I bought an Apertura 8 from David a year ago, and I have been very pleased with its value, Apertura's dedication to bringing "tweaks" to the GSO design, and the company's enthusiastic customer service.
Thanks for your support Steve!
Even at the price of the full-featured HALO, I think that David's option beats the value of far more expensive leveling feet available for, say, my Atlas mount tripod. (<- Hint for future product. Don't forget to include a Sorbothane option. )
Yeah there are some very expensive leveling options out there!
I love the design of these tripod leg levelers:
But at $380 for a set of three (with shipping) they're over twice
the price of an entire HALO!
Here's my issue that piqued my interest in the HALO and the leveling feet. I use my Dob on a backyard lawn, which is a good three inches high, and definitely higher than the ordinary feet on the bottom of these rocker boxes. As a result, I'm not only susceptible to unevenness of the ground in my backyard, but my scope is literally resting on a bed of smooshed-down grass. The feet don't necessarily touch the ground, and so movements of the scope don't always feel very good. For example, there's some backlash when I stop the movement, as the affected grass underneath rebounds a bit.
Sounds like you have some very
lush grass there Steve!
The HALO (or just a nice set of leveling feet) would probably help in your situation, BUT
you would need to make sure that the feet actually go through
the grass down to solid ground. If you just sit the base down and the feet only "smoosh" the grass down on top of the ground, the base will still be less stable than a base sitting on hard dirt or concrete. So you might need to reach down and move the grass aside to let the feet find actual terra firma.
just what is that extra material doing? What potential deformations of the existing HALO are being addressed by adding what essentially appears to be cross-bracing in the plane of the HALO? I'd buy the first of the options that David pictured here, but turning the HALO into a almost completely solid, additional ground board just doesn't seem too sexy.
It would simply add stiffness to the overall structure of the ring (and in fact, it would become less of a "ring" and more of a "platter"). Some people are concerned that the unsupported spans between the leveling feet would deform/sag over time. Based on my experience so far with the HALO (and with the MDF that has been used in Dob bases for many years), I don't think those concerns are warranted. But as I mentioned before, what I
think isn't really what's important, which is why I'm considering adding more material to the design (or actually not "taking away" as much material during the CNC process).
Obviously the stiffest design would have a floor that is virtually solid (except for a 3/8" hole right in the center to make room for the Dob's center-bolt that drops through the bottom of the groundboard). But that would seriously be overkill. It would be heavier than necessary and it would cost
more than necessary because it takes more CNC time to "hog out" .75 inches of Extira to create the solid floor, than it does to simply cut out the profiles shown in my redesign proposals.
And as you mentioned, a solid-floor design just simply wouldn't be very sexy.
Personally I think either of these designs would be plenty
strong enough, not too
heavy, not overly expensive, and pretty darn sexy:
In either case, the Dob's groundboard would be sitting on a "floor" that is quite substantial, with a surrounding/reinforcing ring that is 1.25" tall. And the Dob groundboards are pretty darn stiff themselves, so they aren't going to "ooze" through the holes in the floor of either of these designs, and they aren't going to put significant uneven pressure on the spans between the HALO's leveling feet. If MDF groundboards had the tendency to do that, then we would have heard many
complaints over the years about how they've deformed/sagged in their
unsupported spans between the three small feet that they sit on for their entire lives.