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"good", "cheap" wedge - does it exist?

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#1 Ben Ritchie

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 01:14 AM

Hi folks - I'd like to get a wedge for my 8" LX200, but the prices are rather a shock (especially here in the UK, with the astronomy $1 = £1 exchange rate). Even second-hand the premium wedges are £300+, which is out of the question in a month that's already seen me buy a load of expensive kit. Is there such a thing as a cheap but (reasonably) good wedge, or are they a waste of money? The expensive Meade superwedge seems to get a lot of criticism, so I'm guessing the basic wedges are poor?

Ben.

#2 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 02:09 AM

Wedges as with most things optical, you get what you pay for. Unless you realy get lucky in the used market, I would recommend saving up for a deluxe wedge of some kind and avoid the cheaper wedges as they tend to act like a spring with poor settle down times.

I use the APT wedge...

See: http://www.aptastro....ducts/wedge.php

...with my C9.25, its quite expensive, heavy but very well made and rock solid, which is what you want/need for imaging. Worth saving up for to get the performance.

#3 Dean

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 09:22 AM

I wouldn't recommend Meade's wedge if your going to do astrophotography. The main problem I have had with mine is that it is very difficult to adjust with any precision, which makes getting really good polar alignment a chore. If you want an idea of what it takes to make a Meade wedge workable, check out this thread about some of the problems with Meade's wedge and how to modify it( including a link to some very detailed instructions). There are 3rd party wedges like Mitty's and Milburne's that are highly recommended. There a few hundred $ more than Meade's, but seem worth it to me considering what is needed just to make Meade's wedge workable.

One option is to try and find one used. I scanned Astromart a while back, and there had been a few 3rd party wedges, but they went quickly. The cheapest route might be finding a used Meade wedge and modifying it.

#4 Starman1

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 07:45 PM

If it's cheap and light, it won't be rigid.
If it's rigid, it won't be cheap or light.
There are several after-market wedges on the market.
Forget Meade's and look for one of the up-market ones.
Rigidity is key.
Just a note: wedges are photographic devices.
Visually, they're a pain to use anywhere north of the zenith.

#5 Rusty

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 09:53 PM

I also have the APT (after looking at the Mitty and Millburn products - both excellent, but IMO, not quite an APT. With the APT, you can get the ugliest color ever put on an astronomical thingy.

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 10:49 PM

Ya Rusty the APT "red" is pretty obnoxious and realy does not match my black C9.25 too well. Doh.

#7 Ben Ritchie

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 04:38 AM

Thanks, guys. It's as I feared... :bawling:

Milburn's in particular looks reasonable - $400 isn't so bad at almost $2 to the pound - but $200 shipping...! :bangbangbang:

Ben.

#8 Rusty

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 09:45 PM

Be sure with the Milburns if you buy used - they have one (older) series that comes in latitude ranges of about 10* (you have to pick the range). Newer ones are 25*-50*. The APT (more expensive) goes 8.5* to 65*. I suspect you're at about 51* N, so you'd have to shim the Milburn.

#9 Phrozin R/T TT

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 04:16 PM

There is of course this option. I did have the chance last year of seeing a "DIY" wood wedge and after they imaged M42 almost all the pictures were as stable as aftermarket wedges. Looking through two exact scopes (one with a wood wedge and one with metal wedge) they both performed the same. Although, I would have think that the ability of the person making the wedge has a lot to do with how well it will work. That's why I ordered a superwedge. I have no skills when it comes to woodworking lol.

#10 southmike

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 02:32 PM

I went with a used " modified " meade superwedge,

the used price make it cheap , and the modifications made it work...even came with a handy dandy carring case. ;)

#11 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 03:33 PM

You can never have too many cases for the astro gear.

:grin:

#12 Rusty

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 09:55 PM

There is of course this option. I did have the chance last year of seeing a "DIY" wood wedge and after they imaged M42 almost all the pictures were as stable as aftermarket wedges. Looking through two exact scopes (one with a wood wedge and one with metal wedge) they both performed the same. Although, I would have think that the ability of the person making the wedge has a lot to do with how well it will work. That's why I ordered a superwedge. I have no skills when it comes to woodworking lol.


You can probably have a cabinet maker produce a wedge. The precision of the fit really only affects adjusting for latitude and polar alignment - with the wedge aligned and secured for the night's viewing, precision's not necessary, only being able to keep it from shifting.

#13 southmike

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 12:36 AM

wood absorbs vibration better then metal..

#14 TeamGS

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 08:56 PM

I'll go slightly against the grain and say this: If you don't mind the difficulties of the beast, the Meade Standard Wedge will function for the 8" SCT. There are numerous sites around on how to perform cheap modifications to it to make your life easier, but it is still a pain to adjust/align. If you are really strapped for $$ and are itching to get in to longer exposure photography (as I was) it works. I got mine used for around $75, and don't take my system down each evening, so I don't have to deal with the alignment all the time. Of course, I have yet to try a milburn, et. al. so I really don't know what I am missing! :D

Regards,

Gary

#15 Ben Ritchie

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 04:36 AM

Thanks folks.

The wooden wedge is an interesting idea, i'm going to have a word with a carpenter about that one. I've thought about picking up a standard Meade wedge on ebay, but I have to tear down the telescope after observing so setup is important, I don't want to spend hours trying to get polar aligned so it sounds like a cheap wedge is going to be more frustration than it's worth.

I am getting fed up with 30-second exposures and field rotation so it's something I'll have to buy (Meade's derotator is out, with the imaging kit on I can't reach vertical as it is so I don't want something else in the light path or i'll only get to about 45-degrees!) but I think i'm going to have to save up for a proper one.

Ben.

#16 raydar

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 12:23 PM

Thanks, guys. It's as I feared... :bawling:

Milburn's in particular looks reasonable - $400 isn't so bad at almost $2 to the pound - but $200 shipping...! :bangbangbang:

Ben.


Posting and packaging costs are fun! :tonofbricks: :tonofbricks:

I got my Milburn wedge today. I live in Western Australia, and paid $181 U.S for the delivery alone :foreheadslap:

My last wedge was a standard Meade one, for an 8" lx-50. I was gonna image Orion a few weeks back, in my back garden and SNAP! The wedge just cracked and down came my scope. How lucky was I, that my head was there to save my scope. I managed to hold it (after it hit my head) and screamed at my girlfriend to come give me a hand.

I had an Olympus OM-1 attached, small skywatcher Maksutov piggybacked as guidescope and a ccd camera in the Mak.(it wasn't overloaded). I would have lost alot of equipment had I not been there to catch it.

Feeble wedges never again!

I literally got my Milburn wedge a few hours ago, I have set it up, and wow, it was worth it.

As already said in this post, they are rigid, heavy. I like it, and I love the latitude and Azimuth adjustments. I can see it will be a luxury to use after putting up with Meade's one.

Anyway good luck.

#17 TeamGS

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 01:14 PM

Hey Ben,
I will probably go with a milburn, assuming that I don't move to an EQ mount. Since I currently only use the iterative alignment method, I can get my scope aligned for imaging in about 20 minutes, even with the standard wedge. This gives me accurate enough tracking for at least 10 minute guided exposures.

Regards,

Gary

#18 Ben Ritchie

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 12:28 AM

I'm heading towards the Milburn too - after shipping and taxes it's still £50 cheaper than anything I can source locally (BC&F's Megawedge) and that's something of an unknown quantity . I get the impression from reading around here that the APT wedge is probably the best of the premium wedges, but that's much more expensive than the Milburn and I haven't seen a bad thing written about the Milburn wedge.

raydar - wow, that's a story. I felt bad enough dropping a £30 plossl, never mind my whole rig. Where did you order the wedge from? Anacortes seem to ship internationally, anywhere else? And $181 is less than I pay (although it seems that if I buy two then shipping is only $40 more, maybe I should sell one on... :) ).

I feel my credit card calling... :help:

Cheers,

Ben.

#19 raydar

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 09:46 AM

Where did you order the wedge from? Anacortes seem to ship internationally, anywhere else? And $181 is less than I pay (although it seems that if I buy two then shipping is only $40 more, maybe I should sell one on... :) ).
I feel my credit card calling... :help:
Cheers,
Ben.


I bought my wedge straight from Ken at www.milburnwedge.com

He said that there is usually a longer waiting period, but I was lucky enough to jag a second hand one from him. So I managed to get my one a bit quicker.

Now that I've finally seen and felt it, I can tell you, you could literally stand on it (though I wouldn't risk the postage again) without breaking it.

I took a happy snap for you Ben.

Looking at the old wedge, I'm already wondering how I put up with it for so long.

You can see the crack on the old wedge, which is located at the bottom of the tilt plate.

See how the Milburn Wedge dwarfs the Meade one, and also how the Milburn Wedge is solid metal right through, whereas the Meade has holes, gaps, etc.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 383451-milburn wedge.jpg


#20 southmike

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 01:27 PM

a super wedge would be a good alt i would think...
it is far more substancial then the standard..

I have two standards, and one is very different from the other , in terms of the tilt plate...i can only assume it is older as the other looks like it will take smaller scopes.

#21 Starman1

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 05:43 PM

One should note that the addition of a couple aluminum plate "braces" on the standard Meade wedge can double its stiffness.
One is mounted across the back, on the vertical "wings", and the other is mounted underneath, also connecting the 2 "wings".
Use 1/4" x 1.5" aluminum strip stock and use at least 2 screws per end.

#22 mtnmedic

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 11:15 AM

My last wedge was a standard Meade one, for an 8" lx-50. I was gonna image Orion a few weeks back, in my back garden and SNAP! The wedge just cracked and down came my scope. How lucky was I, that my head was there to save my scope. I managed to hold it (after it hit my head) and screamed at my girlfriend to come give me a hand.


That's usin' the old noggin'! :brick: Sorry, don't mean to make light of your near-disaster. Wow...that's really surprising. And scary. I'm glad your scope (and your head) is okay.

#23 mtnmedic

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 11:19 AM


See how the Milburn Wedge dwarfs the Meade one, and also how the Milburn Wedge is solid metal right through, whereas the Meade has holes, gaps, etc.


I've always wondered what the heck the big square notch on the lower edge of the scope plate was all about. Can anyone tell me? :question:

#24 raydar

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 04:14 AM



See how the Milburn Wedge dwarfs the Meade one, and also how the Milburn Wedge is solid metal right through, whereas the Meade has holes, gaps, etc.


I've always wondered what the heck the big square notch on the lower edge of the scope plate was all about. Can anyone tell me? :question:


Simply to save Meade money on how much metal they need for production.

#25 southmike

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 10:41 PM


I've always wondered what the heck the big square notch on the lower edge of the scope plate was all about. Can anyone tell me? :question:


don't know originally, but the after market adjuster I have fits in there and slides up and down to keep it in alignment.( it doesn't slide when it is tightened)


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