in Redding, California...

I built a 16" telescope for Al in Redding, California in 2013. Here's a nice note from him just today.

Good evening Dennis,
Al's 16" Telescope....

Thought I would give you a quick update on last week's GSSP outing.   As you may remember I have a 16" DOB from you and I really enjoy it!! I went for 5 nights and 3 of the nights were very calm and perfect viewing!!    Your scope continues to amaze me....still getting star points on viewing!!

I am currently using Explore Scientific eye pieces and they work just perfect with your scope.    It is getting a bit heavy so I am glad that you talked me out of the 18"!!!    I would have a broken back by now!!  Lol

Thanks for the all the enjoyable viewing I have had over the years.

Al Souder

Monday, July 16, 2018

A 10" F4.6 for Bob . . .

The rocker box for Bob's 10" is coming together. So far
the fit is just the way I like it. Now to varnish.

Nick and his 13.1" Truss Kit . . .

Nick is doing a beautiful assembling his 13.1" F4.5 truss kit.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Couple of Photos . . .

Bob's 10" F4.6 continues to take shape. Here the OTA
is 99% complete. I need to add the alt bearings.

A note from Joe and his 12" strut telescope. He made
these short-truss tubes for transport and storage. A safe
way to "hang" the secondary when not in use.

Friday, July 13, 2018

And More on Bob's 10" F4.6 . . .

The mirror board with cover and top ring.

Note the Destiny curved-vane spider and Moonlite 2-speed focuser.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A 10" Telescope for Robert in Shoreview, Minnesota. . .

The OTA rings with 12" I.D. and altitude bearings. This is the
Easy Transport Telescope version -- with a goal to minimize weight.

Monday, July 9, 2018

A note from Nick in Spokane, Washington. . .

"Hi Dennis. Got the adjustable struts built today. The skies were clear this evening so I set up on the back porch.

End result - 42" strut length gives me a minimum 1 5/8" in-travel (tested all eyepieces with and without Barlow).  Does that seem like enough to you?  I could push it out a bit more but I'm going to be using a coma corrector and would like to keep things compact if possible. I really like the secondary mirror holder / adjustment. Very easy and intuitive. anyway...yay!  Next up, mirror box. Thanks for your help - this was one of the more stressful steps for me. Nick"

Friday, July 6, 2018

A Thing of Beauty -- Joe's 12.5" Strut Kit Completed . . .

Hey Dennis, Joe says, "A thing of beauty. Just got everything final-adjusted
and calling her done for now! Eventually I’ll powered-coat the struts a slate gray.

It's time to scoop up some light!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Joshua's 8" F6, Almost Completed . . .

Joshua's 8" F6 telescope is pretty much complete. I just
have a few "tweeks"  as well as installing a primary
dew shield on the telescope.
The telescope OTA is just a bit too light to create much
"sticktion"!! So a "break" on the DEC axis does the trick.

The break works great....

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A 16" 9-point Cell for Tory . . .

Tory, from Minneapolis, Minnesota asked me to build him a 9-point
flotation cell with a O.D. of 19". This cell, and all those I build, are
designed and optimized with Plop software.

3/8" hardware complete the collimation bolts with 1.5" hand knobs.

Monday, July 2, 2018

More on Joshua's 8" F6 . . .

Altitude bearings in place, the rocker box starts to take
shape.  The fit is "right on"!!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

A Note from Val in The Woodlands, Texas. . .

"It's all glory" !!  OK, Dennis, here it is.

I took the scope out last night for a go.  It took me a while to find the right balance, but I'm happy to say it's everything I hoped.  I can use any 1.25" eyepiece with ease, and the scope stays put; but it is easy to move with the view, even at 240x.  Just what I wanted.

BTW, the scope is a 6" f/8 with Parks primary and Moonlite focuser.  It has a curved-vein spider and very good secondary.  The scope gives lovely views, best I've had of some things.

Best regards,


(We built the rocker box for Val in July, 2018).

Friday, June 29, 2018

Len's 12" F5 is Complete . . .

Len's 12" F5. Note the "strings" and primary dew shield.

The very nice primary sits on a 6-point flotation mirror
cell design and optimized with Plop. Collimation
is easy with a spring loaded cell and spider-hub.

The "string" detail. Note the turn-buckle for tension.

The "blue" Moonlite 2-speed focuser and Destiny curved-vane
spider. A Kendrick dew solution is installed on the secondary.

A bit more detail of the string, primary mirror and mirror box.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

16" Lightbridge and 8" Strut Telescope . . .

Completed is Greg's 16" Lightbridge rocker box upgrade kit.
Joshua's 8" F6 strut telescope -- mirror box and upper ring completed.
Now just to install the struts themselves.

Note the Destiny 3-vane curved-vane spider and one-speed Moonlite focuser.
I include a custom mirror cover with all my telescopes.
Joshua's 8" OTA is pretty much complete. I have to do a
couple of tasks -- but it's looking great. I'll test it under
the stars tonight -- Nice!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Rocker Box for Len's 12" F5 and Greg's 16" Lightbridge... .

Len's 12" F5 string-strut rocker box and altitude bearings are ready
for a few coats of varnish. The fit is just the way I like it!!

Greg's 16" Lightbridge rocker box upgrade. I have an
old 16" LB mirror box. Just for fun, I like to see it fits
all ok. And, this one does!!