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Equipment Discussions >> Reflectors

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hottr6
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/28/09

Loc: 7,500', Magdalena Mtns, NM
Re: So How Come Nobody Wants to Ship Their DOB? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5597837 - 12/31/12 11:56 AM

I would not call my attitude "cavalier", rather it is an honest suggestion based on experience.

I travel with several tons of extremely sensitive scientific sensors every year, all around the world, to some of the most challenging environments on the planet (this past year took me to Antarctica and central Africa). As a seismologist, I mother broadband sensors with a dynamic range of 146dB - to put that in perspective, these electro-mechanical sensors are sensitive enough to record ground motion of the order of the diameter of a hydrogen atom. At the other end of the scale, the same sensors can record on-scale displacements up to 6cm. This dynamic range is unmatched by any other sensor in science. Quite remarkable, really.

We ship stuff strapped to pallets. Not wooden pallets, that are essentially one-use items only, but thermo-plastic pallets which survive quite well. Another trick to survivability is not to undersize the pallet. Compared with foreign shipping companies and customs inspections, FedEx treat our equipment with kid gloves. And then we haul the gear in 4x4s over non-existent roads. Yeah, I know about shipping.

I've visited national physics, oceanographic and astronomical facilities, and military operations. Our equipment, as well as scientific equipment used by national facilities and the military, are all battle-scarred from routine use. This is an ugly fact of science. We keep the guts of our equipment operating at spec, but accept that a little paint will be lost, and scratches incurred. Life is a contact sport.

Obviously the equipment is not abused. Perhaps your concept of abuse is different to mine. Abused equipment will not deliver advertized performance, period, which would impact mission capability. Surface scratches to housings do not constitute abuse, and never will.

Maybe my professional involvement with scientific sensors has desensitized me to appearances because I am interested in data. I do whatever is necessary to capture data with full fidelity and repeatability.

As an aside, my other life is racing vintage cars and bikes. During the course of a season, we trade paint, bang the vehicle around with tools, and are always loading/off-loading on trailers. Most cars and bikes look pretty worn, but when rushing with repairs to make the start of a practice session or race, the prevailing attitude is "screw it, it's a race bike". There will always be folk with million-dollar discretionary funds who roll up with the shiniest transporter and just-restored vehicle, but I'm not one of them.

Finally, we are talking dobsonians, a ground-breaking cheap telescope design for visual use that can be built by inexperienced people with commonly available tools and materials. They are made of inexpensive plywood, and get rolled/carried in/out every night. I cannot get too excited about crying over a small scratch in plywood, especially when I cannot see it at night.

Ain't life grand that we all have different opinions based on differing experiences!


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Peter Natscher
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/28/06

Loc: Central Coast California
Re: So How Come Nobody Wants to Ship Their DOB? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5598932 - 12/31/12 11:56 PM

Its all in the packing. Get a competent shipper to pack it correctly. Virtually anything can and is shipped on pallets. My 24" Starmaster was trucked 3,000 mi. on a pallet along with its accessories intact and my 24" StarStructure was flown and trucked 3,000 mi. on a pallet with its 24" 70lb. primary mirror in its wooden box onboard the pallet, too. The Starmaster wasn't the most rigid wooden Dob either but made the trip perfectly. The StarStructure is a stronger welded aluminum structure. None of these two shipments showed any punch holes or abuse. THe total expense was $1,000 to ship and insure these two $15,000-$20,000 packages each on a pallet fully protected for 3,000 mi. Well worth it to me. This is how the world moves large items around

Quote:

Have you ever actually shipped a 16 inch Dob across the country just strapped to a pallet? In my younger days I worked for an LTL trucking company. I know what goes on on a loading dock, in the back of a truck. Pallets get pushed around with the forks.. the forks slip, 3000 miles in a freight trailer is a lot of pounding... Drivers don't always properly secure things.

I once shipped a 13.1 inch Coulter across the country, it was on a pallet.The pounding caused the based to self-destruct. On the other hand, I have shipped various 6 and 8inch tube dobs around the US in boxes, best are the originals, with a problem. I disassemble the bases, they ship flat.

The last Dob I bought was a 25 inch F/5.. I would never try to ship it, it was enough just loading it into our mini truck and driving a couple hundred miles... I am also skeptical that it could be shipped for a couple of hundred dollars. The mirror weighs about 80lbs, the truss tubes are about 7 feet long...

Telescopes are made to be used but they are not made to be abused. I doubt very much a buyer would share your cavalier attitude about anicks and bumps...

I'll ship smaller scopes but not big ones.

Jon




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klim
member


Reged: 08/24/08

Loc: Matamoras, PA
Re: So How Come Nobody Wants to Ship Their DOB? new [Re: Peter Natscher]
      #5599255 - 01/01/13 09:25 AM

I was the recipient of Peter's 24" Starmaster and can attest to the fact that it arrived beautifully packed with absolutely no problems. I was at work when it arrived and the shipper moved it into my garage at my wife's request. Peter, just let me know when you're ready to ship that Starstructure out East.

Regards,

Mark


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Peter Natscher
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/28/06

Loc: Central Coast California
Re: So How Come Nobody Wants to Ship Their DOB? new [Re: klim]
      #5599547 - 01/01/13 12:44 PM

Happy New Year, Mark!

Are you ready for another 24? This one's eyepiece height is a lot lower and the frame much stiffer.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: So How Come Nobody Wants to Ship Their DOB? new [Re: Peter Natscher]
      #5600146 - 01/01/13 06:59 PM

Quote:

THe total expense was $1,000 to ship and insure these two $15,000-$20,000 packages each on a pallet fully protected for 3,000 mi. Well worth it to me. This is how the world moves large items around







In my work, I have to ship some expensive equipment around. It takes time even though someone else does the work and it costs real money. It's a lot more effort than strapping it to a pallet and paying a freight company a couple of hundred dollars...

Jon


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