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Equipment Discussions >> ATM, Optics and DIY Forum

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Achernar
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Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: ed_turco]
      #5544423 - 11/28/12 07:24 PM

The point is well taken, but I made two of my three telescopes. I only borrowed money to pay for the primary mirror of the 15-inch, and when I look at what people spend on jet skis, ATV's, hunting trips, cars and so forth, $4,000 to build my own 15-inch truss-tube isn't bad. I got a welding machine out of the deal that has already paid for itself keeping my grills going and making other things of use to me. Indeed, I will probably make money with it doing small welding jobs for folks. I will likely use my telescppes as long as my health allows me to enjoy astronomy and over many years what I spent on astronomy is a pittance already. And yes, I have no credit cards and little debt.

Taras


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bremms
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/31/12

Loc: SC
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: Chucky]
      #5544436 - 11/28/12 07:36 PM

Been thinking some of the same things I read here. I was out a couple of weeks ago using a Vietnam era Nagleresque military eyepiece. For $28.00 it was VERY good Not quite as good as a 31mm Nagler or WF but not THAT far off. It's less than a 10th the cost. Bought a used C11 for the price of one expensive eyepiece. I did get a "new" used Vixen OTArecently and Want to sell it, My 4" F15 Jaegers lens scope is a tiny bit better and cost less than $200 to put together. Used a few Naglers in the past, never did that much for me. They are nice, but I'd rather put the money into the scope. I like putting together good stuff on the cheap. Building my own, repurposing junk. A few years ago I was grabbing some nice metal pieces a neighbor put on the curb. She says "I want to recycle those".. OK.. I'm going to build things with them. She says "They need to be recycled". I look at her.. and say I'm going to turn them into something.. It's better than recycling.. The granola says.. "Whatever.. take them" She was about 20 years old and didn't really seem to understand about reusing an object and actually building something. Should have told her I was going to make an Art piece with the metal. I did with one piece anyway.

Sorry had to rant.


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tim53
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Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: Chucky]
      #5544482 - 11/28/12 08:13 PM

I'm working on settling on what I hope to use during my retirement. The house will be paid for, but it's a big house (Victorian on national register), so I'll be needing to be prepared for high water and cooling bills in summer and heating bills in winter. Some of that will be offset by not having kids at home by then.

My dad was a teenager during the depression. His family moved from Oklahoma to CA in the mid 30s. I just saw Ken Burns' "The Dust Bowl" on PBS last week. Now I understand that the recession we've been experiencing is nothing like what he lived through.

I grew up dreaming about the old-school telescopes of the 60s and 70s. Now, I find I can afford some of them, and have bought several. "Big" back then was 12.5", and is still currently my largest aperture.

I've taken a couple mirror making classes, and would like to make my own meter-class instrument for my retirement observatory. I don't know how realistic that is, though. But I do think that I could be happy with something much smaller, maybe even one of my 12.5"ers.

I don't really like altazimuth scopes still, though I do like wood, and I do like making my own stuff:



I prefer Porter over Dobson, though. And the next Springfield I build will have my own optics in it (the mirror in that one is from Optical Craftsmen, 1972).

Probably, though, if I ever do get to build a meter scope, I'll have to consider a Dobson mount if I'm going to expect to be able to lug it around msyelf (though if I build an observatory, maybe I can use a hoist to put a massive GEM together and leave it there, letting my kin dispose of it when I shove daisies).

-Tim.


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cheapersleeper
Post Laureate
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Reged: 01/22/10

Loc: Sachse TX
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: tim53]
      #5544499 - 11/28/12 08:26 PM

I am with Ed. My current income is pretty good for my region but being a divorced Dad who will likely henceforth be single, my money is better spent on my Son and making myself financially secure. I am cheap BY CHOICE and hope to get better at building the things I want to observe with.

Regards,
Brad


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Glen A W
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: USA
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: Chucky]
      #5544669 - 11/28/12 10:10 PM

Wow, what great posts! I am glad to see this addressed. I have been pretty sick of what astronomy has been "sort-of" turned into. I have purchased a few expensive items myself but the difference compared to good-quality items of reasonable price was slim.

Sky & Telescope magazine in particular seems ridiculous to me, with their non-stop coverage of the "Hottest Item of the Past Month." They have fallen so far.

How many times have I known people refer to "big people in astronomy" and then found they meant folks who run amateur equipment companies...

Then there are clubs with observatories worth six figures, but which they never really use.

I try to stay focused on where it's at - up there. I find a lot that is disconcerting about hobby astronomy today but it's just a reflection of our society and the fact that this interest has many wealthy and upper-middle class people involved. There have been times when I was well-off enough that I fell into these things as well, so I am not really directing anything nasty toward these folks. However, I do feel the whole scene has gone the wrong way since the 1980's.

But this is true of many things and many hobbies. For a lot of folks, their hobby is buying, and the psychology of why they buy what they do runs very deep and is probably a little sick, too.

GW


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mikey cee
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Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: cheapersleeper]
      #5544707 - 11/28/12 10:28 PM

Hi Ed.....It's nice to see that you decided to stay on board around here. I think your perspective is dead on and therefore your contributions are not only entertaining but very pertinent to some of the younger ones coming on board. I too have had an income level that some would blow coffee up their noses over. But so far I'm having the last laugh....along with my bride of some 30 years.....we got married late. You've heard of the old cliche' "it's not what you make that counts...but what you keep". That applies to more than just money and things I might ad. Another very simple principle that I've always believed in is "that just because you have the means to buy any and everything you want doesn't mean that you can afford it". For those that don't understand or believe in this basic premise you're in for a real rude awakening ....hopefully sooner than later! Mike

Edited by mikey cee (11/28/12 10:32 PM)


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Crayfordjon
Vendor - Zerochromat
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Reged: 06/17/09

Loc: UK
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5544943 - 11/29/12 03:13 AM

Re the comment about full thickness mirrors, back in the mid fifties when I wanted to make a twelve inch Newt, I tried a blank of 1 inch plate glass for the mirror, I made a test mirror which had a large chip on the edge, and was surprised how good it was, I certainly had no problem figuring it in the light of received advice from textbooks that such a thin mirror would be impossible to make. I was sold on thin mirrors and made em like that from there on. Didn't Bernhardt Schmidt make lenses from the bottoms of beer glasses as a "hobby", wonderful man.

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Jeff Morgan
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Reged: 09/28/03

Loc: Prescott, AZ
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: Crayfordjon]
      #5545195 - 11/29/12 09:51 AM

Quote:

Didn't Bernhardt Schmidt make lenses from the bottoms of beer glasses as a "hobby", wonderful man.




Nourished only by brandy and cigars.


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Crayfordjon
Vendor - Zerochromat
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Reged: 06/17/09

Loc: UK
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5545265 - 11/29/12 10:32 AM

And he did it all single handed.

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ed_turco
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 08/29/09

Loc: Lincoln, RI
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: Crayfordjon]
      #5545507 - 11/29/12 01:01 PM

I am amazed and humbled by the posts that followed my opening post. I can't put a +1 next to all the posts so I'll put a +100 here and let it go.

I'm going to put something on here that may seem hokey, but this refers to our early telescope makers, some of whom are mentioned here: Here goes:

"Lives of great men all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us,
Footprints on the sands of time.
Footprints that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing shall take heart again.
Then let us be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate!
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Ed


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Jeff Morgan
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Reged: 09/28/03

Loc: Prescott, AZ
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: Crayfordjon]
      #5546365 - 11/29/12 10:20 PM

Quote:

And he did it all single handed.




That thought didn't occur to me until you mentioned it


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Crayfordjon
Vendor - Zerochromat
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Reged: 06/17/09

Loc: UK
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5546626 - 11/30/12 03:21 AM

Yeah, for those not in the know, he blew his hand off making a gunpowder bomb as a kid. Imagine making all those mirrors using only one hand! phew, what a guy.

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highfnum
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 09/06/06

Loc: NE USA
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: Crayfordjon]
      #5546705 - 11/30/12 06:51 AM

I'd spent 35k on hobby
But that is over 40 years


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roscoe
curmudgeon
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Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: highfnum]
      #5546766 - 11/30/12 08:06 AM

This thread is really gratifying to me, because I sometimes feel that I'm a kid playing with the big guys..... as a rural person with skills in carpentry and farming, neither of which pay well, I've always been limited to a hundred dollars or so a year for my hobby. I'm sort of envious of the folks who pay more for two eyepieces than I did for my best scope.... but it was I who chose a life in a low-income area, and chose low-income, physically demanding work, so I have only myself to blame for my situation. While I/we have no debts, we also have no retirement savings, and social security will help, but not provide comfort. I'll be working till I drop..... Fortunately for us, we have always lived an alternate, earlier sort of lifestyle, I'm seen as a back-to-the-land'er hippie, except that I never left the land, so have inherited the skills and mindset to live with a low income.
But, in the world of astronomy, I'm finally starting to build my new observatory (I'll be moving out of my converted chicken coop!!) and because I have a small sawmill and wood available on our farm, I'm able to build it for the cost of some concrete and roofing. A few days cutting a couple of trees and sawing all the lumber (which happened a year ago, so the boards are dry and ready to use) and a few more days building the structure, is in the end, the same as working somewhere else for a week and building it myself, or working a few of weeks and paying someone else to build it. Do I sometimes wish I'd finished college instead of dropping out to work on a framing crew and go hiking? Every day. My back, and my bank account, would both be in much better shape. Would I have mag 5 skies over my roof? Nope. Everything is a tradeoff.

Thanks, Ed, for getting some of us to think about the issue.

Russ


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Crayfordjon
Vendor - Zerochromat
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Reged: 06/17/09

Loc: UK
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: roscoe]
      #5546906 - 11/30/12 10:15 AM

Your lifestyle aint so bad, at least you are not up to your ears in massive debt,and this is mostly due to the modern philosophy that "I must have it now" so out comes the ol credit card and spend spend spend till you drop, result, too many folk are up to £30,000 pounds in debt, just so they can keep up with everybody else, it is a national disease in this country. You buy what you can afford, husband your money carefully and if you cannot meet the price, you go without until you can. This old fashioned attitude is considered quaint in this consumer society, I bet you use cash too dont you, so do I. You enjoy your hard won scopes, because they are hard won, and you use them gratefully and enjoy them, and you see the stars. not many people see the stars these days, only capital.

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glennnnnnn
sage


Reged: 10/20/09

Loc: San Diego, CA
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: Crayfordjon]
      #5547890 - 11/30/12 09:11 PM

Blame it on those useless people running ad campaigns. They seem to excell at convincing you that what you really need is what they're selling. Look at high-end telescope sales pitches and how they appeal to your ego. But they sell everything else that way too, and it takes a centered, intelligent person to see through this plan and save his money. (And not have a huge debt!)
-If you know what you're doing a fine optical instrument has never been so affordable!!


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mikey cee
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Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: glennnnnnn]
      #5547987 - 11/30/12 10:33 PM

Don't blame it on Madison Ave. Blame it on irresponsibilty. We are all except for young 'uns and the retarded our own worst enemy when it comes to debt. Priorities gone astray lead to debt. Too much credit and too little insurance are just several reasons people are where they are in life. Many more reasons and excuses exist but these are just the bigger reasons. No easy answers but then nothing easy ever costs less in the long run. Mike

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Crayfordjon
Vendor - Zerochromat
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Reged: 06/17/09

Loc: UK
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5548248 - 12/01/12 03:31 AM

High end scopes, yerse! we know what they are. Fashion has it that the apo triplet is the ultimate in must have, because others have it too, and of course it must be no bigger than a beer can. Result, a very costly OG using exotic fluoro glass. Having a long focus cheaper achro is out, why, it is no longer fashionable. Oh no! you will say, we are buying excellence, so? doesn't a good reflector give equal if better performance at higher apertures. Remember with a triplet you pay out a hefty wad for nothing more than a 3 to 4 inch scope! Oh by the way, don't trot out the old knee jerk reaction about central obstruction.

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Chucky
sage
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Reged: 04/16/10

Loc: Dublin, Ohio
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: Crayfordjon]
      #5548328 - 12/01/12 06:26 AM

<< Priorities gone astray lead to debt. >>

Cloudy skies lead to debt.


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ed_turco
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 08/29/09

Loc: Lincoln, RI
Re: During the Great Recession new [Re: Chucky]
      #5548584 - 12/01/12 11:00 AM

This has been very humbling to me. I never knew I had so many ATMs who agreed with me. Thank you.

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