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Mr Bill's Bino box Redux

ATM binoculars DIY refractor
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#1 bcarter1234

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 09:49 PM

Having wet my appetite tinkering with an 80mm asymmetrical binocular telescope the opportunity to acquire the components of Mr Bill's Bino box came at a fortuitous moment.

My intention is to configure the components first as a 127mm asymmetrical with 185mm offset. At some later point I'll also likely build them into the same configuration Mr Bill used for the original Bino Box to see which version I prefer. 

 

I'll endeavor to make occasional updates as it progresses, warts and all. If this project follows the general lines of most things I build there will be several detours and errors along the way.

Bino Box start

 

For reference here is Mr Bill's original build thread.

https://www.cloudyni...r/#entry4832410

 

Take care,

Brent

 


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#2 bcarter1234

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 09:54 PM

Managed to cut out a few more pieces and make the holder for the 2" diagonal. The upper tube will use a 2" diagonal centered 580mm from the objective. The lower tube will have a 3" secondary 395mm from the objective. This mock up shows the general idea. In practice the base of the upper tube will be mounted on a vertical member and the front will be adjustable to allow vertical merging. Similarly the lower tube will allow horizontal adjustment front and rear for IPD and merging.  

Rough layout
 
This view shows how the holder for the 2" diagonal will be mounted.
Basic structure
 
Take care,
 
Brent

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#3 bcarter1234

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 10:13 PM

Made some brackets to attach the "verticals" to the base. Should have at least one tube ready to look through by the end of the weekend. 

Brackets
 
Take care,
Brent

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#4 bcarter1234

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 09:28 PM

Half binocular telescope. Okay, more like 20% with regard to the work to be done, but at least I can take through it with one eye at this point. That is assuming the clouds clear out before I turn in. Once the layout of the components is confirmed, which will be after building the lower scope, the U shaped frames will be sheeted in thin ply or composite. The resulting structure should be stiff and comparatively light. Sorry for the potentially upside down image. It looks fine before I upload.

Left tube structure 2
 
I hope to get the second shorter scope to a similar level of completion in the next few days. It will have a 3" secondary mounted, at least in the beginning in Newtonian style holder, in place of the 2" diagonal since the fold comes earlier in the light path. Then it will be time to verify the two scopes have sufficient clearance. This first one will be mounted with the base vertical above and to the left of the second.
 
Take care,
Brent 

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#5 bcarter1234

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 09:19 PM

First "half" light went okay. It was quite shaky on a lightweight video tripod but it was possible to bring objects to focus in the middle of the focuser range. As you can imagine contrast suffered a bit with the open tube. ;-) Jupiter at 117X had tiny pinpoint moons but I know now where Jimi got the inspiration for Purple Haze. No collimation was done nor could it be maintained until the structure is stiffened. Alberio was lovely though.

 

As usual my plans don't survive first contact with actual construction. Based on this information the 2" diagonal was moved back 10mm from 580mm to 590mm. The ray trace currently shows a 13mm fully illuminated zone. This should add a little to that and will reduce the eyepiece height when the telescope is near horizontal.

 

The plan is to build a fork mount to use this tube while the second is being built. At some future point I'll make a larger helical focuser to allow the use of 2" eyepieces in one tube. Unfortunately I haven't found 2" eyepieces I can fit both eyes to for use in pairs.

 

Take care,

Brent 


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#6 Mark Harry

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 04:14 AM

Love to see how you make out. I have 2 achros-- 6" F/5's, and have kicked around the same idea.
Good luck,
M.



#7 bcarter1234

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 08:23 AM

Mark,

 

If early views are any indicator I'd say go for it.

 

I had the "Half binocular" out for a short session last night mounted on a pathetically overloaded video tripod to verify the new location of the diagonal at 590mm from the objective. This position leaves about 25mm of usable focus range for the various eyepiece combinations I own.

 

With a 9mm Expanse clone providing 78X Jupiter was the only thing I could see through a cloud layer at the outset. I was very pleased with the view. I think the cloud layer cut the brightness sufficiently to keep the purple at bay. ;-) Later in the evening the clouds cleared out and the color was back. Would an aperture mask or some filter be the proper solution? I'm new and have never used a filter so thanks in advance for any suggestions. Keep in mind my driveway, copiously lit by neighbors clearly concerned about my security, is in Bortle 6-7.    

 

I also got a chance to view Vega (purple) and then swung around to take in Mizar A/B. These are some of the views I'm going to love in addition to the wide field lower magnification views the instrument was designed for. 76X, .85 degrees, lovely points and nice separation. This in spite of all manner of stray light intrusion as the tube is still not enclosed.

 

Thanks for reading and any suggestions.

 

Take care,

Brent



#8 bcarter1234

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 09:56 PM

Made the upper longer left tube a little more functional as a single tube. Might as well enjoy it while the lower shorter right tube is under construction. The mount works surprisingly well. I'll make a hood and baffles to finish closing it up. Typical disclaimer if this ends up inverted, not sure why it happens.

127mm New mount 1

 

The right tube will use 3" diagonal so it will be the single use tube as it will be capable of a larger illuminated field when using a 2" focuser and eyepieces.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Take care,

Brent


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#9 bcarter1234

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 09:30 PM

Here are the bones of tube 2. The fold happens at 405mm vs 590mm for the upper tube. When finished this tube's cell will be mounted 185mm behind and below the first tube. This brings the focal plane of both to the same height. If all goes well the horizontal spacing will be adjustable from 55mm to 70mm and the tubes can be aligned to merge images.

Tube 2 side
 
The four holes allow access to the secondary but my hope is to set it once, leave it and merge by moving each OTA as needed. The secondary is a 3.1". A 2.6" would do the job but I used what I had.
Tube 2
 
Take care,
Brent


#10 bcarter1234

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 08:29 AM

The second tube has optics. It comes to focus holding an eyepiece at the correct distance above the 3.1" secondary. The next step is to build a temporary holder for the helical focuser to double check the location of the secondary. On the first tube the diagonal was moved back 21mm from its original location, 11mm because I didn't know exactly where "optical 0" (what is the correct term for this?) was and 10mm as my initial raytrace was overly conservative by that amount. Both of those should be accounted for here but I recall Mr Bill saying one cell was 3mm shorter in focal length and I haven't yet determined which is which. ;-)

Both tubes
 
In practice the tube with the two inch diagonal will be mounted to the left with the short dimension of the base plate vertical and the optical axis 185mm above that of the second tube. The tube with the 3.1" secondary will be left horizontal but slid back 185mm. That is the theory at any rate...
 
Does anyone have suggestions, pictures or drawings of a clever mount for the 3.1" diagonal? The traditional holder shown here seems less than optimal considering the orientation verses its intended use. I'd like some adjustability but it should not require much.
 
Take care,
Brent

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#11 mccarthymark

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 12:00 AM

popcorn.gif 

 

I'm especially interested to see what hardware or mechanism you will use to adjust the position of both tubes.



#12 John Miele

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 12:35 PM

I LOVE what you are doing. I am fascinated by the idea of home brewed large binocular scopes and the views they can provide. This is probably the next project I will undertake. Please keep posting all the gory details! I'm hanging on every image you show!



#13 bcarter1234

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 09:23 PM

Thanks for the interest, I'll keep posting. You can see my designs tend to be "flexible" as I don't always do enough planning in advance. ;-)

 

The test run for these is made from two 80mm Adventure Scopes. I'll use a similar system to adjust the position of the two tubes. On the 80mm the lower right tube is adjustable for IPD, horizontal alignment and vertical alignment. On the 127mm the upper left tube will provide the vertical adjustment for alignment. Separating the two adjustments is a better system. I also hope to make the adjustments accessible from the back of the unit.

Lateral Adjustment
80mm BT
 
Take care,
Brent


#14 bcarter1234

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Posted 29 June 2019 - 09:35 PM

Made some progress today. Tube 2 comes to focus at the correct height in relation to tube 1, 395mm above the base vs 210mm. One bit of serendipity is that my 2" eyepieces focus nicely. I'll be able to get 18X at 3.8 degrees with a 38mm SWA. If I make that eyepiece parfocal with the pairs I could almost use the right tube as a finder then drop the 1.25" eyepiece back in to use the binoculars. It would be cool if my face would accommodate a pair of these but that is unlikely.

Tube 2
 
The lovely focuser tower will be replaced with various tubing/fittings so it will clear the 2" diagonal.
Tube 2 side

 

Here are the two tubes together.

Both tubes
 
With any luck I'll get them temporarily mounted in the correct orientation tomorrow to get the first binocular view. If that goes anything like according to plan the next steps will be making a mount, providing adjustability for IPD/merging and turning new helical focusers. Thanks for reading.
 
Take care,
Brent

 



#15 bcarter1234

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Posted 30 June 2019 - 09:17 PM

As usual I was overly optimistic about the progress I would make. I could have taken a quick look through if I had modified the tower holding the 2" focuser. Full disclosure, I measured twice, cut once and then proceeded to assemble the side and base in the wrong orientation. As a result the side panel came out 12mm lower than planned and the base has 12mm of unnecessary width. On the plus side seeing it at this point makes me think it won't be that great of a leap to have the final mount double as a transport case.

On mount side
 
Next session I'll modify the focuser tower enough to clear the 2" diagonal of the upper tube and take a look to make sure both eyepieces come to focus at the same height. If that works I'll cut the slots to mount he lower tube. It will then be functional with crude merging possible by hand. Some diagonal braces will be added to keep the side and base at 90 degrees. 
On mount Top
On mount front
 
One thing I'll want to change is the mounting method of the 3.1" secondary. That will shorten the entire structure by 2" or more. 
 
Thanks for reading.
 
Take care,
Brent
 

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#16 bcarter1234

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 09:07 PM

It was hard to believe the temporary focuser tower could get any uglier there is no denying it. A test view will now be possible to verify the correct relative positions of the two tubes. Hopefully I'll get the first look through it tomorrow. I wonder if there will any stray light at this stage? ;-)

Both tubes side
Both tubes
 
Thanks for reading.
 
Take care,
Brent


#17 John Miele

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 08:11 AM

Looking good Brent. It's going to be a lot larger than I had first thought!



#18 bcarter1234

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 05:20 PM

John,

 

Mr Bill's original three mirror Binobox configuration would be more compact and probably lighter. I wanted to try one mirror per side first largely because it worked so well in the 80mm Adventure Scope version. I'll likely build a Binobox structure for the components later to see which I prefer for views and convenience.

 

Because of the problem I have merging even the Binobox will need to allow one tube to be moved in relation to the other. When I've tried to use an adjustable secondary for merging the image quality degraded quickly. I don't think this would be the case for the majority of people who can use binoculars normally. In my case even 7X binoculars result in two images separated by about 1/3 of a degree. My eyes seem to have an easier time seeing double than not in a binocular, if I concentrate it is easy to split the two images by 1/2 degree or more. Not a very useful talent...

 

Take care,

Brent   



#19 bcarter1234

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 09:36 PM

The focusers end up within 1mm of each other when both tubes are focused. Unfortunately clouds meant first light was on a pine tree about 200 yards down the road.

Focusers
 
I took this picture looking back through the lens.
Through lens
 
I'll bolt the second tube on and make a Dob style mount for it Thursday. Some baffles and paint should let me see what it can do. 
 
Take care,
Brent

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#20 bcarter1234

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Posted 05 July 2019 - 10:55 PM

Made some progress yesterday and today. First order was to reattach the two base boards in the correct orientation. I found the 1mm difference in focus height, no surprise, it was my error, the 2" helical focuser mounting plate was not drilled on center. Now both sides come to focus at the same height.

The top tube has an adjuster for vertical merging.

Side
 
The lower tube is adjustable for IPD and horizontal merging but I still need to decide on and implement the adjuster mechanisms.
Top

 

Stars were visible for the first time in days. I had no altitude adjustment and just the view looking out my garage door between the trees. It was easy to get the images to merge at 80X. One pleasant surprise, I stumbled across NGC 2684, a first for me.

 

I've started a Dobsonian style mount. If it works out I'll build another crutch tripod for the mount.

Mount
 
I am very pleased with the strength of these admittedly crude wood mounts. Screwed together without glue this one will support my 170lb body weight with great stability. If anyone with actual engineering chops is reading along I'd like suggestions for removing material from the wood parts without compromising the strength unduly.  I suspect easily half the wood can be routed or sawn out. 
 
Thanks for reading.
 
Take care,
Brent

 


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#21 bcarter1234

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 12:42 PM

The bearings are cut and located at a starting point. They will get relocated as things are added and cut away. Time to add formica to the edges and build a 24" high crutch tripod. If there are breaks in the clouds I should be able to give it another look tonight.

 

Closing in the tubes in and cutting some baffles is moving up the list. After that replace the temporary wooden focuser tower, turn new focusers, design and install adjusters for lower tubes. That should let me test it for a time.

 

Once things work as a satisfactory system I'll take it apart and cut away as much unnecessary wood as I can. Under 30lb for the OTA/bearings would be okay, under 25lbs is probably wishful thinking. The tripod and base should be well south of 10lbs. It will be more G&G&G&G than G&G. My current adjustable chair is by no means heavy but I still need to build one that can be put on my back to move on the same trip.  

 

As always apologies for any randomly rotated images. Does anyone else have this issue? They are correctly oriented on my phone and PC but once uploaded some rotate, others do not. I can view and rotate them in my gallery but I haven't found how I can save the edited image.

Horizontal
Angled
Vertical

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Take care,

Brent


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#22 bcarter1234

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Posted 06 July 2019 - 09:34 PM

Tripod parts.

Tripod parts
 
Almost finished it. Still need to add teflon pads and a spreader. Platform will be 24" high at lowest setting.
24 inch tripod
 
Here it is on a 31" high platform with the 80mm for comparison. The 127mm measures 30" long, 17" high and 14" wide including the altitude bearings.
On tripod

 

Once it goes on the 24" tripod eyepieces will be about 54" high at horizontal and 31-1/2" high at zenith. With the mount on the tripod I was able to hold myself off the ground. The taller tripod weighs about 6-1/2 lbs.
 
Thanks for reading.

 

Take care,

Brent


Edited by bcarter1234, 06 July 2019 - 09:35 PM.


#23 bcarter1234

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Posted 07 July 2019 - 08:30 AM

Having come this far it was a given that the sky was completely overcast when I turned in. When I woke up at 3:55am on the other hand there were big patches of clear sky to the east. Too good to resist I did the Grab n Go and Grab n Go thing setting it up on the back deck. There were stars so one more trip to the garage for the adjustable chair.

 

Keep in mind I'm new to astronomy so I was pleasantly surprised to recognize an old friend I hadn't seen my first days looking through a telescope in January. Cassiopeia was just above some tall pines to the north. I still don't have a finder nor more importantly an established memory of where things are so I started scanning and lo and behold NGC457 the Owl Cluster comes into view taking up a large portion of the eyepiece at 78X. Even with the open tubes and the neighbors lights pointing in my direction the view was very nice. I'll take the magnification up until I find a limit on a night when I have more time and it isn't already 4:30am. I dodged clouds for a few minutes but they were closing in fast. I gave up for the evening knowing this is going to be a very enjoyable addition to my humble but growing arsenal of binocular telescopes.

 

The mount worked quite well. It is new so the bearings aren't worked in but a rub with a candle should help until they set. Fairly small bearing surfaces seem to require a larger force to get them moving but that it is closer to the force required to keep it moving resulting in a stiffer system with less overshoot.

 

The 20mm Expanse clones are now in the holders as I want to see this instrument doing what it will likely do best with a 2 degree FOV. I can get 2.4 degrees with ES or Panoptics but haven't made that investment yet.  

 

Today's goals are to finish the tripod, figure out some form of enclosure for the tubes, make an adjuster for the lower tube. Should I by some miracle get that far I'll start on replacing the focusers, especially the lovely, but I must admit functional, wooden tower. The approach I've found works best for me while making something you've never done before is to go quick and dirty until you've had a chance to use it. It saves time and keeps me from being invested in something I may wish I had taken a different approach on. With this method I'm never too deep into a section to try an alternative or scrap something for something else that might work better.  

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Take care,

Brent       


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#24 bcarter1234

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Posted 07 July 2019 - 07:18 PM

As usual I overestimated what I would have time to do. The smaller tripod is done. The base of the mount is set at 27" high with a range from 24" to 32". Eyepiece height is 32" at zenith and 54-1/2" at horizontal. As shown with the mount it weighs 13 lbs. One more goal missed. ;-) I can move the hole thing a few feet at a time as one unit but it feels more comfortable to move them in two trips. It isn't the weight so much as the form factor. Clipping the OTA to the tripod might be worth exploring to make one trip moves feel safer. 

The camera angle makes the mount look even larger than it is.

24 inch tripod

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Take care,

Brent



#25 bcarter1234

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 09:33 PM

Had a little time tonight so I cobbled up this adjuster for horizontal merging.

Horizontal adjuster

Once I replace the lovely and bulky focuser tower, which is next on the list, I'll need to build one for the rear as well to handle IPD adjustments. Currently 66mm is the minimum which works well as that is my IPD.

Here is a close up of the vertical adjuster.

Vertical adjuster
Knobs will be added to both bolts. I may try mounting a spring under the top tube to offset some of its weight just to make the load on that screw lighter.
 
At some point I want to try some other adjusters, perhaps bellcranks or cams which could be controlled from the rear of the scope. I haven't come up with any great ideas for how to lock and unlock the tubes without reaching forward and turning the wingnut or knob to use the adjusters though.   
 
I picked up some black craft foam this afternoon. It weighs very little, seems not to be reflective and should make good temporary covers for the tubes. It will be a great opportunity to compare the views once the tubes are covered and baffled.
 
Thanks for reading,
 
Take care,
Brent 



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