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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:16 am 
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I've been dreaming of building another scope for a while. Since I just picked up a new Canon 70D I have essentially chosen to forego a larger mirror, at least temporarily. I will use the old 300mm GSO mirror, snatched from my Hardin dob, which has been sitting lonely in a box under my music production desk. :cheesygrin:

The project started by laying out the wood I have been considering for the project, mostly 12mm Baltic birch, and some various pieces of African sapele. I thought the pale yellow of the birch would contrast nicely against the deep mahogany red. FWIW, sapele is in the mahogany family, and often referred to as African mahogany. Although that term is slightly misleading.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:17 am 
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Rough sketches for design work, and start of the mirror box build.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:19 am 
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Router work: cutting circles for the UTA rings, and the mirror box mid section shelf.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:20 am 
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Making the altitude bearing.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:35 am 
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As it sits for now. The work week is beginning for me, so I'll have to wait until Thursday to pick up from here.

My 10" truss dob was my first truss scope build, and I used that project as a way to work out some nutty ideas I had bouncing around in the old noggin. Some of those ideas were cool, others were not so elegant. Even though it is a pretty svelte design, it doesn't transport as well as I'd like because of the open concept. This is mainly because the awkward part designs don't fit together well when disassembled. Worst of all was the poor balancing, with a top heavy end result that required 15 lbs of cast iron to ballast the mirror. That was the most disappointing attribute, given the perfect platform of a 10" scope to provide a compact and light weight , almost "grab-n-go" instrument.

Anyhoo, this new 12" scope will abide by more traditional Kriege & Berry type principals. It should allow disassembly into a compact box that will be completely self contained. It won't be as elegant as those awesome ultra portable "suitcase" scopes, but it will be travel friendly from home to observing site if need be. Also, using a traditional mirror box will give me the luxury of playing with the alt-bearing placement to ensure good balance without extra weight from dumbass dumbbell plates. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:37 pm 
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Nice. Another great project. Can't wait to see how this one turns out. Awesome work, Jason! :cool:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 5:15 am 
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Thanks, Erik. I'm backing off if the Sepele idea. I don't feel like I can use enough of it to make the aesthetic impact I want. So I'm sticking to all birch ply. Speaking of which, I just ordered some 1/32" thick Finnish birch ply for the UTA.

Also just ordered a 1/14 PTV 1.83" secondary from Antares Optics. That will give me a diminutive 15% CO. And yes, full field illumination.

Lastly, after contemplating several possible DIY focusers, I've instead put out an order request to Kineoptics. The 1.25" HC-1 helical crayford is about 2 ounces, and undoubtedly far better precision finishing than I could ever achieve with my tools or experience.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:48 am 
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Yeah a DIY focused is way tougher than I could ever imagine trying to do. Tolerances, precision, and mostly patience is where I'd fall well short. :lol:

15% central obstruction. That's the ticket! Planet Killah if I ever saw one. :cool:

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Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 4:21 am 
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Planet killer. What's funny is that wasn't my initial intention, it was just a means to keep weight down. But, yes, I'm now realizing the platform for a real low contrast beast is in the works. The primary figure and smoothness may not be up to task at this point, since it's an older GSO mirror. The good thing is one quick trip to a Cary can fix that when I'm ready to take that step.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:53 am 
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Rocker box initial construction. I ran a 24"x24" piece of Baltic birch on the circle shaping router table twice. The outer part is for the alt bearings. The inner circle is the azimuth bearing. I joke, but that extra ring looks like a good part to build a uta for a 15" scope... :cheesygrin:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:36 pm 
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Just received my secondary from Antares. Looks pretty darned good. I bought the 1/14 wave version, ended up with a 1/19 wave!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:06 pm 
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Designing and fabricating the truss blocks out of solid birch.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:09 pm 
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Testing the new 1/32" thick Finnish birch ply.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:15 pm 
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Nice! Wow, everything looks great...as usual. Awesome work dude!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:38 pm 
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It's funny, with every step forward I realize I need yet another part. LOL. I put in an order for a Rigel Quickfinder. I've always wanted a Telrad, after using them on fellow scopes at the club observing site. Ultimately, though, I'm attempting to maintain a lightweight UTA so I can keep my altitude axis as low as possible. So instead I've decided to go with the Rigel which seems very close in use, while weighing about 1/4 as much. I'm guessing it's still easily a superior experience to the red dot on my other scope.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:38 pm 
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Erik wrote:
Nice! Wow, everything looks great...as usual. Awesome work dude!



Thanks, Erik!

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:47 pm 
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Just a follow up to the truss block project. I busted two of them during the shaping process. Solid wood has it's merits. One of the weaker points (pun intended) is when a single grain has less stability. Okay, attempt number one failed. So I'm already in the process of machining some aluminum square tube into eight (almost) identical clamps. Should be lighter and obviously far more stable. Wish me luck with attempt number two.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:35 pm 
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Oh man, I'm sorry to hear that. Hope the next try is the charm.

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Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
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SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:37 pm 
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The aluminum truss blocks came out to my liking. Here's the quick and dirty...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:39 pm 
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They appear to clamp well. The test will be whether the UTA shifts once put together. If it shifts I am already prepared for a backup fix.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:00 pm 
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I saw this over on another forum! I had no idea it was yours. :lol:

I am very impressed by your skills and craftsmanship here, even making your own truss clamps.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:59 am 
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Hey, thanks! Yup, that's me.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:37 am 
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Great job bro! Shaping up very nicely. When it's done I'll book a flight to CT and show up with a case of good Scotch to trade for some observing time! :food-smiley-004: :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:09 pm 
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Scotch and stars. I'm holding you to that. :cheesygrin:

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:49 pm 
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Today I cut the hole for the rear fan, and added holes for the collimation bolts. I started by constructing a simple square router jig.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:31 pm 
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Looking good! One fan will be enough?

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SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:39 am 
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According to the now old, but well know study published by Bryan Greer:

Using Fans with Newtonian Telescopes

Scroll down the page to find the small chart with ideal airflow per common mirror sizes. I'm using the fan that came with the original Hardin scope, which is 25cfm, so it should be fine.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:43 am 
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Of course that study was conducted with Pyrex, and mine is probably BK7 or some similar substrate. But it's ultimately fine either way. If one fan at the rear doesn't do the trick quickly enough, I'll want to add one or two smaller (10cfm) side blowing fans, which is something I can add on in the future if needed. That's my backup. But I'm betting the single fan will do the job.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:12 am 
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Location: Off Grid in Paradise... Mag 7 skies
Thanks for the link- I forgot about that article. I was just asking because I saw you had all that nice space to add more fans. :lol:

I have 3 fans on my 16" but I haven't had to use them in years since the scope is always at thermal equilibrium in the observatory.

I'm telling you man, you need to start your own woodworking company. Building telescopes would be a good start; you do beautiful work. :cool:

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:34 am 
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Velocepedist
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Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:28 pm
Posts: 6675
Location: In search of the ultimate switchbacks and single tracks
Dude, you are way too kind! :smile: I do appreciate it, though. Learning to build basic cabinetry has given me the skills to do more than I could with the last scope. I still have long term plans to do a bigger scope, and I want to incorporate much of this design into that build. I have been exhausting all my brain power to decide where between 15" and 18" it will be. I'm starting up school again for the first time in over two decades so it definitely won't be a 20". That's where prices start going north...really fast.

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