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#1 Jeff Esposito

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 06:09 PM

I really would like to try my hand at building a 12" truss tube dob, but I've no woodworking experience at all.

This means I own no power tools (other than a hand-held drill).

Is there some way I can do this without spending a bunch of money on tools such as a table saw and router?

I know there are "kits" out there that provide pre-cut wood -- but they seem expensive for what you get. Plus designing the dob seems like fun and I would lose out that with a kit.

So should I invest $500-$600 in some basic power tools and maybe take a beginner woodworking class so I don't cut off my thumbs?

Is it hard to use a focuser without thumbs? :)

#2 tag1260

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 06:22 PM

Hit your local pawn shop for power tool. They usually have them used at a great discount. If you have a drill, you could get by with a jig saw and a router. Doesn't need to be anything too fancy. I've seen guys that were good with the jig saw get by without the router but it takes a LOT of practice. I've got the tools but am just now in the process of building my first scope.

The biggest rule would naturally be, don't put your finger (or thumbs) near the business end of the tools!!!!

#3 Jeff Esposito

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 06:30 PM

Good idea -- buying used. I can check out pawn shops and craigslist.

Is it really possible to cut a good straight line with a jigsaw?

#4 mikey cee

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 06:38 PM

Use a clamped straight edge either wood or metal such as a yardstick etc. ;) Mike

#5 Tom and Beth

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 06:49 PM

Check your area for a stores that sell to woodworkers. You might find a bulletin board where you can either pay someone to do the woodcutting for you, or trade something you can do they can't.

When you consider the amount of money a shop needs to invest to have all the tools to cut your patterns, 400 bucks isn't that expensive.

#6 Tom and Beth

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 06:49 PM

Check your area for a stores that sell to woodworkers. You might find a bulletin board where you can either pay someone to do the woodcutting for you, or trade something you can do they can't.

When you consider the amount of money a shop needs to invest to have all the tools to cut your patterns, 400 bucks isn't that expensive.

#7 stargazer193857

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 08:23 PM

I would stay away from power saws in all forms. I've known skilled construction workers who cut a finger tip off when the saw caught something and jumped.

Go to a hardware store like home depot and get some strips of wood, less than 1" think. Dowels come to mind. Or order aluminum tubing online. It is very affordable. Use a fine tooth hand saw and cut it the short way. Safe and easy.

The base will involve more cuts, but not too many if you design it right. Good exercise.


Pawn shops vary, but my experience is they want close to new prices for used stuff, unless you just want to dig a socket or a wrench out of a pile. Good prices there compared to new.

#8 steveastrouk

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 03:37 AM

See if these guys can help.
http://omahamakergroup.org/about/

#9 roscoe

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 07:57 AM

High schools and community colleges and even big-box hardware stores often offer 'woodworking for beginners' classes, you might look into this option, as they offer skilled instructors and a gazillion dollars of tools and machinery, and every neighborhood has a hobby woodworker who has a basement or garage shop that'd make you drool, you might ask at a local hardware store for suggestions.... and you could put an ad on craigslist looking for someone to cut the major parts out for you, or if there's an astro-society nearby, inquire there. I'd vote for buying some cheap tools and self-teaching being a last resort, or if you end up going that route, building a couple of starter-projects first....a bookcase or small table or the like, before you bite into the more expensive, and more precise, world of scopes....


#10 rboe

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 09:08 AM

Go with a kit. Sure it's priced a bit higher but you are paying someone else to put their fleshy bits at risk, do the labor AND buy the tools (and get them sharpened).

A whole lot cheaper than buying the tools your self (then buying again because you were cheap and bought a *BLEEP* tool so you had to go get another better tool - education can be expensive too! :) ).

Then all you "need" to buy is a nice sander if you like. Otherwise hand sanding is fine.

I have all the tools. I still have all my digits (but not for lack of trying and one finger is no longer normal after a nasty router run in) and I'm a tool junkie. Bought cheap tools, bought good tools; today I'm leaning more towards tools without power cords and most without a battery. Not there yet.

Then there are materials. Ask the guys here that started out on the cheap; messed up on some cuts or perhaps a bad glue up and had to go buy more material and remake the parts.

A local fellow, not active on here anymore, went with an Astro Systems kit and did a real bang up job building it. Oh man it was sweet (if you put the time in finishing the scope; and it takes a bit of skill and patience) the pay back is huge. Sure it will be a kit scope; but you can make look like a work of art - or nearly so - with a good finish.

Then down the road if you get smitten with the building bug you can look at getting some tools and making some stuff on your own. With your lack of experience a kit will be the bee's knee's to give you SOME experience at building with a very high probability of success and you'll end up with a working scope first try.

#11 John Jarosz

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 09:15 AM

I've said it many times: One doesn't do ATM to save money. We do ATM because we want to make something unique and we enjoy making things. If you aren't interested in making things as a lifelong avocation, then maybe ATM is not for you. In addition, power tools alone do not allow anyone to turn them on and make perfect parts. There is a level of skill required that takes time and experience over a lot of imperfect projects before one becomes accomplished at any kind of construction. Every one here who has made telescopes has also made a LOT of scrap so be prepared. If this sounds negative, well maybe it is - but I also believe it to be realistic.

If you still feel like you'd like to try to make your own scope there are lots of people here (myself included) that will help you think it through. But in the end, you won't save money.

#12 herrointment

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 09:16 AM

A few years back a fellow built a 16" dob and started with no tools or much knowledge. He did get it built with a little cajoling from CN members.

"Mantrain" scared the bejebbers out of some of us.

Perhaps a look at his thread is in order.......LINK

#13 roscoe

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 10:52 AM

Yeah, I'm with these guys.....buy a kit. It'll cost you the same as a couple pieces of plywood and 3 or 4 power tools that aren't the absolutely cheapest ones you can find....and your chances of counting to ten in the end will be assured.... And a Ron says, it's not just about owning the tools, it's about the time it takes to learn to run them safely and accurately, and the time it takes to learn to keep them tuned and sharp. I've eaten sawdust for 50 years, and I'm still learning the trade......
R

#14 Pinbout

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:05 PM

http://www.cloudynig...6325145/page...

its almost a kit with a lot of details still needed to work out.

not very hard to make it with no power tools if its cnc'd

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#15 tubehead999

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:33 PM

Suggestion for you...here is a base set of optics and assorted to start from if you decide to buy a kit, or build one with assistance from others.

A much better use of your 500 dollars. And from the verbiage of the ad..this gentleman may be willing to deal, as long as you wave cash in front of him.

I know it is in Lincoln, so there will be a drive, but for the money, that is a nice price for a 17 inch Coulter. Also gives you quite an inexpensive base set of optics/parts to build around.

You can use this monster and then take your time with the decision to truss it out.

Be careful, you may need a truss yourself if you lift it incorrectly :grin:.

http://lincoln.craig...4256245353.html

#16 Pinbout

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:38 PM

Be careful, you may need a truss yourself if you lift it incorrectly .

http://lincoln.craig...4256245353.html



buy the mirror set and throw everything else away.

a 16" truss will take 3 sheets of 5x5. :grin:

#17 Jeff Esposito

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 01:49 PM

I see a 16" or bigger in my future, but I decided to start with a 12" as a first attempt.

The thing about buying a kit is that, to me, the design is the fun part.

I've previously seen pinbout's 12" thread(http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1), and it's kind of what inspired me.

I'm reading the Mantrain thread with great interest now.

#18 Roy McCoy

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 02:21 PM

the design is the fun part



So just do that.

Then send the parts to be cut on a CNC router, waterjet, or at a cabinet shop. Now you can assemble and finish your design.

I have many years of experience in wood and some in metal. I have all the tools I need to do either. In my next project, I intend to get some of the parts cut on a waterjet. Why? It makes my design easier because I can draw parts that I don't have the tools to make easily.

If you want an education; then good for you. Expect to pay $500 - $750 minimum in tools and learning materials (scrap).
Then figure in the materials for your dob.

Good luck on your project.

Roy

#19 Starman1

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 03:04 PM

I really would like to try my hand at building a 12" truss tube dob, but I've no woodworking experience at all.

This means I own no power tools (other than a hand-held drill).

Is there some way I can do this without spending a bunch of money on tools such as a table saw and router?

I know there are "kits" out there that provide pre-cut wood -- but they seem expensive for what you get. Plus designing the dob seems like fun and I would lose out that with a kit.

So should I invest $500-$600 in some basic power tools and maybe take a beginner woodworking class so I don't cut off my thumbs?

Is it hard to use a focuser without thumbs? :)

I agree with those who suggested a kit. Investigate both dobstuff.com and Astrosystems.biz as examples of kits. Other makers will also do just the structures.
Also, I don't know what services your local lumber stores offer, but ours here in L.A. will cut your wood for you for a modest fee. If you got all your pieces pre-cut, then sanding, drilling, and finishing could easily be done without many tools.
But, if it were me, I'd go for the kit. It's a lot easier than doing it yourself. And perhaps the kit maker would make mods for you. Rob Teeter of Teeter's telescopes would, and I bet others would as well.

#20 Jeff Esposito

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 04:11 PM

It occurs to me that I may be trying to run before I know how to walk.

Here is what I was thinking. (I've been doing tons of reading and research, and I found this basic idea on the Royce optics site.)

[]<[]>O

So, on the left is an open air mirror box, with truss rods to a center box, and then trusses to the uta.

The idea was that the center box would make it convertible. I could attach altitude bearings for use with a dob base; or I could attach it to a plate for use with an EQ mount.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this: more stability due to the double trusses, but much less portability as a dob since the base would end up being tall.

But now I think that starting with an unusual idea might be a mistake -- maybe I should just make a tried-and-true "Kreige" style dob for a first project.

So I'm going to start with pinbout's design (cnc cut) to get some basic atm'ing under my belt.

Hopefully I can get this project finished by spring.

#21 Starman1

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 05:23 PM

Well, as for the double truss, read this:
http://www.cloudynig...hp?item_id=2571
but if you seriously think about mounting such a scope on an EQ mount, EEK!
That mount will have to be a super-heavy duty mount, perhaps at least
a Losmandy Titan, AP1200 or a Paramount ME or similar. Because not only will you need that capacity for anything even resembling low PE, but because such a large scope will make a huge wind sail. Unless it's to be mounted in a wind-protective observatory environment, you'll need a mount with at least twice the weight capacity of the scope you mount, and a really lightweight version of that size scope will be around 50 lbs.
My advice would be for a standard low COG dob for the 12" (whether ultralight or standard) and a smaller scope for astrophotography (like an 8" f/4 or a catadioptric if you wanted a longer focal length with small size and weight).

It's fun to construct a scope--I've done it a couple times--but unless you value your time at $0 per hour, or have a complete woodworking shop on hand, it's a lot easier and probably cheaper to simply buy a kit or even a finished structure.

P.S. If you want something really unique, try finishing the dob in something like a black piano lacquer finish or a gloss urethane finish several layers thick over a honey-stain. Then, not only beautiful, but fairly unique.

#22 careysub

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 05:31 PM

I really would like to try my hand at building a 12" truss tube dob, but I've no woodworking experience at all.

This means I own no power tools (other than a hand-held drill).

Is there some way I can do this without spending a bunch of money on tools such as a table saw and router?

I know there are "kits" out there that provide pre-cut wood -- but they seem expensive for what you get. Plus designing the dob seems like fun and I would lose out that with a kit.

So should I invest $500-$600 in some basic power tools and maybe take a beginner woodworking class so I don't cut off my thumbs?
...


Unless you are planning on taking up telescope building as a continuing hobby, expecting to build several scopes over the years, get a kit. Seriously. I know what I am talking about.

I went down the road you are contemplating and the total cost to get to where you want to go will considerably exceed what you expect, and it will take far longer than you think. The cost of the power tools is just part of the picture. If you really haven't done woodworking there are a bunch of non-power tools and materials you will find you need as well.

The cost for a Dobstuff kit, ready to assembly with a drill (which you have) other than sanding and finishing, in 12" size is $695. That (unrealistic) estimate of $600 for getting set up plus the cost of the materials for the build (even with no learner's wastage) already exceeds what Dennis charges. You will save money and time (lots of time) by going with the kit. Dennis offers the best prices in this space.

Designing scopes is fun. Lots of fun! But the time and start-up cost is substantial.

Even if you plan to get into ATMing in a continuing way, you could do far worse than starting with a kit to get your hand in.

#23 cpr1

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 10:10 PM

If you have no woodworking experience at all I would suggest a professionally made kit like dobstuff or a telekit.
Both designs are proven and tested and just work. Unless you plan to take up scopebuilding and woodworking as a hobby. Good luck.

#24 jpcannavo

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 06:44 AM

And what ever you decide, you should own:
The Dobsonian

#25 careysub

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 10:35 AM

Use a clamped straight edge either wood or metal such as a yardstick etc. ;) Mike


Helps, but jigsaw blades still flex some and then there is the edge splintering from the up and down cutting.

It is hard (I would say impractical if not impossible) to get a clean edge with a jig saw/sabre saw, whatever you get will have to be cleaned up in some other way (like routing or sanding with a sanding block or a belt sander). I made a nifty and simple jig to convert my hand held belt sander into a table belt sander, which works very well - saving space and money. You can shape wood quite well using such a set-up.

I find jig saws handy for rough cutting.






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