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ukcanuck
Vendor (Skylight Telescopes)
*****

Reged: 11/07/06

Loc: London, UK
Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF!
      #4318161 - 01/16/11 01:21 PM

Feeling somewhat inspired, I've decided to take a project that has sat on my back burner for some time and bump it up the to-do list.

The basics of the project is this: Take my 100mm/F15 Skylight Refractor, and shrink it to 60mm aperture proportions. The result will be the same fusion of Victorian design and modern engineering, but in miniature. This 60mm /F15-ish refractor will have the same quality of design and manufacture, and I aim to keep the design and build even more in-house than my 100mm...thanks to recent investment in workshop tooling!

My aim is to show the Skylight F15m (mini) for the first time alongside it's bigger brother(s) at NEAF in April 2011, where I will be presenting. But until then, I will update this thread as the design and build progresses.

Feedback at all stages will be welcome, either on this thread or via pm, and all thoughts and suggestions will be welcomed.

My ultimate goal is to create a refractor that ultimately ticks the box of upholding the standard of design & quality my 100mm has set, and that of a small, affordable package.

Watch this space for more to come...


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Astrojensen
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Bornholm, Denmark
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4318586 - 01/16/11 04:52 PM

Hi Richard

I'd like to make a few suggestions, if I may.

First, make the tube 3" diameter. This will ensure the possibility of using the 3" Sky-Watcher tube rings, which will make it easy to mount and put extra accesories on it, should that be desired. A oversized tube wil also be easier to baffle effectively.

Second, use a 2" focuser. A 60mm f/15 with a 2" 40mm widefield eyepiece under a dark sky must be seen to be believed. Ultra pinpoint stars from edge to edge without any field flatteners or the like.

Third, use the 2" Baader Steeltrack on this sweet little thing. We want the best.

Fourth, the Baader Steeltrack uses Zeiss M68 threads to attach the 72mm dovetail to the tube adapter. Put at least a 60mm extension tube between the tube adapter and the M68/72mm dovetail so that the scope can be binoviewer friendly be removing the extension tube. A 60mm extension tube should be enough if the scope is set up to accept a 2" diagonal coming to focus about 40mm out, at least with a Baader Maxbright bino. I am not sure about other binoviewers. Perhaps better make the extension 100mm.

Fifth, the finderscope. A long 25mm or 30mm straight-through would look classic on a small scope such as this. PLEASE make it in brass! Power should be 8x, no higher. 10x is acceptable on a 30mm version.

Sixth, tube color. Personally, I'd like it in white with black lens cell and focuser cell and with brass finderscope with black finderscope rings.

Seventh: Looong dewcap. At least 2x the lens diameter. More like 3x. Same color as the main tube.

Maybe not what you had in mind, but hey, you wanted suggestions!


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Wes James
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/12/06

Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4318589 - 01/16/11 04:53 PM

I'll take mine with a Moonlight 3 knob focuser!
Very excited about this project, Richard... f/15's nice! CNC rings would seem to be a must... collimatable cell, as previously suggested.


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ngc2289
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/13/05

Loc: Corpus Christi, TX.
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #4318625 - 01/16/11 05:16 PM

I think the focal length should be at least 1000mm, although 1200mm would be even better.

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Doug76
Long Achro Junkie
*****

Reged: 12/05/07

Loc: Refractor Heaven
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ngc2289]
      #4318755 - 01/16/11 06:26 PM

I'm thinking in this 60mm it would be easy to be side tracked from the mission objective. So if you make it as a true mini version of the 100mm, I think you have a winner.

Edited by Doug76 (01/17/11 01:29 AM)


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Wes James
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/12/06

Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Doug76]
      #4318768 - 01/16/11 06:35 PM

I'd like to see the tube leaning towards heavy wall thickness... something that feels like Takahashi quality... powdercoated vs. painted?
Wes


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7331Peg
Sirius Observer
*****

Reged: 09/01/08

Loc: North coast of Oregon
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Wes James]
      #4318824 - 01/16/11 07:02 PM

Geez, this thing is quickly going into the unaffordable territory if all the suggestions (which really are great) were to be implemented.

I'll vote for somewhere in between.


John


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BillP
Postmaster
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Reged: 11/26/06

Loc: Vienna, VA
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: 7331Peg]
      #4319354 - 01/16/11 10:37 PM

Quote:

Geez, this thing is quickly going into the unaffordable territory if all the suggestions (which really are great) were to be implemented.

I'll vote for somewhere in between.


John




I agree...and look forward to some affordable pricing.


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RAKing
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/28/07

Loc: West of the D.C. Nebula
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Doug76]
      #4320059 - 01/17/11 10:03 AM

Quote:

I'm thinking in this 60mm it would be easy to be side tracked from the mission objective. So if you make it as a true mini version of the 100mm, I think you have a winner.




I agree with Doug and I hope to see it at NEAF.

Ron


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Jim Curry
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/29/07

Loc: STL
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: RAKing]
      #4320148 - 01/17/11 10:45 AM

Hey Richard:
Fantastic idea. I recently picked up a Unitron 60mm so I'm into it!
How about offering some lens/cell sets for sale as well, for the most part I'm an ATM type guy and I'll bet you'd do well with ATM sales as well.

Regards,
Jim


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eric_zeiner
Phoenix's Dad
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Reged: 12/09/06

Loc: Georgia USA 34 31'57.18N 83 53...
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4320171 - 01/17/11 10:54 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Geez, this thing is quickly going into the unaffordable territory if all the suggestions (which really are great) were to be implemented.

I'll vote for somewhere in between.


John




I agree...and look forward to some affordable pricing.




Me too.


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zjc26138
Loved By All
*****

Reged: 02/24/05

Loc: Mingo Junction, Ohio
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: eric_zeiner]
      #4320290 - 01/17/11 11:51 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Geez, this thing is quickly going into the unaffordable territory if all the suggestions (which really are great) were to be implemented.

I'll vote for somewhere in between.


John




I agree...and look forward to some affordable pricing.




Me too.




Me three.


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donnw
sage
*****

Reged: 08/03/08

Loc: Maryland
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: 7331Peg]
      #4320469 - 01/17/11 01:19 PM

Hi All:

I agree with John - a balance is good ;-) Since this should be much more affordable than the 100, it should result in a higher volume of sales if priced at the right point. I know if your facility is not set up to do large quantity, then too low a price would not be a good thing for the supplier, but if priced like a Takahashi, it won't be a good thing for the buying community.

This could be likened to my pet peeve on the automakers - especially US: why on earth won't one of the big three give us a car that is styled like a supercar (low, wide, gorgeous curves but not too many) but performs at the 80% point so it could sell for less than $30K? I mean, how much would it hurt the bottom line to make a reasonably priced beautiful sportscar, vs a bunch of me toos? Same thing here - give it the look and feel of a fine vintage refractor of a century past without the stratospheric pricing. How about gloss black or deep red with brass (or gold anodize) cell, focuser, etc.? (There's eough white tube scopes in the world ;-) Just my two cents...


Quote:

Geez, this thing is quickly going into the unaffordable territory if all the suggestions (which really are great) were to be implemented.

I'll vote for somewhere in between.


John




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ngc2289
Post Laureate
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Reged: 04/13/05

Loc: Corpus Christi, TX.
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: donnw]
      #4320558 - 01/17/11 02:02 PM

I for one want the scope to maintain the Victorian look!!

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ukcanuck
Vendor (Skylight Telescopes)
*****

Reged: 11/07/06

Loc: London, UK
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ngc2289]
      #4320818 - 01/17/11 04:00 PM

Quote:

I for one want the scope to maintain the Victorian look!!




Me too.

Ok…there’s some nice balance in the posts here, thanks. I like balance.

First of all, I’d like to open about my schedule…I’m exhibiting at Astrofest in London on Feb 4th & 5th, and am currently working flat-out to get another new refractor ready for then. So work on the F15m will not get underway until the second week of February.

Also (like any other commercial venture) there are restrictions that I will need to work within. Building a 60mm refractor that does absolutely everything for everyone and sells for 4 figures or more is not sensible or practical... see here: The Homer

When designing my refractors, I will unashamedly admit that I build them to look at, as well as through! I think my 100mm is drop dead gorgeous (if I do say so myself )…and the F15m will be quite literally a miniaturization of this refractor. I love the way brass looks on black, so the F15m will be black. Out of necessity, I also have to be careful with the use of brass…brass in the modern world is treated (& often priced) like some kind of precious metal, and getting off the shelf parts can be difficult (if not impossible). However, there will definitely be brass on the F15m.

An oversize tube is not really an option for me (sorry Thomas), as the aesthetic result would simply be too lumpish for my tastes. Also, the focuser is one of my tougher decisions, as I’m unconvinced that a Steeltrack or Moonlight is the way to go…but I’ll deal with this when the time comes.

I’m not set up for volume…and I wouldn’t have it any other way! As with the 100mm, each F15m will be a labour of love, and will be unique. However, even with this in mind, affordability remains a key point for me.

At the moment, here are the few thoughts in my head (it’s mostly empty at present).
  • Extra long dew shield (Thank you Thomas), made of brass (just like its’ big brother)
  • Brass finder (I have some ideas here)
  • Long, elegant, slender powdercoated gloss black OTA (just like its’ big brother)
  • Collimateable cell
  • Focuser…???

More later...


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Gone caving
Vendor- Lunt Solar Systems, Lunt Engineering
*****

Reged: 04/02/07

Loc: Underground... really
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ngc2289]
      #4320819 - 01/17/11 04:00 PM

Another reason to come to NEAF 2011 .....Who know's this year it's built your own scope????????

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Astrojensen
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Bornholm, Denmark
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4320947 - 01/17/11 05:04 PM

Hi Richard

No need to be sorry! You wanted suggestions and I gave you some. Here are some more:

Focuser: As you're clearly concerned (rightly) about the scope getting too expensive, I'll suggest going for a more economical 1.25" focuser. This will also fit well with the narrower tube you seem to prefer. A good bet (ask Doug!) would seem to be the CrawMach 1.25" crayford focuser, the only 1.25" crayford made for refractors. They can customize them for you, including brass anodizing, which I think will *really* look outstanding with the black tube and yet not be as expensive as a real brass focuser. Coupled with a small brass finderscope and I think you'll have something that really stands out in the crowd!

Oh, I prefer white refractors, being a Zeiss man through and through, but that's just me.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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eric_zeiner
Phoenix's Dad
*****

Reged: 12/09/06

Loc: Georgia USA 34 31'57.18N 83 53...
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Gone caving]
      #4320954 - 01/17/11 05:09 PM

I for one am thrilled by the prospect of this and by my equipment list it is clear that I love 60mm achro refractors. I also looked at some of the items on the wish list of posts and the thing that concerns me is that and yes the SkyLight 100 is a gorgeous scope indeed, but I could conceivably see the 60 f/15 being more than the much maligned Parks PRT-46 at $1999.00 That scope has been the brunt of many posts that bash it and its price point. Now don't get me wrong, I know that the SkyLight will be a far superior scope but will it be within the reach of the common man such as myself or will it be elevated to the realm of only those with immense amounts of discretionary income.

I truly believe that there is a resurgence of interest in this genre of telescope and a foray into that market should be wholeheartedly embraced but it should be done so with caution and restraint.


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Astrojensen
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Bornholm, Denmark
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: eric_zeiner]
      #4321167 - 01/17/11 06:28 PM

Quote:

I know that the SkyLight will be a far superior scope but will it be within the reach of the common man such as myself or will it be elevated to the realm of only those with immense amounts of discretionary income.




I don't know the price yet, of course, but the 4" f/15 that Richard makes and sell goes for the equivalent of $2,400 in the UK, so I think it's fair to assume that the 60mm f/15 will be substantially more economical and nowhere near that Parks joke. Heck, the 4" Skylight is just a little more expensive than the 60mm Parks...

My guess will be $400-500. Hey, it will have features no other commercial 60mm has had for more than four decades!


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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7331Peg
Sirius Observer
*****

Reged: 09/01/08

Loc: North coast of Oregon
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4321176 - 01/17/11 06:32 PM

Sounds like you're on a darn good path on this one, Richard.

I can see where the focuser will be an issue, though - it certainly doesn't need to be anything as heavy duty as the Baader Steel Track. The suggestion of using a Crawford Machine focuser (single speed) is really a good one, and wouldn't add a whole lot of cost. And .... they're typically black, which would match the black tube (which is a GREAT idea!). The only other version that is easily available is the Antares model, which I would describe as average, mainly because its much stiffer than the Crawford focuser.


John


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eric_zeiner
Phoenix's Dad
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Reged: 12/09/06

Loc: Georgia USA 34 31'57.18N 83 53...
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #4321184 - 01/17/11 06:34 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I know that the SkyLight will be a far superior scope but will it be within the reach of the common man such as myself or will it be elevated to the realm of only those with immense amounts of discretionary income.




I don't know the price yet, of course, but the 4" f/15 that Richard makes and sell goes for the equivalent of $2,400 in the UK, so I think it's fair to assume that the 60mm f/15 will be substantially more economical and nowhere near that Parks joke. Heck, the 4" Skylight is just a little more expensive than the 60mm Parks...

My guess will be $400-500. Hey, it will have features no other commercial 60mm has had for more than four decades!


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark




I could do $400-$500


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eric_zeiner
Phoenix's Dad
*****

Reged: 12/09/06

Loc: Georgia USA 34 31'57.18N 83 53...
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: 7331Peg]
      #4321188 - 01/17/11 06:37 PM

Quote:

Sounds like you're on a darn good path on this one, Richard.

I can see where the focuser will be an issue, though - it certainly doesn't need to be anything as heavy duty as the Baader Steel Track. The suggestion of using a Crawford Machine focuser (single speed) is really a good one, and wouldn't add a whole lot of cost. And .... they're typically black, which would match the black tube (which is a GREAT idea!). The only other version that is easily available is the Antares model, which I would describe as average, mainly because its much stiffer than the Crawford focuser.


John




I have got the Crawford Machine 1.25" on my Carton 60/1000 and it is an awesome focuser! I think it would be a wonderful compliment to this whole concept.


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Victor23
journeyman


Reged: 03/01/08

Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: eric_zeiner]
      #4321750 - 01/17/11 11:05 PM

Here is a thought - make something like a f/20, and supply quality Huygens eyepieces, that are adjustable for spacing between the elements. Now you have a scope where you can dial in the color correction to perfection, and more importantly, each customer's particular definition of perfection. Zeiss-quality customizable eyepieces for your scope. From what I've read, Huygens perform well at those focal ratios, and now, with a fraunhofer objective, you have an optical chain with only 4 elements in it total - compared to at least 6 elements for the apo triplet user with moncentric ep's, and compared to up to 10 or more for those who like the various wide angle ep's and triple or quad glass objectives. You can't compete with the short tubes for FOV, so instead go for where maybe you can outdo them - the best plantetary/binary star scope in 60mm, period. And for those applications, fewer glass is generally believed to be better. Shoot for a scope that not only can stand toe to toe with a TV60 or a Tak 60, but for those two applications, can beat them.

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SkyscraperJim
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 07/29/07

Loc: Providence, RI
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Victor23]
      #4322338 - 01/18/11 09:02 AM

I'm definitely interested, and certainly another reason to get existed about NEAF.

I echo many of the feature requests above (except for the oversize tube, and don't care what color it is ), but here are a couple of my own, in order of importance:

* Please offer the option of custom fit tube rings. I know that custom-sized rings are can be ordered from third parties, but a "made to match" set would look all that much better on a scope like this.

* A wicked-long, felt-lined dew shield. I'm thinking of something sufficient to observe for 3 hours without needing to heat it. A dew shield on the finder would help, too.

* Finder scope, please make it a straight-through, and a 10x30 would work great. I think 30mm should be the minimum size. I would also like to have the finder mounted on high-stalk mountings directly on the top of the tube, rather than left offset. This would make it more convenient for equatorial mount use, and left-offset finder mounts on small scopes are not as friendly to left-eyed observers

* A custom wooden crate would be a nice addition, but I realize that this may send the price too high.

* Focuser: I've heard many good comments from observers who have used the CrawMach focusers, but have never used one myself. I would think this would be ideally suited to a scope like this.I wonder if getting brass knobs for them is feasible? Also, dual speed focusers on f/15 scopes are unnecessary.


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BillP
Postmaster
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Reged: 11/26/06

Loc: Vienna, VA
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4322710 - 01/18/11 12:17 PM Attachment (38 downloads)

Quote:



  • Extra long dew shield (Thank you Thomas), made of brass (just like its’ big brother)
  • Brass finder (I have some ideas here)
  • Long, elegant, slender powdercoated gloss black OTA (just like its’ big brother)
  • Collimateable cell
  • Focuser…???

More later...




Richard,

To help spur your thinking...

1. Also consider gloss silver as opposed to chrome as a black and silver accented scope is quite beautiful plus would be neat as the 4" would be the gold standard and the 60mm the silver standard Even with a gloss silver dew shield and finder and *focuser* (see pics) you could still have a few brass accents here and there to add to the elegance even more (like oversized brass focuser knobs, brass screws, etc.).

2. Might want to consider offering it with a multiple ocular holder as this would give it that certain vintage charm also.

3. For the finder, would not scale it smaller but keep it at no smaller than 50mm as small 30mm finders are useless IMO, difficult at best. So would rather see a beefy finder.

4. Focuser...would be nice to see something without another branding on it. Sure the Baader is nice, but would be special to see a brass finished or silver finished focuser as conveys great mechanicals of old. Again, some pics attached.

ps - all pics are from the Post a Pic of your Refractor thread here on CN...


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BillP
Postmaster
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Reged: 11/26/06

Loc: Vienna, VA
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4322713 - 01/18/11 12:18 PM Attachment (40 downloads)

Brass + White combo just FYI...

Edited by BillP (01/18/11 12:18 PM)


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BillP
Postmaster
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Reged: 11/26/06

Loc: Vienna, VA
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4322717 - 01/18/11 12:19 PM Attachment (37 downloads)

All Silver focuser...quite nice...

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BillP
Postmaster
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Reged: 11/26/06

Loc: Vienna, VA
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4322720 - 01/18/11 12:20 PM Attachment (39 downloads)

All silver scope!!

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Astrojensen
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Bornholm, Denmark
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: SkyscraperJim]
      #4322742 - 01/18/11 12:34 PM

Quote:

Finder scope, please make it a straight-through, and a 10x30 would work great. I think 30mm should be the minimum size. I would also like to have the finder mounted on high-stalk mountings directly on the top of the tube, rather than left offset. This would make it more convenient for equatorial mount use, and left-offset finder mounts on small scopes are not as friendly to left-eyed observers




I STRONGLY support this!

Quote:

I echo many of the feature requests above (except for the oversize tube, and don't care what color it is )




Everyone's idea of the perfect scope color is different, but what's wrong with having a tube that is 3" instead of just large enough to take in the full aperture, that is 60mm inside and likely around 63mm outside?

Richard has already chosen the smaller tube for various reasons, so I am merely trying to illustrate my point of why I feel all refractors should have a slightly oversize tube, just like newtonians.

* Easier to baffle, by far
* Better thermal behaviour
* Greater mechanical strength
* The possibility of using a big focuser, relative to the aperture
* Nuts and bolts used to mount things to the tube can't as easily protrude into the lightpath.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Astrojensen
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Bornholm, Denmark
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4322764 - 01/18/11 12:47 PM

White with brass and black all the way!



Scope in the picture is my 1910 Zeiss 60/850mm Reisefernrohr. Tripod is not original. Tube is 72mm in diameter, the dewcap is 84mm in diameter and 15cm long. The tube and dewcap is made from steel, not aluminum or brass. It's heavy and VERY solid. Oversized all the way!


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

Edited by Astrojensen (01/18/11 12:52 PM)


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Wes James
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/12/06

Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #4322914 - 01/18/11 01:50 PM

Nice pic's, guys- Nice to see all these scopes!
A telescope can certainly be a thing of beauty, and I've no doubt whatever design Richard settles on will be a thing of beauty, and I fully intend to have one (if it's within reason price-wise!).
Polished aluminum and polished brass can indeed be a thing of beauty, however can take some work to maintain- though I have a beautiful CNC-machined Wyorock focuser on my 4.25" Schief, and it looks superb. I would also like to see a 2" focuser, as there's no telling what eyepieces someone may want to throw in... however, it's Richard's design!
I would like to add, though- the importance of a good finder on a scope like this, and by good, I mean a fairly wide field of view. At f/27, my Schief is like looking through a soda straw, and with an f/15 scope, a somewhat wide FOV/quality finder will be a real asset. My preference is for a right angle finder... these old knees and back don't like having to bend in a pretzel any more, and I don't view without a diagonal in a refractor for the very same reason!
Wes


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BillP
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #4322930 - 01/18/11 01:58 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Finder scope, please make it a straight-through, and a 10x30 would work great. I think 30mm should be the minimum size. I would also like to have the finder mounted on high-stalk mountings directly on the top of the tube, rather than left offset. This would make it more convenient for equatorial mount use, and left-offset finder mounts on small scopes are not as friendly to left-eyed observers




I STRONGLY support this!





The three ruptured disks in my neck STRONGLY DON'T support this Please, let's have it be a right angle finder otherwise I could never use it If a straight thru is wanted by many, then just offer an option for straight or right angled please.


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GlenM
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4323414 - 01/18/11 05:36 PM

That looks like a lot of polishing

This scope now resides at the Winston Churchill School,Woking,Surrey. It's being used for Astronomy students to study our solar system.


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Doug76
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4326483 - 01/19/11 11:18 PM

Quote:

All Silver focuser...quite nice...




This one looks very familiar, and if it is the one I think it is, the tan sections are now gloss black, and while the focuser is still silver colored, the focus adapter is now white. And Javier now owns the scope.


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Max Lattanzi
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4326859 - 01/20/11 08:10 AM Attachment (38 downloads)

Quote:

Feeling somewhat inspired, I've decided to take a project that has sat on my back burner for some time and bump it up the to-do list.

The basics of the project is this: Take my 100mm/F15 Skylight Refractor, and shrink it to 60mm aperture proportions. The result will be the same fusion of Victorian design and modern engineering, but in miniature. This 60mm /F15-ish refractor will have the same quality of design and manufacture, and I aim to keep the design and build even more in-house than my 100mm...thanks to recent investment in workshop tooling!




Hi Richard,

As already anticipated privately, I would also add my own views to this inspiring project, if I may. These are coming from years of using/revamping/servicing those which I'd consider the best among the 60mm scopes (i.e., Zeiss AS63/840, Zeiss Telementor C63/840, Royal-Astro/Goto Hy-Score 60/1200, Unitron 128/114 60/900, and few others).

In the end you shall obviously follow your own taste, still I'd also leave these points there so as to inspire you.

In short, if I had to design my dream 2.4" scope, that would have the following features:

LENS: At least 60/1000 f/16,6. Better 60/1200 f/20 (*this* is a truly killer combination). Collimateable cell, obviously. AND, for my likings, it should have something like a 75x1 thread towards the tube.

TUBE COLOR: You seem to have are already settled on black powdercoated and brass... still, while white and black are also classics, I would suggest polished Brass -- apart from the obvious references in the Victorian telescopes (...the Broadhurst & Clarkson Steward...:) ), think of the TeleVue Renaissance. This is going to be a heavy OTA, though. So, more stress on light mounts. An alternative could be polished Aluminum -- this would be as beautiful and classic but have the advantage of the regular aluminum weight. White is obviously fine. But my own dream scope would be polished metal (see hereunder the Series #6000 Unitron 4" f/15 hand-polished ).

TUBE DIA.: 80mm. This leaves space around the optical path and is fully compatible with the Takahashi 60mm and Borg 80 series. This could come handy. Also a 1200mm scope 80mm wide is well proportioned -- think the various 75/1200 or 80/1200.

TUBE LENGTH: Bino ready (with extra-strong screw-in/out extension, as already suggested). So, no more than 90cm (max. 100); it actually depends on the focuser choice.

BAFFLES: NO baffles whatsoever. Once you baffle it for 2", that is useless for 1 1/4" and .965". If you baffle it for the 1 1/4" (not to mention 0.965") you are cutting light for the 2" eyepieces... Just an *excellent* flat black and then leave the last part of baffling to the focuser drawtube (that could be ridged akin AP and FT).

FOCUSER: *Removable* (and not just for transportation) 2" focuser with reducers to 1 1/4" and 0.965" (there are ***excellent*** 0.965" eyepieces that are perfect match for such a scope). Have the rear cell being threaded (with a standard non-proprietary thread, please; something like Borg comes into mind) and offer more than one option. Personally I do not like crayfords (but most people do) and prefer MUCH more either a good R&P or a helical (also classic choice). Possibly a couple of adapters would allow people to choose among different focuser kinds. If I had to choose, that would definitely be a whole metal smooth R&P with *big* beautifully finished knobs.

CRADLE: Yes, tube rings with dovetail bar is practical. Cradle is much nicer. Yes, I know it's expensive. But this is a dream scope. In any case, you could have both options. I think this is indeed a scope that should come in different flavours as per the accessories one can choose...

DEW-SHIELD: Long, really long: between 3D and 5D. Sliding would be nice. At least reversible (à la Astro-Physics).

FINDER: 8÷10 x 30 should be fine (focusable reticle, with cross interrupted in the middle, please) -- same finish of the OTA, of course. In any event, one could always add a 41 PO and pan at 29x...

EYEPIECES: A Huygens/Ramsden high quality set, by finding something NICE (...in Japan...?). Idem for a vanilla Ortho set. I would not mess with offering a 2" wide... TeleVue is already there...;) What about having also an eyepieces box...?!

BALANCE: I would *definitely* add as an option a sliding counterweight (see Unitron Unibalance).

WOODEN CASE: Either a simple travel case like the one I have for the Telementor-I (at the bottom) or something similar to the smallest Unitrons, with space for the eyepieces (hereunder).



AND, ***of course***, a nice set of rings (à la Unitron) allowing to put the F15/m on top of the original F15 as a guidescope...:)

My order is already in...

Cheers,

-- Max


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Max Lattanzi
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4326868 - 01/20/11 08:16 AM Attachment (34 downloads)

Don't seem to be able to load also the Unitron 6000 together with the others... so, well, here it is...

-- Max


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Astrojensen
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4326879 - 01/20/11 08:23 AM

Gee, Max, back with a vengeance...

Your tastes in 60mm refractors resemble mine, but even more refined and expensive!

If Richard build this thing to either yours or my liking, nobody else would buy them. They would be too expensive!

I still hope he makes a *nice* 8x30 straight (or perhaps RACI) brass finderscope. If it looks nice, I can get one and mount it on my 60/850mm Zeiss Reisefernrohr...

This thread is getting really enjoyable!


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Max Lattanzi
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #4327105 - 01/20/11 10:43 AM

Quote:

Gee, Max, back with a vengeance...





Quote:

Your tastes in 60mm refractors resemble mine, but even more refined and expensive!
If Richard build this thing to either yours or my liking, nobody else would buy them. They would be too expensive!



What do you mean...?!?! I did say "NO Baffles" didn't I...?!?!
I am already cutting corners...


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Preston Smith
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4327598 - 01/20/11 02:34 PM Attachment (36 downloads)

Beautiful scopes Max!


Sometimes you just have to break away from tradition....


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Preston Smith]
      #4327712 - 01/20/11 03:24 PM Attachment (37 downloads)

Quote:

Sometimes you just have to break away from tradition....




Not necessarily...


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4327783 - 01/20/11 03:54 PM Attachment (49 downloads)

Hi Max, welcome...I value your opinion here. I noted you mentioned the Telementor. There's a particular design feature on that particular scope that I've always liked which I'm spending some time on.

I also like the idea of a solid brass ota...I've always had the idea in mind of an all-brass F15, but it would weigh a ton, and with the cost of the brass tubing, would cost a fortune before I even drilled the first hole!

Ok...thanks to everyone for throwing their thoughts into the ring, it has certainly given me alot to think about!

Here's my plan at this point.

Once I start actual work on this, I figure I have 3-4 weeks to build a prototype, and then another 4-5 weeks to build the first batch. To put this in perspective, it took two years to take the 100mm F15 from the idea state to finished product!

My thinking for the F15m is to have a base model, which will have the same powder coated black tube as my 100mm, long brass dew shield, a brass finder, and a focuser of some kind . It's important that I keep this core model to an affordable level, but I recognize that it will not please everybody . To help please everyone (or as many as I can). I'm also considering offering a couple of available upgrade options. While the standard model F15m will be a beautiful (and hopefully affordable) instrument, these upgrade options would inevitably raise the price, but it could then be up to the individual whether it was worth the extra cost.

One of these options could likely be a premium finder: I recently finished the first example of a new finder for the 100mm F15 which could possibly be offered on the F15m. It's a modern 8x40mm optic, contained within a suitable casing.

Picture here:

Edited by ukcanuck (01/23/11 07:07 AM)


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4327799 - 01/20/11 04:02 PM Attachment (48 downloads)

So...I will have 10 weeks to design, build a prototype, and build the first run of a telescope that only exists in my head at this point, and yet for which (upon request) I have already started a notification list!

Here's the new finder installed on the first 100mm/F15:

Edited by ukcanuck (01/23/11 07:09 AM)


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GlenM
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4328074 - 01/20/11 06:01 PM

Richard,

With you being a perfectionist I'm sure the new OTA will be of heirloom quality. The price point will be very interesting.


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Wes James
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: GlenM]
      #4328477 - 01/20/11 08:35 PM

Your reference to the Telementor is interesting- I recently acquired one, a Ty.1- and am in love with the simplicity of it- yet built-like-a-tank build quality. I love the helical focuser in it. Some Zeiss influence certainly couldn't be a bad thing for our new premium 60mm refractor! (Yes, I'm already planning ahead!! You DO have me down for one, right?? *s*)
Wes


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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Wes James]
      #4328579 - 01/20/11 09:30 PM

Thinking about this.... a comment- and a question.
Comment: To avoid the issue of baffling- and keep it easy to build- what about a felt liner inside- like Protostar flocking?? This would give the desired reflection rejection characteristics, not require baffling- and keep it simple.
Question: I haven't heard the optics discussed?? Outsourcing them? Any thoughts in that direction? Have you firmed up a focal length at f/15 yet?
Wes


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Max Lattanzi
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4329117 - 01/21/11 06:01 AM

Quote:

I noted you mentioned the Telementor. There's a particular design feature on that particular scope that I've always liked which I'm spending some time on.




Hi Richard,

Which particular design feature, if I may?
Telementor-I or T-II...?!

Since I opened up *many*, maybe I could help...

-- Max


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Max Lattanzi
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Preston Smith]
      #4329122 - 01/21/11 06:07 AM Attachment (35 downloads)

Quote:

Sometimes you just have to break away from tradition....




Hi Preston,

Mmmm, let's see... maybe something like a fully refurbished Brandon 94mm, hand-polished and fitted with Unitron hardware...?!
And maybe sitting on a weight-driven 160 mount...?! Something like 'the' "Classic US Apo"...?!




PS/ Richard, sorry for hijacking for a few secs the thread...


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Preston Smith
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4330376 - 01/21/11 05:54 PM

Wonderful Max!

I'm sure Richard's new scope will also be a "head-turner!"


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Astrojensen
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4330389 - 01/21/11 06:00 PM

Max, I don't hope you do solar observing with that... The reflections and glints could blind a man. There must be a big warning sign on it somewhere, advicing people within 10 meters to use special sunglasses.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Max Lattanzi
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Preston Smith]
      #4331323 - 01/22/11 05:07 AM

Quote:

Wonderful Max!



...hard work, Preston, hard work...

Quote:

I'm sure Richard's new scope will also be a "head-turner!"



We all hope this...


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Max Lattanzi
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #4331331 - 01/22/11 05:13 AM

Quote:

Max, I don't hope you do solar observing with that... The reflections and glints could blind a man. There must be a big warning sign on it somewhere, advicing people within 10 meters to use special sunglasses.





Actually it works *wonderfully* with a Coronado 90. This being said, a shiny alu telescope is definitely a nightly animal. Thermally speaking, during the day pure white works much better... but if you're pointing at the Sun (and add a diaphragm around the lens cell) the whole scope is in the shadow and releases any heat in a twinkling...

Cheers,

-- Max


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Doug76
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4334660 - 01/23/11 03:16 PM

Richard, my last comments on this project.
1) Make it a true mini version of the 100mm.
2) IMO your best choice is a 1.25" focuser, and none are better than the Crawmach, as Thomas and Eric have already confirmed.
3) Offer the finder in RA and ST, and I find a wide field 6x30 the perfect size for a 60mm scope. It's what I use on my 60mm's.
4) If you are able to price it right, look for me to own one. I don't know your optics source, but I find a 60/1000 lens the near ultimate, and have found none better than those from Carton. Whether you use them or not, I'd like to have the option on my own to replace it with the Carton optic.


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croys
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Doug76]
      #4348821 - 01/29/11 04:02 PM

Richard,

It took some considerable will power to avoid getting the 100mm f/15, mainly by convincing myself that I'd get one "later". And now you do this.
Put me on the list.


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: croys]
      #4356109 - 02/01/11 04:39 PM Attachment (34 downloads)

Quote:

Richard,

It took some considerable will power to avoid getting the 100mm f/15, mainly by convincing myself that I'd get one "later". And now you do this.
Put me on the list.




No problem. Please contact me, or send me a pm with your e-mail and you'll be one of the first to see it when it's ready.

Right...still here.

I'm snowed under with work getting ready for Astrofest in London which is this weekend, and then actual hands on work of the F15m will begin. In the meantime, my head has been churning around all the points mentioned on this thread, and pieces of the puzzle are beginning to fall into place...which leaves me still optimistic that there will be 3 (three) Skylight refractors on display at NEAF this April.

I finished the 2nd one this afternoon:


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4356115 - 02/01/11 04:43 PM Attachment (38 downloads)

The Skylight F13 will have its' public debut at London's Astrofest this weekend. I will post a separate thread later this week with details on a 2-day pre-order opportunity (a deeply discounted one) to coincide with Astrofest.

Seems a shame to hide that wonderful lens, really. So, if it must be covered up, covered it with something special:


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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4358480 - 02/02/11 03:44 PM

Another beautiful scope Richard

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Wes James
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: GlenM]
      #4358632 - 02/02/11 04:34 PM

Beautiful, Richard- have been anxiously awaiting further information- so your post was most welcome!! I am anxious to hear more about the 60mm.... and certainly anxious to own one!!

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Doug76
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Wes James]
      #4362461 - 02/04/11 09:11 AM

That cell front(with aperture/focal length labeled) and lens looks just like my Carton 100mm/1300mm. If it is that lens, you have a real winner on your hands.

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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Doug76]
      #4401877 - 02/21/11 03:51 PM Attachment (41 downloads)

Ok...

Astrofest in London is over. The F13's are sold out (for now), a week and a half spent sourcing material and making some decisions, a few days spent with a flu-buggy thing, and now finally some time spent on the F15m.

I have come to a compromise with myself on the tube diameter...but more on that later.

Please note that in the pictures to follow, this refractor is simply placed together in a push fit manner and nothing is fixed in place.

I've now completed the first cell/countercell for the Skylight F15m. As promised (and I wouldn't have it any other way anyway), it will be a collimateable cell. A modern 60mm optic with a collimateable cell does not exist (as far as I'm aware), so I've made one (holes are not drilled or tapped yet):


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4401891 - 02/21/11 03:54 PM Attachment (35 downloads)

At 160mm in length, the dew shield is a long one. I think this is suitable. It's in keeping with the design, and effective. But perhaps it's too long?

Thoughts welcome here please...


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4401902 - 02/21/11 04:02 PM Attachment (49 downloads)

The other thing that I'd like to invite feedback on is the tapered countercell. This is now a feature on my scopes that I really like (and a bit trademark-y), and the F15m will have it too. However, I think that the tapered section of the countercell shown here next to one of my F15's might be a bit long. I'm thinking that the main run of F15m's should be about 15%-20% shorter and have more of an angle to the taper.

Once again, feedback sought here...


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BillP
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4402306 - 02/21/11 06:57 PM

I personally like the longer dew shield. Generally I think the shorter dew shields one sees on 60mms are rather ugly and detract from the long lines of the scope. This longer dew shield looks quite nice IMO and adds to the classic lines.

Difficult to tell on the taper without seeing the entire tube length. But again, I'm liking a longer taper look rather than shorter.

To me, given the smaller diameter tube of a 60, it needs to have some unique features that set it apart from larger brothers. So getting a little radical with the lengths of dew shields and tapers I feels adds to the distinctiveness allowing the little 60 to be its own man as it were.

Edited by BillP (02/21/11 07:01 PM)


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Astrojensen
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4403118 - 02/22/11 05:01 AM

I am with Bill here! I think it looks nice! Very much looking forward to see the finished scope, but also eager to follow the design/prototype progress. Please keep us updated.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Wes James
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4404365 - 02/22/11 05:45 PM

Richard- as long as it A) doesn't enter the light path/cause vignetting- and B) is properly blackened/treated inside, I don't see it as a problem! Looking good!
Wes


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ngc2289
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Wes James]
      #4404488 - 02/22/11 06:58 PM

I agree with Mr. James!! Looking good!! Mike Traub

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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4405495 - 02/23/11 08:42 AM Attachment (47 downloads)

I liked the look of the flowing lines of the Tal refractors.

This countercell is for a 100mm F/13. Needs some work yet.


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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: GlenM]
      #4405550 - 02/23/11 09:05 AM

I agree, Glen- looks great!

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Doug76
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4405613 - 02/23/11 09:47 AM

I think that the mini's cell could use some shortening and tapering. Making it look like the bigger f/15 looks like a winner to me.
Remember to keep the dew shield longish though.


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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: GlenM]
      #4405622 - 02/23/11 09:52 AM Attachment (45 downloads)

Quote:

I liked the look of the flowing lines of the Tal refractors.

This countercell is for a 100mm F/13. Needs some work yet.




This is the counter cell made for my 100mm f/13. I can't complain at all about how it looks or performs.


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Doug76
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Doug76]
      #4405628 - 02/23/11 09:56 AM Attachment (46 downloads)

And this is the scope before it was painted....

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SkyscraperJim
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4406951 - 02/23/11 08:04 PM

The length of the dew shield is just right. I find that dew shields on nearly all production refractors are woefully inadequate at doing what their namesake implies. A well-designed refractor shouldn't need to be heated to prevent dew.

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Doug76
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4407041 - 02/23/11 08:57 PM

Quote:

At 160mm in length, the dew shield is a long one. I think this is suitable. It's in keeping with the design, and effective. But perhaps it's too long?

Thoughts welcome here please...




That looks perfect!


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Doug76
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4407066 - 02/23/11 09:10 PM

Quote:


I've now completed the first cell/countercell for the Skylight F15m. As promised (and I wouldn't have it any other way anyway), it will be a collimateable cell.




Yippee!


Quote:


A modern 60mm optic with a collimateable cell does not exist (as far as I'm aware), so I've made one (holes are not drilled or tapped yet):




That is quite true, and more's the pity. However, Sheldon Faworski did make some up, using Carton cells.
http://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=32592&sort=&cat=500&page=5


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4408848 - 02/24/11 05:20 PM Attachment (42 downloads)

Quote:

To me, given the smaller diameter tube of a 60, it needs to have some unique features that set it apart from larger brothers. So getting a little radical with the lengths of dew shields and tapers I feels adds to the distinctiveness allowing the little 60 to be its own man as it were.




Thanks Bill, your points are well taken.

Here's the first two countercells now finished. I put the first one back on the lathe, slimmed it down and adjusted the taper angle a bit...I kept the length though. I will now order the metal, which will give me the supplies to start machining the countercells in bulk next week.


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4408849 - 02/24/11 05:22 PM Attachment (47 downloads)

The lens on my new F13 is the wonderful Carton lens...I'm quite familiar with Cartons' work:

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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4408851 - 02/24/11 05:23 PM Attachment (48 downloads)

So it's probably no surprise when you see this clue (hint; trademark Carton/Japan Blue) as to which lens I have chosen to use in my F15m:

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Wes James
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4408922 - 02/24/11 05:54 PM

Looks great, Richard!!
Wes


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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Wes James]
      #4409054 - 02/24/11 07:12 PM

Indeed it does, and an excellent lens choice.

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Doug76
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4409057 - 02/24/11 07:13 PM

Quote:

The lens on my new F13 is the wonderful Carton lens...I'm quite familiar with Cartons' work:




Sweet!


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Doug76]
      #4437859 - 03/09/11 04:06 PM Attachment (43 downloads)

Ok, I've had some hiccups trying to get metal stock, but I believe I'm now over that, and expect the main batch of stock to arrive this week.

Regarding tube diameter, I have decided to use a larger OTA tube than I was originally planning. While not the 3" OD that was mentioned earlier on, the 2.75" tube should allow for creative hands to mount a larger focuser onto it should they so desire. I will be installing a 1.25" focuser as standard equipment, but more on that coming soon.

While not as skinny as I had originally envisioned, this slightly wider tube will still have nice elegant proportions.

Also, I cut the first set of finderscope bracket rings today (although they're not drilled or mounted yet)...


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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini) Unveiled! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4460319 - 03/19/11 04:57 PM Attachment (64 downloads)

Ok folks, today was the day.

I assembled the completed prototype of the Skylight F15m this morning and took a few pictures.

This is the prototype and the main run of mini's will differ in a couple of ways...

First will be the focuser. I'm using a Crawmach focuser, but the one shown here and used for first fitting is a standard example. While they look mostly the same, Dan is doing me a custom run with some tweaks to fit my design. These are not completed yet, but I hope to have my hands on one by month-end.

The 'shark fin' finder mount is mounted too far forwards on this scope, and will be mounted 2-3cm further back on the main run. Also, the brass screw at the front angle will be covered by powder coat.

More detailed pictures will come shortly, and I will post in the NEAF forum with details on pricing later in the week...but it will be affordable.

Here it comes (the Nagler is not included)...


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4460331 - 03/19/11 05:04 PM Attachment (53 downloads)

Quote:

To me, given the smaller diameter tube of a 60, it needs to have some unique features that set it apart from larger brothers. So getting a little radical with the lengths of dew shields and tapers I feels adds to the distinctiveness allowing the little 60 to be its own man as it were.




This comment stuck in my head.

I automatically considered using finder brackets similar to those on my larger scopes, but I put that idea aside as they are simply too expensive to fabricate, and they would have blown the F15m's budget. So I decided to go down another road and do something completely different. The 'shark fin' idea was one that I had kicking around for awhile, and I thought it would add a touch of identity to the scope. It's centre mounted to allow for ease of use on either side of the tube...but the focuser can be rotated, so this makes it easier still.

Here's a closer view (please excuse the plastic spacers):


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4460334 - 03/19/11 05:07 PM Attachment (49 downloads)

Quote:

I thought it would add a touch of identity to the scope.




It also provides a nice writing area:


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Wes James
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4460349 - 03/19/11 05:18 PM

Looks GREAT, Richard!! Nice to see an actual model!
Wes


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7331Peg
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Wes James]
      #4460610 - 03/19/11 07:44 PM

I'll second that, Wes! I like the looks of the lens hood - that certainly sets it apart from other 60mm scopes. And the Crawford Machine rotating focuser is a very nice touch.

I can see myself prying Polaris apart with it now.


John


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BillP
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini) Unveiled! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4460831 - 03/19/11 09:45 PM



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Astrojensen
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini) Unveiled! new [Re: BillP]
      #4461207 - 03/20/11 04:32 AM

Personaly, I don't like the "shark fin", but otherwise I dig the lines of the scope. I would have preferred standard finder rings.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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SkyscraperJim
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini) Unveiled! new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #4461546 - 03/20/11 10:24 AM

Quote:

Personaly, I don't like the "shark fin", but otherwise I dig the lines of the scope. I would have preferred standard finder rings.





I agree with this assessment. Although how a scope performs is more important than how it looks, I do think this feature throws off the visual balance. More importantly, I think it will make storing and transporting the scope more of a challenge, as it does not look like it is removable.

I would also opt to not move it back any further.


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philjay
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4464534 - 03/21/11 04:19 PM

Thats a corker Richard, a Carton lens as well you didnt mention that in your email
I like the elegent lines of the extended cell and dew shield. The focuser looks good especially the larger bearings than say some crayford focusers out there which are too skinny and tramline the draw tube in no time.
Im afraid I agree with others I personally dont go much for the sharksfin either but if the quality is there then hey

Nice one and thanks for posting the images

Phil


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Wes James
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: philjay]
      #4464615 - 03/21/11 04:57 PM

I'll throw my hat in with the recent posters against the shark fin finder mount... though I've decided that- as beautiful as this scope is, since the objective duplicates a 60mm Carton I already have, I don't believe I'll be investing in one of these. A beautiful scope, though- and you deserve to be commended for taking on a project like this, and reproducing a truly classical telescope, Richard.
Though,... *thinking*... mebbe' I should sell the Carton and buy one of these!!
Wes


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7331Peg
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Wes James]
      #4464834 - 03/21/11 06:39 PM

Subliminal message to Wes: *** Sell, sell, sell, buy, buy, buy! ***

I have a few too 60mm scopes with Carton lenses, too, but I can't resist the black tube. It will look great mounted on top of my black Celestron 102mm.

The Carton lens is a great choice. They do a SUPERB job. And the shark fin mounting doesn't bother me, although it takes some getting used to. But I live on the Pacific coast, so I've learned to like sharks.

John


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ngc2289
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: 7331Peg]
      #4464944 - 03/21/11 07:34 PM

The shark fin mount would look better with a few lightening holes in it. Mike Traub

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Preston Smith
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ngc2289]
      #4465054 - 03/21/11 08:44 PM Attachment (37 downloads)

Hi Richard,

Definitely like the long lean look of your scope. I have to agree that the shark fin takes away from the overall classic look. Your finder looks REALLY nice!

I recommend the two, finder ring pillar attachments for the finder rings to keep the classic look. That's what I went with for my 60mm.


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Doug76
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4465292 - 03/21/11 10:38 PM

Well, the "shark fin" is certainly unique, but I'm in the camp against it, at least as is.
I'm thinking it would look much better if the center portion had an oval cut into it, removing much of it, or even a series of round holes cut into it. It just looks clunky to me as it is, and I see it as ruining the lines of an otherwise fine looking instrument, and it is otherwise a really fine looking instrument.


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Wes James
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Doug76]
      #4465633 - 03/22/11 05:00 AM

I think that everyone here has the right idea... lightening holes in it could make a huge difference, especially Doug's idea of perhaps an oval cut, perhaps with some edge rounding- removing most of the material. Could really turn it into something stunning.
Wes


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Andy Howie
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Wes James]
      #4465985 - 03/22/11 10:30 AM

Another 'vote', for machining out a gap/hole in the bracket.

Andy.


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Preston Smith]
      #4466111 - 03/22/11 11:33 AM Attachment (47 downloads)

Quote:

Your finder looks REALLY nice!




Thank you...another one of my creations.

Otherwise...

Ok, I get the message. The shark fin idea doesn't work...I thought it had potential, but perhaps not on this scope. I'm not so attached to it to lose sleep over it.

However, the result of its' redesign probably will make me lose sleep.

This always was an interactive project, so I've done away with the finder rail in its' entirety and gone for a more traditional finder bracket, and in doing so, I think it turned into something really nice, and it ticks the 'elegant' box for me. These finder rings to me, make it a true miniaturized version of my 100mm/F15.

However, they take an age to make and mount, so it does put into jeopardy exactly how many of these I will have ready for NEAF.

I'll have to show it in a semi-finished state, it and the main batch is due to go to the powder coaters on Friday.

Here it is:


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4466118 - 03/22/11 11:34 AM Attachment (44 downloads)

Another view with some perspective:

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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4466143 - 03/22/11 11:44 AM Attachment (41 downloads)

A few other details:

The F15m is not actually an F15 refractor, this is the Carton F16 lens...I'm taking a bit of artistic licence with the name.

There are enough white telescopes in the world, mine will be gloss black like its' big brothers.

A brass dew shield will be available (not delivered yet), although the F15m will come as standard with the matching gloss black one as shown earlier in this thread. The scope looks great with a matching dew shield, and this helps keep the price down.

No rings are included, these are up to the user's choice.

When I started machining the cell, I found the castings have some bubbles in them, and these are sometimes visible on the surface. A straightforward cosmetic issue, but one I wanted to mention.

Picture of the collimateable cell (this lens has been used quite a bit and is quite dusty):


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! *DELETED* new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4466163 - 03/22/11 11:51 AM

Post deleted by ukcanuck

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SkyscraperJim
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4466223 - 03/22/11 12:18 PM

Now that is looking pretty sweet! I'm looking forward to seeing one in person (and eventually through one).

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7331Peg
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: SkyscraperJim]
      #4466466 - 03/22/11 02:02 PM

Yeah, I agree - those finder rings make a huge difference. The shark fin didn't bother me all that much, but the rings make quite a difference in the appearance. They definitely add a touch of elegance.

What's the overall weight of the scope with the rings and finder attached?


John


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: 7331Peg]
      #4466921 - 03/22/11 05:20 PM

Quote:

What's the overall weight of the scope with the rings and finder attached?




I don't have a fully assembled one with the new rings yet, but the first one with the original finder mounting weighs slightly over 2.5kg. I estimate that the version with the new finder rings will weigh just under 2.5kg, but will update when I can say for sure.

Thanks.


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BillP
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4466968 - 03/22/11 05:36 PM

Hmmm....brass rings that could hold a Vixen plate would look spectacular on this scope as well

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BillP
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4467577 - 03/22/11 11:22 PM

Here's another black&gold beauty! Love the steering handle on the focuser, as well at the tube rings, and the ornate finder holders, and all the rivets!!! LINK

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ngc2289
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4467602 - 03/22/11 11:36 PM

WOW!! Nice scope!!!!!

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Homunculus
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4468376 - 03/23/11 11:37 AM

Quote:

Here's another black&gold beauty! Love the steering handle on the focuser, as well at the tube rings, and the ornate finder holders, and all the rivets!!! LINK




Good on you Richard; the man who conjured the original Steampunk.

J.


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philjay
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4471292 - 03/24/11 03:56 PM

Those look really good Richard much more elegant and more in keeping with the look of the scope. Nice

Phil


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Doug76
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: philjay]
      #4472303 - 03/24/11 10:59 PM

They certainly do!

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Doug76
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4472313 - 03/24/11 11:05 PM

Quote:

A few other details:

The F15m is not actually an F15 refractor, this is the Carton F16 lens...I'm taking a bit of artistic licence with the name.




Closer to f/17, f/16.7 really, if you are using the 60/1000 lens.
That one is an excellent lens, and you could not have picked better IMO.


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Doug76
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Doug76]
      #4483231 - 03/29/11 08:44 PM Attachment (42 downloads)

You kind of inspired me to try a new look with my latest, also a Carton 60/1000 lensed scope.

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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4484120 - 03/30/11 09:50 AM Attachment (49 downloads)

Ok.


I picked the tubes from the powder coaters today and did a first/second assembly. As you can see, the finder rail is history, and I'm quite pleased with the result:


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4484123 - 03/30/11 09:51 AM Attachment (44 downloads)

Closer look at the focuser end:

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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4484125 - 03/30/11 09:52 AM Attachment (44 downloads)

Closer still. Why not?

More later...


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BillP
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4484189 - 03/30/11 10:22 AM

Wow...beautiful!!!

Imagining brass focuser knobs and a brass highlighted diagonal on there as well Love the lines of the dew shiled and collar. Fits it perfectly! Think I'll get some brass plates made up and affix them to the sides of my 1.25" diagonal

Edited by BillP (03/30/11 10:23 AM)


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zjc26138
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4484224 - 03/30/11 10:33 AM

Beautiful is right!

I can't wait to see these scopes in person at NEAF.


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SkyscraperJim
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4484239 - 03/30/11 10:40 AM

The scope looks great.

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hfjacinto
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: SkyscraperJim]
      #4484284 - 03/30/11 11:00 AM

Beautiful scope.

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BillP
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: zjc26138]
      #4484410 - 03/30/11 11:55 AM

Quote:

Beautiful is right!

I can't wait to see these scopes in person at NEAF.




I can't wait to see it in person in my back yard!!


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ukcanuck
Vendor (Skylight Telescopes)
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Reged: 11/07/06

Loc: London, UK
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4484550 - 03/30/11 12:42 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Beautiful is right!

I can't wait to see these scopes in person at NEAF.




I can't wait to see it in person in my back yard!!




Thanks Folks.

Bill, this one is #2 and isn't actually yours...yours is #1. I haven't assembled it yet.

However, it will look equally cool in your backyard.

Please note this still does not show the custom focuser that this scope will have. It is due to have brass focus knobs and will read 'Skylight F15m' where you would normally see 'Crawmach.'

The original focusers will not be installed until a few days before NEAF, so the F15 won't be seen in its' true entirety until NEAF on Saturday morning.


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Doug76
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4485500 - 03/30/11 08:32 PM

Now that's a scope!
The brass knobs and Skylight logo will really make it unique.
Bravo on the finder bracket redo, very classy now.
You've really done a nice job.


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philjay
super member


Reged: 12/02/09

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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Doug76]
      #4497482 - 04/05/11 07:26 AM

That looks the business now Richard and with the brass focus wheels on the crawmach it'll look superb

Have a good NEAF

Phil


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4497546 - 04/05/11 08:27 AM Attachment (52 downloads)

Thanks to all for your positive comments.

I'm very pleased with how the scope has turned out given its' unusual conception and build process. The idea was committed to in January, and building didn't start until the second week of Feb. This means the Skylight F15m has gone through the stages of design/prototype/build/final finish on the first examples in under two months!

Quote:

Quote:

Beautiful is right!

I can't wait to see these scopes in person at NEAF.




I can't wait to see it in person in my back yard!!




Bill, yours was the first to be fully assembled and here is the scope that will be in your back yard. Please note that these images show the brass dew shield. This is an optional accessory.

My metal guys found a real prize for the dew shields, they found a very old piece of brass tubing that has gone unused for many years, so the dew shield is almost antique in itself! The first 4 examples will use this tubing.

The heads on the brass collimation screws were a little too wide for the available space on the cell, so each and every screw (on all the F15m's that follow too) have a millimetre or two spun on the lathe (by hand, naturally).

Enjoy:


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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4497551 - 04/05/11 08:29 AM Attachment (59 downloads)

Closer:

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ukcanuck
Vendor (Skylight Telescopes)
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4497553 - 04/05/11 08:30 AM Attachment (54 downloads)

Closer still (spot those pesky collimation screws):

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ukcanuck
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4497560 - 04/05/11 08:36 AM Attachment (50 downloads)

...and one more (taken in cloudy London weather).

Please note that the custom focuser is still not shown (the sample is hanging off the back in this image ). I will update the thread just before NEAF and include some pictures of the completed scope with the focuser.

While the rings are boring Synta-type (and used begrudgingly and out of necessity), the mount is a nice vintage Towa 339 EQ:


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BillP
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4497686 - 04/05/11 09:49 AM

Quote:

Bill, yours was the first to be fully assembled and here is the scope that will be in your back yard. Please note that these images show the brass dew shield. This is an optional accessory.






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Astrojensen
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: BillP]
      #4497940 - 04/05/11 11:48 AM

Now that's my kind of scope! It looks great, Richard! You have a winner there.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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GlenM
Vendor - Lyra Optic


Reged: 05/20/07

Loc: Lancashire England
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4498570 - 04/05/11 04:38 PM

Hi Richard,

I'm sure I saw one of your scopes on The Sky at Night:Baker Street Irregulars.


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croys
journeyman


Reged: 06/03/07

Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: GlenM]
      #4499022 - 04/05/11 08:11 PM

Gorgeous grab-n-go.

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ukcanuck
Vendor (Skylight Telescopes)
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Reged: 11/07/06

Loc: London, UK
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: GlenM]
      #4500667 - 04/06/11 02:39 PM

Quote:

Hi Richard,

I'm sure I saw one of your scopes on The Sky at Night:Baker Street Irregulars.




You did. I've been to a few of their meetings and was there that night with an F15. They're a nice group, and it's nice to share the London skyglow with people...


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ukcanuck
Vendor (Skylight Telescopes)
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Reged: 11/07/06

Loc: London, UK
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4514752 - 04/13/11 04:32 AM

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread over the past weeks.

As a footnote to this saga, I have now posted price & order details in the NEAF forum here!

I'm now leaving on a jet plane...see you at NEAF!


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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4522771 - 04/16/11 07:36 PM

For anyone that hasn't seen this scope in person, I saw it and it is extremely beautiful. Pictures don't show how nice this scope really is. Richard made one of the nicest looking scopes ever. It is really a work of art.

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croys
journeyman


Reged: 06/03/07

Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #4648438 - 06/20/11 02:21 AM

I took delivery of my F15m (number 3? 4?) last Friday.

It is beautiful, feels solid and the optics are great. The focusser is smooth and suits the scope well. The finder rings, subject of much feedback, look great. The finder appears to be the same as the finder on the f13, and is gorgeous. The optical quality of the finder is very good, one thing that caught me slightly by surprise when I got my f13. Not that I was expecting a poor finder, but I was focussing on the objective and the design, and forgot about actually using the finder. Looking through it was a pleasant surprise.



Edited by croys (06/20/11 02:22 AM)


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ukcanuck
Vendor (Skylight Telescopes)
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Reged: 11/07/06

Loc: London, UK
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: croys]
      #4649665 - 06/20/11 06:24 PM

Quote:

I took delivery of my F15m (number 3? 4?) last Friday.




Hi Stuart, I'm pleased to hear you like the scope. Yours is number 3, you should see it engraved on the rear finder support when viewed from the focuser...

I'm currently finishing off a new batch of F13's, but plan to start building another batch of 60mm's in the next week.


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Doug76
Long Achro Junkie
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Reged: 12/05/07

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Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #4655855 - 06/24/11 08:48 AM

Well, my scopes aren't in the fancy dress and fine finish your's are () but a couple of them use the same optics, and I can attest to the excellent quality of them.
Here is hoping you are a big success for years to come Richard.


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
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Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: GlenM]
      #5043307 - 01/28/12 09:08 PM

"I'm sure I saw one of your scopes on The Sky at Night:Baker Street Irregulars."

It must be a small scope thing.



Regards,

Jim


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trotts1
member


Reged: 10/04/11

Re: Project: Skylight F15m (mini): launching at NEAF! new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5337765 - 07/27/12 01:00 AM

Hi Thomas,
Great "Classical" Reisefernrohr! Hope you are not planning of following all the suggestions on this thread. Classical is best.
What is lens inscription and focuser serial number?
Bob Western Australia


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