Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Modern Travel Case for Questar

  • Please log in to reply
171 replies to this topic

#1 Optics Patent

Optics Patent

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1808
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Dallas TX

Posted 28 December 2018 - 01:28 PM

With recent word that Questar's supplier of the traditional leather and vinyl cases is no longer available, Questar will be using a different case beginning in the near future.  I don't know what that case will look like, but I have heard word from the factory that it will not be a modern Pelican-type case.

 

While I consider the traditional case to be one of the special things about a Questar, it's also a weak point in that it's vulnerable to damage in the field.  Damp ground and rough surfaces can cause disappointing damage, as can a tumble.  For shipping, the case is a more vulnerable element than the scope, and the scope requires extra padding in the case for safe transit.  Moreover, these cases aren't cheap, with the leather version retailing (until recently) for $525 and the vinyl for $365.

 

In the generations since Questar introduced its English leather cases, plastic Pelican-style cases with custom foam lining have become the universal standard for camera gear, firearms, and just about any type of delicate or valuable instrumentation.  Questar offers custom fit ABS cases for the Seven model for about $700 each (one for barrel, one for mount).

 

I'm surveying the interest in a travel case for a mounted 3.5" Questar Standard or Duplex kit.

  1. Would you buy one for your existing cased Questar kit for travel, shipping, and field use?
  2. If you were ordering a new scope, would you prefer this option to the current type of case, if available?
  3. If you could delete the case from a new order and receive a discount would you order a modern case ion the aftermarket?

Assume that it would be a Pelican-brand (Made in USA) case for about the cost of the $365 vinyl case, and have custom cut foam (not plucky foam cubes) of a type guaranteed never to degrade and harm surfaces as we have seen with old foam types.

 

The case would weigh about 5 pounds empty, fit under most airline seats or in overhead bins (~17x14x9) and would accommodate everything in traditional cases, and more:

  • A Standard or Duplex Questar (including PG2 with thick base) with attached eyepiece up to 24mm size.
  • Solar filter and close up ring.
  • Three legs.
  • AC cord.
  • Five additional eyepieces of all the usual sizes.
  • A camera coupling set.
  • Storage compartment (~3.75"x2.5"x5.5") for PG controllers and other items.

The foam insert would look like this:

 

3.5 foam

 

I should note that on the assumption that one is interested and this becomes available for convenient purchase, I welcome input.  I'm trying to make it as versatile as possible.  Have I forgotten any important capability?


Edited by Optics Patent, 28 December 2018 - 02:17 PM.

  • terraclarke, nicolasM and spereira like this

#2 spereira

spereira

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 1130
  • Joined: 21 Apr 2017
  • Loc: Bedford, NH

Posted 28 December 2018 - 03:21 PM

This sounds perfect for my 3.5 Standard.  

 

Since my Questar case holds only one extra eyepiece, the slots for extra eyepieces will be quite nice.

 

I don't have a camera coupler or the PG, but many do, so I see the utility.

 

Question:  Will the case store the Q standing up, or laying down?  Does this matter?

 

Thanks, as always, for another great idea!

 

smp

 

Oh, and, yes, for $350-$400, I would be interested.


Edited by spereira, 28 December 2018 - 03:23 PM.


#3 Optics Patent

Optics Patent

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1808
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Dallas TX

Posted 28 December 2018 - 04:01 PM


Question:  Will the case store the Q standing up, or laying down?  Does this matter?

 

I was thinking about this, and it's hard to find a case that stores on end.  Your question caused me to research and learn that the "old glass is thicker at the bottom because glass flows gradually at room temperatures" is a MYTH.

 

I was going to suggest that for long term storage the case could be stored lid-down in alternating years, but now am happy to find that storage on the side over a lifetime is just fine.

 

Questar scopes store vertically because it avoids putting strain on the case itself.


  • Joe Ellis likes this

#4 Cajundaddy

Cajundaddy

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1867
  • Joined: 27 Dec 2016
  • Loc: Cucamonga CA

Posted 28 December 2018 - 04:19 PM

Do keep in mind that Apache cases are Pelican-like, and are available for a very low cost.  Know the competition for your product.

 

https://www.harborfr...protective-case



#5 Mike E.

Mike E.

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2972
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2010
  • Loc: Moonstone Observatory

Posted 28 December 2018 - 04:27 PM

With recent word that Questar's supplier of the traditional leather and vinyl cases is no longer available, Questar will be using a different case beginning in the near future.  I don't know what that case will look like, but I have heard word from the factory that it will not be a modern Pelican-type case.

 

While I consider the traditional case to be one of the special things about a Questar, it's also a weak point in that it's vulnerable to damage in the field.  Damp ground and rough surfaces can cause disappointing damage, as can a tumble.  For shipping, the case is a more vulnerable element than the scope, and the scope requires extra padding in the case for safe transit.  Moreover, these cases aren't cheap, with the leather version retailing (until recently) for $525 and the vinyl for $365.

 

In the generations since Questar introduced its English leather cases, plastic Pelican-style cases with custom foam lining have become the universal standard for camera gear, firearms, and just about any type of delicate or valuable instrumentation.  Questar offers custom fit ABS cases for the Seven model for about $700 each (one for barrel, one for mount).

 

I'm surveying the interest in a travel case for a mounted 3.5" Questar Standard or Duplex kit.

  1. Would you buy one for your existing cased Questar kit for travel, shipping, and field use?
  2. If you were ordering a new scope, would you prefer this option to the current type of case, if available?
  3. If you could delete the case from a new order and receive a discount would you order a modern case ion the aftermarket?

Assume that it would be a Pelican-brand (Made in USA) case for about the cost of the $365 vinyl case, and have custom cut foam (not plucky foam cubes) of a type guaranteed never to degrade and harm surfaces as we have seen with old foam types.

 

The case would weigh about 5 pounds empty, fit under most airline seats or in overhead bins (~17x14x9) and would accommodate everything in traditional cases, and more:

  • A Standard or Duplex Questar (including PG2 with thick base) with attached eyepiece up to 24mm size.
  • Solar filter and close up ring.
  • Three legs.
  • AC cord.
  • Five additional eyepieces of all the usual sizes.
  • A camera coupling set.
  • Storage compartment (~3.75"x2.5"x5.5") for PG controllers and other items.

The foam insert would look like this:

 

 

 

I should note that on the assumption that one is interested and this becomes available for convenient purchase, I welcome input.  I'm trying to make it as versatile as possible.  Have I forgotten any important capability?

 The cases provided with our Q7 were Model number 1427 from Underwater Kinetics. The cases are of a more flexible material compared to the smaller Underwater Kinetics cases we have for eyepieces and other uses. 



#6 davidmcgo

davidmcgo

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2971
  • Joined: 09 Oct 2004
  • Loc: San Diego, CA

Posted 28 December 2018 - 04:37 PM

I did have one minor issue possibly related to side storage.  I had my original English leather case off for repair and had my Q with the new optics stored  on its side in a toolbox on some closed cell foam blocks I cut and covered in microfiber for a couple of months in the hot summer and some thin grease film appeared on the edge of the primary on the side that was downward in the case.  Questar cleaned it for me since initial appearance was similar to coating degradation and this was just after they installed the new optics and did a full service. Might have gotten on the edge of the mirror when the tube was screwed back on over it.

 

For travel and short trips, side would be fine, and your case layout looks great and I’d be interested!  My current case won’t fit the newer Brandon or TeleVue eyepieces either on the scope or in the pocket, it was made for the original tiny Japanese eyepieces, and it is a bit delicate to want to jump on a plane with it.

 

I had been sketching ideas myself around an HPRC 4100 and Kaizen foam but it is likely a little too small and my foam cutting skills are BAD ;-)

 

Dave


  • agmoonsolns likes this

#7 Optics Patent

Optics Patent

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1808
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Dallas TX

Posted 28 December 2018 - 04:46 PM

There are many alternatives, but finding the right size is important - none of that brand is deep enough.

I assume that a mid-line model of a known US brand would be most appealing to a Questar owner who appreciates a premium brand.  This one comes in a choice of colors (black, light gray, yellow and orange).


  • agmoonsolns likes this

#8 tbowkman

tbowkman

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 7
  • Joined: 24 Dec 2008

Posted 28 December 2018 - 04:48 PM

I for one would prefer a more robust case with custom fitted foam were I to order a new Questar. My leather case sits on a shelf to protect it from moisture and scoffs. I have already made the transition to a Pelican 1550 that I will use to carry on my ‘74 Duplex for my upcoming trip to Florida in Feb. I would much prefer a higher density foam to the standard pluck foam supplied. Custom fitted is even better. I would purchase custom fitted foam for my current case. 

 

Tim



#9 agmoonsolns

agmoonsolns

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1619
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018
  • Loc: Washington

Posted 28 December 2018 - 04:50 PM

I suppose feet could be added to the bottom so it could be kept standing up? I would love to buy something like this as an add-on for travel, but would definitely want to buy a new Questar with the traditional leather case for storage. The leather cases breath better and are very attractive. I definitely like them better for use at home. The new-type case would be awesome for travel, but I have found the hard plastic cases with foam inside can be problematic in terms of mold and I wouldn't want to leave anything inside of them for long periods of time. A friend just purchased a used C8 with a bunch of eyepieces inside similar type cases and the eyepieces had mold/fungus growing between the lenses so bad, they had to be thrown away.



#10 agmoonsolns

agmoonsolns

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1619
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018
  • Loc: Washington

Posted 28 December 2018 - 04:56 PM

BTW, the plastic cases from the old B&L Criterion 4000 work great with the Questar too and can be had for ultra cheap! I was given one (with the telescope) for only slightly more than the cost of shipping. Sold the telescope for super cheap and ended up with the case for free. It's molded to almost the same shape, I just added more padding. It's great because high-end optical thieves will totally ignore it inside its clever disguise! ;-) For travel, it's great, but I would definitely jump all over one of these new Questar cases, that sounds perfect!


  • terraclarke likes this

#11 Cajundaddy

Cajundaddy

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1867
  • Joined: 27 Dec 2016
  • Loc: Cucamonga CA

Posted 28 December 2018 - 05:33 PM

I suppose feet could be added to the bottom so it could be kept standing up? I would love to buy something like this as an add-on for travel, but would definitely want to buy a new Questar with the traditional leather case for storage. The leather cases breath better and are very attractive. I definitely like them better for use at home. The new-type case would be awesome for travel, but I have found the hard plastic cases with foam inside can be problematic in terms of mold and I wouldn't want to leave anything inside of them for long periods of time. A friend just purchased a used C8 with a bunch of eyepieces inside similar type cases and the eyepieces had mold/fungus growing between the lenses so bad, they had to be thrown away.

Somebody put their scope away while still covered in dew.  A sure way to grow mold and fungus on expensive optics.  Always best to let the gear dry out completely before locking it in an airtight case of any type.  I used to hit my optics with a hair dryer before returning to the case just to be sure.


  • agmoonsolns likes this

#12 agmoonsolns

agmoonsolns

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1619
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018
  • Loc: Washington

Posted 28 December 2018 - 05:39 PM

I use a hair dryer too and store everything in a spare bedroom with a dehumidifier and an air filter. I run them as needed to keep the room relatively dry and dust-free. Probably overkill, but it does make me feel better.


  • Cajundaddy likes this

#13 Optics Patent

Optics Patent

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1808
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Dallas TX

Posted 28 December 2018 - 05:41 PM

I should note that I have a UK 1127 model with a Q7 barrel and custom interior I did online.  Not cheap to fill a case that big with custom foam but nice to have a good interior.

 

IMG 1022

 



#14 Billydee

Billydee

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1662
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Winter Haven, FL

Posted 28 December 2018 - 09:20 PM

Airline over head size if possible. High quality dense foam. Various configuration by having interlocking hard foam blocks so Standard, Duplex and field Qs could use the same setup by just swapping one or two of the interlocking blocks.  EP storage area large enough for 2" EPs.  OTA to the hing side as it is stronger and safer.

 

Bill



#15 Optics Patent

Optics Patent

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1808
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Dallas TX

Posted 28 December 2018 - 10:48 PM

The design simply leaves a space forward of the finder mirror for the Duplex that will be vacant for a Standard. A Field model fits a much smaller case and can have its own design.

#16 SJTill

SJTill

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 74
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2012

Posted 29 December 2018 - 12:17 AM

I’ve discussed this in the past. I would definitely order one; however I prefer the Nanuk cases, and found one that would be the right size, don’t remember the model number. The locks are much better on the Nanuk, do not require such force to  open and close. 

Mycasebuilder.com will build custom foam inserts, and have an online app for design.



#17 SJTill

SJTill

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 74
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2012

Posted 29 December 2018 - 12:41 AM

Here’s my response to Optic Patent’s Post from 2017:

I had been looking at a Nanuk case, I believe the 933, which has the dimensions L18.0″ x W13.0″ x H9.5″.
Weight is 8 lbs empty, however. I have a number of Nanuk cases and consider them equivalent to but easier to open and close compared with Pelican cases.
Nanuk makes customized foam inserts, I didn't ask for a price.
I thought it best if we had a computerized template, and see who would be interested in a group buy.
This would be for a Standard model in my case.

If the forum group wanted another case, I would still be interested in a group buy.


  • agmoonsolns likes this

#18 Billydee

Billydee

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1662
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Winter Haven, FL

Posted 29 December 2018 - 12:42 AM

STill,

 

Ben knows Mycasebuilder very well.  He is their Patent Attorney.

 

Bill



#19 agmoonsolns

agmoonsolns

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1619
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2018
  • Loc: Washington

Posted 29 December 2018 - 12:52 AM

I would be interested, please count me in for a case.



#20 RobertPettengill

RobertPettengill

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 400
  • Joined: 06 Jan 2013
  • Loc: Austin, Texas

Posted 29 December 2018 - 01:42 AM

I use my Questar with a Pelican 1550 case which will fit under a standard airline seat.  It fits the Q with controller and legs, 5 eyepieces, camera, 2 coupling  kits, barlow lenses, filters, extra batteries, red flashlight and a few tools.  It's rugged, lightweight, and waterproof.  It's all padded with the pick-n-pluck foam.  The case runs about $120.

 

A custom foam insert for this case would probably allow more to fit.

 

QuestarPelican1550.jpg

 

Interior Dimensions (inches): 18.43 x 14.00 x 7.62

 

It's hard to leave a bright yellow case behind :-)


Edited by RobertPettengill, 29 December 2018 - 01:45 AM.

  • Matt Looby, Antares, Steve C. and 3 others like this

#21 Pragmatist

Pragmatist

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 299
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2018
  • Loc: Suffolk, UK 🇬🇧

Posted 29 December 2018 - 07:43 AM

I have to say Rob, that looks the business. Really cool. 


  • RobertPettengill likes this

#22 spereira

spereira

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 1130
  • Joined: 21 Apr 2017
  • Loc: Bedford, NH

Posted 29 December 2018 - 08:55 AM

I was thinking about this, and it's hard to find a case that stores on end.  Your question caused me to research and learn that the "old glass is thicker at the bottom because glass flows gradually at room temperatures" is a MYTH.

 

I was going to suggest that for long term storage the case could be stored lid-down in alternating years, but now am happy to find that storage on the side over a lifetime is just fine.

 

Questar scopes store vertically because it avoids putting strain on the case itself.

 

Long in the past, I owned the first edition of the Meade ETX-90 when it first came out.  I had to put my name on a list and get called when it was my turn.  That's how early it was.

 

There were no instructions about storage position, so during a subsequent long period of disuse, I stored the scope laying down.  When I dug it out to trade-in for my next scope, the secondary mirror on the inside of the corrector plate had migrated off center about a quarter of an inch.  Luckily for me, the agreed upon trade-in still went through, and all was well for me.

 

I am concerned about this ever since.  Questar designed their case to store the scope upright, so I am concerned about any sort of long term storage in the laying down position.  Should I be?

 

Thanks, in advance, for your patience and thoughts on this.

 

smp



#23 Loren Gibson

Loren Gibson

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 190
  • Joined: 04 Jun 2013
  • Loc: Northern Florida, USA

Posted 29 December 2018 - 10:03 AM

Long in the past, I owned the first edition of the Meade ETX-90 when it first came out.  I had to put my name on a list and get called when it was my turn.  That's how early it was.

 

There were no instructions about storage position, so during a subsequent long period of disuse, I stored the scope laying down.  When I dug it out to trade-in for my next scope, the secondary mirror on the inside of the corrector plate had migrated off center about a quarter of an inch.  Luckily for me, the agreed upon trade-in still went through, and all was well for me.

 

I am concerned about this ever since.  Questar designed their case to store the scope upright, so I am concerned about any sort of long term storage in the laying down position.  Should I be?

 

Thanks, in advance, for your patience and thoughts on this.

 

smp

 

I can't think of any reason the Q couldn't be stored on its side. Regarding your ETX-90, are you describing the migration of the secondary *baffle* migrating? That's a commonly reported problem. (My own old ETX did not exhibit this problem, luckily.) The secondary mirror is an aluminized spot coated directly on the inside surface of the corrector, just like the Questar's secondary, and it can't move.

 

Loren



#24 spereira

spereira

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 1130
  • Joined: 21 Apr 2017
  • Loc: Bedford, NH

Posted 29 December 2018 - 11:32 AM

I can't think of any reason the Q couldn't be stored on its side. Regarding your ETX-90, are you describing the migration of the secondary *baffle* migrating? That's a commonly reported problem. (My own old ETX did not exhibit this problem, luckily.) The secondary mirror is an aluminized spot coated directly on the inside surface of the corrector, just like the Questar's secondary, and it can't move.

 

Loren

Yes, that was it.  As I said, it was long ago, and I remembered the problem, but not the detail.  Thanks for the correction!

 

smp


  • Loren Gibson likes this

#25 Optics Patent

Optics Patent

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1808
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Dallas TX

Posted 29 December 2018 - 12:49 PM

I’ve discussed this in the past. I would definitely order one; however I prefer the Nanuk cases, and found one that would be the right size, don’t remember the model number. The locks are much better on the Nanuk, do not require such force to  open and close. 

Mycasebuilder.com will build custom foam inserts, and have an online app for design.

You may be right about the Nanuk's latches if you prefer a lighter action, but Pelican uses many different latches, and the one I'm looking at is "Two-stage".

 

I still lean toward the Pelican because:

  1. 2" shorter, 2" narrower, 1" thinner than Nanuk 933 and still fits the kit  (Nanuk has some comparable smaller ones that are a hair too shallow for the 7" base diameter).  I'm wary of picking a larger one because the 9-1/4" thickness of the Pelican is already 1/4" above what many airlines post as the limit (while they don't police this and have plenty of room for thicker).
  2. Pelican is 2/3 the weight
  3. Pelican is made in USA, not Canada, so more consistent with a scope that is proudly advertised as such.

The good news is that one may pick any case (including one on hand or that Mycasebuilder.com (MCB) doesn't offer) and design a custom foam for it.  They don't yet offer, but have shown an interest in making custom designs sharable, so others might use my design in their preferred case, or edit to their specific needs, including the benefits of a larger case.

 

Moisture is an important issue.  I've been experimenting with desiccants in difference cases, and a sealed case is a great way to keep a scope bone dry - the one that never needs a desiccant recharge is the UK case.  But a damp scope put in a sealed case can be a disaster unless ample and diligent desiccant discipline is observed.  I've found that open cell foam itself can carry lots of moisture needing extraction by desiccant. 

 

I'm doubtful about fitting that 7"x4"x1"+ controller for PG3 in the above design.  I'm doubtful that PG3 owners find a space in their traditional case for the controller.  They also might change the design and put a big pocket where the eyepiece storage is in my design and find room for one or two eyepieces elsewhere, like where I have the camera coupling.

 

I keep a 3.5"x5.5" Moleskine notebook for each of my scopes with historical, repair, service, and observing notes, and this can tuck in the cargo area beneath the legs, as may a large desiccant pack, and coiled PG cords, filters, etc.

 

Economically, my thought is that Questar owners don't mind paying a premium for a premium product.  Given the wide availability of DIY custom inserts this won't be for those willing to invest hours in either learning how to generate a computer design at MCB and then redo to correct an error, or a sloppier pick and pluck or cut it yourself design.  The foam itself is the majority of the value (I spent nearly $300 on my Q7 case foam alone - I pay normal retail to MCB and they pay my normal retail rates for my services.)

 

On the subject of foam, I'm assured that the decades old foam chemistry we've see attack and permanently damage Questar paint and aluminum surfaces is a thing of the past.  Modern foams are said to be safe for a lifetime.  Foam options include a soft spongy foam that is good for fragile items, and stiff foam that has a rough surface.  The new third option is a premium black foam that is shown in my Q7 photo, and has a silky firm texture that's good for displaying fine items.  It adds maybe 20% to the foam coast but a Q justifies it.  The fancy black foam is not advised for sharp objects like tools and rough conditions as it can be torn or scratched.

 

I'm still open to hearing strong suggestions about what I'm accommodating that I shouldn't bother (camera coupling?) or what I'm forgetting (like the notebook I just verified will fit in the sub-leg compartment). 

 

If full-solar cases were standard-sized, or there were a "Tupperware" container for solar filters we could make that filter slot larger.

 

Note that this design will have the egg-crate soft foam in the lid, and this will allow eyepiece caps to protrude, and 1" of the base rim to be received.

 


  • manusfisch likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics