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What did you work on today?

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#5076 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 08:00 PM

I installed a monitoring meter in the circuit between my battery and mount / objective dew heater loads in my little ExploraDome.  Now I will be able to tell exactly when the dew heater is on, and how much battery capacity I have used.  The eight wires I have connected (two for float charger, two for monitor, and two for each load) look a mess.  I think I will work on some kind of box to conceal and protect them.  The battery is a 33 AH U1 size sealed lead acid.



#5077 Other_Mike

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 09:49 PM

Looks like I haven't posted here since April, but I've done a lot in the meantime.

 

First off, my RS-232 cable failed on me, and it turned out the connection was done quite shoddily. The yellow cable snapped from fatigue after only a few nights of use. I ordered a 10-pack of new connectors, and the first attempt went pretty good . . .

 

Ujg33Pr.jpg

 

But then I was still having some connection issues, so I tried one more time, and did a much better job of setting the crimps (and got more of the outer insulation deeper in and pinched by the plastic crimp).

 

50WUaUL.jpg

 

Then, in July, the screwed terminals I was using for my dew heaters suffered from a combination of smaller gauge wire and being moved around too much - one of the wires worked itself out of the screws and shorted, melting a switch and leaving a nice scorch mark on my mirror box.

AYj4yx8.jpg

 

So, after some advice from family members, I bought some glued heat-shrink tubing and 5.5mm leads that came with wires instead of screw terminals, and learned how to solder in a hurry (good thing my wife has a lot of hobbies, and we spent a lot of money at Radio Shack back when that was a thing).

 

x1IgIlm.jpg

 

One of the connections was thicker than I estimated, and the large heat shrink tubing I queued up was too small (needed XL), so I still had to wrap that one in electrical tape.

 

I liked how well the soldering and pre-glued shrink tubing worked so much that I redid my homebrew finder heater. Now I'm much less worried about the resistors' leads breaking off or coming loose.

 

k3Totiw.jpg


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#5078 Other_Mike

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 09:53 PM

Part two . . . guess I hit my embedded picture limit.  blush.gif

 

Also in July, I nearly injured myself trying to move my fully-assembled Dob out of the direct line of some security lights . . . so wheelbarrow handles were logically next on the list. I went with K&B's instructions, but struggled with the quality of locally-available threaded inserts, and had to wait a whole day (woe is me ) for the 25-pack from Amazon to show up.

 

knBwq9s.jpgiRD2dXz.jpg

But, eventually, I got these guys set up and working! They've already saved my back and my arms a few times.

 

Most recently, I decided that my primary's cooling fan was undersized. The breeze always felt quite weak, and I stole it from a 12" Dob anyway. So, I found a much larger one and had fun installing it.

 

U4DP3ms.jpg

 

I had to make some decisions on wiring - the connection wasn't compatible with what I already had, and it would be either too long to add it to the end of my old extension cable, or too short if I got rid of the extension. So, I drilled a hole near the bottom of my mirror box, and now I don't have to worry about cables going over or under as they did before.

 

ZTGHfu8.jpg

 

The newest problem was that the fan caused some pretty bad vibrations, especially through the bottom rung of my tailgate that it was mounted on (a holdover from designing things with the undersized fan). Some tips on CN lead me to digging out my Velcro stash and drilling a big hole where the bottom collimation bolt goes.

 

So7hnks.jpg

 

The new fan is now held to its support board by Velcro on each of its corners, and the board itself is held to the tailgate the same way. This has all but eliminated vibration from the fan. The weather (fires and now clouds) have kept me from field-testing it, but if the vibration is too bad, I'll figure something out.

Next on my to-do list (after I find myself no longer unemployed) will be to build a solar setup to run my fan and charge my batteries during the day . . .

Not pictured: gutted and lubed my Zhumell focuser, and adjusted the tension nut on the dual-speed bearings. Much less stiction now!


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#5079 TG

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:37 PM

Designed and 3-D printed a prototype lens cell out of PLA for a 3.5" f/4.5 achromat I recently bought. The lens might have been Jaegers, but that's not certain. This is the first step toward testing it before I commit to building an OTA for it. The cell is meant to fit a 3.9" ID Hastings 4" tube. If it checks out, I'll reprint using ASA or PETG for durability.

 

odjwIIPl.jpg

 

yQOHmKxm.png


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#5080 Hersoft

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 10:37 AM

Hello Vic,

 

thanks for the info, I will have a go at the search.

 

Just today my 2048ppr sensors arrived! let's see what I cane come up with.

 

Regards, Otto



#5081 ssagerian

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 02:27 PM

Needed to get 2 16' 2x4 to my dark site where Im building a ROR so I made some brackets to fit my honda CRV roof rack and used some nylon tie downs to secure it..worked great, even in the rain.

Two tie downs in the front, one in the back..away we go!

 

IMG_20200912_110222.jpg

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bigfoot.jpg


Edited by ssagerian, 17 September 2020 - 02:33 PM.

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#5082 rwiederrich

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 04:08 PM

Well I machined 2 risers and a dovetail for my new curio shop 7" Mak find.

 

Rob(Pics are in the deforking and counterweight removal thread)

 

 

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#5083 N7GTB

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 01:00 AM

Started two new projects:

 

Began polishing a 8" f6 mirror, and also started figuring out a DIY finder scope; one made from half of an old set of binoculars...

 

 

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#5084 CCD-Freak

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 09:07 AM

I mounted a Stellarvue 80mm finder as a guide scope on my new Sharp Star 15028HNT astrograph.

 

Hypergraph Guide scope.JPG

 

I hope to get first light Sunday evening.

 

John

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#5085 Edward Swaim

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 11:47 AM

Found a "Zipperless" brand soft ice chest on clearance for $8 at a drugstore. It has a plastic box inside with a light plastic shelf that rests on a lip a couple of inches down from the top. Having made a small eyepiece case from a soft lunch box, this one looked ideal for a larger case.

 

Ikea sells small cutting boards cheap, and I keep a few around for the material. It is ideal for holding eyepieces. 

 

I placed the original shelf on the cutting board, outlined it in Sharpie, cut it out on a bandsaw, then cleaned up the edges with a tiny plane. A few minutes of drilling with a 1.25-inch Forstner bit, and it was ready to go.

 

It will hold odds and ends below the eyepiece shelf, which is easily lifted out using a couple of eyepiece holes left empty.

 

There is room for a Pocket Sky Atlas and iPad mini in the external zippered pocket.

 

The fun part is leaving a red flashlight on in the lower compartment. It glows through the translucent cutting board material. 

 

The flooring being identical to John's above is purely coincidental!

 

Edward Swaim

Little Rock, Arkansas

 

Here are some photos:

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Edited by Edward Swaim, 19 September 2020 - 11:55 AM.

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#5086 N7GTB

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 01:10 PM

Measured ROC of the 8" mirror I've just begun polishing, using a bright (white LED) light fixed on a stable/solid mount. Both mirror and light source are movable horizontally.  Result is 96" (give or take 1/4"). So the target of f/6 is pretty much spot on. smile.gif  Again, this glass was pre-ground by someone else, I'm 'just' doing the polishing...


Edited by N7GTB, 19 September 2020 - 03:59 PM.

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#5087 Garyth64

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 06:42 PM

I have two piers that I'm not using now, because of the tripods I made.  These piers are made from 4" steel pipe.  One is 38" tall, the other is 49" tall.  Both have attached legs.

 

My CGEM II mount - It came with a tripod with 2" legs.  It's sturdy and hold the mount and a 130 APO easily.  But my problem is with the tripod.

When the tripod is all the way down, or not extended, it is fine when using a C8, but for my 130 APO, it is not.  You almost have to lay on the ground to view thru the eyepiece.

When the tripod is fully extended, the 130 is in a much better position for viewing.  But I just get an uneasy feeling about it.  The legs are spread out too wide, and I have a fear of one of the legs retracting.  I have had that happen.  How tight to I have to get them so they will not move? (haha, as tight as needed)

 

So, I had this brainstorm of putting the CGEM II on one of the piers.  How am I going to do that?  The mount tightening bolt is on the bottom. 

After some theory crafting and prototypes, I decided on making an adapter that would marry the CGEM to the pier.  But I ended up with two failed prototypes and actually came up with a very simple fix.

 

Here is a 1" thick section of aluminum that fits perfectly into the pier.  I had used it before on the pier with another mount.

 

CGEM on pier 1.jpg

 

What I  had to do was to put a 1-1/8" recess hole into that section of aluminum.

 

Then, using a section of 1/2" x 6-1/4" circular piece of aluminum, I made a 1-1/8" hole in it.

 

CGEM on pier 2.jpg

 

The bottom of the mount has a small extension 1-1/8" in diameter that fits into its tripod.  So the holes were made for the mount to fit into.

 

The top plate will be bolted to the one that is in the pier, and the final product should look something like this:

 

CGEM on pier 3.jpg

 

I worked on it after this photo,  so there is more coming. 

 

(spoiler,  I put the mount on the taller tripod, and had to put a 2-5/8" hole in the top plate to fit the bottom of the mount.  It is all assembled and is rock solid.)


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#5088 Garyth64

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 07:49 PM

CGEM II on pier, part 2

 

Here's the adapter affixed to the bottom of the mount.  I was able to use the long threaded rod that is original to the mount.  This rod extends up thru the tripod and held the mount in place.  Once this is all secure and positioned, this set up drops right into the top of the pier.  There are 3 screws around the perimeter of the pier that holds it all in place.

 

CGEM on pier 4.jpg

 

Here's the adapter taken apart:

CGEM on pier 5.jpg

 

Here's the mount secured on the 4' pier.  I like the height:

CGEM on pier 6.jpg

(-lots of stuff in the background and you can see the 38" pier to the left)

 

Tomorrow, I'll bolt the 2 sections of aluminum together.  I have to make sure I have the alignment of the mount to the pier where I want it. 

I also will put in the alignment peg for the mount, and attach 3 side braces to the pier that extend from the foot of each leg to the top of the pier.

I need to clean up all the showing aluminum and make it shiny.

 

I'll post a couple more photos when it's all assembled with a scope on it.


Edited by Garyth64, 19 September 2020 - 07:56 PM.

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#5089 Garyth64

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 05:50 PM

Here's the mount with the scope:

 

CGEM on pier 7.jpg

 

(lots of vibration on the deck, but I need to look from there, to access Jupiter, Saturn, and later, Neptune, Mars, and Uranus)


Edited by Garyth64, 20 September 2020 - 05:57 PM.

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#5090 musicengin

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 06:59 AM

I was agonizing over a nasty problem that cropped up at a work, wakeful in the middle of the night, and got over onto my secondary holder woes, and figured out that 1/4" maple would work just as  well as brass for the most recalcitrant part, and be much, much easier to make, given the tooling available to me.  It's a domed dangly thing for the business end of the holder to rotate on, under the three bolts.

 

Now I just need to find some time in a very busy week.



#5091 sunrag

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 10:45 AM

Here's the mount with the scope:

 

attachicon.gifCGEM on pier 7.jpg

 

(lots of vibration on the deck, but I need to look from there, to access Jupiter, Saturn, and later, Neptune, Mars, and UranuThat 

That is an impressive looking pier and mount!

 

Last weekend, i acquired a Meade pier which has a 4" dia, 24" long steel tube with three 20" long aluminum legs. The pier is super stable and works well with the 6" SN telescope that came with it. 
After your post, I may trying to think of way to safely mate another 4" dia, 16" pier (Orion Skyview Pro) on top of this pier to make it tall enough for a refractor telescope.

Basically, take the pier on the right image and put it on top of the pier on the left image (after removing the fork of course).

 

Maybe I will make a suitable wooden insert that goes inside both and attach to them with bolts.

Attached Thumbnails

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  • Orion Pier Extension.png

Edited by sunrag, 22 September 2020 - 10:46 AM.

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#5092 jtsenghas

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 10:45 AM

I was agonizing over a nasty problem that cropped up at a work, wakeful in the middle of the night, and got over onto my secondary holder woes, and figured out that 1/4" maple would work just as  well....

I've had nights like that.  One caution about maple, depending on the application; maple expands and contracts more across the grain with moisture changes than just about any other hardwood. It may not matter for your component, but for some it really does. 


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#5093 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 10:50 AM

That is an impressive looking pier and mount!

 

Last weekend, i acquired a Meade pier which has a 4" dia, 24" long steel tube with three 20" long aluminum legs. The pier is super stable and works well with the 6" SN telescope that came with it. 
After your post, I may trying to think of way to safely mate another 4" dia, 16" pier (Orion Skyview Pro) on top of this pier to make it tall enough for a refractor telescope.

Basically, take the pier on the right image and put it on top of the pier on the left image (after removing the fork of course).

 

Maybe I will make a suitable wooden insert that goes inside both and attach to them with bolts.

If you could get a piece of four inch schedule 40 aluminum pipe, it is 4 inches ID.  You could slip it over the existing pier, and slip the extension inside it at the top, all held on with set screws.  Four inch sch 40 galvanized steel pipe would work too, but is HEAVY.


Edited by John Fitzgerald, 22 September 2020 - 10:50 AM.

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#5094 Garyth64

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 01:38 PM

That is an impressive looking pier and mount!

 

Last weekend, i acquired a Meade pier which has a 4" dia, 24" long steel tube with three 20" long aluminum legs. The pier is super stable and works well with the 6" SN telescope that came with it. 
After your post, I may trying to think of way to safely mate another 4" dia, 16" pier (Orion Skyview Pro) on top of this pier to make it tall enough for a refractor telescope.

Basically, take the pier on the right image and put it on top of the pier on the left image (after removing the fork of course).

 

Maybe I will make a suitable wooden insert that goes inside both and attach to them with bolts.

Thanks.  I relocated the setup over to the cement driveway. And with my hard rubber furniture pads, that are seen on the sections of wood in the photo, the whole setup is solid.  A rap with my fist against the side of the mount or scope doesn't vibrate at all.

 

Here's the adapter I made:

 

CGEM on pier 8.jpg

 

(-that piece of aluminum has been used for a couple of different things, that's why there's all those extra holes.)


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#5095 don clement

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 02:49 PM

Picture of modified Houston Fearless tripod folded and locked.

 

Don

 

IMG_6728Web.jpg


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#5096 N7GTB

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 12:21 AM

8" f/6 Dob continued...

 

...still moving forward on the build.  Nearly finished with the mirror cell...pretty much a larger version of the one built for the 6" f/7.5.

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#5097 Big_Eight

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 01:14 AM

8" f/6 Dob continued...

...still moving forward on the build. Nearly finished with the mirror cell...pretty much a larger version of the one built for the 6" f/7.5.

Hell yeah knock it out. Get that bad boy built! Mirror cell is looking good!
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#5098 Diego

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 05:36 AM

That is an impressive looking pier and mount!

Last weekend, i acquired a Meade pier which has a 4" dia, 24" long steel tube with three 20" long aluminum legs. The pier is super stable and works well with the 6" SN telescope that came with it.
After your post, I may trying to think of way to safely mate another 4" dia, 16" pier (Orion Skyview Pro) on top of this pier to make it tall enough for a refractor telescope.
Basically, take the pier on the right image and put it on top of the pier on the left image (after removing the fork of course).

Maybe I will make a suitable wooden insert that goes inside both and attach to them with bolts.


Cool mount! Is that a single arm equatorial?

I have plans to build one. Does it vibrate too much?

#5099 jtsenghas

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 05:42 AM

....Nearly finished with the mirror cell...pretty much a larger version of the one built for the 6" f/7.5.

A bit of unsolicited, but friendly advice here:

 

While a three point support for an 8" mirror is adequate except for the thinnest of mirrors, even a relatively thick one will have its figure affected by back supports so close to the mirror radius as yours. I'd be quite surprised if out of focus stars don't give you slight trefoil images with those supports so far spread out. No harm in waiting and seeing because this can be changed later as easily as sooner if you want. 

 

Though the optimal positions for three point supports are at about 40% of the radius, or about 1 5/8" from center for this cell, as shown by finite element analyses such as PLOP and experience, an 8" mirror isn't extremely sensitive to support locations.

 

Still, I think it is worth your moving those pads close to halfway in from edge to center to get the best of your mirror's quality in use. That mirror is also large enough that edge supports should be close to the plane of the center of gravity of the mirror just below the midpoint of the edge.

 

That cell looks good! That's a good proven design that lends itself well to collimation adjustment.


Edited by jtsenghas, 23 September 2020 - 05:50 AM.

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#5100 musicengin

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 08:14 AM

...  One caution about maple, depending on the application; maple expands and contracts more across the grain with moisture changes than just about any other hardwood. It may not matter for your component, but for some it really does. 

On material choice: just now, getting the thing built is the priority.  If it's not perfect, I'm rather good at tolerating annoyances.  This scope is a prototype, as was my first one, and the fun is in trying out my ideas.  I was working with brass for exactly the shape stability, but since my metal working facilities limit me to 1/32 brass sheet, I'm tossing the excessively fussy design building up a 3/8 inch tall part from brass sheet, in favor of just cutting it from something that will be more straightforward to make: i.e. within my tooling capabilities.

 

In the future, after I've moved into the neighborhood close enough to a maker space with lots of experienced people and three Bridgeports, I'll have not only the design but some experience with it in use, and I can make it out of anything I like.

 

I'm also kind of curious to find out just how much of a problem the maple is, in use, in a small part. Your suggestion motivated me to dig up a table of woods and their relative dimensional stabilities, and since my main interest in life, building concertinas, totally involves wood, it's kind of interesting.

 

The maple I'll be using is scrap from the 3" by 4" by 1/4" parts that I cut for the concertinas, which we glue down on 3 ply birch plywood, about 1600 of them over the past 20 years.  There's no evidence of instability problems doing it that way -- people with broken musical instrument do not hesitate to send them in for repair, so we get to find out.

 

My little part will be 1/4" of maple glued to a 1/8" piece of 5 ply birch. 

 

The huge fun of a prototype is all the scope it allows for design -- for inventing something, and kicking it to pieces in my head, and redesigning it, and getting new ideas, and redesigning, and finally building a prototype part and finding out all the bad ideas and redesigning, and finally finally building something that's working well enough to try it out in the field, and find out all the things I want to redesign and try again.

 

My plan for retirement is to do more of that kind of thing, as much as I like.  Thus the neighborhood of the makerspace, one the oldest of such places, which means depth of experience to draw on.  They have a huge, gorgeous laser cutter there too.  The main reason for not just moving up there now is there are more concertinas to build where I am right now, and people want them, and I've still got plenty to learn right where I am, including on telescopes.

 

Thanks for the advice: it's always worth taking that step back to think about why I'm making the choices I'm making!

 

That's what I worked on today: thinking about my own process working on things.


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