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/ Custom Case Built - 12" LX200
Custom Case Built - 12" LX200
September 6, 2011 10:57 PM
This thread is for those who may search for case ideas in the future.
I am the new owner of a 12" LX200 and needed a case to transport it. I could not find one I liked or could afford so I decided to build one myself.
- protect the scope
- ability to move up/down two flights of stairs alone
- assure load/impact stress is on the base/yoke and not the optical tube
- wicked strong without excessive weight
- manageable with one person
- ship-able (ATA style case); I may decide to ship to DR Clay Sherrod in the future.
- All hardware is manufactured by Penn-Elcom and sourced from
- 3/8" plywood
- black formica
- 1/4" plywood for interior cavity
- 3/16" foam (it was free and as a benefit I was able to build layers for a progressive custom fit)
- rivet only construction (no glue or screws)
I am still finishing the case but for all intense and purpose it is done.
(opposite the wheels).
The handles are low so when rolling the case it is near its natural balance point.
The wheels are at the outside edge for maximum stability and rated for 250lbs. The handles are above the bulk of the scope when laying down, this will offset the low handles at the other end when carrying with two people - it will be naturally stable.
I have not finished the lid interior however it is obvious what I am doing. The strip in the middle holds the optical tube in place. The two foam blocks seal in the contents of the four pockets during transport.
When I completed the case I realized I could insert and remove the scope vertically and doing so would minimize potential back issues from bending over. Also, I discovered the 12" OTA is nose heavy and does not like being laid down in a case, thus this is a nice solution.
ignore the 2x4, it will eventually be replaced with appropriate feet.
The gap between the yoke/pocket is smaller than the gap between the OTA and top of the case. The yoke will absorb shock, not the OTA.
Essentially the same as above. BTW, there is a 1/2" difference between the width of the yoke on the drive side and non-drive side.
The 1/4" ply under the base is sitting on an inch+ of foam. The foam compresses when the scope is put in place and expands when the case is laid down creating a nice snug fit.
The foam gets progressively thicker as the scope is inserted; full thickness would make insertion more difficult. The thicker pads on the sides eliminate potential yoke rotation during transport. The large openings conveniently hold cables and other whatnot.
So there you have it, an ATA style custom built case for a 12" LX200 telescope. Now I need to find time to use it.
September 7, 2011 4:23 PM
That's a really really really nice case (trunk). I wish I had the talent to build stuff..just putting up a shelf (leveled) in the garage is a challenge for me. Might I ask how much it cost to build the case?
September 7, 2011 4:59 PM
Material cost is under $400.
I have between 40-50 hours invested, most due to figuring the best way to support the base and how large to make the pockets.
September 7, 2011 10:24 PM
Really well done.Shaping the interior in that manner creates a secure and protected cavity for the scope and room for accessory pockets. Is that memory foam?
Enjoy the sky,
September 8, 2011 7:40 AM
This is not memory foam, this is the type of foam usually used in musical instrument cases; I can never remember if it is polyurethane or polyethylene.
I was somewhat concerned about scope size/weight initially, now I have a case and learned how to load/unload the case from my car I am sure I will be using it relatively frequently.
September 8, 2011 12:02 PM
Just from the pictures, I'd be concerned that there's not enough foam. I'd want at least 2" all around. The idea is that you never want it to be completely compressed under g-loading from any direction. The more distance the contents have to decelerate, the lower the impact forces.
September 8, 2011 2:31 PM
Initially I intended to have 20" of foam on all sides but when I started calling case builders I quickly learned 1" is the industry standard; transporting a $30k mixing board = 1" of foam on all sides.
When you consider the total surface area of the cargo/foam mating, the compression ratio of the foam, it becomes fairly obvious an inch is enough.
The surface area of the lens hood is over 145 sq inches, though I have the shoulders taking the brunt of any impact.
I do, by the way, have 1.25-1.5" of case clearance between the lens hood/case, and base/case. Nearly 2" on each side of the yoke. The scope lays on about 1.5" of foam with another 3"+ above it in the lid. The extra room in the lid will allow attachments (finder scope, dovtails, etc) to remain installed during transit.
I am not going to claim it is perfect but it I am confident my cargo is safe while in my hands. If I ever want to ship it to Clay Sherrod I make crate my case with an additional 1-2" of foam just to be safe.
September 8, 2011 3:34 PM
Well done then! I trust your research. Like I said, it's had to tell from just the pics.
September 9, 2011 11:04 AM
That is a great looking case... Very well done..
Sears 4-6305 60mmX900mm
Meade LX-50 10" with LX-200 Classic forks
October 8, 2012 6:10 PM
great looking case!
Its been over a year how is the case holding up? Any Mods you have done to the case in that time? And If you was to build it again what if anything would you do different?
Thanks for sharing you project very nice case.
Astronomy is looking Up!
Kevin D. Astro- Tech Equipment 80mm f/7,72mm f/6, 66mm f/5 Refractors, 200mm f/8 Ritchey Chretien Astrograph,200mm f/12 Mak Cass Meade Equipment 70mm f/5 ETX , 152mm f/3.6 Comet Catcher,12" LX200 Orion Starshooter color, Canon 3ti,FLI 8300 CGEM-DX, LX55, LX80 mount
May 8, 2013 7:17 PM
May 8, 2013 11:55 PM
I will try to take a few photos this weekend and a bit of an update.
May 13, 2013 8:47 PM
To avoid any damage to the gear train transport the scope with both clutches unlocked. If there is any movement you don't want the gears taking any stress.
Agree on the strength of foam. My JMI case has 2" or more in most areas, but only about an inch in some areas. In six years of transport I have not seen any degradation of the foam or any sign of wear on the scope from the foam compressing more than it should. The foam is thinnest at the top and bottom, but the forks are secured so there is no movement at all.
JMI has a customer that had a large scope in one of their cases that was ejected through a van window in a rollover accident, and the scope was fine. This surprised me because the case closures on my JMI case don't seem to be the most secure. I am often finding one or more of them unlocked when I arrive at destination.
At the end of the day, if you suffer damage to the transport case you can expect the potential of scope damage. That's why I have insurance on my scope.
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