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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5468104 - 10/13/12 11:19 AM

Quote:

You're killing me over here David.




Yeah I know, it was starting to smell a bit too fishy in here.....



Quote:

Well, I just pulled the trigger and bought one for my Z10. I'm hoping to have it by next weekend- where I can show it off to some friends who are also dob owners. I'm looking forward to possibly writing a review for CN as well.




Thanks for your order aznights! I'm fairly confident that your HALO will be in the first batch that ships out on Monday. But if not Monday then DEFINITELY on Tuesday, and shipping time-in-transit to your zip code is only 3 business days, so you should receive it no later than next Friday.



Quote:

Hey David, It just occurred to me that I would actually need two of the magnetic strips and pointer assemblies for the one Halo. I have two dob bases in two different cities and I travel back and forth with the OTA. Can I get another pointer kit with my order?




Sure, not a problem at all! I'll email you the details. Thanks again aznights, and I'll look forward to your review!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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derangedhermit
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/07/09

Loc: USA
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5470318 - 10/14/12 06:25 PM

Is there some reason a version that had no central cutout, so it could be used as a "traditional" 3-Teflon-pad ground board, doesn't work?

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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: derangedhermit]
      #5470460 - 10/14/12 08:17 PM

Quote:

Is there some reason a version that had no central cutout, so it could be used as a "traditional" 3-Teflon-pad ground board, doesn't work?




Hi derangedhermit,

No, there's no particular reason that wouldn't work. We did consider that possibility during the design process, but just wasn't sure if there was enough real benefit to offering a version like that (more variations make the whole line more expensive). But if enough customers demand it, we'll certainly be glad to make them available in that configuration.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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rboeAdministrator

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Reged: 03/16/02

Loc: Phx, AZ
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5470678 - 10/14/12 10:19 PM

Did you ever consider making it out of arch segments (1/3 or 1/4 of a circle) then joining with a half lap or bridle joint? Less waste, but more labor and you'd need to buy adhesive. Probably epoxy.

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rboeAdministrator

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Reged: 03/16/02

Loc: Phx, AZ
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5470682 - 10/14/12 10:20 PM

If you used a 1/3rd arch the bridle joint can be pinned with the shaft of the foot so a failed glue joint would not mean total failure of the product which then be repaired later.

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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5470761 - 10/14/12 11:24 PM

Quote:

Did you ever consider making it out of arch segments (1/3 or 1/4 of a circle) then joining with a half lap or bridle joint? Less waste, but more labor and you'd need to buy adhesive. Probably epoxy.




Okay now Ron, did you have a mole in our organization last summer???



This is an early design drawing from July:









1/3 arch segments with Lap Joints! And we even had one variation where the feet shafts went through the lap joint! So, either you've been doing some spying Ron, or maybe great minds just think alike.

We did make up prototypes from this design, as well as a few other variations. But when all the dust settled we decided that the 1-piece design was the overall winner for various reasons. But boy did I beat my head against the wall for what seemed like an eternity trying to decide on an optimum design. I'm EXTREMELY happy with the way the product has turned out, and I think we did choose the right design in the end. But there are certainly other ways that the HALO could have been realized.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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rboeAdministrator

*****

Reged: 03/16/02

Loc: Phx, AZ
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5470815 - 10/14/12 11:59 PM

I've never done a segment; always felt a monolithic design was stronger; an easier to make. On the other hand, all that waste in the middle of the cut out drives me bonkers.

But it hardly takes a mole; these are tried and true fabrication methods in woodworking. Especially if you follow Chris over on Popular Woodworking. But hey, always nice to have several ways to skin a cat.


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5471934 - 10/15/12 05:27 PM

A batch of HALOs fresh out of the oven...





Get 'em while they're hot!


David Giles
Optismart.com


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5472014 - 10/15/12 06:07 PM

Quote:

I've never done a segment; always felt a monolithic design was stronger; an easier to make. On the other hand, all that waste in the middle of the cut out drives me bonkers.




Same here!



Quote:

But it hardly takes a mole; these are tried and true fabrication methods in woodworking. Especially if you follow Chris over on Popular Woodworking. But hey, always nice to have several ways to skin a cat.




Yeah I was just kidding about the mole. But I was pretty surprised when you mentioned a design concept so similar to one of our early prototypes. I don't follow Popular Woodworking, and I guess I didn't realize that it was common practice to make ring-shaped things out of 1/3 segments with half lap joints.

And we certainly tried every other way we could think of to skin the cat. Our silliest design idea that quickly ended up in the trash can was a segmented design where the pieces had interlocking puzzle-piece type fittings on the end. Looked like a piece of Thomas the Tank Engine track! My kids REALLY liked it, but it didn't take long to realize it wasn't a great idea.







David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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rboeAdministrator

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Reged: 03/16/02

Loc: Phx, AZ
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5472285 - 10/15/12 09:07 PM

Oh man, you missing some good stuff. There are fancier joints out there; pretty much hybrid joints of half laps and dovetailing. (strength plus the self indexing like the design above).

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/chris-schwarz-blog

Look at old ship wheels (normally you pirate captains and parrots hanging off them ) for a good example of these joints.

They do look good though. I'm thinking about adapting my dob rebuild using one of these. I really like the idea - frankly it's one of those things I wish I had thought of.


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5472396 - 10/15/12 10:19 PM

Quote:

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/chris-schwarz-blog




I'll check it out!

Quote:

They do look good though. I'm thinking about adapting my dob rebuild using one of these. I really like the idea - frankly it's one of those things I wish I had thought of.




Thanks Ron, I'm flattered!!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5477038 - 10/18/12 02:00 PM

Just an FYI, we've registered as a vendor for the Arizona Science and Astronomy Expo next month in Tucson (they don't have us listed on their exhibitors page yet, but hopefully will soon). We'll be showing the HALO along with Apertura Dobsonians. Those of you who will be attending the show, please stop by our booth and say hello!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5479191 - 10/19/12 05:44 PM

The family of HALO products is growing rapidly...

A very brave Cloudy Nights member trusted us enough to send us his Orion XT10 base so that we could prototype the HALOXT10. The CAD work is done and we hope to get the CNC work done in the next few days. Now we just need a few more brave souls who want a HALO for their Orion Dob bad enough to live without their base for a week or two (so that we can prototype the other sizes).

Any takers?











David Giles
Opticsmart.com

Edited by DavidOpticsmart (10/19/12 05:58 PM)


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5479201 - 10/19/12 05:47 PM

Also, a customer with a 12" SkyWatcher just posted a very brief video showing that his new HALO is a perfect fit!



HALO Setting Circle a perfect fit for 12" SkyWatcher Dobsonian base.



Of course we still have to find out for sure if the 8" and 10" SkyWatchers will fit the 8" and 10" HALOs, but at this point I'm pretty confident that they will. Just need more brave souls…

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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mayidunk
Don't Ask...
*****

Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Betwixt & Between...
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5484186 - 10/22/12 07:14 PM

Well, you now have me hooked on this idea! I too have a 12" Sky Watcher Collapsible Dob, but am a bit concerned about the long-term structural integrity of the material you use. According to CMI's Extira website, Extira is not meant to be a structural material. I realize that they probably mean that it's not meant to be used in place of proper 2x4's to build a house. However, there must be some characteristic inherent in Extira's composition that might significantly affect its ability to carry a long term, static load past a certain weight. Of course, something as heavy as a 12" Dob would be a significant dynamic weight load.

As I look at your design, I see a distinct possibility that the span between the bosses that hold the three leveling feet, and the inner weight bearing surfaces, could allow for the inner portion of the ring to possibly sag over time. There is an appreciable amount of weight being born by that inner bearing surface, and there doesn't seem to be anything in the ring's design that would mitigate the effects that the weight could have as time goes by.

Perhaps I'm missing something? Maybe the nature of Extira is mitigation enough? Your website provides a 30 day money back satisfaction guarantee, however I see no information regarding a long term warranty. Again, have I missed something?

Beyond that, I hope my reservations are misplaced, and I really hope this ends up being the excellent implementation that an equally excellent idea deserves!

Edited by mayidunk (10/22/12 08:52 PM)


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5484320 - 10/22/12 08:56 PM

Those are perfectly reasonable questions and concerns Bob. To be honest, it took a good bit longer than I expected for someone to bring up the "non-structural" comment found on Extira's website. As you pointed out, by "non-structural" I'm pretty sure they mean don't use Extira to hold up your roof.

Seriously though, all of the telescopes that the HALO is designed to support come with bases made from .75" thick MDF (covered with a thin laminate). MDF is most definitely a "non-structural" product that is most definitly not intended to support significant dynamic weight loads over the long term. Yet it has been used successfully over the long term to support thousands of beloved Dobsonian telescopes, some of which weigh upwards of 130 pounds. And I have no doubt that there were lots of questions and concerns about the “long-term structural integrity” of MDF when manufacturers first started using it for telescope bases. Fortunately for those of us who enjoy the incredible bang for the buck provided by MDF-supported scopes, manufacturers moved ahead despite any concerns that might have been expressed.

Of course Extira basically is a high-tech version of MDF, with the main difference being that Extira is specially treated to be extremely moisture-resistant. You could leave your HALO out in the rain overnight, and let it dry in the sun the next day and it would be fine. Don't try THAT with your Dob base!

Regarding the strength of the design, the HALO is designed so that the telescope’s weight is evenly distributed around the inner support "shelf", with the shelf supporting the Dob’s rigid groundboard equally around its perimeter. Now, if the HALO was made to support a very flexible load (say a 130 pound bag of sand) so that the load could "flow" into the span between the feet, then I think there would be a reason to be concerned. But as mentioned above, the Dob groundboards are rigid (at least as rigid as you can expect .75" thick non-structural MDF to be) so they don't really "push down" disproportionally on the spans between the HALO's feet. So if the Dob base stays flat (which they seem to do a pretty good job of, even though they are normally only supported at three points out near their perimeter) then the HALO shouldn’t sag either. And regarding strength, we’ve tested prototypes with almost 300 pounds sitting on the groundboard in the HALO, so they are certainly much stronger than required.

But regardless, since the HALO hasn’t been on the market for years it obviously doesn’t have a track record yet. So it will be up to the brave early-adopter types to prove to the rest of the astronomy world whether the HALO will stand the test of time. Fortunately the price isn’t astronomical, so those risk-takers aren’t risking a fortune. :-)

In any case, we do need to get some warranty information listed on the website! Just been so busy…. Anyway, the HALO will have a 1-year warranty against defects in material and workmanship.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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rboeAdministrator

*****

Reged: 03/16/02

Loc: Phx, AZ
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5484531 - 10/22/12 11:40 PM

Just a couple observations; the ring is subject to a static load; just the weight of the scope and acc. Dynamic loads would be seen when you placed the scope in place; but beyond that just static loads.

If you can imagine cutting away the ring except for the legs the loads would not change, the weight of the scope is supported by the legs and not the ring. It serves to hold the index and to keep the legs properly spaced so I don't think the material will suffer sag or warping due to excessive weight over time. I have seen this sag in particle board shelving and it is huge. Very surprised the shelving did not break. Pine would have been a better choice but particle board is cheap.

I used to sell windows (wholesale and retail) and the brand had come out with a new sill for the double hung windows made of a very fancy particle board but it was glued with something pretty fancy so it could not absorb water. This material sounds similar. But that was an extruded product. Can't wait to see this in Tucson in a few weeks.


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mayidunk
Don't Ask...
*****

Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Betwixt & Between...
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5484753 - 10/23/12 03:10 AM

Ron and David,

Thanks for the replies. The type of sag I refer to is not the ring sagging at points on the circumference between each leg, but an eventual inward cupping towards the center, with a corresponding outward splaying of each foot away from the center of the ring as their mounting boss is tilted up. Granted that, with a smaller scope this may not be a likely scenario. However, given the additional weight of a larger Dob, coupled with the increased diameter of the Halo, its structure could become more prone to flexing unless there is a corresponding increase in the amount of material to offset its tendency to do so. Perhaps the boards used to create the larger Halos are thicker than the ones that are used for the the smaller Halos?

Ron, I suppose you could say that the movements of the scope when it's being slewed from one part of the sky to another are inconsequential enough to consider the weight of the scope to be static. However, if some people are not balancing the tube, preferring instead to rely on an altitude bearing brake or spring friction device, then any azimuthal slew can cause the resulting unbalanced load to be carried to different parts around the circumference of the ring. Granted it may not be much weight, but it does represent a dynamic load. In addition, it's also conceivable that some will add things to the base that could cause an uneven weight distribution, even though the OTA may be perfectly balanced. If the amount of material used to fabricate the larger Halo isn't scaled up dimensionally (read, thicker cross-sections), the uneven loads from the scope could very well induce flexing in the Halo which over time, could begin a process leading to it starting to sag inward. However, "could," and "might," are the key words!

That being said, it's likely that Extira is rigid enough to prevent that from happening without having to "beef up" the design for the larger diameter. David has probably thought of that, and more, and has more than likely allowed for it in his design! However, I believe it's still worth touching on. Especially considering that, the more dimensionally uniform you can specify your raw material needs to your supplier, the lower the overall supply costs are likely to become at production levels. Especially if they are able to meet your needs with standard, "off-the-shelf" stock. I imagine that shipping expenses would also come into play, as you wouldn't want the smaller Halos to be any heavier than they actually needed to be.

David, speaking of MDF being non-structural, I'm also wondering if using a Halo might cause the groundboard to eventually start cupping, or sagging upwards at some points along the edge, or perhaps even failing entirely! Since the groundboard is no longer being carried by the feet as designed (hence their ability to get away with using MDF, provided their design is a good one), the extra load being carried by the extreme outer edge of the groundboard might become problematic. Indeed, it's certainly not what the designers anticipated. Especially for larger scopes; especially those using a "Lazy Susan" bearing, due to there now being a longer distance between the bearing and the edge causing more bending and shearing stress than the original thickness of the groundboard was meant to bear! Even those using Teflon pads will usually have them positioned at nearly the same radius as the feet, both being more or less in line with the rocker box, in order to minimize bending and shearing loads on both the baseboard, and the groundboard (at least, that's how it appears to me on both of my Dobs...). Given how MDF is likely to weather over the years, and given that it would be supported at its extreme edge and not by its feet, any balancing of the loads on the groundboard that may have been provided by the feet would be lost, and the result could be eventual sagging, if not complete structural failure of the groundboard!

Please don't take this as me bashing your product in any way. Again, the operative words here are "could," "might," and "maybe." Once again, you've probably already figured this all out, and I'm just a day late, and a dollar short! So, if I'm in any way out of line, please disabuse me of my ignorant notions.

I bring this all up because I'm torn between either having a AZ ring made to mount on top of the baseboard, and mounting a pointer on the groundboard, or buying a Halo. Considering that the Halo obviously provides a more elegant way to calibrate the azimuth scale, provides an easy way to level the base, and keeps the pointer moving with the user, I would very much prefer buying one, as it really seems to be a very good, well thought out, and very complete solution. I just want to know that my scope, and the Halo itself, won't be subject to any unfortunate failures years from now. Especially failures that could arise from supporting the groundboard by its extreme outer edge.

I tend to be pretty careful with my gear, as I am no longer in a position to replace it later on if need be. Therefore, an ounce of prevention...

I was a bit long winded, my apologies... thanks for reading this far!

Edited by mayidunk (10/23/12 08:28 AM)


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rboeAdministrator

*****

Reged: 03/16/02

Loc: Phx, AZ
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5484982 - 10/23/12 10:08 AM

Oooh, that IS an interesting failure mode. If the feet are not dialed out too much (keep their moment arm short) but one would have to see it in person and flex it to see how likely this would be. Just an off the cuff observation the material looks thick enough to resist this but still. Interesting.

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mayidunk
Don't Ask...
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Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Betwixt & Between...
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5485047 - 10/23/12 10:55 AM

Quote:

Oooh, that IS an interesting failure mode. If the feet are not dialed out too much (keep their moment arm short) but one would have to see it in person and flex it to see how likely this would be. Just an off the cuff observation the material looks thick enough to resist this but still. Interesting.



Yes, and quite unfortunate if the designers chose the thickness of the groundboard based upon the load being carried by the feet. Flexing may not show up right away, but would most likely become apparent over time. How long that would take would depend upon how much additional moment would be added, and the how long it would take the MDF to finally reach its failure point.

This could be mitigated by the addition of metal straps, angle iron, or even a stamped steel dish set in the empty space underneath the groundboard, resting on the inside bearing surface of the Halo, that would then accommodate the feet, allowing the groundboard to work as designed while the metal dish transferred the weight back to the inner rim of the Halo. Such a fix would probably raise the price a bit, and might add some complexity to the construction. However, doing this might prove to be worthwhile in the long run! Whether or not it would need to be done for smaller Dobs would need to be looked at. However, for the Halo to carry something as heavy as the SW 12" Collapsible, it may be needed to ensure the integrity of the groundboard.

In fact, if he were to go with an insert for the existing Halo, he may not even need to alter the existing design! He could just offer the insert as an option for those who may need it. It would just drop into the Halo, and then the Dob would be placed on the insert, with the groundboard still fitting far enough into the ID of the Halo to ensure its coaxial alignment with the scale, while allowing the stock pointer to still be used without being too far from the surface of the scale. But even if the stock pointer would be too short, he could either include a longer replacement pointer with the insert, or provide instructions on how to bend the existing pointer to accommodate the increased distance. In fact, if it's possible to fabricate the insert out of Extira, he wouldn't even incur the added costs of materials, fabricating the dies, or someone to make the stampings! He could just add another program to his machine that would route out the insert! No muss, no fuss? Maybe... I'd be interested to hear David's take on this.

Edited by mayidunk (10/23/12 11:32 AM)


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