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What did you do to your Scope/Mount Today?

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#6026 Bomber Bob

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 11:37 AM

Here’s the medium-duty Edmund GEM on the Seco Heavy Duty Birch Wood Surveyors Tripod, easily carrying my Unitron model 114 OTA.

Arrived at The Swamp late yesterday, just got it assembled.  One Slick EQ!  Terra's machined base / adapter plate is SOLID, and gives a simple humble mount a ton of class.  Can't wait to try it out on the restored Filo.  It should carry my Triple Nickle 5 with ease.  Thanks Terra! -- you saved me from buying a new hefty AZ with the side-saddle Vixen dovetail base.  I really didn't want that solution, after my JaegerMeister 4 broke away from the VG2's clamp one night...


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#6027 Terra Nova

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 11:42 AM

I was checking these out this morning on Amazon.   They have a lot of different models. Which one is this one the 150W or the 300W?   They have a black one that has a 40mm cut height that shows that it cuts metal also (in the pictures).  Very neat little saw.  Let us know how well it works for you.

Not sure what the wattage is. It’s the $180 one.



#6028 Terra Nova

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 11:47 AM

Arrived at The Swamp late yesterday, just got it assembled.  One Slick EQ!  Terra's machined base / adapter plate is SOLID, and gives a simple humble mount a ton of class.  Can't wait to try it out on the restored Filo.  It should carry my Triple Nickle 5 with ease.  Thanks Terra! -- you saved me from buying a new hefty AZ with the side-saddle Vixen dovetail base.  I really didn't want that solution, after my JaegerMeister 4 broke away from the VG2's clamp one night...

I’m glad you like it JW. I don’t blame you about side-saddle mounts. I used to have several and I hated using heavy scopes on them. I had a 6” F5 refractor that broke away from my UA Unistar Deluxe and almost hit the ground but hit me instead. I had  a huge bruise on my leg for months. I sold both mount and scope after that. My only side saddle mount anymore is my Vixen Porta II. I’ve had it for ten years and like it a lot, but I only use it with my three 60mm scopes (Tak, Mayflower, and Unitron).


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#6029 mikerepp

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 11:51 AM

Terra, that's the 300W one.   I really like it.  I'm seriously thinking of buying one.   Along with running an Engineering Department I also run our machine shop.  My machinists scoffed at my mini lathe till they saw some of the things I have done with it. laugh.gif   Now they set aside round stock cut offs for me to build my material stock.


Edited by mikerepp, 08 April 2021 - 11:52 AM.

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#6030 Bomber Bob

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 12:01 PM

My only side saddle mount anymore is my Vixen Porta II. I’ve had it for ten years and like it a lot, but I only use it with my three 60mm scopes (Tak, Mayflower, and Unitron).

 

Youch!  Easy to forget how heavy some of these scopes are until one smacks you!!

 

Yeah, I intend to use my 60s on the VG2, and sub-60s on the KDS -- both have side-mount clamps.  Easy -- and Safe!


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#6031 Garyth64

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 12:33 PM

I've never had issues with thermals in my scopes.  My first builds were in sonotubes, and everything was fine.  When I refurbished all of them and put them in aluminum tube, I lined the tubes with cork, and didn't have any thermals.

 

My 12" Hardin has thermal issues.  When I first used it, the out-of-focus stars looked like triangles, and the stars were not tiny points.  The mirror was pinched by the 3 rubber spacers that held the mirror in place.  I reworked those spacers and it helped a lot, but the stars still didn't look right.  I took the cell apart and the 9-point flotation system was not working as intended, so I rebuilt the 3 small triangles, and reassembled everything.

 

I also ended up reworking the secondary holder to make it easier to align.  At that point, with everything aligned, only the faint stars were tiny points, the brighter stars were "bloated", but they were round.  IIRC, this could maybe be two things, thermals, or bad optics.

 

So, now I'm going to try and eliminate the thermals, by using a fan to blow on the mirror from the back.

Here is the fan support made from a piece of flashing, that will be held on with small pieces of Velcro.  The holes are for the adjustment bolts.

 

fan plate.jpg

 

The fan will be powered by a small 12v battery pack.

 

If this doesn't work, I will then line the steel tube with a thin layer of cork,  and if that doesn't work . . .


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#6032 ccwemyss

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 03:12 PM

As a quick, cheap test, before going to the trouble of fitting and painting cork, you could try wrapping the exterior in reflectix insulation. Slowing the energy transfer rate will reduce the temperature differential. 

 

Chip W. 



#6033 Garyth64

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 03:17 PM

Here's the mirror cell after I rotated it:

 

rotated cell.jpg

 

And here's the fan attached:

 

fan attached.jpg

 

Now I just have to run up to Radio Shack, and oops, never mind.


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#6034 Garyth64

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 03:42 PM

As a quick, cheap test, before going to the trouble of fitting and painting cork, you could try wrapping the exterior in reflectix insulation. Slowing the energy transfer rate will reduce the temperature differential. 

 

Chip W. 

I could, thanks,  but IMO, I want to have the heat dissipated to the outside of the tube, not into the tube.  Which is what I think the insulation will do.

I've used the cork before, and I know it works for me.  And what I started to do in my last two newts was to also add in baffles.  The baffles will be in between the sections of cork, and actually hiding the edges.   Each section of cork will be made to fit tightly, and then slid down into the tube, then a baffle, then another section of cork, the a baffle, etc.

It's really easy.

 

Here's what my 10" newt looked like:

 

baffles.jpg

 

I will put more baffles in the 12".


Edited by Garyth64, 09 April 2021 - 03:42 PM.

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#6035 ccwemyss

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 03:19 PM

I took the single baffle out of my AP 6" f9, getting ready to redo the baffle system. The original was half the aperture in diameter at half the focal length, which yields a tiny fully illuminated field. Since I use the scope mostly for wide field observing, I'm going to increase the field diameter, and add more baffles to preserve the contrast. The baffle is a casting that looks like it was originally for a 6" tube, and then adapted with a 1/4" thick ring. It was held in by friction, mainly due to the tube not being round. This is the objective side:

 

APBaffle - 1.jpeg

 

Here is the focuser side (notice that it's not even blackened):

 

APBaffle - 2.jpeg

 

And here is an edge view. You can see that the opening is quite thick.

 

APBaffle - 3.jpeg

 

I will give it a bevel on the back side, so that it has a thinner edge, and paint it. I just got some Black 3.0 and am going to test it with this. 

 

Chip W. 


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#6036 Pete W

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Posted 17 April 2021 - 02:52 PM

This is not much of a mod but I hope it will work, considering that I butchered my first attempt at this.

 

I want to attached a vixen dovetail clamp to the new Mizar mount, but the hole separations are not the same.

 

20210417_144130.jpg

 

So, I fashioned an adapter out of a piece of poplar - drilled Mizar holes and attached 1/4-20 brass inserts for the Vixen clamp.   Everything threads on nicely, just have to wait till the clouds go away.

 

20210417_143905.jpg


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#6037 ccwemyss

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Posted 18 April 2021 - 10:39 AM

I made two adapters. One adapts my old AP 706 mount from its four keyhole slot arrangement to having a Losmandy dovetail saddle. The adapter had to be 3/4" thick to allow clearance for the knobs to turn and to provide a good depth for the threads on both sides. The keyhole slots are more widely separated than the width of the saddle, so the adapter needed to be wide at the ends and narrow in the middle. 

 

Adapters - 1.jpeg

 

The other is to adapt between an AP side-by-side plate and an ADM TGAD. I decided to work on eliminating flexure between the AP 6" and the C14 by using the heavier AP plate. But, of course, the holes on the plate are only compatible with AP saddles. The ADM TGAD is only compatible with ADM plates. And the holes overlap. But Takahashi came to the rescue, as the prior owner had modified the TGAD to mount to a Takahashi bolt pattern (this had also allowed me to use the TGAD with a Losmandy plate, which isn't compatible with either the AP or ADM patterns). Again, it had to be thick because the TGAD has a side plate that screws into the saddle on each side as part of the retention system for the vertical pivot. So that needed to be raised up to clear the thicker section of the AP plate. 

 

Adapters - 2.jpeg

Adapters - 3.jpeg

 

Chip W.


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#6038 DouglasPaul

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Posted 18 April 2021 - 11:25 AM

Putting the legs from a Tasco 17T on the mount of my 102 GT, hoping it will firm it up substantially. That thing is really wobbly.


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#6039 Garyth64

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Posted 18 April 2021 - 12:09 PM

Inspired by the Unitron Photo-Equatorial scopes, I set this up to see how it would fit all together, and how it would look.

 

APL ATCO 1254 with a RAO 76.2x1200 lens; APL Shrine Manon, 60x700; orphaned 10x40mm 6339a finder; old CG-5 mount on my Maple tripod.

 

ATCO RAO photo a.jpg

ATCO RAO photo b.jpg

ATCO RAO photo c.jpg

 

I like it!  This will be cool to take to outreach events when they start again.


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#6040 ccwemyss

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Posted 18 April 2021 - 02:26 PM

I'm always in awe of those rings that you make, Gary. What's the thickness of the plate you start with?

 

Chip W. 


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#6041 Garyth64

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Posted 18 April 2021 - 03:33 PM

I'm always in awe of those rings that you make, Gary. What's the thickness of the plate you start with?

 

Chip W. 

Thank you.  I use 1/2" plate.  On some other things I have use up to 1".


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#6042 DAVIDG

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Posted 18 April 2021 - 04:56 PM

"At that point, with everything aligned, only the faint stars were tiny points, the brighter stars were "bloated", but they were round.  IIRC, this could maybe be two things, thermals, or bad optics."

 

   All you have to do is a simple star test to determine if the optics have problems. It doesn't lie. Just use an eyepiece with focal length close to or the same as the F-ratio of the scope. Focus on  a medium bright star and defocus inward a small amount as in 1/16 of a turn of the focuser. Note the appearance of the pattern especially  the size of the shadow of the secondary which will be a black circle in the middle. Now go back to focus and defocus outward be the same amount. The defocus image should be the same size and again note the size if the shadow of the secondary.  Now refer to my chart.  If there is a large difference in the size of the shadow of the secondary you have at least 1/4 wave or more of spherical. It is not uncommon to find telescopes were the shadow of the secondary on one side of focus is very small or even not there which indicates a very large amount of spherical. What is critical is that you defocus the star only by a small amount  and the same amount on each side of focus. If not it is easy to make the pattern look very similar or  the same and that fools many that they have great optics when you don't.

   You can also have a bad diagonal. A large percentage of the ones I test are nowhere near even 1/4 wave to optically flat. 

 

 

                      - Dave 

 

STAR TESTING.jpg

 

 


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#6043 icomet

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 10:28 PM

I started my "last dance" today.

 

No more "dances" are on my dance card.

 

Clear Skies.

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  • 16 tube.jpg

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#6044 Terra Nova

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 10:35 PM

I started my "last dance" today.

 

No more "dances" are on my dance card.

 

Clear Skies.

Never say never. ;)


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#6045 icomet

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 10:43 PM

Never say never. wink.gif

If I was in a different situation, this would be my "second to last dance".

 

This one would be the last one.

 

Clear Skies.

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  • 12.5 inch Cass.jpg

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#6046 AstroKerr

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Posted 22 April 2021 - 07:01 AM

24146 received Fusion Burgundy - doesn't match the cap, but oh well. Satiny paint, w/ lacquer clear coat. Might repaint, but there are others in the queue, so...

No sooner got the spacers cut and proper screws for that finder and it's bracket all mounted up and I found my Synta brackets - so that's gotta change

Temp felt in the cradle - thin edge cradle - maybe thin leather or plasti-plate, split-tube edge instead. 

Tube was shortened 75mm to allow use of .965 & .965/1.25 diagonals and EPs from ~3.2 to 40mm - orig config was straight-thru only.

3rd Lens Spanner (other two are probably less than 20' from me, but I am p-a-c-k-e-d) in this p.m., Obj Cell work in a.m.

 

gallery_279828_11275_258256.jpg


Edited by AstroKerr, 23 April 2021 - 02:32 AM.

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#6047 Bomber Bob

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Posted 22 April 2021 - 07:53 AM

I bought Terra's updated 1966 Edmund EQ primarily for my TN5:

 

ATM 5 RFT S31 (Edmund Filo Tripod).jpg

 

But, I kept the 1974 Edmund 4" F15 Cassegrain mirror set as a true retirement project.  It deserves a good quality OTA.  It'll be about the same size as the TN5 -- but much lighter -- and a great fit for this old mount.


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#6048 ccwemyss

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Posted 22 April 2021 - 08:40 AM

I removed the cell from the Edmund 4" and pulled out the glass. I repositioned one of the spacers that had moved and got the Newton's rings close to centered. Cleaned the front and rear surfaces, where the haze was, and partially cleaned surfaces 2 and 3 to remove glue left behind from the migrating spacers. There were three tiny spots of fungus on the front surface that wouldn't come off with alcohol, so I resorted to bleach bathroom cleaner on a Q-tip, which took them off completely, and then cleaned the whole surface again.

 

Then I cleaned the rust from the retaining ring and sanded out a couple of rough spots on its threads, and cleaned the cell itself. Also worked on trying to get the purple stain out of the tube paint. The only thing that touched it was isopropyl alcohol. It reduced the intensity by about half, but that was a far as it went. One thing I tried actually left a yellow stain, so I spent time trying to remove that and finally found that Flitz would take it out. It's at the point where you'd only notice it in good light. 

 

I put the cell back onto the tube, adding some toothed lock washers under the screw heads to make it easier to loosen and tighten the acorn nuts for collimating the cell. Then I put the glass on the floor (on a tissue, on a piece of poly foam) and lowered the tube/cell onto it. Picked the whole thing up and turned it upright, and lightly clamped it in my bench vise and put the ring in. But then I realized that the rear element was now coated in dust. So I unloaded the glass again, and cleaned it, as well as some smudges between the elements. Then got it back in the cell. 

 

There's a fluorescent bulb over my workbench, so I checked the Newton's rings again, and they were way off center. So then I spent about an hour fussing with the spacers and cleaning glue residue off. The rings eventually got to within about half an inch of center. There are still some places that could use cleaning, but it was late and now that I've had five rounds of loading and unloading the glass, I'm not as worried about going back in. Eventually it may be necessary to replace the spacers. 

 

Then I put the whole tube face down on some black felt and used a Cheshire to collimate the cell. It's a challenge to get above the peephole of such long scope, and then hold the tube steady while bending down to tighten the acorn nuts. Had to back off and try a few times, but finally got it locked in with the blue and yellow reflections aligned. They aren't quite centered, so I'll have to work on collimating the focuser next. 

 

I replaced the corroded nuts on the 1/4-20 mounting studs with stainless and found that they fit through a Losmandy plate, so I put it on that with some wing nuts, then loaded it onto the 706 mount and got the RA axis balanced. The protruding studs don't allow enough backward movement to get the Dec axis balanced, so I still need to make standoff brackets to get more flexible positioning. But at least it's now usable, in case I don't find more time to work on it before I take it to an observing night at school. Hopefully we'll get some clearing tomorrow night, so I can star test it. 

 

Chip W. 


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#6049 mpsteidle  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 22 April 2021 - 10:44 AM

If I was in a different situation, this would be my "second to last dance".

 

This one would be the last one.

 

Clear Skies.

Wow!  What is that?



#6050 ccwemyss

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Posted 23 April 2021 - 01:33 PM

Edmund 4 - 9.jpeg

 

Not satisfied with the still off center Newton's rings, and the residual spacer goo, I took the Edmund 4" objective apart again, and gave it a thorough cleaning, including wiping lumps of goo off of one spacer. The goo had taken off coating wherever the spacers had wandered. After swapping two of them, I finally got centered rings. Loaded the lens back into the cell, saw a bunch of dust, unloaded the lens, brushed off the dust, and put it back in. Cell collimation is still good, and the focuser is close enough. While seeing if the focuser could be moved, I decided to go ahead and repaint it - just brushing on some black enamel. It came out a bit shinier that original, but I think it looks nice. 

 

Also found that I could get balance on Dec by shifting the scope to a more forward set of holes in the dovetail plate, with more of it hanging off the back end. So I set it all up on the 706 mount, ready to test with the clearing we're supposed to get tonight. 

 

Edmund 4 - 10.jpeg

 

For a sense of scale, the pier is 60" tall and the dovetail plate is 18". It needs a couple of steps up to use near the horizon, but the zenith position is comfortable for chair height. This is the side with the purple stain. The worst spot is near the cell, and another is just behind the dovetail. 

 

Chip W. 


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