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conus
Post Laureate


Reged: 10/12/03
Posts: 3038
Loc: OC, Calif
Opticraft Mounts
      #1253787 - 11/15/06 09:34 PM

Has anyone seen or heard anything about these mounts? Looks like it could turn out to be a reasonably priced source of big EQ mounts.

http://www.opticcraft.com/

--------------------
Steve R.
Orion XT12
Fujinon 10x42
Oberwerk 12x60
Garrett Optical 15x70

http://www.telescopesinhistory.com


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Rusty
Postmaster


Reged: 08/06/03
Posts: 19246
Loc: Brooker, FL
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: conus]
      #1253983 - 11/15/06 11:22 PM

Tempting, but I'd be quite interested in PE and a few other specs.

--------------------
N11GPS Fastar//TOA-130S//MK66 Std//AT6RC//Vintage C5//Megrez II 80mm APO//SolarMax 40
NJP Temma II//Sirius EQ-G
Too Many Astro-Cameras//Mallincam Color Hyper Plus
Two not-spoiled Golden Retrievers - Casey and Nelson

Lot 19 Deerlick Astronomy Village (Canis Major)


Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea is quite staggering. - Arthur C. Clarke


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conus
Post Laureate


Reged: 10/12/03
Posts: 3038
Loc: OC, Calif
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: Rusty]
      #1254264 - 11/16/06 08:51 AM

Looks worth looking into. The Model 6, including RA and Dec drives, setting circles and counter weigths would come to around $6500.00. The weight capacity is supposed to be 210 lbs. The Model 5 is around 3k with a weight capacity of 161. If anyone needed a way to mount one of the bigger D&G refractors, this would do it.

--------------------
Steve R.
Orion XT12
Fujinon 10x42
Oberwerk 12x60
Garrett Optical 15x70

http://www.telescopesinhistory.com

Edited by conus (11/16/06 09:11 AM)


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gparkerson
Vendor (Astronomy Technology Today)


Reged: 01/21/05
Posts: 999
Loc: Louisiana
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: conus]
      #1254313 - 11/16/06 09:51 AM

I have an early version that equates to the current Model 5. I haven't used it in quite some time (with "portable" pier and mount plate it weighs around 450# and was purchased to carry a 12.5"f7.1 Newt, which it does with capacity to spare). I'm generally impressed with Opticraft's gear/worm assemblies and, although I haven't calculated PE, am left with the impression that it's relatively low.

--------------------
Gary


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bluestar
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/06/05
Posts: 1692
Loc: Maryland Eastern Shore
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: conus]
      #1254805 - 11/16/06 03:32 PM

Quote:

Has anyone seen or heard anything about these mounts? Looks like it could turn out to be a reasonably priced source of big EQ mounts.





They are. Opticraft was my new mount of choice for my big refractor until a mass-produced (kind-of) alternate fell into my lap. Opticraft did some upgrades to a previous big GEM for me and the workmanship was excellent.

--------------------
Pat Kelly @ Bluestar Observatory
D&G 8" f/12 w/AP1200DA
Previous telescopes A-Z; Astro-Physics to Zeiss
The Classic Refractor - A telescope everybody wants to have used but nobody wants to own.






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BYoesle
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/12/04
Posts: 3510
Loc: Washington USA
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: bluestar]
      #2088355 - 01/01/08 07:09 PM Attachment (70 downloads)

Quote:

I'm generally impressed with Opticraft's gear/worm assemblies and, although I haven't calculated PE, am left with the impression that it's relatively low.




Quote:

Opticraft did some upgrades to a previous big GEM for me and the workmanship was excellent.




Unfortunately, I can not concur with these assessments of Optic-Craft...

While upgrading a large GEM, I wanted to obtain a 12" RA drive that would be as similar as possible to my 8" Mathis drive, which would be used on the DEC axis. Mathis had gone out of business and Byers was nowhere to be found on the internet (apparently only providing drives to OEM's).

I contacted Optic-Craft by phone and discussed my situation, and was assured Optic-Craft could replicate my Mathis drive at 12" via the Sirius model.

I specifically requested that the clutch pressure plate bolts with the round knobs be deleted, and the circumference be hex-scribed to match the Mathis drive -- I sent the Mathis drive gear and worm bearing assembly in with my order so there could be no mistakes. As it turned out this was the least of the problems when I received the Sirius drive.

Here's a pic of the 8" Mathis worm gear/friction clutch:

Attachment

--------------------
Bob diagonally parked in a parallel universe...

Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it.



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BYoesle
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/12/04
Posts: 3510
Loc: Washington USA
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: BYoesle]
      #2088362 - 01/01/08 07:09 PM Attachment (67 downloads)

Here's the 8" Mathis worm and precision bearing block:

Attachment


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BYoesle
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/12/04
Posts: 3510
Loc: Washington USA
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: BYoesle]
      #2088372 - 01/01/08 07:12 PM Attachment (67 downloads)

Here's the Optic-Craft Sirius drive's clutch plate assembly I received after four months (not the 5-8 weeks advertised). Note the excessive length of the shaft collar, the presence of the pressure plate ball-tipped bolts, and the poor anodization of the threads:

Attachment


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BYoesle
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Reged: 06/12/04
Posts: 3510
Loc: Washington USA
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: BYoesle]
      #2088381 - 01/01/08 07:14 PM Attachment (59 downloads)

The clutch plate rear. Note the rear plate hole is so large that when attached to the shaft collar the attachment bolts are exposed! Also note the grease and grit covering the rear of the clutch plate:

Attachment


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BYoesle
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Reged: 06/12/04
Posts: 3510
Loc: Washington USA
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: BYoesle]
      #2088385 - 01/01/08 07:16 PM Attachment (54 downloads)

Close up of one of the exposed bolts. Note the rough finish of the clutch plate surfaces, and whose hole edge was sharp enough to cut my finger:

Attachment


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BYoesle
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/12/04
Posts: 3510
Loc: Washington USA
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: BYoesle]
      #2088401 - 01/01/08 07:21 PM Attachment (51 downloads)

While Optic-Craft required that I make precise measurements using a micrometer to ensure proper fit of the clutch assembly to the shaft, the clutch would not slide onto the shaft. Closer examination revealed the clutch collar securing bolt holes had not been de-burred:

Attachment


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BYoesle
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/12/04
Posts: 3510
Loc: Washington USA
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: BYoesle]
      #2088407 - 01/01/08 07:24 PM Attachment (51 downloads)

The worm itself is not designed as an integral part of the worm shaft (therefore it can cause eccentric rotation and significant periodic error), and it had lead-out damage:

Attachment


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BYoesle
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/12/04
Posts: 3510
Loc: Washington USA
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: BYoesle]
      #2088417 - 01/01/08 07:29 PM Attachment (51 downloads)

More importantly, the "worm bearings," "roller bearings," etc. are not true precision bearings or roller bearings at all. Instead they were rod end ball joints (a floating sleeve bearing of sorts) and cheap circular thrust bearings/washers, that would have considerable play and make the drive impractical for the computerized GO TO arc-second precision pointing which I needed for the drive, and for which I informed OC was the intended purpose.

Most of these components may cost all of $10-20 from a hardware store:

Attachment


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BYoesle
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/12/04
Posts: 3510
Loc: Washington USA
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: BYoesle]
      #2088426 - 01/01/08 07:31 PM Attachment (61 downloads)

Here's what the assembled worm gear system looked like (the synchronous motor came with the unit -- even though I didn't want it, OC said it was a "package deal" and no price reduction was offerred if it was not part of the order). Note the back plate is smaller than the drive gear itself:

Attachment


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BYoesle
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Reged: 06/12/04
Posts: 3510
Loc: Washington USA
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: BYoesle]
      #2088457 - 01/01/08 07:43 PM Attachment (48 downloads)

I was very unhappy about my $1200 investment, and immediately attempted to return the drive. Optic-Craft refused to take back the drive and give me a refund, stating the drive would work as warranted -- i.e. it would keep a daily siderial tracking rate accurately.

I was able to recoup about half my cost via reselling the drive.

Luckily I ended up finding a second-hand but unused 12" Mathis drive to complement my 8". It's a precision and quality drive system, equivalent to what an Edward R. Byers drive system offers today:

Attachment


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jsiska
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/12/06
Posts: 669
Loc: NW Ohio
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: BYoesle]
      #2088528 - 01/01/08 08:20 PM

Wow!

Jim

--------------------
Jim


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BYoesle
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/12/04
Posts: 3510
Loc: Washington USA
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: BYoesle]
      #2089964 - 01/02/08 01:46 PM

I forgot to add that while Mathis went out of business a while back, they have been back in production for some time, and offer very nice mounts -- and apparently still make their own drive systems:

http://mathis-instruments.com/

http://mathis-instruments.com/history.html

In any event, there is no substitute for quality, and as my experience with Optic-Craft proves, you're far better off in the long run by paying a little more for it -- as is true with just about everything!

--------------------
Bob diagonally parked in a parallel universe...

Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it.



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bluestar
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/06/05
Posts: 1692
Loc: Maryland Eastern Shore
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: BYoesle]
      #2090655 - 01/02/08 05:52 PM Attachment (59 downloads)

Hi Bob...Yes, the end result of my upgrade (and I can only speak from my experience, not yours) was excellent, but I did have an "uh oh"...and I think this is due to Opticraft not dealing with the gear AT HAND, but over the telephone having to relay mesurements.

In this case, you can see that the worm and gear do not meet.

Attachment

--------------------
Pat Kelly @ Bluestar Observatory
D&G 8" f/12 w/AP1200DA
Previous telescopes A-Z; Astro-Physics to Zeiss
The Classic Refractor - A telescope everybody wants to have used but nobody wants to own.






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bluestar
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/06/05
Posts: 1692
Loc: Maryland Eastern Shore
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: bluestar]
      #2090659 - 01/02/08 05:54 PM Attachment (50 downloads)

Another view...

Attachment

--------------------
Pat Kelly @ Bluestar Observatory
D&G 8" f/12 w/AP1200DA
Previous telescopes A-Z; Astro-Physics to Zeiss
The Classic Refractor - A telescope everybody wants to have used but nobody wants to own.






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bluestar
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/06/05
Posts: 1692
Loc: Maryland Eastern Shore
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: bluestar]
      #2090670 - 01/02/08 05:57 PM Attachment (54 downloads)

Shipped it back, called and discussed the problems...it came back ok later.

Attachment

--------------------
Pat Kelly @ Bluestar Observatory
D&G 8" f/12 w/AP1200DA
Previous telescopes A-Z; Astro-Physics to Zeiss
The Classic Refractor - A telescope everybody wants to have used but nobody wants to own.






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bluestar
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/06/05
Posts: 1692
Loc: Maryland Eastern Shore
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: bluestar]
      #2090688 - 01/02/08 06:05 PM Attachment (56 downloads)

For what its worth, I'm a visual only observer and upgraded this drive system only because the stock one had excessive backlash. Is the Opticraft product IMHO on par with Mathis...heck NO!...my interpretation (and I think others too) is that OC assembles pretty basic no-nonsense machining, mounts and drive systems...not ultra precise to computerized tolerances for imaging the likes of AP, Tak etc. This is akin to comparing apples to oranges. In the end they did ok in my book and the rig performed beautifully carrying a 5" f/12 D&G refractor.

Attachment


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BYoesle
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/12/04
Posts: 3510
Loc: Washington USA
Re: Opticraft Mounts new [Re: bluestar]
      #2094488 - 01/03/08 11:57 PM

Hi Pat,

I am glad you are happy with your Optic-Craft drive, and that it suits your purposes very well.

However, my expectations were based on personal assurances over the telephone that an Optic-Craft drive would be matched to and as good as or better than my Mathis drive, in addition to what Optic-Craft advertised as "custom machining", "quality workmanship", and "precision... meeting the exacting needs of the astronomical community", including "NASA" and many professional observatories. Optic-Craft goes out of the way to tout its precision machining to "AGMA level 15". And Optic-Craft stated it offers features not found on the "nearest comparable California manufacture of clock drives" (i.e. Byers, or perhaps even Mathis?), thus implying it could be compared to this un-named entity.

Custom is defined as "made or done to order, or sometimes made extra fine, as if to order."

Quality is defined as "the degree of excellence which a thing posesses; excellence; superiority."

Precision is defined as "the quality of being precise; accuracy."

Exacting is defined as "precise; demanding great care; patience, effort; making severe or strict demands."

I don't think many would disagree that my Optic-Craft drive, as documented above, had significant variances with the Optic-Craft statements. The defects in quality and workmanship illustrated above are certainly not what I expected for "operational characteristics [which] are unique and are not available from other drive manufacturers."

I wouldn't want anyone else to be as unsuspecting as I was when making an important and quite expensive purchase decision, especially since you have no right of return/refund under the Optic-Craft warranty.

--------------------
Bob diagonally parked in a parallel universe...

Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it.



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