Having some fun with an ST80. This project has been ongoing for a number of years.
I am a big fan of the Orion ST80 when used for exactly what it is made for expecting nothing further (but often surprised). I have other wide field fracs that are better in most ways, but, there is just something about the ST80. That’s how I ended up with two of them.
One occasionally rides with a GSO two speed Crayford but currently is stock other than a SV Nighthawk R&P focuser. The other one, which also occasionally used the GSO Crayford, I decided to have some fun with. After tweaking the optics the first change was purely cosmetic with painting the tube. I tried various shades of blue but finally settled on a light sage green. Kind of a Tak thing but not really. It pleases my eyes.
Next an opportunity arose to go from the stock Synta 1.25” focuser to a 2”. I had replaced the single speed Crayford on a Yuzhong Aquila 80mm with a same brand two speed. This left me an extra Crayford that just happened to fit perfectly onto the ST80 tube. It’s not my favorite Crayford but it’s superior to the R&P and it gets me to 2”. The focuser is shorter so it also gives me more in-travel. The opposite is an easy fix with an extension if necessary but with inadequate in-travel you are out of luck.
One of my overall goals was to get the length of the scope down as much as possible for travel preferably fitting in a relatively small Pelican case. I kept eyeing that dew shield. I find that with my scopes with retractable dew shields I tend to leave the shield retracted. My usual viewing conditions negate the necessity. I cut down the shield considerably. Should the need arise I will have a dew shield extension that folds flat.
The final modification was necessary as the focuser isn’t rotatable. This ST80 was the variant with the dovetail plate that attaches directly to the tube. The plate was removed and rings that I had on hand did the trick.
I think it’s now a neat little scope that has been improved in both form and function. Barely recognizable.