After a few years of observing and enjoying the hobby I made the
decision to purchase a Meade 16” Dobsonian with the original
intent of moving the optics to a truss. The dob worked ok with some
mods but the tube was cumbersome and heavy due to its size as one
might expect. So, I purchased the book “The Dobsonian Telescope”
by David Kreiege and Richard Berry and did some reading and planning
for a truss tube scope.
During this time and after attending several star parties at Canyon
of the Eagles close to Burnet, Texas I met Miguel Betancourt and
his wife Maria. Later that evening Miguel shared his plans about
his truss dob that he was building for himself. A couple star parties
went by and during that time I was able to check out some commercial
truss dobs that were new on the field. The following star party
Miguel was there with his new 16” scope. After chatting with
him for a while and getting a good-guided tour of his scope and
seeing how it was constructed, I knew his design and excellent craftsmanship
was for me.
Miguel had just opened his company “Spacewalk Telescopes”
in Georgetown, Texas. So and order was placed. One of the first
things we talked about was any modification or additions that I
desired. I wanted to use my 16” mirror and a 3.1” secondary.
My scope was also to be configured with a JMI NGF-DX3 focuser and
a Celestron Short Tube 80 for a finder. I had looked at several
commercial rings for the ST80 but didn’t see anything that
I really liked. Miguel assured me that rings for the ST80 would
not be a problem.
During the construction phase of my scope I was invited over to
observe Miguel’s work. Due to my close proximity to his business
I gladly accepted. Several things I noticed right away was the use
of quality materials, and an organized detailed plan of construction.
On hand were specialty tools and jigs for doing things right.
A few weeks passed and I received a call from Miguel that the scope
was ready. So a trip to Georgetown was in order. Upon arrival, Miguel
ran me through the assembly and disassembly of the scope since I
had never owned a truss dob before.
So my new scope was rolled up in the back of my truck and off it
went for home. First light was the next weekend. The scope was rolled
out of the garage and assembled in minutes. The truss poles were
all cut the same length. No need to worry which one goes where.
Also the wheely bar handles are usable on either side of the scope
so no fiddling with that in the middle of the night, another example
of quality craftsmanship.
Collimation was easy and obtained in minutes without the need for
tools other than a collimator. The views were excellent and the
most enjoyable experience was finally using a quality instrument
that you didn’t have to keep tinkering with
Here’s a list of some of the things I really like about my
Solid Baltic birch construction with tight tolerances
in construction and no exterior screws showing. There were no
errors in drilling or filled holes.
No tools such as Allen wrenches or screwdrivers
are required for collimation of the secondary mirror due to his
use of AstroSystems spider, and diagonal holder. No tools are
required for adjusting primary collimation either. Also the collimation
once set stays. No tinkering with this through the night.
Use of large Altitude bearings by AstroSystems.
No tools are needed to install or remove the secondary
cage and truss poles. Also no worries about pieces falling off
or getting lost in the middle of the night due to the use of “Moonlight’s”
Future encoder installation for digital setting
circles already engineered into the design.
Expertly crafted tailgate and mirror cell with
active primary mirror cooling built in.
Custom made Baltic birch adjustable rings for
ST80 with brass inserts. The ring set is easily detachable from
the secondary cage at the end of your viewing session.
When the scope is moved in both axis of travel
it doesn’t stick or drag. When the desired position of the
scope was achieved it stayed without a need to add counter weights
to achieve balance.
Baltic birch cover over the primary mirror cell.
This may seem standard but the cover also includes clips underneath
to assure the cover does not blow off or get loose in transit.
Something you don’t want to have happen going down the highway.
Lastly all my eyepieces come to focus.
To sum things up I am very pleased with my telescope it works perfectly
and exceeds all my expectations. If I ever desire another scope
SpaceWalk telescopes will defiantly get my business.