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Alternative tripod/tray for Vixen Polaris mount?

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#1 oddog

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:22 PM

I recently picked up a very nice un-molested Vixen Polaris (original version) mount with the taller extendable wood tripod (was underneath a trashed Cometron Newt). I have made a Vixen dovetail adapter for it. This is my first Polaris but I have had many of the Asian clones and I now see why people think so highly of this mount, it is much better than the clones. While I am not a GEM mount fan (can't see Polaris from my viewing deck, not into astro-photo) I would like to have one nice one like this for my lighter/smaller scopes (especially since it will do Alt/Az) but the wood tripod is a bit flimsy and unstable (yes, I have been using anti-vibration pucks under the legs). Is the mount adaptable to any other tripods, like one of the round tube legged Celestrons or Meades often seen in the classifieds?

Also, the accessory tray is decidedly retro, usable to hold stuff but pretty useless regarding stiffening the setup. Anyone ever make an upgraded tray?

As an aside I was very excited about the Alt/Az configuration and was thinking about putting a ScopeStuff Vixen dovetail saddle on the end of the counterweight shaft to hold two scopes until I realized the counterweight shaft doesn't rotate with the mount like most of the clones do. Oh well.

If anyone can suggest an alternative tripod or to CN threads that discuss doing so I would appreciate it (CN search function basically doesn't work for me).

Tom Duncan

#2 PaulEK

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:19 PM

I made a tray with a hexagonal piece of plywood. I replaced the bolt that attaches the mount to the tripod with a piece of threaded rod, and used a wing nut to squeeze the plywood piece against the tripod legs. It worked very well.

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of the Polaris, which I've since sold, but here is one of a cheap Meade mount, where I did the same thing. If your tripod already has some way of holding the legs from spreading apart all the way, you wouldn't need the chain that you see here. I have the Super Polaris, with a wooden tripod, and I've made one for it as well. It has its own leg holder thingy, so I didn't need to make one with chain.

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#3 PaulEK

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:31 PM

You could drill holes in the plywood to hold eyepieces, or put thin wooden edges on it (which is what I did for my Super Polaris).

You might notice that I cut the plywood at an angle where it rides against the tripod legs. I don't think this is necessary, but it was easy enough to do on my table saw, so I did.

I have a great hardware store that carries threaded rod in metric sizes, but I found that 3/8ths inch was close enough to the 10mm used in these mounts that it fit without trouble or damage (3/8ths inch = 9.525 mm). The thread pitch matched well enough, too. It's a bit lose, but that doesn't matter when it's pulling when tightened. Of course, metric would be better.

#4 beatlejuice

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 01:25 AM

Tom, is this Vixon accessory tray the tray that you want to replace?

Eric

#5 oddog

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 01:34 AM

Yes, that's the tray, though the larger problem is the attachment points (tiny wing nuts on weak strapping with loose hinges) aren't helping the stability of the tripod. I like the idea Paul has suggested, the chains especially as you can really torque the setup. Retains the classic flavor as well.

However if I can put the mount on a stronger modern tripod I wouldn't need to do all that. Any tripods fit or come close to fitting?

And of course I can do both!

Tom

#6 beatlejuice

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:11 AM

Sorry I dont have any good information on the problem you are having, but if you ever want to sell the tray PM me.

Eric

#7 hottr6

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:19 AM

This is my first Polaris but I have had many of the Asian clones and I now see why people think so highly of this mount, it is much better than the clones.

Um, to my knowledge, the only clone of the Vixen Polaris was made by Mizar. There are many clones of the Super Polaris.

#8 maknewtnut

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:56 AM

I've utilized the same approach Paul recommended on lightweight mounts. Not only does it serve the obvious purpose, stability and damping of many lightweight tripods is also improved considerably.

#9 PaulEK

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:04 AM

I think the CG-4 and the Orion Astro-view are both sort of clones of the Polaris, though there are enough differences that they are not nearly as much clones as the CG-5 is of the Super Polaris. The biggest difference seems to be in the way the azimuth axis is attached to the rest of the mount. No doubt that's a big difference, since one of the big draws of the Polaris is that it can be used in alt-az mode. I've never owned a CG-4, but it doesn't look like it shares that feature.

#10 PaulEK

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:09 AM

Tom:

I think I have those same straps on the tripod for my Super Polaris (it may well be the same wooden tripod that you have). When I put the plywood on and tightened it up, the straps seemed strong enough to me to withstand the strain put on them. With all the opposing stresses, everything is quite solid. A chain might be even more secure, but I didn't find it necessary. So you might want to try that first.

#11 hottr6

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 02:29 PM

This is my first Polaris but I have had many of the Asian clones and I now see why people think so highly of this mount, it is much better than the clones.

Um, to my knowledge, the only clone of the Vixen Polaris was made by Mizar. There are many clones of the Super Polaris.

This is what happens when I put my foot in my mouth. :tonofbricks:

I have recently discovered that Tasco sold a mount that appears identical to the Vixen/Mizar Polaris, but was painted in black crackle enamel and mounted on aluminum legs.

So that makes a total of 3 manufacturers that sold the "Polaris" mount.






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