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Amazing ATM...portable 12" Springfield mount

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#1 woodscavenger

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 01:02 PM

I am posting this because it is simply amazing.  I have developed a friendship with a local astronomer with over 50years of ATMing.  He loves a challenge and unusual projects.  We were at the Idaho Star Party this weekend in at the Bruneau Dunes State Park and I took off work a little early to meet him there and be some of the muscle he needed for his setup.  He was originally going to bring 3 scopes (12"  and 8" springfield and a 5"RFT )  but decided to leave the 8" home.

 

During much of the year he has this scope setup in his backyard but is able to stuff the parts into a DIY trailer for transport.  When he opened the trailer it was like a Jenga block puzzle.  Everything labelled and interlocked from floor to ceiling.  We removed parts and pieces under his direction and over the next 2 hours the monster took shape.  

 

The telescope is a Springfield mount scope with a 12" f/6 or 7 mirror.  The OTA as you can see is massive.  It is a 2 piece device locked in the middle.  One end carries the optics which is basically a newtonian scope with a curved secondary spider.   The after hitting the secondary the light is directed toward the EP which remains in a fixed position.  In this version he has a stand that is about 36" tall that is the viewing platform.  From the platform the scope can be directed to anywhere in the sky.  Using his setting circles and no finder other than sighting along the spine of the OTA he is able to find objects to remarkable accuracy. (After hitting all 24 galaxies from the star party he pulled a list of VV objects about 13 mag that I had never heard of and was able to find the first one in a very difficult sparse starfield.)  From the platform you can control the electric motors to turn on/off the tracking mechanism, or you can use ingeniously built controls that allow very fine slow motion controls.  

 

From the viewing platform it takes very little to move the massive OTA.  From the photo you can see counterweights on the polar axis shaft (about 60#) as well as about 30# on the other end of the OTA opposite the mirror.  In this photo the mirror is at the bottom right of the OTA, there is a tupperware basin on the viewing platform where the person will stand when the setup is finalized.  The motors and complex cabling is in the center of the pier.  The large circle at the bottom right has cables attached for  controlling the east/west motion.  At the top of the pier is the bearing plate for the main rotation.  I believe it is a 1" thick aluminum plate scavenged from a local scrap yard.  

 

The other amazing thing about this project is that is took 6 years and was mostly put together with scraps, scavenged items, bits and pieces of motors, gears, cables and other items.  To top it off he made it portable...in a sense with the trailer.   Simply amazing.  

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#2 woodscavenger

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 06:14 PM

second pic

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#3 kfiscus

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 10:21 PM

Thank you for sharing this amazing project.



#4 woodscavenger

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 11:17 PM

It is really amazing at the eyepeice and just seeing the whole thing.



#5 Chuck Hards

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 01:19 PM

Wow, it's a hybrid Springfield/Torque tube/asymmetrical yoke kind of thing.  Lots of thought went into that!



#6 Diego

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 07:27 PM

Nice! Thanks for sharing! Massive heavy scope but viewing in confort is probably well worth it. A Springfield mount is one of my "to do" projects but first I am going to build a small Coude refractor, all from scratch.

 

My idea is to leave the mount outside and just bring the OTA and eyepieces for the viewing session...comfortably viewing in a fixed position!



#7 tim53

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 11:37 PM

Wow, that's for the link to this thread.  I don't know how I missed it before!

 

-Tim



#8 woodscavenger

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 12:18 PM

Tim53, thought you might be interested after I saw your other post.  I think the fixed EP scopes are really cool.  If I build an observatory that what I will do. 

 

I also remember an article but don't have the link of someone who used a C8 or C11 that was modified with a 45 degree secondary in the central tube creating a newtonian style scope.  They created a modified mount system with a fixed EP location for a nice sit down viewing session for people with disabilities.



#9 bremms

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 12:41 PM

Portable??? That was a joke, right?



#10 woodscavenger

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 11:20 AM

Portable??? That was a joke, right?

It's what he calls it.  During good summer weather he will leave is setup in his back yard.  He usually takes it down and packs it in a trailer and takes it the the Idaho Star Party in Bruneau, ID and does another desert summer camping trip deeper into the black skies of southern Idaho.  Definitely not grab-n-go.  We had it set up and aligned in about 5 hours.  That was with a couple of helpers that mostly got in the way as we had never seen the behemouth setup before.  Everything is labelled and fit together quite well.  it is an amazing piece of engineering for a DIY garage shop and someone who recycles everything possible.  He is the master of frugal!  The tacking motor works well and it has very simple slow-motion control making extended viewing a pleasure.  




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