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Portaball still around?

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#1 AlienRatDog

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 07:51 PM

Is portaball still in existence?

#2 Dakota1

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 08:12 PM

There is one for sale on Astromart

------------

Bill


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#3 Thaellar

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 08:29 PM

Still have a website.

 

Portaball Telescopes


Edited by Thaellar, 08 November 2015 - 08:30 PM.


#4 JMW

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 09:01 PM

I have seen one in person about 5 years ago. It was a 12.5 inches and the motions were quite nice. It packed up pretty compactly. The only issue with them is you won't be installing encoders with DSC on a PortaBall. The PortaBall on Astromart looks like a good deal for someone who know how to star hop.


Edited by JMW, 08 November 2015 - 09:04 PM.


#5 John Harrington

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 10:47 PM

Portaball (Mag1 Instruments) is definitely still in business!  I stopped off in Chilton, WI back in August and met new owner David Juckem (very nice guy).  David did an excellent upgrade of my Portable's mirror cell and electronics for a reasonable price.  Mag1 sells Portaballs in various apertures, including but not limited to the 8" and 12.5" models shown on their website.  The best way to reach Mag1 is just to call David at the listed number for Mag1 Instruments:  (920) 849-9151.

 

Clear skies,

 

John



#6 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 02:07 AM

Yep, he's not big on responding to emails for some reason. Calling seems the way to go.

 

2k for a Portaball is a bargain.

 

I pair mine with an 80mm refractor on a push to mount that has encoders. If I am having trouble locating something from a chart or my laptop, then I can use the laser on the refractor to find it.



#7 SkyRanger

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 08:09 AM

Dave just rebuilt my 12.5 Portaball with many improvements.

GG

#8 AlienRatDog

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 08:49 AM

I wonder if that 18 inch one will become a reality. Also is there any equatorial platforms that work? I vaguely remember that atomic platforms made something for the portaball but they aren't in business anymore I don't think

#9 Pierre Lemay

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 01:21 PM

I wonder if that 18 inch one will become a reality. Also is there any equatorial platforms that work? I vaguely remember that atomic platforms made something for the portaball but they aren't in business anymore I don't think

Under Peter Smitka Mag 1 Instrument did sell a few 18 inch Portaballs early on in its existence but stopped making them. However, as post #517 of this thread shows, it looks like the NEW 18 inch Portaballs are almost ready for prime time.

 

As for equatorial platforms for ball scopes the ideal is to use either a single roller driven platform popularized by Jerry Oltion in 2006 (see: https://www.sff.net/...n/trackball.htm) or the original dual axis roller driven platform I invented in 1995 (see this thread for construction details of my 20 inch (tracking platform details will be added in the coming weeks)). Here is a picture of one of the two drive rollers on my 20 inch dual axis tracking platform ball scope:

 

scope14b.jpg

 

Depending on whether you wish to use the telescope just for visual or also for Astrophotography, these types of platforms are ideally suited for ball scopes: they are much easier to make than conventional tracking platforms; they don't add any height to the instrument; they are not latitude specific like a Poncet (they are adjustable from 10 to 55 deg latitude) and, of course, they never need to be reset and will track a single object all night.  The only problem is they are not as well suited for Portaballs which have vent holes in the hemisphere. Would still work but tracking would probably go weird whenever a vent hole would pass over one of the drive or idler rollers.



#10 GeneT

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 05:15 PM

Portaball (Mag1 Instruments) is definitely still in business!  I stopped off in Chilton, WI back in August and met new owner David Juckem (very nice guy).  David did an excellent upgrade of my Portable's mirror cell and electronics for a reasonable price.  Mag1 sells Portaballs in various apertures, including but not limited to the 8" and 12.5" models shown on their website.  The best way to reach Mag1 is just to call David at the listed number for Mag1 Instruments:  (920) 849-9151.

 

Clear skies,

 

John

 

My 12.5 inch, F5 Portaball is now about 20 years old. I had gone through numerous telescopes before hitting the jackpot with a Portaball. It is a visual only telescope, however there it would fit on various platforms to allow for tracking. I have a great Tom O platform that he designed for my telescope. He added the feet necessary for the Platform to accommodate a Portaball. When I began my pursuit of the hobby many years ago, there were no tracking devices. A few years later, 'clock drive' was introduced to Newtonians; all it would do was track, not find objects. So, I learned how to read star maps, find stuff and view. Today, even though I have a Tom O platform, I rarely use it. I just use the base that came with the Portaball. I use a Telrad, a wide angle eyepiece as a finder, then just bump and nudge across the night sky. My Portaball is my keeper telescope. At age 72, I don't believe I will be buying another telescope. Portaballs are both easy, and fun to use. They are very portable, hence their name. The original designer of this telescope, Peter Smitka (RIP) wanted to design a telescope that was the largest, yet most portable possible. He came up with the 12.5 incher. I have the original design. The upper assembly fits into the sphere, along with the other components such as the Telrad, the shroud. The handles are on top of the sphere so the whole telescope is easy to grip, without having to bend over to pick it up. You just pick it up, and walk it with your knees to the car, or back yard. I bought a small triangular transporter. I only have to lift the telescope up about six inches onto the transporter, then wheel it to the vehicle. The transporter also comes in handy for situations where you have to park the vehicle some distance from the viewing site--you just lift the telescope onto the transporter, and it wheels very easily to the viewing area.

 

I love my Portaball!  

 

I agree that the best way to contact Dave Jukem is to call him.  


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#11 gwlee

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 11:06 PM

I have owned an 8"/f6 Portaball, and I was considering ordering another. New owner has a website and publishes an email address on his website with thin information. Have sent several email messages to him  asking about price, delivery, and current features. The one time he responded to email, he claimed to be in business, answered some of my questions, and ignored followup questions, which I didn't find encouraging.



#12 Markab

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 07:26 PM

Portaball is still in business. In fact, I just had my 8" delivered a few weeks ago. It can be difficult to reach him however. Keep calling, when you leave a message speak slowly and loudly. After I did that, he returned my initial call promptly.



#13 Kyle

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 06:54 PM

I am perplexed by Mag1 Instruments business strategy.  I've been wanting an 8 or 10 inch portaball but haven't been able to get ahold of Dave.  I've tried calling and leaving voicemails as well as emails with no luck. I was careful to speak very clearly and left detailed contact information.  I thought maybe he was on hiatus from making telescopes, but today I was on Zambuto's website and on the 'in stock' page it states they are delivering mirrors to Mag1.  Who is buying portaballs and how?  As a starhopper I love the design.


Edited by Kyle, 11 July 2016 - 06:55 PM.


#14 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 07:08 PM

Dave is a good guy, granted it takes some calling. It's just a side business for him. If you are willing to work with that, he makes a fine scope. I have the 8" f5.5 with FT focuser.


Edited by Daniel Mounsey, 11 July 2016 - 07:08 PM.


#15 Kyle

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 07:20 PM

From everything I've read, Dave does sound like a nice guy and legitimate; but side business or not, I don't know why you wouldn't return calls from potential customers, even if it took a few days.  That doesn't make sense to me. 


Edited by Kyle, 11 July 2016 - 07:25 PM.

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#16 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 07:32 PM

I respect and understand what you're saying. It's a small industry and its just one of those things. I had to email and call Dave a few times too but in the end he delivers a stunning scope. 



#17 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 07:34 PM

Pics

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#18 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 07:36 PM

Pics

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#19 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 07:38 PM

Photo contrast is horrible because it's sunny out right now. 

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Edited by Daniel Mounsey, 11 July 2016 - 07:39 PM.

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#20 Kyle

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 07:42 PM

Love it !!!  For me that is the ultimate in simplicity, portability, and decent aperture.  You've motivated me to renew my efforts :)



#21 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 07:58 PM

Dave has improved the design to its peak. The underside of the upper cage is CNC machined and gutted out underneath to reduce weight. It's actually quite nice. I'll try to take better pics, but I was stunned at the craftsmanship, it's really world class. 



#22 Kyle

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 08:03 PM

It does look like there is a lot of attention to detail, which would mean he cares about his product.  I hope I am lucky enough to get one.  No setting circles or goto for me.  Just give me scope that can glide around the sky with ease.  Thanks for the eye candy Daniel!


Edited by Kyle, 11 July 2016 - 08:06 PM.


#23 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 02:29 AM

It took me an age to get in contact, but I finally did and managed to get a new cell, stand, and handcart. 

 

I have some issues I'm dealing with, but didn't get a reply to the email he used to bill me. He's clearly distracted by other things.

 

If you really want a Portaball, you either have to go used or be very, very patient.



#24 mag1guy

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 12:09 PM

Hello everyone! Yes I am indeed still here. Carl Zambuto was kind enough to e-mail me that someone was attempting to contact me. I have had no phone messages or e-mails from anyone looking to purchase a scope in a few weeks now. Not sure what may be going on with that but my phone number is 920-849-9151. e-mail is djuckem@mag1instruments.com or tdserv@bugnet.net. As some have commented, Mag 1 is not my main business by far. In fact if I sat down and figured out the number of hours spent building a scope verses the number of dollars made I would probably stop. But be that as it may I have no plans to stop and will try to do a better job in staying in touch. Our main business is machining parts for aviation and medical devices and this allows us to have the capabilities to machine the type of parts we do for the scopes. Hope this answers some questions. Sincerely David Juckem.


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#25 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 01:08 PM

Hello everyone! Yes I am indeed still here. Carl Zambuto was kind enough to e-mail me that someone was attempting to contact me. I have had no phone messages or e-mails from anyone looking to purchase a scope in a few weeks now. Not sure what may be going on with that but my phone number is 920-849-9151. e-mail is djuckem@mag1instruments.com or tdserv@bugnet.net. As some have commented, Mag 1 is not my main business by far. In fact if I sat down and figured out the number of hours spent building a scope verses the number of dollars made I would probably stop. But be that as it may I have no plans to stop and will try to do a better job in staying in touch. Our main business is machining parts for aviation and medical devices and this allows us to have the capabilities to machine the type of parts we do for the scopes. Hope this answers some questions. Sincerely David Juckem.

 

 

Dave:

 

I just want to say Hello and :welcome: to Cloudy Nights. 

 

You should probably register as a vendor... I hope you find the time for Cloudy Nights in the future..  

 

Jon




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