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Variable Monolux Revamp Complete!

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#1 Preston Smith

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 06:26 PM

I have an older Monolux Variable Power scope that has a really nice objective but the variable zoom assembly left much to be desired. You can't use eyepieces as the zoom assembly incorporates the eyepiece lens. Bummer! What a waste of a very good Japanese objective.

But wait! I had an idea and promised Carol that I would follow through with it!

So, here is the original scope:

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#2 Preston Smith

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 06:26 PM

Here's a shot of the wonderful, air-spaced, nicely coated objective:

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#3 Preston Smith

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 06:28 PM

Everything including the objective lens cell is metal. The lens cell threads on to the tube. The tube is about 500mm in length. When I pulled out the variable zoom assembly you can see that it goes about 110mm into the OTA:

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#4 Preston Smith

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 06:33 PM

I discovered that the lens focal length was 400mm. So I grabbed one of those 60mm plastic focusers from Surplus Shed (that supports 1.25 eyepieces) and did some measurements. I could cut the tube down to 200mm and yet leave the original threads for the objective. So I used a metal cutting blade on my miter saw and got a good even cut as I kept the tube firmly against the saw's fence. Here's a picture of the resized scope (without the variable zoom):

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#5 Preston Smith

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 06:34 PM

I put the scope into my "maintenance mount" and was very pleased with the terrestrial capabilities of this scope.

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#6 Preston Smith

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 06:36 PM

What is also great is the original JTII sticker is still on the OTA tube!

I'll try to give this little guy a good astro test tonight if conditions are favorable. More to come!

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#7 Vesper818

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 06:59 PM

Excellent, Preston!
This gives us all ideas to rehab those "not quite classic" scopes into usable visual tools..
What could be better than giving a nice scope more time in the sky!
Very well done! What class, to use a Stellarvue diagonal and eyepiece on it!

Can you salvage that zoom thingy to fit into a standard .965 focuser, or even cob it into a bit of drain pipe to fit your new one?

#8 Preston Smith

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 07:05 PM

Can you salvage that zoom thingy to fit into a standard .965 focuser, or even cob it into a bit of drain pipe to fit your new one?


It doesn't support .965 eyepieces in its current configuration. It's going into my astro box for right now. I may tinker with it when I come back from Texas.

If this scope performs well with astronomical observing then I may get a metal focuser for it.

#9 Preston Smith

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 07:43 PM

Excellent, Preston!
This gives us all ideas to rehab those "not quite classic" scopes into usable visual tools..


That is the reason that I posted this project here and not on the ATM forum. If I posted it there then some may not understand the importance of preserving the classics and start cutting them up. Here we understand what scopes should be preserved and why scopes like this variable Monolux should be given a second chance!

#10 Glassthrower

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 08:49 AM

The vari-power Mayflower I owned for a while could have profited from an alteration similar to this one.

Nice job. :)

#11 Jae

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 09:14 AM

Very nicely done ! :ooo:

Wonder how it performs compared to those 300mm fl Vixen 9VR equivalents..

Wish I had good cutting talents, all the tubes I've wanted to cut down in my years but never got around to.....and you are absolutely right about the classic guys appreciating what you've done !

Jae

#12 Preston Smith

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 10:09 AM

Last night seeing was poor so I can't comment on planetary viewing. But Lunar was very good. Some CA but definitely at a level to be expected with a short tube. Prbably less then I have seen in similar short tubes.

I used a 28mm RKE (reversed Kellner) to check out stars and some deep space. The scope really captures faint stars well. I noticed a hint of coma but I only had the one eyepiece with me so I don't know if it was the scope or the eyepiece (I just got the RKE).

Cutting the tube was quite easy using an 8" metal cutting blade and my miter saw. The key is to have the saw trued in very well and keeping the tube firmly against the fence as you are cutting.

The plastic focuser is OK but it has to go. I gotta get a metal one.

I have one more thing to do with this scope... :question: check back for a picture tonight... You will NOT be dissapointed! :jump:

#13 Vesper818

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 01:00 PM

he's gonna paint it! ...LOL

#14 Preston Smith

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 02:11 PM

Nope! :noway:

Good guess though.... :grin:

#15 Glassthrower

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 02:33 PM

Binoviewer?

#16 Preston Smith

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 03:01 PM

Binoviewer?


Cool idea!:watching: ... NOPE! :noway:

Hey this is like 21 questions! :jump: 19 left.... :lol:

#17 Preston Smith

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 04:59 PM

While you are waiting for the unveiling of the new modification.....

Check out my first terrestrial picture with the Modified Monolux:

http://tinyurl.com/3y49vq :photo:

#18 BHunt

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 05:10 PM

Nice pics Preston. Kudos on the saw also. Beautiful Job!!!
Bill :goodjob:

#19 Preston Smith

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 05:19 PM

Nice pics Preston. Kudos on the saw also. Beautiful Job!!!
Bill :goodjob:


Thanx Bill! I have a 1948 saw that is my "keeper." I have a 1951 saw on deck to restore when I get back from Texas. The restored saw you looked at on the website was sold as a "Buy It Now" on Ebay for $450 in less than 48 hours. Very few go through the detail that I do restoring these wonderful old saws. They will last for over 100 years if properly maintained!

#20 mikey cee

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 05:33 PM

Preston.....As a professional trim carpenter for many years I can appreciate your endeavor on the scrollsaw. Sure hope the party you sold it to also does likewise! ;)Mike

#21 Preston Smith

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 05:34 PM

OK Folks!

Here is the big moment EVERYONE has been waiting for. My latest modification on the scope:

Introducing:

:borg::borg::borg: THE MONOBORG! :borg::borg::borg:

Resistance to do anything else was futile :shrug:

1960s and 2000s technology has merged so that kids at my future star watches can see through good glass, find things quickly with the red dot finder and have a blast finding DSOs and double stars with the PUSH TO computer.

Pretty Cool, huh? :rockon:

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#22 Glassthrower

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 05:52 PM

IT'S ALIVE!!!

(we really need a Frankenstein graemlin!)

Nice job! :bow:

Is that the little Meade Autostar mount that comes with their 60mm scope? Telescope Warehouse on eBay (Surplus Shed) has those really cheap.....hmmmm...

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#23 Vesper818

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 06:03 PM

You have GOT to put that OEM peepsight back on!!!!!!!


LOL
Wonderful job,Preston, and it all looks as if it were made for eachother. Did you put a metal focuser on, or just classier knobs? A match made in AstroTinker's Heaven!

#24 BHunt

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 09:01 PM

You are a true artist and retro fitter.
Bill

#25 Preston Smith

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 09:10 AM

Mike - Yes it's a basic Autostar # 494 Push To from Meade. It ONLY has a 1,400 object database. The model is the NGC-60TC and is now selling for $75 or less. It is a discontinued model so priced are being slashed. The mount's biggest weakness is that it can't properly support any heavy eyepieces. You really have to tighten up the friction on the mount to support anything. The problem is it is plastic on plastic for friction so in time it will wear down. But that could be a long time depending how much you use it! The computer works great though. That is its strong point. And it only uses ONE 9V battery! To Meade's credit, the tripod is actually better then the earlier ones. It is fairly stable when everything is tightened up. And it is amazingly light. Still, I will probably replace the legs in the future so I can lower it for the kids but also raise to a higher level for my use.

Carol - You know, I actually did want to put the original gunsights back on the scope. but with the red dot on there I didn't want the scope to start looking like a fruit salad of gadgets! And... it didn't look Borgish! :lol:

Bill - Thanx for the kind words. I just enjoy finding value in things that are worn down but with some effort, can be restored. Sorta like what the Good Lord had to do with me a few years ago! :roflmao:


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