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Any point in homemade mounts?

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#1 Charles Hall

Charles Hall

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 12:23 PM

Is there any point these days in trying to build your own mount? I was thinking of buying a "classic" 8-inch Dobsonian ($330) and making my own mount, and adding the electronic object locator myself. But something like Sky Commander runs over $500, and I could buy that same 8" scope with Orion's Intelliscope for only $530. Other than making a hand-rubbed or plywood-instead-of-flakeboard Dob mount, is there any point in trying to build your own mount any more?

#2 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 12:34 PM

Is there any point these days in trying to build your own mount? I was thinking of buying a "classic" 8-inch Dobsonian ($330) and making my own mount, and adding the electronic object locator myself. But something like Sky Commander runs over $500, and I could buy that same 8" scope with Orion's Intelliscope for only $530. Other than making a hand-rubbed or plywood-instead-of-flakeboard Dob mount, is there any point in trying to build your own mount any more?


Charles: I think there are some good reasons to make your own mount. For an 8 inch telescope there may not be a big pay off but it still maybe worthwhile. A few advantages:

- You can make it stiffer, less prone to vibration.

- You can improve on the action, the smoothness, freedom from stiction.

- With the Intelliscope, you are stuck with the Orion system, you sell the scope, the sell the Intelliscope with it. Other DSCs are more flexible, you can use them with any scope, you just need to mount the encoders. So once you have invested in the Sky Commander, you can use it with any scope you now have or will ever have...

Jon

#3 John Noble

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 01:50 AM

Forget the DSCs and just print up a degree circle for the azimuth and buy a cheap digital level for altitude. Use whatever suits you for getting current alt/az coordinates. I use a self-written HP scientific calculator program and a mechanical wristwatch, but an iPhone with the right app would work nicely too.

The system is cheap, simple, fast to use, and deadly accurate. My "finder" eyepiece for my 10 inch Sky-Watcher truss dob is a 15mm Axiom LX--which gives a whopping 1.1 degree TFOV--and I can hit anything I want on the first try. I don't think I uncapped my finder the last time I was out.

If you've got decent woodworking skills you can probably build something nicer than any of the commercial offerings in the price range you're talking about.






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