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Rotating rings ?

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#226 erik

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 03:32 PM

Everyone, About how much distance is there between the ends of the garden tube on your Wilcox Rings? I just put the first ring on and I'm finding that in order to tighten the screw there has to be some clearence. I thought I made a mistake measuring the length of the tube as now that it is tightened down pretty much there's 2.75" separating the ends of the tube. It probably could be cut closer than that, but not much clser as one needs the clearence to tighten the screw, unless you use a wrench.

Also, where in relation to the focuser, do you all suggest that the "seam" (where the ends of the garden tube come together) go? On the opposite side? Nobody has posted any pictures of the actual connection yet so I'm a little bit unclear on this.

I didn't think this was going to be as difficult putting it on as it was. The garden edge tube is stiff and the garden hose clamp is just the right size (well, perhaps not) with about 1" sticking out from the tightening screw after it's been tightened down. In order to get it on the OTA and engaged I had to enlist the help of my wife to work the screw driver while I did my best to hold the tube, with the hose clamp in it, together so we could get the band started into the screw. Once the threads were engaged it was a simple matter of tightening it. I can see where having a larger hose clamp, so that you can get the thing started and then just slip it over the end of the OTA would have its advantages. My hose clamp was not long enough to allow that.

Rich

BTW, I picked up my hose clamp from a plumbing supply store in Nashua, NH for $8 each. Each is 39" long. Maybe I should have gotten the 47" ones, would have made putting it on easier. Anyway, if any of you are local the store I got the clamps at is:

United Supply Co.
31 Crown Street
Nashua, NH
(603) 889-2301

I asked, they do ship, but it might be cheaper if you looking into the local plumbing supply store in your area first, these guys were cheaper than the internet store I found.

i'd suggest using 2 hose clamps together, screwed into each other. then cut the garden tube in 2 equal sections with an inch or so extra to accomadate the screw from the clamps. ...as far as the garden edge trim being too stiff, i haven't had that problem, even on my small 6" SN. you might try another hardware store, as there is some difference in each brand of edge trim. i usually put the seam of the trim facing the tube rings for asthetic purposes...

#227 MikeS

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 06:36 PM

1. I took off my green felt and replaced it with the strips of Ebony Star. A very light coating of white lithium grease was put on them. I set it up on my pier and tried it out. It rotates very, very easy. It is much better than the green felt. My 6 year old daughter was able to rotate the tube with ease. I will be interested to see how it hold up over time.

2. For each tube ring, I was able to use 1 length of garden edge trim. Two hose clamps together was fed into the trim. When I snugged everything up, the hose clamp slipped inside the trim end, and the trim ends butt up to each other with only a small gap as seen in the pic.

Mike

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#228 MikeS

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 04:32 PM

Here is a pic of the Ebony Star material attached to the inside of the tube ring. I secured the Ebony to the tube ring with onlt one dab of silicone seal adhesive at the very center of the strip. It really works well.

Mike

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#229 erik

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 06:56 PM

great idea using the ebony star on the tube rings! :cool:

#230 Ty Williams

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 07:01 PM

How accurate are these? I just got a GOTO mount (LXD75) and have found that loosening the clamping bolts, turning the tube, and tightening the bolts is enough to render the GOTO useless. If a set of Wilcox Rings would allow me to get away with spinning the tube and using GOTO, I'd be in the Happy Porcine Afterlife.

#231 celestial_search

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 09:15 PM

I came up with a variant solution because I wanted rings that fit under the tube ring hinge (i.e. the rotating rings snug against the tube ring the full 360 degrees). I don't have any pics, but I hope this explanation works.

I went to Menards (Lowes/Home Depot probably similar) and bought a roll of 3/4" wide metal stripping that has holes in it (these metal strips are used to hold plumbing fixtures up in basements, the metal strip has holes about every 1/2" or so for nailing into wood or screwing into wood). It is cheap. The roll was about 10' long I believe.

I then went to the door/window insulation area and found a 3/4" wide and 1/4" thick (same width as the metal strip with holes) sticky backed foamish type insulation. It comes in a 10' role also. You can peel the backing off and stick it on.

I measured the circumference of the OTA and added about 6 inches extra. I laid the metal strip out, flattening it some so that it was easier to work with, and then attached the sticky-backed foam insulation (which is only about 1/4" thick) to the metal strip. I left about 2" of the metal strip on each end bare (for later fastening of the two ends together). You just "guide" the sticky-backed insulation around the metal strip, peeling off a little bit at a time to keep it aligned exactly on the metal strip (not too difficult).

I put the OTA in the regular tube rings and secured it. I balanced it with the Telrad, finder, and EP in. I then attached my metal strip with insulation affixed (insulation side on the inside of course) to the outside of each tube ring (i.e. outside so that pointed up or down, one of the strips will hold the OTA in place when the regular tube rings are loosened). The thickness of the metals strip with insulation (when pulled tight) is just enough to fit under the hinge on the tube rings.

I attached the two ends of the strips by pulling them tight and running a small screw through two of the exsting holes (on the bare ends) and used a nut to tighten them. I then cut some of the excess strip ends off, and wrapped some electriacal tape around the strips at the place where I attached them using the screws and nuts.

Note that you must attach the two end pieces of the metal strip in a location that will not "catch" on the hinges. You will never turn the OTA 180 degrees anyway, so just practice rotating it (before attaching the rotating rings) where you think you will want the EP location and make sure the fastened ends are equidistant away so that they do not interfere or "catch" on the hinge. The ends of both rotating rings will of course be in the same position.

I don't have a picture handy, put to get the idea of how the strips work and are attached, imagine that a roll of normal electric tape represents the strip. You will wrap the tape all around the OTA, but you must leave about 2" on each end that will extend up so that you can attach the the ends. Imagine a capital O represents the metal strip with insulation underneath. At the top of that O, imagine each end has 2" or more that extend straight up like this: ll
I ran the small screw through the two ends that stick up (using the pre-exisiting holes in the metal strip) and then wrapped electric tape around the ends. It is not necessarily pretty, but the strips with insulation do fit under the hinge, and if you get them relatively tight, they do hold well.

You will want to make sure that the strips with insulation are in the correct position (i.e. nudged up to the tube rings all along the circumfrance, and you don't want them so tight against the rings to create difficult turning).

I loosen the normal tube rings and then gently turn the OTA. Keep in mind that there will be a tight fit under the hinge, but if you hold the OTA in the right place and the tube rings are loose enough, you will get it to work. I retighten the tube rings after rotating the OTA.

Again, it is not elequent, but it works without having the tube ring hinge problem. I'm sure you could find some kind of sticky back material to stick to the outside of the metal strip if you are artistic or don't like the "raw" look of metal. It would have to be thin enough to fit under the hinge however.

I cut a piece of aluminum strip and fastened it to the top of the tube rings (as in some of the examples in this thread) for additional support.

I hope this all made sense!

#232 erik

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 09:55 PM

How accurate are these? I just got a GOTO mount (LXD75) and have found that loosening the clamping bolts, turning the tube, and tightening the bolts is enough to render the GOTO useless. If a set of Wilcox Rings would allow me to get away with spinning the tube and using GOTO, I'd be in the Happy Porcine Afterlife.

they're pretty accurate if you use rings on BOTH tube rings. at low power, there are no issues with losing objects, so your go-to should still work fine. at high power (over 200x), sometimes the object will move to the other side of the fov. the easiest way to overcome that issue is to rotate the tube BEFORE putting in a high power eyepiece. having an extra dovetail plate on top of the tube rings helps as well, since it keeps the tube rings more stabile. ...the dovetail makes a great handle for the ota too! :D

#233 Mozhoven

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 07:03 AM

Frank,

You idea sounds interesting, can you post a pic of the finished product! I'm pretty visual, it'll help out a lot!

-Jeremy

#234 celestial_search

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 09:29 AM

I'll try to get a pic up soon.

#235 celestial_search

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 06:39 PM

Here is quick pic:

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  • 513600-Tube Rings1.jpg


#236 Richard B. Drumm

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 11:21 PM

All:
Here is my installation of Wilcox Rings on an Orion Atlas 10. Erik, You Da Man! Whoo-Hoo!
Rich :jump:

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#237 erik

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 08:54 PM

cool! looks good, richard! :)

#238 stargazer6805

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 09:30 PM

When you bent the lawn edge trimming, did you have to heat it up first so it was more flexible? The stuff I have to work with is very stiff and keeps kinking when I try to to bend it around my 8" ota.

#239 Richard B. Drumm

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 02:29 AM

StarGazer:
No, I didn't have to heat it, it was rolled up in a roll that was only slightly larger than my OTA to begin with, so it was pre-rolled so to speak. There were some kinks in it, though, which I cut around and avoided, not a problem particularly. For the tighter bend of an 8" OTA I wouldn't think you'd have a problem, but possibly dunking the tube in hot water and wrapping it around your OTA as a mold would cure the kinking. This was an easy and cheap do-it-yourself project which makes the instrument much easier to use. I used a wood hand plane to trim off the cut off part of the garden edging, which made it look smooth and professional.
Rich

#240 miniventures

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 11:12 AM

Folks, When posting photos, PLEASE adhere to CN's 60kb/800x600 policy. This is for the benefit of those with dial-up or slow internet connections. I just resized a bunch of photos on this thread and most of you know better.
Thanks

#241 Richard B. Drumm

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 10:23 PM

Thanks, Larry, that's much better. I have DSL and the time issue is no problem, but having to scroll to the right just to read is a pain!

640x480 is a nice BIG image size and Photoshop's "Save for Web" does a really good job of compressing pix. Photoshop's "Save" doesn't do much good with jpeg, though, and I don't know why. Use "Web" and you get good compression - pictures look fine and files are tiny.
Rich

#242 devonrw

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 05:53 PM

For those in the UK, a simple and cheap variation of Wilcox Rings can be made with Draper 12mm Hose Clamp set from Amazon, and bog-standard B&Q garden hose (for example).
The Hose Clamp set has 3m of 12mm wide stainless strip which you can cut to length to suit your tube, to fit through standard garden hose, which I had in the shed already. There are a number of connectors in the set, to grip onto the metal strip.
Cost: £5!!
Soften the hose in hot water, and the 12mm strip slips through snugly, and the hose grips the OTA very well.
It must be said, though, that the combination of pristine white OTA, smart-looking equatorial mount and translucent green garden hose is a bit startling! Possibly not very aesthetic, and even cheap-looking! But on the other hand it works very nicely, and function is beauty (as I'm sure some one said sometime).

#243 da_guy2

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 01:11 PM

Hey everyone,

I had wanted to try this but quickly relaised this thread is now 13 pages long with all sorts of variations and changes to designs...and onestly i dont want to read it ALL. Just wondering if some has a "most up to date" version of the entire design? Maybe someone might want to write an article and submit it to CN?

David

#244 erik

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 05:54 PM

well, there are several designs, and they all differ somewhat, so none is necessarily "the best". the edge trim and hoseclamp version i came up with is pretty inexpensive and easy to make though. you can make 2 sets or rings (1 for each tube ring) for about $10...

#245 Richard B. Drumm

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 10:35 PM

Dave:
Erik's version is probably the best. That's why they're now called Wilcox rings. I especially like how they look on my black Orion scope, shiny like the OTA, they look like they belong there. They do! Go back to page 12 to see mine.
I did have to drive around to find a plumbing supply place which had the long hose clamps, though. It was worth it. The ease of use is amazing!
Rich

#246 ylin

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 04:10 AM

I think it is good to read entire thread. Not only I got all background knowledge (which is also very useful for a newbie like me), I also see how the design improved.

Form a good but somehow expensive and not everyone can do design to a cheap, everyone can do and even work better "Wilcox ring".

I just got my first ewflector (Meade outlet 114), this is great to every reflector owner. Thank you everyone (and I am heading to my local OSH this weekend).

#247 HughBoy

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 06:40 PM

Thanks for all the ideas, work, pix, etc.
Rotating that OTA has certainly been a bear in the past, and I really look forward to using my new Wilcox Rings.

One thing, though - what is the best thing to do about the hinge-screws of the original rings (in my case, Orion 8").

The head of the screw sticks out and makes the Wilcox Rings not sit flush against the OTA rings.

Is this a real issue? Does it affect the otherwise smooth rotation? Do folks replace the screws? If so, with what?

I've read the entire thread, so please accept my apologies in advance if this was covered upstream and I somehow missed it...

Thanks for any advice!

#248 Richard B. Drumm

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 10:24 PM

Hugh:
You're right, the screws have to be replaced with countersunk flat-head versions. Take one of the old screws out and stick it in your pocket as you head down to your local hardware store. Buy 2 replacements which can grip in the correct range, put your countersink bit in your drill and countersink the holes in the saddle, put the new bolts in and there you are! You'll also have to make a couple of spacers to put under the tightening screws of the saddle so you can tighten them and not grip the OTA. You could leave them loose, of course, but the risk exists that they'd fall off in the dark somewhere!
Rich

#249 Dow Mathis

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Posted 02 November 2006 - 12:00 PM

Thought I'd bring this thread back to the top for another round.

Has anybody experimented with Teflon tape on the inside of the rings to help the OTA turn better? I've found supplier that has a wide variety of teflon tapes for what seem to be good prices:

http://tinyurl.com/yazsup

#250 kent

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Posted 02 November 2006 - 03:13 PM

That sounds like a great idea Dow. You haven't given it a try yet? Right now all I use is some car wax on the OTA which seems to help quite a bit with the turning and with the dew (leaves no water spots). Not to mention makes a lovely shine :lol:

Kent


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