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32" f/3.3 SDM/Lockwood

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#1 Allan Wade

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 10:42 PM

It's been quite the journey over the last three years, but finally I can post about the impending arrival of the big dob.

 

These things typically start with the occasional look through big scopes at star parties and what not. Well, that's how it started for me. I couldn't take it any longer and decided I needed something big I could call my own to use when ever I wanted. The first year of the journey I spent contemplating exactly what I wanted and how I was going to use it. Initially, I settled on a 24" as the biggest dob I wanted to cart around. But, the more I thought about it and mixed with people who owned similar scopes, the more I realised I wanted to go in a different direction.

 

I found a great area for observing a few hours drive from where I live, where the sky is as dark as it can get. So I started thinking, what if I buy a piece of land out there where I can leave the big dob set up permanently, that would change the equation a bit. Then I thought, if I'm going to all this trouble to set up a dark site property, why muck around with a 24"? In the end, my final decision was based on the two things I thought were most important, eyepiece height and how much money I was prepared to pour into it.

 

I had my sights set on a metre class dob, but the eyepiece height was getting beyond what I was aiming for, not to mention the rather sobering cost of it all. The primary mirror alone was going to soak up the budget I planned for the entire dob. So at the end of the day a 32" f/3.3 satisfied my main requirements. That decision took me a year to arrive at, after I worked my way through all the issues. 

 

Next up I placed orders with Peter Read at SDM for the build and Mike Lockwood for the mirrors. Then, I waited.

 

Mike was pretty quick with the mirror, though I wasn't in a hurry as I knew Peter had a lot of dobs to build before mine and he was going to be the limiting factor. Its been a little over two years now on the SDM waiting list, but finally construction is under way. SDM is probably not a widely known brand, being tucked away in my corner of the world, but if Peter was in the U.S. everyone would speak of him in the same manner as Roland and Al, and we would all be on a 10 year waiting list for our dobs. The man is a genius and makes dobs like no one else, which makes the long wait somewhat bearable.

 

As the build progresses I thought I would share a few photos and details about the dob. There's going to be some nice features not seen before which will make the scope even more unique, but importantly perform as well as a big dob can.

 

I also want to thank everyone who have helped me and continue to do so, in particular Peter Read, Mike Lockwood, John Pratte and Bob Schilling. I'm proud to call these people my friends now, which is another reason why I love astronomy so much.

 


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#2 Allan Wade

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 10:47 PM

Introducing the Black Widow.

 

Black Widow (2).jpg

 

I started a name your telescope thread, so Cloudy Nights helped me come up with the name. Its going to be a killer telescope after all!

 

The dob will be finished in black with red detailing, to match the black widow theme.

 

Thanks to Danny for coming up with the awesome design.


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#3 Allan Wade

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 10:51 PM

32" of shiny perfection thanks to Mike. I've seen first hand how good Mike's mirrors are, including a couple of 32". Seeing Jupiter at almost 1000x in a 32" is a life changing event, believe me.

 

2.jpg


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#4 Allan Wade

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 10:54 PM

The mirror cell comes from the house of John Pratte. One of the unique things about this dob is the combination of components I am fortunate to use that will optimise the performance.

 

1.jpg


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#5 Allan Wade

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:02 PM

... and the first completed part of the build. The UTA with John Pratte's very strong offset secondary system. I decided on using the Baader red dot finder only. I don't use optical finders, and the red dot looks good and serves the purpose of doing the initial star alignment.

 

There's a Moonlite filter slider hidden from view.

 

The UTA gets painted black, with red poles and a carbon fibre sheet used for the baffle. The inside of the UTA will get the full flocking treatment.

 

3.jpg


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#6 Kent10

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:03 PM

Wow.  What a scope.  Congratulations, Allan!


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#7 Redbetter

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:08 PM

You tease!  I thought this was going to be your first post with the full scope in action.  The waiting must be agony at this point.


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#8 HellsKitchen

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:11 PM

Most impressive! Having that beauty set up in a permanent dark sky location, that's nothing less than a dream come true.


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#9 Allan Wade

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:17 PM

You tease!  I thought this was going to be your first post with the full scope in action.  The waiting must be agony at this point.

That was my intention, to make the first post about the completed scope, but I couldn't take it any longer. Especially after seeing the UTA was done. The wait didn't bother me when it was so far away, but now!!!


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#10 Allan Wade

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:21 PM

Most impressive! Having that beauty set up in a permanent dark sky location, that's nothing less than a dream come true.

I have Renmark to thank for it, that's where the astronomy journey started for me many years ago. I'm still only a car drive away if you ever feel like taking a look.



#11 Allan Wade

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:34 PM

This is my dark site tucked away in the bush. I never want to hear anyone else complaining about how much money they spend on astronomy. But at least this place should actually go up in value.  

 

I'll have a ROR observatory to build once the dob arrives.

 

1.jpg


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#12 havasman

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 12:08 AM

I'm really glad you've rolled out the Black Widow so the rest of us can now openly chomp at the bit in anticipation along with you. It's going to be a monster for sure! 


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#13 Allan Wade

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 12:34 AM

I'm really glad you've rolled out the Black Widow so the rest of us can now openly chomp at the bit in anticipation along with you. It's going to be a monster for sure! 

Well, at least we've been sharing the excitement privately for a few years now. I'm looking forward to many good sessions showing you the southern sky when you come over.


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#14 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 01:22 AM

I found a great area for observing a few hours drive from where I live, where the sky is as dark as it can get. So I started thinking, what if I buy a piece of land out there where I can leave the big dob set up permanently, that would change the equation a bit. 

 

Just a bit!

 

Congratulations on Living The Dream. Look forward to reading about your adventures!


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#15 glend

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 04:21 AM

Congratulations Allan, glad to see its finally all coming together. The mirror looks awesome. I hope to visit the site at some point. Can we assume you won't be hauling it to Wirruna in years to come? I seem to recall discussion about a trailer.



#16 Allan Wade

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 07:27 AM

Hey Glen, yes there were early thoughts of a trailer, but fortunately I've moved on from that idea. I look forward to showing it at the South Pacific Star Party at Wiruna, not this year unfortunately as it won't be ready. But in the years to come I'm planning for the SPSP to be its annual road trip. I'll probably just hire a big van to get it there.



#17 Solar storm

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 08:46 AM

Amazing!  Congratulations!  You are going to have so much fun!


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#18 opticsguy

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 08:53 AM

Mr Allen, Hope you do not mind, I just purchased the land next to yours and now have permits to install a 24 hour mini-mart with petrol station and 32 space parking lot.  Hope you do not mind.  smile.gif

 

I have been going through the same thinking process as you, and was getting closer and closer to a 32" mirror from Mr Lockwood.  My difficulty lies in the fact I would need to transport the scope for any kind of views and I know how fast i would get lazy about this.  Also, living in the Pacific NW of USA, I see more clouds than I ever see of clear skies.   So, now I am rethinking this problem and am starting to look at EAA as an alternative.  You are super super lucky to be able to accomplish your dream and double super super lucky with your dark sky site.  

 

Now waiting for your updates.


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#19 turtle86

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 10:01 AM

It's been quite the journey over the last three years, but finally I can post about the impending arrival of the big dob.

 

These things typically start with the occasional look through big scopes at star parties and what not. Well, that's how it started for me. I couldn't take it any longer and decided I needed something big I could call my own to use when ever I wanted. The first year of the journey I spent contemplating exactly what I wanted and how I was going to use it. Initially, I settled on a 24" as the biggest dob I wanted to cart around. But, the more I thought about it and mixed with people who owned similar scopes, the more I realised I wanted to go in a different direction.

 

I found a great area for observing a few hours drive from where I live, where the sky is as dark as it can get. So I started thinking, what if I buy a piece of land out there where I can leave the big dob set up permanently, that would change the equation a bit. Then I thought, if I'm going to all this trouble to set up a dark site property, why muck around with a 24"? In the end, my final decision was based on the two things I thought were most important, eyepiece height and how much money I was prepared to pour into it.

 

I had my sights set on a metre class dob, but the eyepiece height was getting beyond what I was aiming for, not to mention the rather sobering cost of it all. The primary mirror alone was going to soak up the budget I planned for the entire dob. So at the end of the day a 32" f/3.3 satisfied my main requirements. That decision took me a year to arrive at, after I worked my way through all the issues. 

 

Next up I placed orders with Peter Read at SDM for the build and Mike Lockwood for the mirrors. Then, I waited.

 

Mike was pretty quick with the mirror, though I wasn't in a hurry as I knew Peter had a lot of dobs to build before mine and he was going to be the limiting factor. Its been a little over two years now on the SDM waiting list, but finally construction is under way. SDM is probably not a widely known brand, being tucked away in my corner of the world, but if Peter was in the U.S. everyone would speak of him in the same manner as Roland and Al, and we would all be on a 10 year waiting list for our dobs. The man is a genius and makes dobs like no one else, which makes the long wait somewhat bearable.

 

As the build progresses I thought I would share a few photos and details about the dob. There's going to be some nice features not seen before which will make the scope even more unique, but importantly perform as well as a big dob can.

 

I also want to thank everyone who have helped me and continue to do so, in particular Peter Read, Mike Lockwood, John Pratte and Bob Schilling. I'm proud to call these people my friends now, which is another reason why I love astronomy so much.

 

Nothing beats getting to live the dream. Congratulations!


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#20 Victor Martinez

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 11:29 AM

I feel a huge healthy envy, unsurpassed project  waytogo.gif


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#21 3 i Guy

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 12:10 PM

Big congrats Allan, that is going to be one impressive monster. Color us all jealous!

Of course after the observatory build, you'll have to start on the guest house. We'll 

need somewhere to staysmile.gif

 

thanks for sharing your journey mate!

 

 

Mark



#22 rockethead26

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 01:31 PM

Congrats on nearing the end of the journey. The destination is awesome!


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#23 Messyone

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 06:00 PM

Amazing Allan...turning dreams to reality like-button.jpg



#24 Allan Wade

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 06:31 PM

Big congrats Allan, that is going to be one impressive monster. Color us all jealous!

Of course after the observatory build, you'll have to start on the guest house. We'll 

need somewhere to staysmile.gif

 

thanks for sharing your journey mate!

 

 

Mark

Mark, you know the next Takahashi Star Party is at my dark site at the end of the year. Good enough reason for someone to fly half way around the world again. I'll set up the 32 next to the TOA 130 and we will do a shoot out.


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#25 Allan Wade

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 06:34 PM

Amazing Allan...turning dreams to reality like-button.jpg

No excuses now Matt, you've got to come over for some observing.


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