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Wheelbarrow Handles on my Skywatcher Collapsible Dob.

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#1 RubyCruxis

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 05:10 AM

A big thanks to Carl on the ATM forum for this, I pretty much copied his plan. I have recently completed adding these homemade wheelbarrow handles to my 14 inch Skywatcher Dobsonian.

I really love observing with this scope, always at home in my backyard where it is nice and dark. Previously however I found moving the base particularly awkward as its huge and heavy, and time consuming to disassemble - move - re-assemble. Therefore it didn't get used as often as it probably should have - it left open too much opportunity for excuses!

I was thinking of re-designing and rebuilding the base out of plywood but decided to try this first.

I removed the small vertical brace pieces and attached the 45mm x 45mm ( approx 1.6 inch square ) handles. This has had no effect on stability or function of the base ( so far at least ) that I can detect.

The handles are 1.5 metres in length with 10 inch pneumatic wheels with a 16mm roller bearing hub attached with M16 bolts, plenty of washers - and locking nuts.

It makes it so easy and quick to move the complete scope from the garage, around the side of my house to the back lawn ( a couple of minutes as opposed to at least 25mins previously ). The collapsible design of the OTA is perfect for wheelbarrow handles as when its collapsed, the weight (centre of gravity) is low, and with the tension handles tightened up snug it is very solid with no chance of tipping unlike most dobs.

So far I have just left the handles attached for observing as they are painted white and can be seen with dark adapted eyes.

I made sure the height of the handles wasn't going to get me in an awkward part of the anatomy if I do walk into them in the dark!! But maybe I will hinge them to fold out of the way if I do - we will see.

I have done quite a few mods to this scope but so far I am really excited and very happy about this one. Its already resulted in me using it more often which is gold! - having a big scope deployed easily and under the stars observing is the key to having a big scope in the first place!

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Edited by RubyCruxis, 19 August 2019 - 06:40 AM.

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#2 Ed D

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 07:02 AM

Nice job on the handles. bow.gif   Making it easier to deal with usually guarantees more use.  I find myself using my 10" a lot more since I started using a hand truck to move it around.  It went from a chore to pretty much grab-and-go.

 

Ed D


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#3 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 08:43 AM

A good job.. Handles make setup easy.

 

I always remove mine before using the scope. Accidentally tripping in the dark is no fun, you can really hurt yourself.

 

A couple years of years ago, I left the handles on one of my scopes while it was in the garage. I went inside the garage while observing with another scope. I stumbled on he handles and went down hard.  No major injuries but now when I leave the handles in the garage, I block them so I can't get tangled up with them.

 

Regarding center of gravity:. The center of gravity of an Dob is below the center of the altitude bearings. But dumping the scope is not about the center of gravity, it's about the design of the rocker box there's a critical angle.

 

With your scope, it's not possible to dump the scope because the adjustment handles secure the scope to the rocker box.

 

Jon


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#4 GeneT

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 03:37 PM

Were wheelbarrow handles offered as an extra option?

Edited by GeneT, 19 August 2019 - 03:37 PM.


#5 RubyCruxis

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 04:05 PM

Thanks for the comments folks. Jon, your post has convinced me to remove the handles when not moving it now. Tripping over it is a very real - potentially lethal and dangerous threat in the dark and not worth tempting fate with that. I too lightly considered the risk and was just being lazy.

Gene, the handles don’t come as an option with the scope, but are easy enough to build with a trip to the hardware store. It only cost about $50 New Zealand dollars with the wheels being the bulk of that, and took a couple of days all up. Waiting for the paint to dry was what took the time. It requires removal of small vertical braces from the stock base as I mentioned already to attach the handles like this.

I am so pleased that I can wheel the scope out, light shroud and telrad attached, collimate and be observing in less than 10 minutes, with even less time to pack it away. Previously in that time I would have still been disassembling the base in the garage prior to moving it to re-assemble. Hopefully it holds up with time and use, if not I will rebuild it.


Edited by RubyCruxis, 19 August 2019 - 05:00 PM.

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#6 Pogo007

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 04:55 PM

Great idea.  Just a thought - could you use inverted U shaped brackets that would allow you to connect the arms, from underneath the U, to lift and move the scope but then allow you to remove the arms by simply lowering the arms below the brackets......not tools required.


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#7 RubyCruxis

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 05:15 PM

That is a great idea that would absolutely take no time at all to attach and remove the handles. Way quicker and easier than undoing the wing nuts that are on there now, and probably better for the particle-board structure as well. Thanks for that, I will give it some thought...


Edited by RubyCruxis, 19 August 2019 - 05:31 PM.


#8 Pogo007

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 09:56 PM

I would be a little worried with your current design (or with my suggested mod) that in lifting the scope you may accidentally pull the two handles toward each other and stress the sides at their open end nearest the handles.

Maybe you should add two removable members, of the same width as the base, between the two handles with one at the wheel end and the other at the opposite end.  You could use inverted U shaped brackets on the ends of these members with their opening fitting over your handles.


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#9 RubyCruxis

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 10:26 PM

Good thinking. Yes I see exactly what you mean there too. The Mark-2 design could well be just around the corner I think.



#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 03:32 AM

Good thinking. Yes I see exactly what you mean there too. The Mark-2 design could well be just around the corner I think.

 

The bolts that attach the handles to the rocker box:  What do they thread into?   

 

If you try the inverted U, you need some way to make sure the scope doesn't slide down the handles.

 

Jon 



#11 Pogo007

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 05:45 PM

You can simply add a stop on the handle at the inverted U to prevent the scope from sliding down.


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