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IEQ45 Spreader Tray Rebuild

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#1 John Miele

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:33 PM

My new Ieq45 mount came with a tripod spreader (as does other brand mounts) that leaves a bit to be desired from a functional POV. It essentially only makes line contact with the legs along the edge of the leg cutout. It’s plastic. It hits the legs too high to provide much stability. And it has no room at all to hold accessories. I decided the only way to remedy these issues was to make a completely new combination spreader and accessory tray. I unscrewed the threaded rod that holds the spreader from the bottom of the tripod head. I found a similarly threaded rod left over from another project that was 12 inches long. I bought a 1 inch thick x 15 inch diameter pine round from Lowes that looked about the right size to work well. I drilled three leg holes by tilting my drill press at a 30 deg. angle and using a 2 inch hole saw. This left little segments at each hole that had to be cut off with a coping saw. I laid out a pattern of 1.25 inch and 2 inch eyepiece holes and drilled them through along with the central hole. I then cut three short pieces of 1x2 red oak to use as stiffener ribs and screwed and glued them to the underside. I test fit the new spreader onto the tripod and took the pics here. The old spreader hit the legs only 4 inches below the pivot bolts. The new spreader hits 8 inches down. Not perfect, but much better. It also contacts the leg along the entire thickness of the wood. I put two thick washers under the spreader tightening knob to spreader the load out onto the oak ribs. This spreader feels very sturdy, is plenty stiff, and has lots of room for accessories. I’ll prime it and paint it and then turn it loose in the field! … John

Stock spreader shown first...

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#2 John Miele

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:35 PM

Drilling leg holes in new spreader...

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#3 John Miele

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:36 PM

New spreader next to stock. New threaded rod next to stock...

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#4 John Miele

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:37 PM

Underside of new spreader/tray...

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#5 John Miele

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:37 PM

Mounted on the tripod...

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#6 John Miele

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:38 PM

Lower side of attachment...

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#7 MDearingJaxFL

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:43 PM

Nice job, John........

:>) mark

#8 tjay

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 07:16 PM

Looks great John. Want to make one for my Nexstar Tripod? Please? ;)

#9 islandsteve11

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 07:54 PM

John, both an excellent idea and execution! :bow:

#10 Lane

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 04:32 AM

Looks great John. Want to make one for my Nexstar Tripod? Please? ;)


Just get yourself the 2" and 1.25" Forstner drill bits and a hand drill to make the holes. That is all you really need. The 3 slanted slots on the sides require a drill press but you can actually make it work without them. You can just cut 3 v-notches with a hack saw. Made this one below in less than an hour. The circular pine board can be bought at Lowes. A little sanding and some clear outdoor varnish is all your need to complete the task.

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#11 tjay

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 10:55 AM

Looks great John. Want to make one for my Nexstar Tripod? Please? ;)


Just get yourself the 2" and 1.25" Forstner drill bits and a hand drill to make the holes. That is all you really need. The 3 slanted slots on the sides require a drill press but you can actually make it work without them. You can just cut 3 v-notches with a hack saw. Made this one below in less than an hour. The circular pine board can be bought at Lowes. A little sanding and some clear outdoor varnish is all your need to complete the task.


It looks like a good Christmas vacation project. Maybe I can score a drill press in a after Christmas sale.

#12 LouP

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 12:21 PM

Give it a few months and you will see these on the commercial market. I would pick one up after I get my iEQ45 :)

LouP

#13 SteveG

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 04:59 PM

Very nice - and you will love the wood eyepiece holes.

#14 islandsteve11

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 08:41 PM

The circular pine board can be bought at Lowes.


I like the OP's 3 oak reinforcements under the the pine round since they are subject to warping, even without all the EP holes.

#15 Lane

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 02:45 AM

Been using that one about a year and a half now on my CGEM and no warping at all. Also have one on my Sirius mount and no warping there either. As long as you apply a good outdoor varnish you should have no problems with warping. We have a lot of dew at our site and the water just beads up and wipes right off. I don't like the cross brace idea because it interferes with putting in more eyepiece holes and putting them where I want. But you do want to get a thick board to keep it from breaking when you tighten up the center bolt. The ones at Lowes vary a lot in thickness. I looked through whole stacks of them at several different Lowes locations to get a few boards that were about 1/2 inch thicker compared to the others.

#16 John Miele

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 07:58 PM

If you look more closely at mine, you will see there is plenty of room to add many more EP holes if desired. My EP hold pattern works for me.

I did not add the ribs to prevent warping. That round board is made from pine which is soft and about the worst wood you can buy from a strength standpoint. I added the ribs to provide strength and stiffness so that the center knob can be tightened down HARD like it needs to be to preload the tripod legs without any worry of breaking the plate...and I have no worries about that now :lol:...John

#17 John Miele

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 08:32 PM

Update: Here’s a picture of the finished spreader. I finally primed it, painted it, and covered the top with white self adhesive felt. I like the felt because it absorbs moisture and keeps the surface from getting slick with dew. It also makes it a little harder for things to slide off and acts as a cushion of sorts. It’s white to make it easier to see the edges at night...John

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