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Bino Chair (StarRocker)

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#1 Don M

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 01:35 PM

The StarRocker

Enthusiasm for binocular astronomy is generally plagued by two things – how do you hold’em still, and paying the chiropractic bills to fix your neck after an observing session! I have grown weary of leaning against trees, adjusting tripods and lawn chairs and lying on the hood of motor vehicles while trying to find a workable way to view the object of interest. As I considered constructing a viewing ‘aid’ to ease the problems associated with binocular astronomy I wanted to meet the following criterion.

- Provide a ‘stable’ view.
- 90 / 360 degree proportional slewing without leaving your seat.
- No neck or muscle strain.
- No counter weights.
- Inexpensive. (May cost less than inexpensive binoculars!)
- Easily adjustable for different size users.
- Built from ‘off the shelf’ materials.
- Construction friendly – common tools.
- No batteries or external power required.
- Be able to switch binoculars easily in the dark with no tools.
- Perform effortlessly enough that all attention may be directed to the fun and excitement of viewing, not the equipment.
- Must be transportable in a car without disassembly.

The StarRocker (as my wife named it) has worked very well for me and has increased my enjoyment of binocular astronomy a great deal! From a design standpoint I realize that perfection is a beautiful unattainable goal. Although the StarRocker is by no means perfect, this device works extremely well and I feel that essentially all objectives have been met! Oh yes, you can see your heart beat! However, as you calm down it diminishes considerably and is just not an issue! My viewing time is about evenly divided between my ten fifties and my fifteen seventies. Being able to easily switch between them with no tools, in the dark, is very desirable. The ability to track essentially any object in the sky with the StarRocker produces a very special freedom. When viewing an object of interest a ‘side trip’ to view an unexpected visitor, whether an airplane or the ISS, is easily within your grasp. I am aware of the robotic type of binocular ‘chairs’ that have been built and marketed. These are truly awesome but perhaps a bit cost prohibitive for many amateurs. As ATMers know, it is fun, exiting, and rewarding to build your own equipment. The StarRocker is an easy build project which lends itself to many variations and improvements - I am sure, that’s what ATMing is all about! The StarRocker has dramatically increased my enjoyment of binocular astronomy. Perhaps the main drawback is that the answer to that old question, “ How long are you going to be out there? ” Has to be modified from, “Just a few minutes…,” to, “Less than an hour – I think!.” The StarRocker has added a degree of excitement, comfort, freedom, and fun to binocular astronomy I only imagined in the past. While discussing amateur astronomy, ATMers, binoculars, CCD imaging, and telescopes, with a friend, he said of the hobby, “What a beautiful addiction!” (Sleep deprivation is detrimental to your general well being you know!) In times of high fuel costs - traveling with the StarRocker will take you light years for pennies! If you have interest in additional photos this link will take you to my GALLERY If you would like to view a short video clip of the StarRocker in operation this link will take you to YouTube You Tube. 10-4!

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#2 EricP

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 02:01 PM

Simply awesome, Don! :bow:

You aren't marketing these, by any chance, are you? I'll buy one! :)

#3 Wes James

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 02:23 PM

Nice!!

#4 Prof M

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 02:36 PM

What a great bit of innovation, Don! Congatulations on a winning design! I'll order one!

Keith

#5 blb

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 02:38 PM

Any plans or futher details on how to build one?

#6 94bamf

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 03:47 PM

Neat chair, well done..

Ken

#7 AV in CMH

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 04:02 PM

My neck and I thank you for a greeat idea and execution.

Anthony

#8 KBK

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 04:18 PM

I want mine in paisley. :cool:

I'm 'a gonna steal your photo and paste it to an anti-UFO forum so they can get riled up and ridicule it. Just post the photo. Nothing else..and wait for the the forces to gather. heh heh.

#9 EdZ

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 05:12 PM

What a great bit of innovation, Don! Congatulations on a winning design! I'll order one!

Keith


If he were marketing them, I would have to change his title to Vendor and I would have to remove this post from this forum. I would get moved to the Vendor forum.

BTW, Pretty neat youtube video.

edz

#10 KBK

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 06:40 PM

He should consider marketing it, as the idea is quite stealable. Use it or loose it. As a manufacturer in my own areas, I'm well familiar with the concern. To a certain extent, first to market can be everything-in the final analysis-if properly handled.

#11 Don M

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 02:03 AM

Thank you for your kind and helpful comments on my StarRocker project. I am working on a set of plans. :)

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#12 WOBentley

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 12:12 PM

Love the video, really shows what this can do...Let us know when you have plans! looks like a fun project to build....and would make my 28x110's even more spectacular.

#13 Prof M

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 02:01 PM

Thank you for your kind and helpful comments on my StarRocker project. I am working on a set of plans. :)


Good news. I will look for your announcement!
:jump:
Keith

#14 chgomonitor

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 07:49 PM

How on earth does one drill through a pool ball? Wow...

#15 pcad

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 09:05 PM

File it first? :shrug:

#16 KBK

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 03:53 PM

That would be the trick. You need a grip/flat area - a starter point. Oil/water greased/lubed too, on the drilling, I suspect.

#17 Don M

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 01:11 AM

This is a standard 2 1/4 in pool ball. They drill easily but the ball must be held firmly. This 'vice' works well.

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#18 WOBentley

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 11:13 AM

Are those premade seats from a lounge chair or are you making those also?

#19 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 08:23 PM

I should rather use a vise, improvised or not, than be visited by the vice squad. In the UK, that could be scary.

#20 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 11:09 PM

Gordon Strikes Back! :jedi:

#21 Don M

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 01:40 PM

Those are 'Video Rocker' chairs that were purchased at a discount store. I just bought two more of them for $24.00 each. Regular price was $40.00. They work well and also keep your back warm while in use. I have considered making my own 'chair' but for that price I am not very motivated! Plus this type of chair works well. :jump:

#22 WOBentley

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 07:46 PM

Great, I'm going to start looking for some of those locally!

#23 beachchairbill

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 08:53 PM

Don,

Outstanding idea and thank you for sharing. Can you share with us which discount store you purchased them at.

Also, do you think this set up could handel 14lbs of large binoculars?

Thanks

Beachchairbill

#24 timmyotule

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 09:43 PM

I bought a couple video rockers for overflow seating a few years ago at Target. It doesn't look like they carry them anymore from looking at their website but Walmart has them for $30:

http://www.walmart.c...d.y=0&Find=Find

#25 matthew2000tx

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 03:29 PM

This is great! I'm trying to come up with ideas for a binocular chair. I have one of these rockers... I might just make this...
When are those plans coming??






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