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My new Bino-Chair

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#1 Bob4BVM

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:29 PM

Cannot believe it took me over 30 years of observing to finally get around to building this. After 2 nights using it , I am spoiled rotten, I could never go back to tripods and stiff necks for binocular observing. And certainly not hand-holding binos.

Features:
90* alt & 360* azim motion.
Intuitive hi-tech azimuth drive system (one ski pole :)
12" dia lazy susan bearing, 1000# rated, smooth as silk with my weight on it. The slightest push with the pole rotates me to position.
Bino mount adjusts for body size , angle, & eye relief.
I may eventually do a fancier bino clamp but for now the zip-ties seem to work fine.
Dimensions: 3"x20"x33"   22# all parts.  14# chair.

 

Parts/Costs: (for me, ~$20 plus the chair)
1/3 sheet 3/4 ply (had on hand);
some nesting alum tube parts  (from a batch of surplus electronics i bought years ago); 
L susan bearing ($16 on ebay); 
maple blocks (cut from my firewood pile);
misc fasteners ~$3; 
**X/Y level $1; 
a couple 1# dive weights (had those). 
You can find the zero-G chairs for around $40 if you dont have one. This one was a $7 thrift store catch, it is more comfortable that the $40 i bought earlier.

 

A few tips-
--base assembly- LS bearing screwed to ground board; mid-board screwed to bearing via access holes in ground board; top(chair) board screwed to mid-board from above & below.  NOTE the chair board is NOT centerd over the bearing !, your COG will be offset to the rear so the loaded COG of the chair is what gets centered over the bearing ! See pics.

--don't skip the **X/Y level. The base MUST be set up on a level patch of ground to prevent gravity from constantly rotating you to the low point !

--you need to have a way to fasten the chair to the base, i screwed on two strips of wood to tightly fit the rear chair foot between and then match-drilled thru the strips & chair base so i could lock the chair in place with a couple large hitch-pins as shown in the pics.  Those strips and pins also allow me to attach the aluminum tubes to the base for carrying or storage. Just drill the tubes to match the holes in the wood.

--I leave the maple blocks on the chair so setup is under a minute- insert the tubes in the blocks & tighten wingnuts; place chair on base & insert hitch-pins; slip the bino-board onto the tubes; and climb aboard.

--not shown are rubber friction washers cut from inner-tube, between the rotating joint of the blocks

--bino holder board is cut from 3/4 cedar for light weight. Cutouts on it give good hand access to bino focus without having to move the binos forward

--lead counter-weights simply hang in holes at rear of tubes. Can use whatever wgt is needed. 1# wgts seem good for 10x50, 11x70 binos . Might have to go to 2# wgts when my 20x80's arrive.

--nylon screws on outside of bino board lock the sliding alum tubes in place to hold proper eye-relief.  This is important espec with heavy binos when viewing at high angles, you don't want to wake up in the morning looking like a racoon !

 

In use:
First experiment (daylight) to set the rotating blocks at the right up/dn position on the chair to adjust for body size (butt to eyeball measurement).  Mark the block position on the chair frame so you can return to it easily.  I added a bit of ruler tape to the chair tube so i could easily set it for myself or others.
Bino angle & eye relief are adjusted on the fly as you observe at varying altitudes.
You can easily reach the base board space under the chair while sitting. as it rotates with you, its a great out-of -the-way safe space to store gear while observing.  I am going to add a holder for a thermos and coffee cup to one side of the base.

 

First impressions:
Anyone who spends much time with bino's deserves one of these. It is a complete game changer for bino observing. No getting up to reposition tripods or chairs, just sit there & scan the entire sky for hours on end. 
What a joy to just kick back and soak in the sky with complete freedom of movement to any destination that strikes my fancy. After 2 nights I can already see this contraption is going to seriously cut into my telescope time.
I still enjoy the porthole views thru my scopes, but this very different.   It is more like a space-walk experience than an observing experience. You literally get the impression you are floating among the starfields as you move from place to place. If i had to describe the experience in one word, it would be " Immersive" .

‚ÄčLast night i actually nodded off while floating between Cassiopeia and the Double Cluster !

 

Now, if i could find a way to mount my Dob on this thing :)
CS
Bob

 

pics below & following posts

 

IMG_5697s ready to fly.jpg IMG_5673s base parts.jpg IMG_5699s base detail.jpg


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#2 Bob4BVM

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:31 PM

more details

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_5698s bino holder.jpg
  • IMG_5700s clamp blocks.jpg

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#3 Bob4BVM

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:32 PM

one moreIMG_5701s stowed.jpg


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#4 alstarjoey

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:43 PM

I enjoy seeing the creativity of people to solve problems.

This is an awesome solution, Great Job!

 

You may have to share this with NorthwoodsBill smile.gif

 

two dogs and a telescope



#5 Gary Z

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:57 PM

Brilliantly done!  WOW.

 

Thank you so much for sharing!

 

Gary



#6 in_the_quiet_wood

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:58 PM

I love this.

 

How did you figure out where to place the bearing to be properly centered under center of gravity?



#7 Mr. Joey

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 05:09 PM

Way to go Bob!

 

One little thing... I see a safety hazard! We gotta figure a way to mount a cup/bottle holder on the arm of the chair!

We can't have bottles sitting on the ground like that, especially at night... Think of possibility of knocking the bottle over when you reach for it... After you just got comfy. Think of the children, Bob!

 

Seriously, good job. I'd really like to try this out!

Clear Skies my friend!

Mr. Joey


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#8 Bob4BVM

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 11:19 PM

Thanks for the compliments guys. This is a real game-changer in observing comfort, too simple to not do !

CS
Bob



#9 Bob4BVM

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 11:32 PM

I love this.

 

How did you figure out where to place the bearing to be properly centered under center of gravity?

Welcome to CN !

 

To answer your question, it's simple. You build the bearing boards (bottom & mid-board) first, those are both centered on the lazy susan. Then you make the top board long enough for your chair leg-spread. Then you just set the chair-board on the bearing, set the chair on it, climb on, tilt back and see where it balances. Helpful to have someone watch from the side to see when it all sits level with you in it. Once you find the balance-point, index mark the top board and screw it to the mid board.  Per the 3rd picture, you can pretty much figure the COG will be at about where your butt is when reclined in the chair.  But you need to do this balance experiment to find the exact COG, that is what you want centered over the center of the bearing.

CS
Bob


Edited by Bob4BVM, 13 September 2017 - 11:40 PM.

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#10 Bob4BVM

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 11:37 PM

Way to go Bob!

 

One little thing... I see a safety hazard! We gotta figure a way to mount a cup/bottle holder on the arm of the chair!

We can't have bottles sitting on the ground like that, especially at night... Think of possibility of knocking the bottle over when you reach for it... After you just got comfy. Think of the children, Bob!

 

Seriously, good job. I'd really like to try this out!

Clear Skies my friend!

Mr. Joey

 

Ha ha !

The bottle in the pic is a 'construction phase beer' :)

... For night use it will be replaced by a thermos of coffee or hot cocoa.

Actually I found it surprisingly easy to access stuff on the chair board while reclined in the chair. It makes a great out of the way place for small items


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#11 rwiederrich

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:44 AM

Super job!  Do you think balancing might be a bit trickier with much larger binocs...say 5~6in?

 

Rob



#12 xrayvizhen

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:47 AM

Good timing for me. I'm currently in the planning stages for some kind of mount for my 20x80 binoculars. I was thinking Parallelogram (already bought 12' of oak 1x2) but this might be better. I don't have any aluminum tubing though so I may modify.


Edited by xrayvizhen, 14 September 2017 - 07:47 AM.


#13 ninelives

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 02:10 PM

This looks supremely comfortable. Great job!



#14 Bob4BVM

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 05:55 PM

Super job!  Do you think balancing might be a bit trickier with much larger binocs...say 5~6in?

 

Rob

WOw, 5-6", I guess !

I assume you are talking about 50 - 100 # ??

Such huge binos would have to be part of the COG-balance experiment I described above, for sure.

I would also consider bigger pivot blocks, and also adding a pair of gas-assist struts from the chair vertical to the bino board.

Or maybe just heavier counterweights on longer rear tubes would do it

I'm guessing that another couple pounds of weight on my setup as-is will work for my incoming 20x80's... will know soon enough.



#15 Bob4BVM

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 05:59 PM

Good timing for me. I'm currently in the planning stages for some kind of mount for my 20x80 binoculars. I was thinking Parallelogram (already bought 12' of oak 1x2) but this might be better. I don't have any aluminum tubing though so I may modify.

 

I suppose you could do the tubes with wood, square-cut or dowels. But nesting/sliding aluminum tube works so very well.

I'm luck here I have a scrap yard that has a good selection of  alum, but you can also get what you need pretty quick on ebay, pretty cheap for the little bit you'd need. 



#16 Bob4BVM

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 06:08 PM

This looks supremely comfortable. Great job!

 

Yes, it is beyond anything I have experienced in well over 30 years of observing.

My "first impression" notes above are not an exaggeration, this is truly an immersive experience.  Can't wait to get my 20x80's on it

The impression of "laid back floating among the stars" is inescapable. A tangible sense that you are no longer Earth-bound.

CS

Bob


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#17 YukonJack

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 02:20 PM

Fantastic.  I have been experimenting with a Gary Seronik type of bino mount that he previewed in an 2012-2013 article in Sky and Telescope.  I was trying to make his design work with a pair of 25X100 mm 10# binos.  His setup used much smaller and lighter binos.  Where I live, I have no real good place to set it up.  Your design is quite intriguing.  Thanks for sharing this idea.



#18 Myk Rian

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 08:55 PM

My zero g chair arrived today. I like the swivel you made.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
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#19 Bob4BVM

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 10:11 PM

My zero g chair arrived today. I like the swivel you made.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

It is the combination of the swivel base and the hands-free bino holder that makes the magic happen.

Go for it !


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#20 in_the_quiet_wood

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 12:48 PM

Can you comment on the stability of the view?  I am accustomed to the rock-solid stability of the view on a tripod. How does this compare?



#21 Bob4BVM

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 11:15 PM

Can you comment on the stability of the view?  I am accustomed to the rock-solid stability of the view on a tripod. How does this compare?

Stability ? I hadn't even thought about it because of being so "one with the bino's "... In a sense it is like the binos are not even there, I'm just looking at the sky.

But compared to any other setup I have tried (tripod & chair, standing at tripod, hand-holding in chair, hand-held laying on my back, etc, etc) there is NO comparison. Why is that ? Simply because I am not holding the binos nor my neck nor my back in any muscle-supported manner at all. All of the above methods suffer from one or more muscle-fatigue problem !

 Instead I am sitting or laying back in a position I could easily sleep in, with head-neck-body fully supported by in a fully relaxed manner, and the binos are adjusted to my exact comfortable eye relief and held there for me while I soak up the view. Plus there is no interruption of that comfort as I scan the full 360* of the sky . 

So that has solved one of my big 'stability problems'-just keeping my head and eyes still & in the right position to maintain a stable image.

Stability as in vibration ? Have not noticed any vibration at all. Just solid, COMPLETELY relaxed views, due to conditions described above.  So far the highest mag I have used is 12X, I will see what happens when my 20x80's arrive here.

 

One thing I HAVE noticed is a bit of (for lack of a better term) vertigo.  

 Picture this--you are laid back in complete comfort, observing 5 or 10 degrees from zenith... say in the starfields of Cygnus or Cass. Slowly and naturally (I could even say unconsciously) you make little changes to your position in alt & azim as you cruise among the stars. Then you decide the check out the M13 or M92 with a side trip thru the galactic center on the way.  So, still laid back and observing, you give a push in azimuth and find yourself blowing thru the starfields as they SEEM to rotate all around you in three dimensions all at once...  I have quickly learned to shut my eyes for such rapid excursions !  smile.gif

 

Such is the complete "earthly disconnection" effect of this setup, which again I attribute to the ease with which I can separate myself from the trappings of my equipment- the handle of the ski pole is all I am aware of and even that becomes strangely like the throttle of a thruster pack I am wearing for the spacewalk I am on.

 

CS

Bob


Edited by Bob4BVM, 29 September 2017 - 12:35 PM.

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#22 Myk Rian

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 07:47 AM

Keep an eye open for lawn chairs out at curbside. They can provide all kinds of straight and bent aluminum, fittings for swivels, hinges, etc. Recycle what you don't use.


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#23 NochesNubladas

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:33 AM

This is awesome!

 

I must have one.

What's cool about this?

You can strap a 10x50 on that board and you can strap a 20x80 on that board.

one mount for all your binos.

very nice job!


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#24 Bob4BVM

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 08:49 PM

This is awesome!

 

I must have one.

What's cool about this?

You can strap a 10x50 on that board and you can strap a 20x80 on that board.

one mount for all your binos.

very nice job!

Yeah that's cool, I have had my 7x35, 10x50, 20x80, & a small refractor on it so far.

Just a couple different simple L-brackets for all those optics, I will post a pic of the mountings.

 

But that's not the really cool part...

This is the most fun observing I've ever done.

I still like my scopes, but with them I go out and observe til i'm too tired to do any more...

 

With this chair I go out, climb in and observe til dawn and come in for breakfast rested and refreshed ... THAT is the cool part !   (did I mention that I covered the ENTIRE sky, many times during the night, & NEVER had to get up to rearrange chairs, tripods, anything ?

 

The night may involve a catnap or two (in situ of course). 

Adding a down sleeping bag & thermos keeps me toasty all night.

Add a hair dryer for dew control (also great for an occasional shot of warm air if I do get chilly in the bag ! smile.gif ).

 

For sheer observing enjoyment, everyone should have one of these

 

CS

Bob


Edited by Bob4BVM, 29 November 2017 - 09:00 PM.

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#25 Klitwo

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 07:11 PM

Nice job.  Cool looking bino chair you built there.

 

Check this one out...it's pretty cool....Looks like you could get pretty comfortable in this one too...especially if you like bino-chair observing in the horizontal position...>

 

http://i.picasion.co...ace1a0fc9d7.gif

 

http://i.picasion.co...e90ddd79464.gif

 

https://www.flickr.c...azc/5088240411/

 

Klitwo


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