Saturday, June 29, 2013

Completed today is Brian's 17.5" F4.5 truss telescope. As mentioned in an earlier post, Brian asked me to build a traditional UTA (upper tube assembly) for his telescope. Note the Sky Commander is mounted near the eyepiece on the focuser board. A nice feature....

The primary mirror was refigured by Optical Wave Labs near Sacramento. What started out as a Coulter mirror has ended up as a premium optic with a 0.955 strehl.


Detail of the Upper Tube Assembly with
Sky Commander.

Also completed today is a rocker box upgrade for a 16"
Meade Lightbridge telescope for Mike D. in Forest Hills N.Y.

Detail of the rear of the rocker box.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

16" Rocker Box Upgrade for Mike D. in Forest Hills, NY.
A couple of projects are coming together. I'm just about complete with Brian's 17.5" telescope. That'll be done by this weekend. Another small project is underway -- a rocker box upgrade for a Lightbridge 16" telescope.

Initial "fit" is checked by assembling the rocker
box with clamps. 

Here you see a couple pictures of the early stages of construction. First the sides come together and then I assemble the rocker box with clamps to be sure that all the components fit properly.

So far so good.....

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Greg and his newly "remade" 8" F5.4 telescope.
Here's a picture of Greg S. in Pinellas Park, Florida, with his 8" F5.4 telescope. Greg reports that he and his wife made the primary mirror some years ago. I was given the opportunity of putting the optics into a telescope of the Easy Transport Telescope design, so the struts are only about 20" long.

And -- check out the cool shirt!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Yours truly (for scale) and Brian's 17.5" F4.5 telescope.
A friend of mine stopped by and I had a photo shot of the 17.5" F4.5 and yours-truly for scale. As mentioned, this is a large telescope. Yet, I'm able to move the sub-assemblies (rocker box, UTA, mirror box) around quite easily. Setup take less than 5 minutes and collimation stays very close. Only the slightest adjustment is necessary.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Set up and ready for its "test drive".

Now that the rocker box is complete, I put the telescope together. This is a BIG telescope -- and beautiful. The mirror is newly refigured and coated. 

I've installed the encoders for the Sky Commander DSC. Now that the telescope is so close to complete I've set up outside for a "test drive" under the stars. Another test, in a few days, will confirm the Sky Commander is installed and working properly.

Here's some pictures so far.

About an hour later!! The images through the telescope are excellent. Saturn was stunning -- even though the seeing is a bit soft. Star images are pin-points -- and with the curved vane spider -- no diffraction spikes.
Detail of the UTA. The spider is an
"Observatory Grade Destiny"

Looking into the "mirror box". The dew shield is not installed.
The mirror cover is to the right.

The 17.5" mirror sits on an all aluminum
18-point flotation mirror cell.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Brich's 17.5" F4.5 rocker box coming together.

The rocker box for Brian's 17.5" F4.5 comes together. Here, I've fit the pieces together with clamps to be sure that everything fits nicely. So far, so good.........

Friday, June 21, 2013

Brian's 17.5" F4.t Truss Telescope.
Progress is being made on Brian N's 17.5" F4.5. Here you see the pictures of the completed OTA with truss components. I took the scope under the stars last night and completed the tests need to construct the trusses.

From this stage, the telescope is within about 2 weeks of completion.....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

17.5 F4.5 for Brian in Dartmouth Nova Scotia.

A 17.5" F4.5 coming together for Brian in Dartmouth Nova Scotia, Canada. Brian asked me to build a traditional upper tube assembly (UTA). The mirror is a refigured Coulter with a 0.955 strehl which turned a so-so mirror into a premium optic. The mirror sits on an 18-point flotation cell. Other features of this telescope are a nice Moonlite 2" 2-speed crayford focuser and an observatory grade Destiny curved-vane spider.

In this photo you see the scope assembled for initial testing using my "test struts". Once I bring the telescope to focus with all my eyepieces, it'll be completed in a "truss configuration" for maximum stability and rigidity.

More to follow.....

Brian's 17.5" telescope will look similar to this 16" built earlier in the year.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Here's a couple of photos of the moon through Greg's 8" F5.4 with 12mm and 17mm Nagler using afocal shot with a point-n-shoot handheld camera.

8" F5.4 for Greg S. in Florida.

An 8" F5.4 for Greg S. in Pinellas, Florida
Just  completed and ready to test "under the stars" tonight is an 8" F5.4 for Greg S. in Pinellas, Florida. Greg's full-thickness mirror is mounted on a Baltic birch mirror cell. A 3-vane curved-vane spider and one-speed 2" crayford focuser are mounted. Greg sent me his Telrad base and is mounted just above the focuser on two clamps

Note the ETT (Easy Transport Telescope) option. The 39" struts are compacted into six 19.5" struts with an intermediate ring for rigidity.

Here, you can see the Telrad mounted just
above the focuser.

Detail of the Baltic birch mirror cell.

The "mirror box". The mirror cover is just to
the bottom right of the photo.

The Telrad is clearly visible in this photo.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A couple of week ago I built a 12" Lightbridge rocker box for Bob in  Ft. Myers, Florida. He's completed his own custom fits and sends along some comments and a few pictures. Here they are:

Hi Dennis,

I finally have completed assembly of my 12 inch Lightbridge telescope on the new rocker box that you made for me.  I am completely satisfied with the way everything came out.  The telescope moves in both the azimuth and altitude very smoothly, and you will notice from the different views, most of the wiring is hidden in either the stalk for the sky commander or inside the rocker box.  I will now remove the telescope and add two additional coats of urethane to the five coats that you applied to provide further protection from the Florida humidity.

Sincerely, and clear skies,


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Now that I've received Greg's optics, I am starting up work on his 8" F5.4 again. Here you see the OTA assembled with the "test struts". I'll be using his scope under the stars this evening -- making sure all my eyepieces come to proper focus.

Once this is complete, it doesn't take long to complete the telescope.

More to follow....

Brian N's 17.5" F4.5 mirror just refigured and coated.
I've just received Brian's 17.5" telescope mirror from the coater. It was refigured to a .955 strehl -- nice figure indeed. The mirror sports an "enhanced" aluminum protected coating as well. What started out as a Coulter mirror has turned into a high-quality premium optic.

A 4.5" secondary is also part of the optical train.

This is the detail of the 18-point flotation mirror cell optimized with Plop. I use masking tape to hold the triangles and mounting points in place. Once the cell is permanently affixed to the back of the mirror -- the tape is removed.

Here, the mirror cell has been affixed to the mirror with silicone. I give the silicone 24-hours to cure. Once attached, the mirror is firmly held in place -- but it can be removed if that is ever necessary.

Note the 4.5" secondary above the mirror. It's been attached to its mirror holder with silicone also.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

10" F4.7 for Traci G. in San Jose California.
Virtually complete is a 10" F4.7 for Traci G. in San Jose California. The telescope
features a Meade Starfinder primary mirror on a Baltic birch cell. The spider is a Destiny curved-vane "Pro Series" with a 2.3" secondary. The telescope also features a single-speed 2" crayford focuser.

A final few "adjustments" are needed before I'll be able to package and ship the telescope to Traci.

Detail of the Baltic birch mirror cell and collimation knobs.

The Destiny spider and top ring detail. The "round" plate to the
left is a 1.25" counterweight (which slides up/down the OTA)
for balance, if needed.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A 10" F4.7 for Traci G. in San Jose California.

A 10" F4.7 is taking shape for Traci G. in San Jose California. Here you see the "adjustable struts" that I use to be sure the strut lengths have been set correctly. I'll bring each of my eyepieces to focus under the stars. If necessary, I can lengthen or shorten the struts to be sure the length of the OTA is correct.

This will be a  nice compact telescope with the OTA length about 43".

More to follow.......

The Rocker Box for Traci's 10" telescope takes shape.

Hitesh and his boys with their new 16" F4.5 telescope.

Here's a picture of Hitesh and his two boys picking up their 16" F4.5 telescope. Later in the evening, we all went observing at a local site deep in the hills and to the south of my house. The sky was beautiful -- the telescope worked even better!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Components for Greg's 8" telescope.

An 8" telescope for Greg S. in Pinellas, Florida is coming together. Here's a picture of the top ring with focuser and spider installed and ready to go.

Also in the shot are the completed 12" altitude bearings.

So far, so good!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Construction begins for an 8" telescope built for Greg in Pinellas Park Florida. This is the "mirror box" with Baltic birch mirror cell.

More to come...