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8SE rail mod "Ron's rail"

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#1 GizmoDave

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:23 PM

I was looking for information on extending the dovetail on my 8SE and noticed the sticky on Eddie's rail for the 6SE.
Nice piece of engineering but as stated requires more machine than most are likely to have access to.
I noticed mention of Ron's rail mod, sent a couple of messages asking for info and was told to contact RAKing who gave me the details of this mod.
Thank you Ron :bow:
Items required a suitable sized piece of Vixen dovetail bar.
I used the Orion 8". two ¼x20 screws to fit the predrilled holed in your 8SE bar(screw length will be determined by type of screw head) I used a ¾ cap screw.
Sharp drill bit/s and a drill press with vice will come in handy but you could make do with a hand held drill if careful.
I removed my stock dovetail and clamped it to the new bar with the wider sides facing each other and the edges flush. Then carefully drilled pilot holes in the Orion bar using the original bar as a guide. This is where a drill press comes in handy to prevent damaging the threads in your original dovetail. Now you can put the original dovetail back on your scope and concentrate on the mod piece.
Next re-drill the holes just large enough for the ¼' screws to fit then counter sink/bore the holes to allow the screws to fit flush with the top of the center rib.

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#2 GizmoDave

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:25 PM

modified bar waiting to be installed

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#3 GizmoDave

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:27 PM

installed side view

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#4 GizmoDave

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:28 PM

end view mounted

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#5 GizmoDave

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:29 PM

installed in mount, now with lots of room to spare

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#6 rick rian

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:40 PM

Elegant solution, Dave ... the pix are worth 'a thousand words'. :)

Thanks a bunch for posting! :waytogo:

PS, what are the wires connected to? I'm thinking a dew controler ... :thinking:

Inquiring minds, don't ya know ... ;)

#7 GizmoDave

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 12:01 AM

Thanks Rickster,
The credit goes to Ron I just thought his mod should get some well deserved air time too. :cool:
Yes the wires are for the dew control system.
Here is a pic of part of the set up testing the fit on the new rail.

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#8 Midnight Dan

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 07:18 AM

Nice Job Dave!

I also installed a "Ron's rail" but a little differently. First I didn't remove the stock dovetail at all. I just measured the distance between the two holes and drilled based on that. Seemed to work fine.

The other thing I did was to add a couple of shims between the two dovetails. I didn't like the way the narrow part of the new bar fit onto the wide part of the old bar. Didn't seem very stable to me. So I went to the local Home Depot and bought a piece of 1/8" thick aluminum bar stock - I think it may have been something like 1" or 1.5" wide. With a hacksaw, I cut off a couple of pieces just a bit longer than the width of the dovetail bar, and drilled a hole in the middle for the bolt to pass through. Putting these in-between the two bars made for what seems to be a much more solid connection.

-Dan

#9 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 08:35 AM

Hi Dan
I found the same problem when I built my first rail extension using Ron's idea. I didn't like the way the 8" Orion sat on top of the original rail. I used a pair of 1/4" thick blocks mainly because I already had lots of that bar stock. I also wanted the added rail to protrude a little further so the on-hand material was ideal. Pictures of my setup are in the original post where rail ideas were discussed extensively.

Dave has done an excellent job on his rail with minimum equipment and a nice presentation for others to view.

#10 GizmoDave

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 08:41 AM

Thanks Dan,
I like your method of spreading the contact area and will add it to this install.

#11 brmillsy

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 12:18 PM

Hey guys:

Dave - thanks a lot for the photos it will certainly help someone doing it for the first time to see it.

I did the exact same thing recently with my 8SE and used the 8" bar from Orion. Like Dan I just carefully measured the distance for the position of the next hole. This worked fine and was much easier than removing the original dovetail. In fact on mine I could not see how I would remove the original bar. I could not gain access to the upper screws due to the metal "celestron" plate covering it. I did it with just a cordless drill and it worked ok.

I'm also not completely happy with the way the new rail seats on the existing dovetail. Thanks Dan and Eddie for the ideas to mitigate that! I'm going to check that out.

Thanks.

#12 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 01:09 PM

The Celestron name plate slides out going forward after removing the rubber plug at the front end. The rail is slotted so the plate cannot be put back into the new rail without some machining.

#13 RAKing

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 05:01 PM

Dave,

I'm happy you got this to work.

As I've mentioned before, I originally dreamed this idea up on the spur of the moment. I was trying to get my C8-CF set up on the SE mount and realized the ADM radius block was interfering with the saddle. I rushed downstairs, grabbed a short dovetail, marked the holes with a pencil, and drilled. I then rushed outside and bolted it on so I could observe some stars. The whole mod took about ten minutes, start to finish. :roflmao:

The next day, I considered milling the ADM block (like Eddie eventually did), but decided it was too much work and left well enough alone.

The original mod was done using an ADM dovetail (flat surface) on my carbon fiber C8. I later did the mod to a C8-A with the extruded dovetail and never had any rocking or alignment issues. But I eventually put a spacer in there for insurance.

I'm happy this idea has helped everyone else. :jump: Here's a picture of the original version for posterity. :cool:

Ron

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  • 3507113-C8SE_Dovetail.JPG


#14 brmillsy

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 07:21 PM

The Celestron name plate slides out going forward after removing the rubber plug at the front end. The rail is slotted so the plate cannot be put back into the new rail without some machining.



Unfortunately on mine the name plate would not slide at all. It looked like it ought to but didn't. Couldn't see going at my OTA with a hammer and chisel :)

#15 Arctic_Eddie

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 08:34 PM

Remove the rubber plug on the end then grab the edge of the name plate with a pair of pliers with paper to protect the paint.

#16 Midnight Dan

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 09:33 PM

BTW, in my previous post I said I cut two pieces of aluminum bar stock a little longer than the width of the dovetail. Well, my memory isn't what it used to be ... I think (can't remember for sure!) :grin:

Here's what I really did:

Posted Image

It's hard to tell here, but the outer edges of the dovetails are touching, just like if the aluminum bar was not there, but the 1" by 1/8" bar stock fits in perfectly to take up the space and does not allow the dovetails to move around and improperly "nest". Holds everything in place nicely.

Also, I used one long piece that runs the length of the overlap area of the two dovetails and drilled two holes in it for the screws. Note that these holes were drilled larger than needed so that I didn't have to worry about positioning them too accurately. Just needed an opening for the screws to go through.

-Dan

#17 ibase

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 04:28 AM

Dave thanks for posting the pics!
This time around, this thread should be made into a sticky. How about it, Mods? Thanks.

Best,

#18 GizmoDave

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 04:23 PM

I hope the info can give others in need of a simple fix to a common problem some easy to find options.
As pointed out it is not necessary to remove the stock rail to produce a good fit, my reasoning for doing it in this manor was because I chose to drill holes with an interference fit to hopefully increase the rigidity of the install.
Spacer similar to Midnight Dan's description has been installed, not pretty but but it does enhance stability
of the mod.

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#19 coutleef

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 04:28 PM

I was looking for information on extending the dovetail on my 8SE and noticed the sticky on Eddie's rail for the 6SE.
Nice piece of engineering but as stated requires more machine than most are likely to have access to.
I noticed mention of Ron's rail mod, sent a couple of messages asking for info and was told to contact RAKing who gave me the details of this mod.
Thank you Ron :bow:


Hands up for Ron, Ron's rail made a major difference in my session by allowing me to look at the zenith. Viewing from the city, the zenith is the best place to look to have the best views of DSOs.

#20 NorskeBob

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 03:01 PM

Just completed mine similar to Midnight Dan

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