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A Mystery Scope!

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#326 sashaskywatch

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 12:14 AM

Work of art! Wow... truly inspired

#327 Datapanic

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 08:23 PM

Very cool!

How's it coming? ;)


I guess I was slackin' a little bit, but this weekend, I finished finishing the tube. I was able to wet sand it to 1500 grit, then polish it with rubbing compound. After that, I wiped it down with acetone and then applied two coats of car wax. It's nice and shiny! I also polished up the focuser base and retainer ring. The fiberglass tube does have some spider cracks, but they are barely noticeable from about 5 feet away.

Before putting the parts back on the tube, I need to do the weight and balance sheet for future reference.

I'm also contemplating on what to do about a finder. I have some vintage Cave finder rings for a 50mm finder, but this scope never had one mounted on the tube. From the '77 photo, it's apparent he had something mounted on the top of the forward rotating ring. I guess I should just wait and see how well balanced the tube is without a finder first and then take it from there. If a finder is not used, I think the mount has enough precision that the setting circles could be used instead. Maybe that was Mr. Clark's intention?

#328 clintwhitman

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 12:57 AM

It's coming together very fast! As soon as Bob finishes the remaining parts it will be no time at all to complete it.



Dan hurry up and get the tube in the thing!!! Geesesss! I am waiting on the photos!!! This is really somthing to see this scope being restored and you still have the only Caveman award for doing it,,,,, Bob takes a while but his work is perfect... somewhere between a piano maker and a machinist.... :bow: :bow:

#329 EricP

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 09:44 PM

Dan,

Glad to see this thread light up again. In the picture you copied from the S&T DVD, it shows a finderscope mounted on the upper tube ring, as you pointed out. Why not do something similar? Also, do you think that could be Mr. Clark himself, in the foreground? That's almost how I pictured him.

#330 Gallentine

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 10:08 PM

This is too cool!!

#331 GeneT

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 11:11 PM

This is an extremely interesting post. I am looking forward to seeing the final refurbished product.

#332 Datapanic

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:59 PM

Dan,

Glad to see this thread light up again. In the picture you copied from the S&T DVD, it shows a finderscope mounted on the upper tube ring, as you pointed out. Why not do something similar? Also, do you think that could be Mr. Clark himself, in the foreground? That's almost how I pictured him.


I thought I had replied to this, but apparently not!

The man in the forefront is Howard Thomas with his (at the time) 30 year old very portable Solar Telescope. He also won an award at this convention for Special Instruments. The OTA unfolds, as shown in the photo and mounts on the tripod to his left. The total setup time is about 2 minutes.

For the people standing around the Maynard Clark scope, I sure can't tell who is who, but I think I can get some more info soon. I need to follow up with the person I got this scope from who is the daughter of friends of Mr. & Mrs. Clark. Mrs. Clark moved back to California to her daughter's after Mr. Clark passed away and she and her mom have not been able to find her.

Regarding the finder, there were no mounting brackets for it so one would have to be designed and made. From the photo, that would not be too hard to do and it looks like it's a 50mm or 60mm.

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#333 Datapanic

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 10:20 PM

It's coming together very fast! As soon as Bob finishes the remaining parts it will be no time at all to complete it.



Dan hurry up and get the tube in the thing!!! Geesesss! I am waiting on the photos!!! This is really somthing to see this scope being restored and you still have the only Caveman award for doing it,,,,, Bob takes a while but his work is perfect... somewhere between a piano maker and a machinist.... :bow: :bow:


I hear ya, Clint! I didn't expect this restore to take that long, but when I came across the broken spider retainer ring, it changed things... Bob did a super job on the 2" focuser base and I know that when he finishes up the rest of the parts (spider retainer ring, new leveler knobs and screws), this thing is going to go back together real quick.

The fiberglass tube has been smoothed and polished, I'll get some pictures of it on here real soon.

There's also a secret thing regarding the mirror box - the old beat up moldy box is being replaced with something really cool!

#334 DarkSkys

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 09:22 PM

Any news????

#335 Datapanic

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 11:11 PM

Any news????


I know this project is dragging out, but I think Maynard Clark probably spent more time making this scope than I have restoring it! Nothing new to report. I can't wait to try it out, the mechanics of the mount are awesome and I bet the mirror, which has yet to have first light since who knows when the last person looked through it was, will be something else!

#336 Hamsterdam

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 09:43 PM

Tim, I have to agree 99.999999999%...theres always a entropic constant somewhere, but that looks EXACTLY like the early Schaefer. Comparing all photos, it looks all Schaefer, not a Cave stand even, the early pic on the Schaefer matches the stand, the mount, even the bands and bars on the tube exteriror. If this isn't a Schaefer, it is one heck of a great counterfeit or copy....The one thing that leads me to believe this is the real deal is the quality welds and construction, its built like a brick water closet, and that MIRROR! That mirror, considering its approximate age is beyond sublime, it is exquisite. As a rule age doesn't always make for worse glass. Just as Zeiss of today doesn't hold the same superior place amongst lens makers for me, the original and old school Zeiss Ikon lenses are beyond quality, imho.

I am sure more care was taken on the optics back then in many ways, when a true craftsman made these mirrors, grinding them by hand, polishing with jeweler's rouge. Of course in today's world they have been improved in many ways due to automation, there is consistency, and the coatings have improved as years have gone by.

This is truly exciting to me. just to follow this unfolding story. I really am anticipating more discovery on this, but Im almost sure that Tim has solved the mystery, and man, what a find! Good on ya, mate! :waytogo:

#337 jmpolitte

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:29 PM

Wow, I just finished reading this thread. Amazing find and exemplary work - your dedication is to be commended!

I'm looking forward to seeing this finished.

Jason

#338 neotesla

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 10:25 AM

Just wondering if there are any new updates about this scope? Has it seen first light yet?

#339 Datapanic

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 11:06 AM

Just wondering if there are any new updates about this scope? Has it seen first light yet?


Still waiting on the replacement secondary holder reinforcement ring to be made, and one of the inner rotating rings is at that shop as a reference to get the diameter right so it fits on the tube just right. So, I can't put the tube on the mount. It shouldn't be too much longer.

#340 Datapanic

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 01:13 AM

<--- Fumbles for light switch... Click!

So here's what's happening with the Maynard Clark scope!

First, Bob Burns has started machining the reinforcement ring for the secondary holder! It shouldn't be too much longer before this thing gets put back together again and sees first light. The ring is not an easy part to make - it is about 9" in diameter and not very wide or thick. It's purpose is to provide extra strength to the spider mounts that would otherwise not be as good with just mounting it to the fiberglass tube. Plus, it prevents stress on the tube that would cause those spider web cracks in the fiberglass.

Another person has made a new carry box for the mirror and I expect to see that pretty soon as well.

In the meantime, I have continued to do some research on the scope and here's some interesting things I've found.

Back in 1980, our own CN member Robert Provin and Brad Wallis did a review of the RTMC 1980 show and wrote up the most info I've seen about this scope so far in the "Star and Sky" periodical for September, 1980:

"This 8-inch f/8 Newtonian, built by Maynard Clark of Sedona, Ariz., won a Merit Award for excellent craftsmanship. The telescope features interchangeable focuser plates for various activities (photography and viewing, as well as electronic focusing for use with groups), a reinforced fiberglass tube, and illuminated setting circles. The entire assembly packs into the observing steps that accompany the unit into the field. (Photo by Provin & Wallis)"

"The conference always attracts telescopes of outstanding craftsmanship and innovative design. For example, the machine work on the 8-inch f/8 Newtonian by Maynard Clark of Sedona, Ariz., can only be described as superb. His German equatorial was built with strength at all the right places; however, our attention was drawn to the scope's focusing arrangement, which features a standard or electronically focused 1 1/4-inch eyepiece, accommodation for an off-axis guiding system, and a special wide-field eyepiece attachment. The focuser is designed so that the various attachments can be interchanged with a simple twist of a knurled ring at the base of the focusing head. Elegant!"


This was kind of an aha! moment for me on the focuser plates - Mr. Clark probably made more than one depending on what he wanted to use the scope for. At this point, I only have the original motorized focuser plate and the newer 2" Back plate that Bob made. I think I'll have one more made to facilitate a low height focuser for AP use.

The off-axis guiding system is another mystery, but maybe Robert's picture will shed some light.

But just as interesting, Mr. Clark apparently made some kind of box or boxes for the mount that converted to steps to use when observing - that is kinda cool.

Robert's article in Star and Sky has a picture of the scope with those boxes, I presume, so I'm trying to get that picture. Robert is looking in his old pics - but it's understandable that it might be hard to find since that was 33 years ago! On the other hand, the University of Michigan has that issue, and I've ordered a copy of it, however in order for them to copy it, they need permission from the copyright owner! I introduced them to Robert, who gave them permission to give me a copy. The UofM already charged my credit card for the service, but so far, nothing in the mail! The University of California Library System also has this issue, but I don't have a "CAL-1" card to access it.

If anyone actually has a copy of the September, 1980 issue of Star and Sky or can help me get it, that would be awesome!

Finally, I've made arrangements to take the mirror in for bench tests at Composite Mirrors using their Wavefront Technologies (or whatever it's called) system. From all the people I've talked with about this scope who have also looked through it, the consensus is that it gives exceptional views.

So anyway, I know this project has been going on forever and it drives me nuts waiting sometimes, but it's almost there!

#341 Datapanic

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 11:20 PM

Here's Robert Provin's picture (used with permission) of the Maynard Clark scope at the 1980 RTMC. Look how nice and shiny it was back then! The person on the right is Brad Wallis. I suspect the person in the center is Maynard Clark :shrug: There are a lot of people that new him, maybe someone will recognize him. I don't know who the person is on the left.

This is a good reference shot as it shows the viewfinder and the way it was mounted, which I had not seen before. Looks simple enough to do it that way - the holes are already there on the outer rotating rings. But, I'm contemplating just mounting a 50mm 7 or 8 x 50 finder with the 'elegant' finder brackets from that period, but that means drilling holes in the tube. When I got this scope, the finder and bracket were missing.

Also of interest, if you look closely, that is the motorized focuser on the OTA, but on the bottom right it looks like there is another focuser base. I think all that stuff is sitting on the box or boxes he made for the mount that also doubled as steps, as mentioned in the article.

Finally, looking at the equipment at the base of the stand by the legs - looks like the dual-axis motor controls that were also missing. There's a lot of improvising to wire it like it was, but without the controls. I recently got another one of those aluminum mini-project boxes to use for the focuser motor control and I think I can put a 9v battery and two late 70's technology switches on it that will match the rest of the scopes style.

Shouldn't be too much longer :)

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#342 gmartin02

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 07:19 PM

Dan,

Thanks for the updates and historical information.

I have been quietly following this thread with fascination since you first started it over 3 years ago.

I am continually impressed with your relentless pursuit of restoring it to as close to original as possible (well, except for the polished aluminum instead of the paint on the mount, which makes it look even more "classic"). This is like your own personal tribute to Maynard Clark.

Greg

#343 khendrix2

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 02:48 AM

Wow! I just read all 18 pages of this epic story. Very inspiring!

#344 Datapanic

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 10:20 PM

Just exchanged some emails with Bob and he's going to finish up the replacement reinforcement ring asap - then the whole thing can be finished up and finally have first light! I need to finish up the original focuser plate with the motorized focuser - got a control box for it, just need to clean up the focuser and paint it.

#345 Datapanic

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 09:48 PM

I think Tim and I are tied for first place for projects that take forever to complete. For this one, I've had the original motorized focuser sitting on the workbench for quite a while and finally got around to starting to rebuild it! Here's how it originally looked. It has an old +/- 12v DC motor and a gear box with a slip coupling to the focus shaft so that you can turn the knob or let the motor do the work.

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#346 Datapanic

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 09:50 PM

After taking it all apart, I painted to main body of the focuser back with Satin Black on the outside and Ultra Flat Black on the underside. I should have not painted the edges as just that extra amount of paint is too much and it will not mount in the holder. I'll have to sand that off...

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#347 Datapanic

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 09:54 PM

This is the motor and gear box, blown apart. I plan on polishing the brass, cleaning and lubing the gears and putting it all back together again. Maynard Clark machined this box from scratch.

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#348 Datapanic

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 09:56 PM

A closeup of the gears and coupling. The teeth are in great shape. The gears on the left are metal while the ones on the right are plastic. He may have made them, or maybe they came out of an old alarm clock...

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#349 Datapanic

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 09:59 PM

I was planning on removing the motor housing from the brass back plate, but it was silver soldered on both sides and not worth the risk of damaging the motor and I can work around it, so it stays in one piece.

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#350 Datapanic

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 10:03 PM

This is the inside of the other side of the gearbox housing. You can see the detail of Maynard Clark's work here. The large hole on the left is for the output of the metal gear train that connects to the coupling and to the focus. On the left is shaft bearing for the plastic gear train. The housing itself looks like two parts, the backplate is soldered to the sides.

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