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**NEW LEVELING FEET FOR DOBSONIANS** COMING SOON!

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#1 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:37 AM

This information is buried at the end of the HALO thread, but since these will be available separately, they deserve their own thread.

Leveling feet are 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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#2 Gastrol

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:28 PM

I like the fact that these levelers are just simple and functional. Sure, you can buy fancy, nicely machined levelers for tripods, and even produce them for dobs, for instance, as David noted in his Halo thread, at much higher cost.

I initially balked upon seeing the $65 price tag of these simple looking levelers but then started doing the math.
I recently built a new dob base with integrated leveling feet so I've got an idea of the cost these hardware.
If you calculate the cost of a set of quality studded swivel feet, knobs, and their shipping cost, a length of heavy steel bar stock, and the time spent cutting, drilling, bending, filing, sanding, painting, and installing inserts or long nuts or whatever, that $65 including shipping seem very fair and reasonable.

#3 beatlejuice

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:08 PM

Very nice looking kit David. But, I don't think they will work with Orion ground boards. The only way would be to permanantly remove the Orion feet and use the levelling feet as the only means of support. This may or may not be solid enough. Any thoughts?

Eric

#4 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:30 PM

They will work GREAT with the Orion triangular groundboards. If you permanently remove the Orion feet, the brackets would give the groundboard more support than the original feet did. Yes, you would be moving the support point out about 1.75" from where the original feet were attached, BUT the bracket is almost 6" long and VERY stiff, and would distribute the force over a larger area of the groundboard.

But, if you were really concerned about it, then you could simply re-mount the Orion feet right onto the steel brackets, using the same holes originally used by the feet. In other words, you would use the original foot-screw to go through the foot, through the bracket, and into the original screw-hole.

The only negative to using the original feet holes, is that you would have a gap of about 7/16" between the edges of the triangular board and the vertical edge of the bracket. But you could easily just drill a new hole in the groundboard to move them in so that the brackets fit nice and snug up against the side of the groundboard.

With the original Orion feet mounted to our brackets, you could leave the base sitting on its original feet most of the time, and just use the leveling feet when observing.

Actually I just remembered, there would be one other tiny negative (for the height-challenged) to mounting the original feet onto our brackets. The eyepiece height would be .160" higher than original (the thickness of the bracket). :)

Here are some images of what it would look like:




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#5 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:46 PM

If you calculate the cost of a set of quality studded swivel feet, knobs, and their shipping cost, a length of heavy steel bar stock, and the time spent cutting, drilling, filing, sanding, painting, and installing inserts or long nuts or whatever, that $65 including shipping seem very fair and reasonable.


You forgot the welding. :grin:

Seriously though, I figured people might initially balk at the price. But as you mentioned, once you look into a set of high quality, fully articulated leveling feet and knobs, then think about the production involved, then consider shipping costs, $64.98 is quite reasonable. Just as a comparison, here are some other parts on the astronomy market:

Binocular Mount Adapter - ONE flat piece of machined aluminum (probably powder coated) with stud and knob - $34.99 PLUS $9.99 shipping.

Eyepiece tray ONE sheet of steel (roughly the same amount of steel as in one of our leveling feet brackets). Cut, bent, and powder coated. No leveling feet, no knobs, no weld nuts, and no welding. - $19.99 PLUS $9.79 shipping.

Right angle mounting plate ONE piece of aluminum with a few holes machined in. Very likely an off-the-shelf 90 degree extrusion, so so no bending required. Powder coated. - $39.00 with shipping included.

Obviously none of these are apples-to-apples comparisons, but they give you some idea of the typical prices of low-volume custom-made products in this market.

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#6 beatlejuice

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:51 PM

The only negative to using the original feet holes, is that you would have a gap of about 7/16" between the edges of the triangular board and the vertical edge of the bracket.



Thanks for the drawings David. Actually the extra space would be perfect as it allows me to keep the same set-up for my pointer which slides along a small length of metal strapping attached to one tip of the groundboard.

Eric

#7 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:55 PM

Thanks for the drawings David. Actually the extra space would be perfect as it allows me to keep the same set-up for my pointer which slides along a small length of metal strapping attached to one tip of the groundboard.


Cool! :like:

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#8 Chucky

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:11 AM

Isn't it ideally always better to fabricate/install things such that the feet are directly placed under the teflon azimuth bearing surfaces. This makes things more stable and gets rid of the 'trampoline effect'?

#9 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:16 AM

Isn't it ideally always better to fabricate/install things such that the feet are directly placed under the teflon azimuth bearing surfaces. This makes things more stable and gets rid of the 'trampoline effect'?


Hi Chucky,

That advice comes from David Kriege and Richard Berry’s classic book about building Large Aperture Dobsonians. The "trampoline effect" they talk about is caused by flexing of the ground board and is a potential problem when the Teflon pads are mounted far inward of the feet:

"The sides are much stiffer than the bottom of the rocker. Accordingly, the Teflon pads should be out far enough to be under the solid rocker sides. If you put the pads very far inward, then they are under the bouncy center of the rocker bottom. The rocker bottom acts like an upside-down trampoline."

This is absolutely valid advice, and no doubt becomes more critical as the scope gets larger and heavier (causing more flex in the groundboard).

But I think you can see from the attached photo that the distance between the leveling feet and the Teflon pad is pretty minimal. And we are talking about relatively light scopes/bases here. The groundboard certainly isn’t going to flex or act like an "upside-down trampline" over that very small distance between the Teflon pad and the edge of the board (especially when it is reinforced by the 8 gauge bracket attached to it).

This is one of our leveling feet attached to an Orion XT8i base:



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#10 RobFriedman

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:17 PM

David,
these look great!!! I was looking into adding them to my Hardin due to the uneven ground in my back yard. Something like a cross between this and the DobStand. I wonder how high will this raise your dob?? btw I looking into parts and metal.. and your price is quite good in this instance

#11 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:39 AM

David,
these look great!!! I was looking into adding them to my Hardin due to the uneven ground in my back yard. Something like a cross between this and the DobStand. I wonder how high will this raise your dob?? btw I looking into parts and metal.. and your price is quite good in this instance


Thanks Rob! Assuming your Dob's feet are approx. 1" tall, then the Leveling feet won't raise your base at all when fully retracted. But when fully extended they raise your base by approx. 2.5". If you want to level your base and raise it a substantial amount, then the Dobstand would do that for you (according to their website, it raises the Dob base a minimum of 15"). But if you don't want to raise your base a lot and you just want to level it, these Leveling feet are a better choice.

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#12 RobFriedman

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:47 PM

David,
I asked this in the equipment forum. And not regarding $30 printed and laminated circles, or your Halo, I was looking at the SkEye program which gives virtual DSCs once mounting your phone to your scope.
A- Would it still need the base to be level? (re: your legs)

B- I'm a little confused why the north setting is 90 degrees and the west setting is 0?? maybe I'm a little dense? and when someone puts circles on their base.. you would have to pickup the scope and turn it so something faces north?? I can grasp the ra/dec setting.. (I basically set my astroscan so one legs was slightly shorter (giving me my 42 degrees latitude) and aimed the scope north so straight up was roughly polaris.. it would work great from then on again it was a one armed fork (pipe)

#13 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 05:52 PM

David,
I asked this in the equipment forum. And not regarding $30 printed and laminated circles, or your Halo, I was looking at the SkEye program which gives virtual DSCs once mounting your phone to your scope.
A- Would it still need the base to be level? (re: your legs)



Unfortunately I'm an iPhone guy and I'm not really familiar with SkEye (which appears to be an Android program) so I don't know if it needs the Dob base to be level to work.






B- I'm a little confused why the north setting is 90 degrees and the west setting is 0?? maybe I'm a little dense? and when someone puts circles on their base.. you would have to pickup the scope and turn it so something faces north??



The HALO is designed so that you can easily read the pointer while sitting at the eyepiece (which is how most people set up their own DIY setting circle). Yes the 0 degree mark is on the West side of the base, BUT the pointer is ALSO mounted on the West side of the base. So when you point the telescope at Polaris, the pointer will be pointing at zero (after you calibrate for local magnetic declination). I know it seems counterintuitive, but it works magnificently. :waytogo:

After you set the HALO down on the ground with the 90 degree position facing north, and level it, you won't have to move it again for the rest of the night.

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#14 RobFriedman

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:14 PM

Thanks David.. that whole thing kept me wondering.

#15 silleryan

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:50 PM

I use SkEye quite frequently and couldn't recommend it enough. It does not require that you are level, though I'm sure it wouldn't hurt (and all dobsonian benefit greatly in their respective motions when close to level!).
David-these leveling feet are fantastic! Perhaps an aftermarket NMT part even...

#16 silleryan

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:55 PM

They would work on our 8's, and small lightweight scopes certainly benefit from staying level.

#17 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:03 AM

David-these leveling feet are fantastic! Perhaps an aftermarket NMT part even...

They would work on our 8's, and small lightweight scopes certainly benefit from staying level.


Thanks Ryan!! Send me an email if you'd like to talk about a volume-purchase for use with your 8" NMT (which is a very cool looking little scope by the way!)

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#18 RobFriedman

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:56 AM

Ryan,
thanks for the info on SkEye.. and David.. I think that those with androids and dobs... this is a winning combo for very little funds!!!!!
Rob

#19 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:07 PM

winning combo for very little funds!!!!!


Sounds good to me! :cool:

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#20 silleryan

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:21 PM

I have a feeling we'll be in touch soon! You have tons of great deals on your website!

#21 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:40 AM

You have tons of great deals on your website!


And more coming soon! :ubetcha:

#22 James2fun

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:56 PM

I don't know if Orion foot screw size changed or Leveling feet bracket hole size could have changed. But we bought an Orion Skyquest Intelliscope 10 inch Dob and the leveling kit. The original screw for the feet does not fit through the Leveling Foot bracket as stated in the main posting. We wanted to keep the original feet, but it looks like that might not be an option now. Still trying to think of ideas.

#23 beatlejuice

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 11:48 PM

I have a triangular Orion base so I just removed the little feet and replaced them with the brackets underneath. This required the purchase of 3 #12 1.25” screws to accommodate the extra length needed for re-attaching the original feet and sinking into the base far enough to feel secure.

Eric

#24 Bob Riggs

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 12:58 PM

Hi David!

What do you figure the top end as regards weight for these will be? Specifically, would an XT14i at 120 pounds be too much?

Thanks and clear skies!

Bob

#25 DavidOpticsmart

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 03:25 PM

Hey Bob, sorry about the late reply, but I've been at Cub Scout camp with my son the last few days, and am just now digging out from under the pile on my desk. :tonofbricks:

Anyway, to tell you the truth, we haven't tried the leveling feet on a dob that heavy. I think they will hold up just fine, but the only way to find out for sure is to try them. If you want to, send me a PM when you get a chance and we'll talk about a trial arrangement. Thanks Bob!






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