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**NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO!

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#226 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:26 PM

I hope we're not running David crazy from all these suggestions and ideas which he probably already had in the back of his head at some point. :)


Well I'm already crazy, so no harm done there. :grin:

Seriously though, I love getting all the suggestions and ideas! Even Ron's "crack pot" ideas. ;) I just hope everyone understands that we can't implement all suggestions, and even some of the ones that we do decide to implement may not happen overnight.

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#227 audioaficionado

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:32 PM

This or a leveling ground board replacement as per simpleisbetter would be awesome IMHO.

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#228 Gastrol

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:04 PM

This or a leveling ground board replacement as per simpleisbetter would be awesome IMHO.

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I agree.
Also, on the other hand, a solid, flat ground board will be able to accommodate a variety of smaller and/or odd sized rocker boxes by using longer pointers.

As an example here's an 18" diameter (excluding leveling feet ears) ground board I made for my Lightbridge which can easily be adapted for smaller diameter or even square rocker boxes. All you need is a slightly longer pointer.

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#229 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:27 PM

Nice base Gastrol!

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#230 Gastrol

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:18 PM

Thanks David!
After you introduced the Halo and its leveling feet, as a DIY'er, I knew I had to have a set for my new base as well.
No more getting down on my hands and knees with shims to level the base, I get precise leveling in seconds now. And the accuracy of finding objects is primarily dependent on how level your base is. I love my leveling feet!
Here's my Lightbridge with its new base.

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#231 Gastrol

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:20 PM

Another pic..

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#232 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:55 PM

Thanks David!
After you introduced the Halo and its leveling feet, as a DIY'er, I knew I had to have a set for my new base as well.
No more getting down on my hands and knees with shims to level the base, I get precise leveling in seconds now. And the accuracy of finding objects is primarily dependent on how level your base is. I love my leveling feet!
Here's my Lightbridge with its new base.


I'm glad the HALO was an inspiration for you!

Yeah, having leveling feet built right into the base is REALLY nice. In fact I've been surprised to find that several Orion Intelliscope owners have expressed interest in the HALO. I assumed that since they already have built-in push-to capability, that they wouldn't be interested in the HALO. But the built-in leveling feet are apparently quite appealing to them (not to mention that they like the idea of having a "backup" system just in case the batteries die on the computerized system).

And by the way, the rest of your base is beautiful too! :applause:

David Giles

#233 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 07:34 PM

Thanks David!
After you introduced the Halo and its leveling feet, as a DIY'er, I knew I had to have a set for my new base as well.
No more getting down on my hands and knees with shims to level the base, I get precise leveling in seconds now. And the accuracy of finding objects is primarily dependent on how level your base is. I love my leveling feet!


Well, since we’re discussing the miracle of leveling feet, I might as well go ahead and announce our new product.

Okay, maybe the word "miracle" was a bit strong. :lol: But leveling feet are certainly a very nice feature to have on any Dobsonian base, and they’re especially useful with setting circle installations. And since we introduced the HALO a couple of months ago, several people have mentioned how they would really like to have a nice set of leveling feet like the ones built into into the HALO. So we listened!

These attractive, low profile leveling feet will include the same exact articulating foot pads, bolts, and adjusting knobs used on the HALO, and are designed to be used with popular Dobsonian bases from Apertura, Astro-Tech, Orion, Meade, SkyWatcher, Zhumell, Hardin, etc. But they should also work with just about any Dobsonian base that has a flat bottom to attach the brackets to.

The brackets are laser cut from heavy, 8 gauge steel (.160" thick!) with a 7/8" tall nut welded in place for strength and stability, and are powder coated for durability. As you can see from the images below, when the feet are retracted up as far as they can go, your Dob base will sit flat on its factory feet (assuming they are the typical 1" high feet as included on GSO Dobs). So these leveling feet won’t add ANY height to your eyepiece when retracted, yet give you lots of leveling capability when you need it.

The price for a set of three complete leveling feet with brackets and screws necessary for installation will be $64.98, and that price will include shipping (in the continental U.S.)

We expect to have production parts in stock in the next 3-4 weeks and will be ready to take orders at that time.






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#234 Gastrol

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 12:07 PM

Wow! That's a real simple and practical looking set of leveling feet! And I like the fact that you can still use the stock feet with the levelers fully retracted. Cleverly designed.

#235 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:53 PM

Thanks Gastrol!

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#236 stevetaylor199

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 02:11 PM

I've been enjoying this thread. 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.

I like the idea of the HALO. Actually, my main interest in this product was its leveling feet! 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. :grin: )

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.

So, what I'm getting at is that I want a base with tall feet -- and one with a leveling feature! The HALO seemed perfect, but the new leveling-feet only option sounds even better. (I suppose an Apertura-branded bubble level would be a nice complement, but as long as I can set my iPhone and GyroLevel app down on the ground board, I'll probably be fine.)

Now -- since I am still intrigued with the azimuth setting circle -- I wanted to comment and ask a question on the proposed new HALO design. The first, least aggressive (and lightest) option seems nice, but I've gotta ask since I have no experience in engineering: 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.

#237 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:40 PM

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. :grin: )


Yeah there are some very expensive leveling options out there! :jawdrop: I love the design of these tripod leg levelers:


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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. :grin: Personally I think either of these designs would be plenty strong enough, not too heavy, not overly expensive, and pretty darn sexy:



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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.

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#238 stevetaylor199

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:58 PM

Thanks David! Maybe I should take a good look in daylight at how my rockerbox is sitting on my lawn, and if it's time to bring out the weedwhacker. (I *do* mow my lawn, believe me.) In any case I definitely want the leveling feet you will be offering, so please post when you're ready to retail them.

Thanks for the additional comments on the CNC process. I prefer the first of the two designs in your post.

#239 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:25 PM

In any case I definitely want the leveling feet you will be offering, so please post when you're ready to retail them.


Will do!




Thanks for the additional comments on the CNC process. I prefer the first of the two designs in your post.


Thanks for the feedback!

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#240 RobFriedman

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:21 PM

As far as illuminating the pointer I've been using an inexpensive clip-on gooseneck book light with several layers of red celophane. Works quite well.


way back when I first started at stargazing.. I made a few led lights.. including breaking a small bulb (this is pre-led light days) and made a red led and resistor to fit in a penlight bulb socket.. worked well

also back in the day my only scope was (I still have it) an Astroscan that I built a Pipe Equatorial Mount with RA and DEC circles...

now to recent times.. I just picked up a used Hardin DSH-8 and while I've not had a clear nite to use it yet... the setting circle idea stayed with me. reading how to use Alt/Az setting circles in this thread clued me into what is going on. (I was used to only RA/Dec circles).Now is there another listing that has that or do I only have to use a computer or smartphone (android)?? would Google SkyMaps show me the AA settings? I'm not sure.. since the price of the Halo would be almost as much as I paid for the used DSH-8. I was looking at making some kind of stand or leveler since my backyard is not level ground. The DobStand is $109.. the legs you offer look like a good idea. the entire Halo looks like a nice idea. (I've been reading on making setting circles for Dobs and they all want printing and laminating. one version I saw for the Angle finder was from Harbor Freight Website

now all I need is money and an easy way to find dark skies on long island. (let alone I had 4 eye surgeries last year for glaucoma... hoping I will still have some dark vision left)

Rob Friedman
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#241 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:02 AM

Now is there another listing that has that or do I only have to use a computer or smartphone (android)?? would Google SkyMaps show me the AA settings?


You do need some sort of computer or smartphone to give you current Alt/Az coordinates, because unlike RA/Dec, Alt/Az coordinates are not constant (they change with time and location).




since the price of the Halo would be almost as much as I paid for the used DSH-8.


Yeah it's tough for a brand new micro-niche product that's made in America to compete with the price of a used Dob that was mass produced in Taiwan 8-12 years ago.






the entire Halo looks like a nice idea.




Thanks Rob! :)






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