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How is your Questar mounted ?

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#51 ehallspqr

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 02:21 PM

MuniRocks, Scope center of mass aligned with centerline of tripod as per your suggestion. The fact that I was having issues finding a shop to do the work allowed me to build and center the pivot point between arm and tube (which I assume to be the balance point/center of mass) directly inline to center axis of the tripod, with the wedge set at my latitude of 48 degrees $. My meager workshop (hand held drill and chop saw with carbide blade, bench vise) also dictated the design which had to be doable with tooling on hand. The good thing about aluminum is its easily machinable. You can even sand it like a piece of wood. All beveling and rounding of radius was done with a simple block sander, some elbow grease and eyeballing it. Only thing left to do is add a hole for the Powerguide II port.

 

You are correct, 7" OD for Q flange. I misspoke, the disk is actually 7.5". I have gone back and corrected my original posts so as not to mislead anyone. Thanks for pointing that out.  


Edited by ehallspqr, 18 September 2014 - 02:38 PM.


#52 Joe Ellis

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 04:06 PM

Joe,

 

If you'll look back at my post #33 above, that's actually what I use most of the time. That tripod has pointy plastic thingies on the end (a technical term :)). What I've done is driven 3 shortish (4"?) pieces of 1" PVC pipe into the ground into which the plastic points fit snugly so the placement of the tripod is repeatable. So if I avoid changing the height of the tripod, or messing with the inclination or alignment of the Q's base, I get a decent alignment without having to do much, if anything, the next time out.

Aha! I have the alignment feet attached to the tri-stand.  If I planted pvc that would fit the tri-stand feet, then, as you say, if I don't change anything I should have repeatability.

Thank you for the feedback!  A very reasonable solution.



#53 Steve's 50th

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 06:37 PM

ehallspqr, that turned out very nice! When I first had my wedge, tripod, and scope assembled together I thought about having some type of base plate machined to go between the wedge and tripod to offset the wedge a little for centering the mass of the scope and wedge over the tripod. But after using it I really kind of forgot about it and don't think it's necessary, but who knows, maybe someday when I haven't got something else that I need to do I may play around with it. Your solution looks great! Show us a picture of the whole assembly, I'd really like to see an all "aluminum" color version of our tripods with the scope mounted on top. I wrestled with the color choice of tripods when buying my tripod as it was available black or aluminum and I liked the idea of both colors. Black was in stock and aluminum needed to be ordered at the time so black it was. 



#54 ehallspqr

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 12:04 AM

I thought about having some type of base plate machined to go between the wedge and tripod to offset the wedge a little for centering the mass of the scope and wedge over the tripod. But after using it I really kind of forgot about it and don't think it's necessary, but who knows

 

Show us a picture of the whole assembly, I'd really like to see an all "aluminum" color version of our tripods with the scope mounted on top. I wrestled with the color choice of tripods when buying my tripod as it was available black or aluminum and I liked the idea of both colors

 

Provided you have an over built setup, heavy tripod and a sufficient mount, and provided your telescope is fairly compact and isn't very heavy, then I would say not optimizing weight distribution is not that important. More of a design goal than a design necessity. This mount/tripod can carry in excess of 30lbs. The Questar with adapter bracket is 12 at the most. If it was a 20 lb refractor with the weight cantilevered way off center, then I'd be more worried about trying to move the CG closer over the tripod centerline.

 

I bought my tripod used and it was silver. I kind of prefer black but the price was right so silver it is. Either looks good. I think the Tristand and Astropier in all black looks great, but those will have to wait. A photo from my gallery.

 

Questar35standardAstroTracTW3100wedgewit


Edited by ehallspqr, 19 September 2014 - 10:14 AM.

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#55 Mike E.

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 01:21 AM

That's a nice set up eshallspqr.  :)

 

Last year I bought an older Manfretto  #132 video tripod with a #116 fluid head, and made up a simple adapter plate to support our 3.5" Questar.  It has worked out well.

 

For quick peeks out the door or travel, I still use our vintage Tiltall #4602 tripod.

 

 

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#56 ehallspqr

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Posted 20 September 2014 - 02:43 PM

The Questar sitting on that vintage Tiltall tripod looks so cool together. You can imagine that many a Questar owner used this combination back in the day. 



#57 munirocks

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Posted 20 September 2014 - 05:53 PM

Just a few more thoughts on centering things. I'm probably overly cautious, but remember that for tipping purposes the three tripod feet inscribe an equilateral  triangle on the ground - not a circle. The horizontal distance from the triangle center to the closest point on the side of the triangle (which is the critical distance because that's the direction it's going to fall over) is only half of the distance from the center of the triangle to any one of its points (that is, cos 60° = 0.5). So a tripod with feet that are a good 80cm from the center actually only has 40cm of support in the easiest tipping direction. It's easy to see how a Q on a light tripod with the legs not fully spread and an Astrotrac positioned between the legs could come very close to the tipping point. This may seem obvious but I once saw such a setup over on the Outreach forum and by golly it sure looked close to the edge. I had the urge to dive through the computer screen and throw my body under the scope. 



#58 Panotaker

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Posted 20 September 2014 - 08:58 PM

Mine is not the prettiest setup in the world, but it was cheap. It is also rock solid, and I can fine tune the polar alignment. It also didn't require any tools to put together. I simply used a Celestron wedge and a Celestron tripod. A piece of metal with a hole drilled in it, and a long 1/4x20 screw holds the Questar to the wedge. The wedge is design to hold an 8" SCT, so it's rock solid. I will eventually get one of those pretty Astrotrac wedge's since I already have a heavy duty Bogen tripod, but for now, this works out nicely.

150205159.jpg

 

150205158.jpg


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#59 khendrix2

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 01:35 AM

1972 Questar 3.5 Standard on the Quickset Hercules tripod with geared head. The Hercules will handle a payload of 150 pounds, so this combination is pretty solid.

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Edited by khendrix2, 21 September 2014 - 01:37 AM.

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#60 Steve's 50th

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 11:40 AM

On the subject of tripods and tipping, I've used my current setup for a couple years now and never had an instance where I thought my scope was in danger of tipping over. My tripod has adjustable legs and I can spread out the legs very wide if I desire to, much wider in fact than the legs of the tristand! The weight centering ability of the mounting head of the tristand is very cool, but more expensive than I'm willing to spend. In a perfect world for me, I would have purchased the tristand's mounting head without the stand itself, and used it with the tripod I have. Both systems have advantages over the other, the tripod's advantage is it's variable height and ability to be used on extremely uneven ground.
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#61 Mike E.

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 03:16 PM

At the time I ordered our Q7 I considered the large Astro Pier also, but at a weight of 65 pounds it seemed a bit much, and for some reason purchasing the Tilting Head only was not an option.  The better choice was to go with a PWT Monolith portable pier and bespoke wedge.  Due to unfortunate circumstances, I have recently had to come up with an alternate wedge.

 

As the base of the Q7 fork mount is over 13",  I've been unable to find any off the shelf options to support it other than to go with the Questar unit.  After seeing photos of modified Meade and Celestron wedges used with the 3.5" Questar,  I considered the possibility of converting one of the larger wedges for the Q7, by adding an adapter plate.

 

A used Meade Super Wedge, a 3/4" thick aluminium plate, and some 1 1/2" diameter round stock was purchased, and with some machining a workable mount was easily constructed.  Our fork mount base is initially attached using a (1/2" 20 ) threaded rod, then four (1/4" 20 ) socket head cap screws are used to secure the base at the locations Questar provided.

 

NOTE: It is critical that the center attachment " DOES NOT " protrude beyond the thickness of the Questar mounting plate, or damage will occur to the drive mechanism.

 

The spacer height between the plates allow for the range of lattitudes we are likely to use. Here are a few photos.  

 

 

 

 

 

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#62 ehallspqr

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 08:04 PM

At the time I ordered our Q7 I considered the large Astro Pier also, but at a weight of 65 pounds it seemed a bit much, and for some reason purchasing the Tilting Head only was not an option.  The better choice was to go with a PWT Monolith portable pier and bespoke wedge.  Due to unfortunate circumstances, I have recently had to come up with an alternate wedge.

 

As the base of the Q7 fork mount is over 13",  I've been unable to find any off the shelf options to support it other than to go with the Questar unit.  After seeing photos of modified Meade and Celestron wedges used with the 3.5" Questar,  I considered the possibility of converting one of the larger wedges for the Q7, by adding an adapter plate.

 

A used Meade Super Wedge, a 3/4" thick aluminium plate, and some 1 1/2" diameter round stock was purchased, and with some machining a workable mount was easily constructed.  Our fork mount base is initially attached using a (1/2" 20 ) threaded rod, then four (1/4" 20 ) socket head cap screws are used to secure the base at the locations Questar provided.

 

NOTE: It is critical that the center attachment " DOES NOT " protrude beyond the thickness of the Questar mounting plate, or damage will occur to the drive mechanism.

 

The spacer height between the plates allow for the range of lattitudes we are likely to use. Here are a few photos.  

 

Wow nice mount/Tripod setup on that Q-7. That's how you do it  :applause:


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#63 cbwerner

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 09:16 PM

That really does look great! And extra sturdy!  :waytogo:


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#64 coz

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Posted 17 October 2014 - 11:36 AM

Mike,   awesome setup on monolith!    How are you enjoying the Q7?  It's a titanium right? Are cool down times long? 



#65 Mike E.

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Posted 20 October 2014 - 02:05 PM

Mike,   awesome setup on monolith!    How are you enjoying the Q7?  It's a titanium right? Are cool down times long? 

 

Yes its a titanium model. I can only guess at the cool down time being "about an hour", as I have not measured it. So far, I've had very few occasions to use the Q7 here in the U.K..  When there's been a good forcast, I set the mount up on its three legs in the early evening, cover the scope with a plastic bag, and then look out the window or venture outside every once in a while to see if the sky has cleared. 

 

Edit: As for enjoyment, I love looking at it, but would love to spend more time looking through it. Seems owning a telescope here in the U.K. makes about as much sense as owning a surfboard and living in the middle of a desert, lol.


Edited by Mike E., 20 October 2014 - 02:11 PM.


#66 munirocks

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 06:55 AM

I use a standard 8-inch equatorial wedge on a very stable and robust B&L astronomical tripod. Because the wedge has a large 4-inch hole in the middle I made an adapter out of some bamboo flooring that I had, as bamboo is very resistant to water and moisture. 

 

P1130449_lowres.jpg

 

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Note the long center bolt, which has 11 threads available (therefore 11/20ths of an inch) which I made from an endless bolt cut to length. The center hole in the base of my Q is 11.5 threads deep between the start of the threads to the point at which the bolt bottoms out. But the socket is also recessed by about 2.5 threads compared to the flat base, possibly due to the extra base thickness to accommodate the Powerguide II unit. So the socket is in fact 14 threads deep as measured from the base, with the first 2.5 “threads” being made of fresh air. I figured there is no point in meshing only two or three threads when I could spread the stress over 8 threads, so I made the bolt longer than strictly needed, but still 3 threads short of bottoming out. I also extended the bolt length in the other direction under the mount, which makes it four times faster to use - I can quickly spin the bolt into the scope and then use the wingnut to snug up the last 1/8 turn.

 

P1130450_lowres.jpg

 

Also note the bolt topped by a wingnut on the the lower left on the underside of the mount. That's the fine altitude adjustment bolt - critical for good polar alignment - critical for using setting circles - critical for getting the most out of the Q. 

 

The recessed socket in the Q base raises an important point for tripod users. I don’t think my Q would fit on any of my “standard” photographic tripods as the mounting bolts on them only have about 2.5 threads showing, which is only just enough to span the recess in the base of the Q and no more. Has anyone else noticed this issue? Even if a tripod has a longer-than-usual mounting bolt, I would not trust a mount that only meshes one or two threads. I have seen the threads on bicycle seat post clamps shear off because the bolt was too short and only meshed two threads, although a bike seat post is probably a much higher stress environment than that of a small telescope mount. Maybe this is only an issue for those Qs that have a thicker Powerguide II base unit. It’s not really an issue for me, as I’m now happy with my current mount.

 

Tri-stand fans, how long is your center mounting bolt?

 

Astro-trac fans, how long is your center mounting bolt?


Edited by munirocks, 12 January 2015 - 10:09 AM.

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#67 Compressorguy

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 02:32 PM

I actually considered one of the Hercules mounts for my Q7 but was lucky enough to find someone willing to split up a Q7 package they were selling and agreed to sell me just the mount. Not quite sure what this is called, its not a tristand but here is a pic of my 1990 Q7 Astro mounted on what I believe is a period correct Questar mount. Dont see these very often and I have only seen photos of one other. I also have the table top legs as well.

 

_DSC1987.JPG

 

I also have a 1971 Q3.5 that I mounted on a Meade #884 tripod. It is perfectly suited for this and works great. I also have teh table top legs for this as well.

 

DSCN4998.JPG

 

 

 

 

 


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#68 Compressorguy

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 02:37 PM

and a table top leg shot. Talk about size contrast!!

 

 

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#69 munirocks

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 03:38 PM

Great shot of the two together. I hope you don't mind me using it as a screen saver on one of my computers. There's something about seeing the complete set that I find very satisfying. 

 

And speaking of the table top-legs, before I built my tripod adapter a few weeks ago I tried out the legs because I thought it would be crazy to have a Questar and not use the legs at least once to see what they were like, and I was surprised at how easy it was to get good polar alignment with them. They work an absolute treat if you can find a picnic table or something similar. It's muddy here this time of year, so using the ground isn't really an option. 



#70 Curt B

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 06:46 PM

This is what I use when I feel like star hopping. I attached a Telrad to my M2 mount. It works very well!

 

image.jpg


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#71 Curt B

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 06:54 PM

And when I feel like using Push To, I use my Telepod mount. It is almost like it was made for the Questar, it works so well.

 

 

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#72 BillDor

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 04:36 PM

I have a Questar 3.5 on order and also an Astrotrac TW3100 wedge.  Mechanically I am a klutz and I do not have access to tools.  I wish to mount the Questar to the wedge and thence to a Meade standard field tripod.  My problem has to do with the fabrication of an adapter plate to fit the Questar to the wedge.  I would need to have access to the Powerglide port in the base of the Questar.  If someone has solved this problem could they please, please show me pictures and provide me with a description (sorry for the imposition) that I could take to a machine shop?  Measurements would be very, very helpful.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#73 Steve's 50th

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 09:59 PM

Bill, read through this thread from the beginning and you will find a few other people that are or have used the TW3100 wedge with their Questar. A local machinist can measure the base of your scope and come up with the plate to connect your scope to your wedge. Good luck and let us know how it comes out!

#74 A6Q6

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 02:10 AM

When I think of a Q7, that's the setup I think about!  I guess its from looking at the old Questar brochures.  How about some info (new thread) on how it compares to your other telescopes?  We get promises but hardly ever results.

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Edited by A6Q6, 02 February 2015 - 11:11 AM.

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#75 TheQuestar7

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 10:43 PM

IMG_0793.JPG

 

The best combination of mounts.....Tri Stand and or the 3 legs attached to the base!




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