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Orion Monster Dobs - not happening?

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#1 morceli

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 10:35 PM

I was looking through the Orion website and didn't see any mention of the Monster Dobs. Searched on their website and did a web search, but didn't find any references from their site.

Looks like these might be ending before any of them ever shipped. Kind of too bad if that is the case. I was looking forward to more reports of people viewing through 40" and 50" scopes!

I wonder if there wasn't the demand for them or if they were running into technical problems. Or perhaps nothing has changed and they just slipped through in a website update.

#2 thinairart

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 12:41 AM

It is strange that the big dobs are missing from the website navigation.

The link to this page still works: http://www.telescope...c/33/p/9160.uts

"Not Available" & "This product is no longer available for purchase" is displayed where the availability estimate used to be.



#3 Karl_Bonner_1982

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 04:23 AM

Well I guess we could just find out the answer via a phone call.

If they decided the Monster Dobs aren't worth it, I at least hope they introduce a slightly larger version of the Ultraportable (UP) Dobs - say 24" aperture.

#4 Fireball

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 04:59 AM

Well I guess we could just find out the answer via a phone call.
If they decided the Monster Dobs aren't worth it, I at least hope they introduce a slightly larger version of the Ultraportable (UP) Dobs - say 24" aperture.

The "monsters" may not happen because there are two things IMHO which seem to be showstoppers:
- size (f4 and beyond is too much)
- price (who wants to or can pay that much? - esp. for the 50")
I second your opinion to get more UC/UP choices for reasonable prices. I am desperately looking for an upgrade for my trusty 12" Lightbridge around 20"+, which I still can carry AND afford. The Lightbridge and "derivatives" are getting too big and heavy.
Anyone listening? Meade? Skywatcher? Orion? GSO? Celestron? Astro Tech? Zhummel? ...
There are some choices already like the Obsession UC, the Sumerian, Dobson Factory but those are still beyond most ambitious amateurs budget.
The 16" LB and similar are good examples for big "budget" aperture but their concept limit even bigger ones.
A 20" for less than 5k would be a pretty interesting option!

#5 FirstSight

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 09:01 AM

IMHO Orion realized two things:
1) They'd received about as much positive buzz out of offering the "monster dobs" in their paper and on-line catalogs as they were going to get, unless they actually managed to produce a competently working example, i.e. that knowledgeable viewers could test under clear night skies and write comments or reviews about the experience;
2) Orion correctly concluded that the set of problems involved with producing any reliably sound, satisfactory working examples of the "monster dobs" was far more formidable and risky than they'd even assumed. Better to call the whole thing off before someone actually placed an order with money behind it, and place Orion at huge risk of not being able to deliver a mechanically and optically competent scope within any sort of reasonable time frame.

#6 Maverick199

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 09:59 AM

What will happen to the Monster Dobs already in production or at their warehouses? Epic summer sale?. :D

#7 Scott in NC

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 10:20 AM

What will happen to the Monster Dobs already in production or at their warehouses? Epic summer sale?. :D


I doubt there are any, as I can't imagine that this was ever planned to be an "off-the-shelf" stock item. Rather, these were likely all supposed to be one-at-a-time custom builds (i.e., not started until (or if) an order was actually placed and a hefty down payment submitted).

#8 turtle86

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 10:32 AM

According to this thread, Orion had a 36" Monster Dob at NEAF last year, and some institution had placed an order for a 50":

http://www.cloudynig...ll/fpart/1/vc/1

This thread includes an image of the 36" at NEAF. According to one of the posters, the mirror in the cell was a 24" because the original 36" mirror shattered in the vacuum system during coating due to a thermal expansion mismatch between the mirror and its holder.

IIRC, someone a while back posted on another thread that Orion was also going to have a working prototype of a Monster Dob at one of the major star parties. I don't know whether that ever happened or not. Certainly at this price point there would be very few takers without physical proof that the design works well. The disappearance of the scope from the web site is not a good sign. I'd be very curious to know what happened with that order for the 50".

#9 thinairart

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 10:55 AM

Also missing from the Orion website are the 'ultra portable' models as well. These were smaller aperture (16"-32") scopes similar in design to the monster dobs.

#10 Michael Carnes

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 11:10 AM

I'm on the planning committee for ALCON at Bryce Canyon this year. As recently as last month, we had assurances from Orion that the 36" was coming to the festival for public viewing.

Got another meeting tonight, so I'll update this thread if I hear of any change in plans.

#11 Tim J K

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 11:13 AM

Well I guess we could just find out the answer via a phone call.
If they decided the Monster Dobs aren't worth it, I at least hope they introduce a slightly larger version of the Ultraportable (UP) Dobs - say 24" aperture.

The "monsters" may not happen because there are two things IMHO which seem to be showstoppers:
- size (f4 and beyond is too much)
- price (who wants to or can pay that much? - esp. for the 50")
I second your opinion to get more UC/UP choices for reasonable prices. I am desperately looking for an upgrade for my trusty 12" Lightbridge around 20"+, which I still can carry AND afford. The Lightbridge and "derivatives" are getting too big and heavy.
Anyone listening? Meade? Skywatcher? Orion? GSO? Celestron? Astro Tech? Zhummel? ...
There are some choices already like the Obsession UC, the Sumerian, Dobson Factory but those are still beyond most ambitious amateurs budget.
The 16" LB and similar are good examples for big "budget" aperture but their concept limit even bigger ones.
A 20" for less than 5k would be a pretty interesting option!


I agree. I'd really be interested in a 16 inch version of the XX14i or XX14g. Or a semi-premium 16 or 18 inch dob (along the lines of Discovery).

#12 Galicapernistein

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 12:26 PM

"I am desperately looking for an upgrade for my trusty 12" Lightbridge around 20"+, which I still can carry AND afford. The Lightbridge and "derivatives" are getting too big and heavy."

I second that. I had money in the bank ready to spend on a reasonably priced and not quite premium 18 or 20 inch dob. When the rumors about Orion's new dobs started to spread, I was sure they would come out with a cheaper and more portable version of a dob in that size range. I didn't expect yet another premium priced dob. I would be perfectly satisfied with mass produced optics in a bigger scope if the price was right. I'm still in the market and I still have the money, if anybody's listening.

#13 turtle86

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 02:42 PM

I'm on the planning committee for ALCON at Bryce Canyon this year. As recently as last month, we had assurances from Orion that the 36" was coming to the festival for public viewing.

Got another meeting tonight, so I'll update this thread if I hear of any change in plans.


That sounds promising. Would love to hear a report about the 36" in action.

BTW, I've been to Bryce a couple of times and it's an amazing place. With its altitude and all, I'll bet it's great for star parties too.

#14 Karl_Bonner_1982

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 06:36 PM

I just called Orion and posed as a member of a small local astronomy club. Said that there were several of us looking to pool resources on a big scope, as in $5K-10K total. I then proceeded to ask what the largest available aperture was, and the gentleman came up with the 14" go-to and 14" Intelliscope dobs, the latter of which costs only $1800.

I could understand why the Monsters might be dropped from the catalog, because of just how high that was aiming. Especially since Orion's market niche is more of the general public, which means largely beginners and intermediates. But instead of lowering their sights just a little bit and promoting something like a 24", they decided to back out of the aperture fever business almost completely. (Yeah, a 12" or 14" is still pretty big, but nowadays it is nowhere near the cream of the aperture crop.)

I think discontinuing the UP dobs was a big mistake, though I don't know the realities as to how well they were selling. Maybe Orion, regardless of optical quality, had too much of a "lowest common denominator" reputation already established so that nobody thought of them as a light bucket retailer. If that's the case it's really too bad -- I think the UP Dobs are a wonderful idea that could push the dominant aperture standard in amateur astronomy still higher than it currently is.

#15 GeneT

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 06:39 PM

Possibly they sold few if any. At any rate, these 'monster' Dobs created quite a buzz and brought Orion a lot of publicity.

#16 thinairart

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 06:52 PM

If that's the case it's really too bad -- I think the UP Dobs are a wonderful idea that could push the dominant aperture standard in amateur astronomy still higher than it currently is.


I'm also disappointed that the Ultra Portables seem to have been dropped from Orion's product line. Even the 16" & 18" models would have been nice additions to their product line to satisfy those customers looking for a moderate size aperture without the premium scope price tag.

#17 Pinbout

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 08:07 PM

Hubble optics made the UP for Orion which you can buy the 12 " for $1k on eBay

#18 Wozzel

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 08:30 PM

I call Orion 2 months ago and man said they never sold a Monster scope of any size at all. So no 50".

Peoples at last year NEAF said the demo 36" scope was not stiff, in fact wobbly.

No Orion Monster this year at NEAF, wobbly or no.

#19 thinairart

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 09:50 PM

Hubble optics made the UP for Orion which you can buy the 12 " for $1k on eBay


Note that the optics/focuser are not included in the above package @ $1k. It also appears to ship from Hong Kong, so add another $200 for air to the US. I knew that HO was making the mirrors for Orion's UP line, but I did not know they were making the structure as well. Looking at the Orion product page (still available through Google) & the HO ebay listing, they do appear to be identical designs.

#20 Joe Bergeron

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 11:23 PM

IMHO Orion realized two things:
1) They'd received about as much positive buzz out of offering the "monster dobs" in their paper and on-line catalogs as they were going to get, unless they actually managed to produce a competently working example, i.e. that knowledgeable viewers could test under clear night skies and write comments or reviews about the experience;
2) Orion correctly concluded that the set of problems involved with producing any reliably sound, satisfactory working examples of the "monster dobs" was far more formidable and risky than they'd even assumed. Better to call the whole thing off before someone actually placed an order with money behind it, and place Orion at huge risk of not being able to deliver a mechanically and optically competent scope within any sort of reasonable time frame.


Yes, exactly. I imagine that when the time came they couldn't remove all references to the scopes fast enough, as they trembled for fear of someone actually ordering one.

#21 thinairart

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 11:40 PM

With regard to the Ultra Portables, checkout this thread:

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/2

I asked Tong from Hubble Optics if he might be able to comment on the status of Orion's Ultra Portable line. So at least from his perspective as a vendor to Orion, the Ultra Portable product line is still an upcoming offering.

The Orion website was recently redesigned, perhaps these products simply have not been added to the new layout yet?

There is a page in the new layout for the Ultra Portable line, with no products: http://www.telescope...c/1/c/12/32.uts

There is also a page in the new layout for the monster dobs: http://www.telescope...c/1/c/12/33.uts

#22 Karl_Bonner_1982

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 01:49 AM

As long as Orion offers something in the 16-20" range, I'll be satisfied. And if they go up to 24" I'll be very happy!

When it comes to Dob and Ball reflectors, this is my demarcation:

"Small" = 4-6 in.
"Medium" = 7-10 in.
"Large" = 12-16 in.
"Extra large" = 18-25 in.
"Monster" = 28 inches and larger

#23 Michael Carnes

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 08:37 AM

As recently as last month, we had assurances from Orion that the 36" was coming to the festival for public viewing.


That sounds promising. Would love to hear a report about the 36" in action.

BTW, I've been to Bryce a couple of times and it's an amazing place. With its altitude and all, I'll bet it's great for star parties too.


No news, I'm afraid, We did check the website and noticed the absence of the big Dobs. I'm sure we'll be looking into it farther. I do hope they manage to get one to Bryce--even if it's the only one they have.

And yes, Bryce is a great place for a star party. We've been doing them there for many years. The rangers (many of whom are serious astronomers) oversee and advertise the festival, while we amateurs bring 30-40 scopes. The public star party goes till midnight and then we have the field to ourselves. Elevation is 8200' and above, and the nearest city is a nearly hundred miles and a mountain range away. Not a bad area for hiking, either.

#24 Houdini

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 10:06 AM

I call Orion 2 months ago and man said they never sold a Monster scope of any size at all. So no 50".

Peoples at last year NEAF said the demo 36" scope was not stiff, in fact wobbly.

No Orion Monster this year at NEAF, wobbly or no.

Orion may have encountered the same problems with obtaining cellular blanks as I have (and which so far have caused a 4 year delay in my 43" project).
Currently there simply isn't any credible supplier of 36" to 50" cellular blanks at reasonable prices.

Robert

#25 Astrojensen

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 03:15 PM

Yes, exactly. I imagine that when the time came they couldn't remove all references to the scopes fast enough, as they trembled for fear of someone actually ordering one.



Several posters has aired this theory, but I think it has one major flaw in its logic: There's always the possibility that someone could have ordered a 50" the moment he saw the ad the first time it was made public. What would Orion have done then? Especially if it was a well-known amateur who often posted on CN and elsewhere? Advertising a big scope and then not being able to deliver could have been a huge blow to their credibility.

Was it all just a gamble? I am not convinced it was. Orion must at least initially have believed they could deliver the goods.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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