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Rebuilding a classic 80mm f/11 Orion/Vixen/Jaegers refractor

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#1 randy_1701

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 04:59 PM

Greetings, All,

 

I had responded to a previous topic on rebuilding a classic Vixen 102mm f/9.8 refractor, and I started to give details on rebuilding my own 80mm f/11 classic, but as prompted I am moving over to this new thread.

 

I'll provide more details from the prior topic, without reposting exactly what I started over there, word for word.

 

Thanks and Clear Skies, (and more to come)

Randy in South Carolina.


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#2 rolo

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 11:09 PM

Some pics would be nicewaytogo.gif i


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#3 randy_1701

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 09:51 AM

So... Repeating myself but copying my prior posts here for the sake of completeness, as I moved to my own "rebuilding a classic" topic...  Photos to come next, and I appreciate any advice on straightening the out of round metal sun-shield...

 

Hello All,

I've started my own  "resto-mod" to an OTA and dew shield from an otherwise classic Orion by Vixen 80mm f/11, that has seen better days on the original white finish and the dew shield needs to be brought back to round.  I got the scope in trade with CNer Geo. a few months back, with the caveat being that the original Vixen Achromat had been clam-shelled, (probably why the dew shield is bent) and that George had replaced it with a fine example of a vintage  Jaegers 83mm f/11 achromat, that performs as well as the original Vixen in my opinion, as I have an original 1992 vintage SP-C80 with which to compare it, side by side...

 

The rest of the trim (focuser, finder stalk, tube rings) is Vixen Green, and it is in excellent shape, and won't need any refinishing, so I have that much going for me.  I do plan on refinishing a classic finderscope main tube to match the OTA and dew shield color, too.

 

Thing is, I have done my research and found some enamel paint that matches as best as I can tell the classic Celestron gloss Orange that was used on the C60, C80 and such refractors in the 1984 era, and I want to go that route, as I think that it would make for an interesting finish to the tube and green trim, given that it will be a nice Outreach scope for me.

 

...

 

randy_1701, on 28 Oct 2019 - 1:44 PM, said:

 

Progress Made...

I've dis-assembled the focuser and main cell and other accessories from the OTA and sun-shield on my, let's just call it a "C80-Frankenscope", and I've done the same for the finderscope that I will be refinishing...  I removed the original labels (such as, "ORION By Vixen") and I've got ahold of some brush on stripper, and next step will be to remove the outer finish on all the parts.

A question: The metal sun-shield is a bit out of round on the front end, from the rough ride the scope must have had in the past, so would it be better to wait to round it out until the paint is removed, or should I go ahead and get it right before I strip the old paint?  Any preferred techniques for correcting the flat spot?

Also, when applying the stripper, any advice on keeping the stuff OUT of the tubes and sun-shield, or should I count on repainting or preparing to flock the insides after all is said and done?

Thanks and Clear Skies,

Randy


Edited by randy_1701, 29 October 2019 - 09:54 AM.

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#4 randy_1701

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 10:52 AM

Pics:

So, below are some "BEFORE" Pics, and the history of the scope as I know it...  The first two pics are ones that Geo. posted when I enquired about the scope in a trade, and I managed to find an OLD classic Orion Telescope Center catalog from 1995 that shows just such a refractor on a Vixen Custom Alt/Az mount as the "Orion VX80", for reference...   I am considering using my own Vixen Custom Alt/Az mount, for a great grab-and-go option, and at least to display the finished scope in my office.  It is the darker grey color, but it is an ORIGINAL Vixen Custom mount...  I will also use this OTA on a CG4 class mount for pure outreach.

 

The History:

The scope was originally an "Orion by Vixen" 80mm f/11 from the mid 1990s, white tube with the Vixen Green trim rings, etc.  I managed to get ahold of a matching finderscope bracket, and the rings and focuser are original to the OTA.

 

Note that Vixen chose to leave the objective cell in a darker grey color, I wonder if they even made such cells in the Vixen Green trim?

 

So, somewhere along the way, the front part of the sun-shield made contact and got flat-spotted in one place, and I will assume that is the occasion when the original Vixen achromat bit the dust and got clam-shelled...

 

So, Geo.'s answer was to replace the 80mm F/11.4 clam-shelled achromat with a classic Jaegers 83mm f/11 beauty that performs VERY well in this scope, as I have tested it, with some really great views of the southern crater fields on the Moon at First Quarter; Again I believe that it stands right alongside the performance of my SP-C80 of 1993 vintage, but this time it is with the USA made lens.  It is a performer, hands down...

 

The Rebuild Plan:

The tube is straight and round, only the sun-shield appeared to be dinged, but there are enough chips and a couple scratches on the finish that leads me to decide to repaint.  So, as already mentioned, I will be stripping off the original finish and sanding, prepping, priming, sanding again and refinishing the tube, sun-shield and finderscope tube from about the same era that I have found to a nice gloss orange enamel that is the closest I can find to the mid 1980s "Gloss Celestron Orange."  I will clearcoat the final results and see how the scope looks trimmed in the Vixen Green vs. the "Firstscope C80" look of orange and dark grey...

 

More to come, and I will post the first round of "progress" pictures, and look forward to comments and advice.

 

Regards and Clear Skies,

Randy

Attached Thumbnails

  • msg-55410-0-58162000-1554295692BLUR.jpg
  • msg-55410-0-10100300-1554295756.jpg
  • Orion by Vixen VX80 Altazumith RefractorCropSm2.jpg

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#5 rolo

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 08:23 PM

That scope needs no restoration and you may end up making it worse than it is. Leave it alone and enjoy it.


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#6 Bomber Bob

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 08:34 PM

I agree!  Leave it alone.  It looks great as-is.

 

THIS required a restore:

 

15CM-CC-P104CN - OTA Before Restoration.jpg

 

Your scope doesn't.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 29 October 2019 - 08:37 PM.

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#7 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 08:45 PM

I have to agree  with the above comments

  and that is my favorite color scheme    Vixen white   with that Vixen gray green color trim....  

   A few scratches here or there is  nothing.... I like it... you may find a scope that really needs       paint but maybe you should wait for that basketcase that really needs it  imho

  I had the C-80 firstscope in celestron black    had a few scratches  but I was never afraid to          take it and use it anywhere

  It had fine optics   a pic below 

  and I added a pic of my Vixen 80fl in my favorite color combo 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Firstscope pic4FullSizeRender (82).jpg
  • Vixenfl.jpg

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#8 randy_1701

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 10:45 PM

Wow, I didn't expect the resistance...

 

In my defense, this is not an original and complete Vixen, as far as the optics go, It's Jaegers, and as such a rebuildable "Franken Scope"  and I had to choose between resto-modding this one or a third 80mm f/11 PowerSeeker that is a Synta-originated black scope, with albeit decent Synta-variant f/11 optics but a plastic lens cell. etc.  These photos don't show the damage to the sun-shield nor the scratches and on the main tube, and while I could just  repair the sun-shield and prep and repaint it as close to original white as possible, I would like to try the gloss orange finish, and agreed,  I wouldn't want to touch this scope if it WERE mint with original optics.

 

I also have an original gloss black SP-C80, and beyond swapping out to a 2 inch focuser, that can be reversed at any time back to the original, it IS in mint condition, and I won't touch it.

 

So, I just wanted to try something new and get some advice and share the project, but it is what it is.

 

- Randy

 


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#9 rolo

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 11:47 PM

Don't let us stop you... We would be glad to assist with your restoration either way.smile.gif


Edited by rolo, 30 October 2019 - 06:58 AM.

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#10 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 08:58 AM

I guess it might just be like an old vintage car  that you just want in a different color

Like a an old MGA in red that you wish was painted in British racing green....

 

I guess it is NOT like refinishing an old Fender/Gibson/Martin guitar  and cutting its value in half just because it had a finish we don't like  so we had it refinished 

 

to each their own       I would also like to have a Celestron Orange refractor....  I would also like to learn how to paint  a telescope    but I will wait for the right one to experiment on    

 

below are pics of just such a potential project.... there was  a   scope scope on craigs forever at 30 dollars     when I got to see it      it was a basketcase but for 20 bucks I thought I could learn restoration       

Attached Thumbnails

  • scopescope3.jpg
  • scopescope2.jpg
  • scope scope.jpg

Edited by Defenderslideguitar, 30 October 2019 - 09:07 AM.

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#11 randy_1701

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 09:42 AM

Thanks for the responses, and the likes.

 

I understand the value of keeping "vintage" as "Vintage" as doing otherwise would reduce the value of a classic, and I know that the Vixen Green and White is a beautiful finish, don't get me wrong.  Again, if this were a true original Orion by Vixen VX80 then I would be carefully cleaning it and admiring and observing with it for what it would be, scratches, dings and all.

 

I have noted several classic refractors (Unitron, other classic Japan-sourced, etc.) with mildly clam-shell objectives that still have most of their original value and I agree, need to be preserved for what they are...  As would be the case for a classic Questar that needs some TLC and not be altered much in any way.  I possess an original one owner Edmund red and tan 4.25 inch f/10.5 Newt that I was gifted by my parents in 1980 that I wont touch.  It is complete, down to it's original 28.5mm RKE eyepiece, and well preserved, after 39 years, and I hope someday that my son will use and pass it on himself... *grin* (see the recent photos)

 

 

Edmund4.25inchF10_1980Nov182017_3pg.jpg Edmund4.25inchF10_1980Nov182017_4pg.jpg Edmund4.25inchF10_1980Nov182017_sm.jpg

 

 

Same goes for classic cars, fine musical instruments, vintage furniture, and the like... Clean it but don't touch it if it is truly original, and admire the beauty of a snapshot in time... I am fond of visiting Aviation and Space museums, and I love to see the preserved planes and spacecraft for what they mean, preserved just as they were when they were had their last "wheels down" or splashdown...  I get it.

 

In this case, this "Frankenscope" is a less than perfect but very functional example that I acquired in a true trade, and intend to use with my local Astro club and school and scouting outreach, and I wanted to both give the participants a great view and a fun time with a scope that I can use over and over and even repaint again in the future if it needs it.  It is not a "beater" but it will be used to reach kids and those who show an interest in the hobby and maybe change some minds or inspire the next generation.  Could I do that by cleaning up the White and Green trim OTA finish, sure; but I wanted to do something different, and that was the plan.

 

Clear Skies,

Randy

 


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#12 CharlieB

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 10:06 AM

Folks, the topic is restoring a specific scope, not a general "should it be done or not" debate.  Please keep to the topic.


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#13 randy_1701

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 10:24 AM

I guess it might just be like an old vintage car  that you just want in a different color

Like a an old MGA in red that you wish was painted in British racing green....

 

I guess it is NOT like refinishing an old Fender/Gibson/Martin guitar  and cutting its value in half just because it had a finish we don't like  so we had it refinished 

 

to each their own       I would also like to have a Celestron Orange refractor....  I would also like to learn how to paint  a telescope    but I will wait for the right one to experiment on    

 

below are pics of just such a potential project.... there was  a   scope scope on craigs forever at 30 dollars     when I got to see it      it was a basketcase but for 20 bucks I thought I could learn restoration       

 

Yes, exactly.  The "Gem in the rough" scope you have pictured would be a PERFECT one to restore or even resto-mod, as I am intending... in the method and colors of your choosing...

 

I am blessed to have "adopted" several scopes, including one that I stared at while it sat unused in a spare room at my in-laws for years and years, only to find out that it was a classic 60mm f/13.3 Bushnell Sky Chief II from around 1980, that simply needed some cleanup and TLC, which I gave it in the past couple of years, and it is a BEAUTY and a performer, optically.   I swapped out the 0.965" focuser to an all-metal 1.25" option, and replaced the dime-store-variety 5x24mm (in name only) finder with at first a modern 6x30mm finderscope and bracket, (as pictured) and more recently, upon contemplation, back to a Vixen-based true 5x24mm achromat and moved it from an Alt/Az tripod to a period correct and "tunable" EQ2 mount and a beefier tripod with the proper 60mm I.D. clamshell, etc.

 

As those that know me can attest, I name ALL my "keeper" scopes, and this 2.4 inch beauty got the name "Calypso" per my wife's suggestion (it is HER inherited scope in any case) and she approved the applied custom vinyl (and removeable with minimal fuss) decals to mark and name the scope...

 

My wife saw Halley's Comet back in 1986 through this small but fine instrument, and God willing our 3 year old can have that chance again in 2061.

 

20180929_105728CalypsoSmall.jpg

 

This "Frankenscope" I am rebuilding can hopefully hold its own for outreach and give others a chance to see through a fine classic Jaeger's 80mm f/11 lens, and hopefully be inspired, too.

 

Clear Skies,

Randy


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#14 randy_1701

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 10:32 AM

Thanks, CharlieB, I have to admit, I was at first a bit discouraged, but I will proceed with documenting the build while asking questions and hopefully good reply's as I rebuild the Orion by Vixen by Jaegers VX80 scope...

 

waytogo.gif

 

Regards and Clear Skies,

Randy


Edited by randy_1701, 30 October 2019 - 10:32 AM.

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#15 randy_1701

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 11:22 AM

Okay back to business, any advice on straightening out the flattened spot on the front of the sun-shield of the VX80?  I was thinking I could use a wooden broomstick or something like that to nudge it back to round, but I am open to ideas...  work smarter not harder is a good way to look at it...

 

CS,

Randy



#16 Garyth64

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 01:01 PM

Try to find something almost as large at the shield, and maybe use a plastic or wood mallet.  It should respond very well.  A broomstick is too small.


Edited by Garyth64, 30 October 2019 - 01:01 PM.

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#17 Kasmos

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 02:34 PM

Okay back to business, any advice on straightening out the flattened spot on the front of the sun-shield of the VX80?  I was thinking I could use a wooden broomstick or something like that to nudge it back to round, but I am open to ideas...  work smarter not harder is a good way to look at it...

 

CS,

Randy

I did a topic on tube and dew shield repair without buying any special tools. Here's the link for the dew shield:

 

https://www.cloudyni...tips/?p=7770019

 

The link has others suggestions plus some links in the first post


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#18 randy_1701

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 02:42 PM

I did a topic on tube and dew shield repair without buying any special tools. Here's the link for the dew shield:

 

https://www.cloudyni...tips/?p=7770019

 

The link has others suggestions plus some links in the first post

Awesome, thanks to Kasmos and Garyth64 for the suggestions...I'm thinking of the possibilities already!

 

I am adding here that my Dad was a old-school sheet metal and hammer auto body repairman, back in the 1960s and 1970s, and I have inherited his tools of the trade.  Just have to remember how he showed me to use them!

 

CS,

Randy


Edited by randy_1701, 30 October 2019 - 03:21 PM.

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#19 randy_1701

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 04:17 PM

Been tied down with that pesky thing called work, not to mention the return to Standard Time throwing a wrench in the works, so I haven't made the time to lay out the VX80 parts for updated "Before" pictures, as I get started with the resto-mod.

 

Latest thing is that I have the paint stripper I need, and I will do the finder scope tube and sun-shield first, on a smaller scale, before tackling the OTA.  One question for the followers; any idea on whether or not to try and seal up the tubes to keep the paint stripper from messing up the flat black interior paint, and if so, any ideas on how it needs to be done?  I'm thinking of making "plugs" that would be about 1/16 of an inch smaller in diameter than the OTA I.D., then use saran wrap and rubber bands in place on the plugs to help seal out the stripper...  any other creative thoughts?

 

Clear Skies,

Randy




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