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Triple Nickle - Restore & More

ATM classic equipment refractor
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#1 Bomber Bob

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 12:16 PM

The Triple Nickle, a vintage ATM 5" F5 triplet RFT, is finally getting a restoration & remodeling / upgrading.  Here's what I'm starting with:

 

ATM 5x5T - Restore S01 (BEFORE Top).jpg ATM 5x5T - Restore S02 (BEFORE Side).jpg ATM 5x5T - Restore S03 (BEFORE Bottom).jpg ATM 5x5T - Restore S04 (BEFORE Bare).jpg

 

HOLES -- way too many holes in this aluminum tube.  So the first step is deciding which holes stay, and which holes will be plugged with aluminum filler, then sanded smooth.  Most of these holes were pre-BB, and many were apparently the result of positioning the lens cell for the best "back" focus, or attaching at least one tripod block over the years.

 

As you can see, the bottom is in the worst condition...

 

I did put 2 new holes in the tube with the large machined aluminum dovetail base that came with a vintage Japan-made Orion 60mm finder.  The 2 scopes are too much weight for the VersaGo 2, but the TN5 doesn't really need a finder for low power observing on the VG2 alt/az anyway.

 

Before I put the dovetail back on, I'm going to try & shorten the 60mm's tube -- see if I can use it with a prism diagonal, and have myself another duo-scope.  That kit will have to go on my Mizar SP EQ or a (future) heftier alt/az mount.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 16 February 2020 - 01:14 PM.

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#2 wrnchhead

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 12:47 PM

Is that an Edmunds focuser? This thing is cool. Really has that feeling of the 60s. Do you know any of it's history? 



#3 Bomber Bob

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 01:11 PM

The 2" focuser is a Japan import.  University Optics sold it in the 1970s; and, Brandon, Unitron, & Orion used it on their semi-APO refractors.  This one's pinion gear failed.  Took me months to find a compatible replacement -- also Japanese -- and I adapted its 6-screw pressure / friction plate to the original casting.  That'll get new paint, too.

 

Someone found this weird lens, made or adapted its cell to this tube, and (probably) added the wide brushed aluminum end ring.  To me, the tube + focuser style & colors are similar to the Japan-made Cassegrains popular in Europe during the 1970s -- something like a Mizar Altair or Kenko 125.  The cover would've fit over the tube end before this end ring was added.


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#4 Terra Nova

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 01:17 PM

I wonder if it was an aerial camera or perhaps some sort of massive industrial copy camera lens?



#5 Bomber Bob

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 01:24 PM

IDK...  The middle element is thin -- no shocker that it got the large clam in it (possibly over-tightened at some point?).  I would lean toward camera lens as the color correction is good, across a fairly large % of the field, but... the optical systems I saw in the USAF had at most half this aperture.

 

Once I get the tube restored, I'm gonna take the lens apart, and clean the elements -- a bit of mold trying to form between them (tough to keep moisture from seeping in / around the clam even though someone painted it & the area of the first element corresponding with it.


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#6 Bomber Bob

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 04:45 PM

Sorta like... spreadin' asphalt...

 

ATM 5x5T - Restore S05 (Hole Filling).jpg ATM 5x5T - Restore S06 (Hole Filling).jpg ATM 5x5T - Restore S07 (Hole Filling).jpg

 

I use tin foil & tape on the tube interior (yeah, real high tech!), then pack in the metal filler until it domes a bit, and maintain pressure with a finger (I'll let y'all guess just which finger I use).  AZ was out of the stuff I used the first time, which looked like aluminum dust mixed with black putty.  Instead, I bought J-B WELD SteelStik, which is in a roll, and has the consistency of firm modeling clay.  Some holes were very small, so my putty knife was a flat razor blade.

 

Instructions say it's set up enough to file / sand / paint after an hour, but I won't try that until mid-week.  (Terra, remember when I painted my Monolux 4348 black for the Edmund 4" frac?  I'd have a tough time finding the old holes for its tabletop brackets, and I know where they were.)  Also, there are warnings about contact with the skin & eyes -- it has a strong odor, too.

 

Naturally, I wouldn't use this stuff on a tube that didn't need a paint job.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 16 February 2020 - 04:46 PM.

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#7 Terra Nova

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:05 PM

Looks like the former owner got a drill for Christmas and couldn’t wait to use it! Glad you’re able to get it all patched up. Is the tube baffled?



#8 Bomber Bob

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:09 PM

No baffling.  I may baffle it with a combination of the Dakin 4's (scope within the scope) and the Tasco 999VR that I put a cone in...  Or, just do the TV thing, and use flocking only.


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#9 Terra Nova

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:37 PM

No baffling.  I may baffle it with a combination of the Dakin 4's (scope within the scope) and the Tasco 999VR that I put a cone in...  Or, just do the TV thing, and use flocking only.

Get enough Protostar to flock both it and they 6” Newt RFT.


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#10 Bomber Bob

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 09:20 PM

BIF:  SteelStik says it'll hold at up to 900 PSI...  I wouldn't trust it on a cracked mount part; but, something like a cast focuser flange, or the outer shell of a lens cell, and I think it would hold.  So, as a metal filler, it should do fine (I hope), but if it falls out of a tube hole, that's not a show-stopper.


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#11 G-Tower

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 11:49 PM

No baffling.  I may baffle it with a combination of the Dakin 4's (scope within the scope) and the Tasco 999VR that I put a cone in...  Or, just do the TV thing, and use flocking only.

No need to bother with baffles....Al Nagler doesn't use them on his scopes, just flocking is more than good enough.


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#12 Bomber Bob

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 04:53 PM

Not an impressive photo, but proof that SteelStik works...

 

ATM 5x5T - Restore S08 (Filler Polished).jpg

 

Haven't done this polishing in a while, so I put too much pressure on the file in spots, but after a bit more polishing & prep, she'll be ready for the Blue Treatment.

 

A frac this short doesn't really need baffles -- thorough flocking & blackening any shiny bits does wonders.  But the conic baffle I made for the (Z) Tanzutsu 999VR helped that scope a lot, and I like to experiment.  We'll see.  Meanwhile, weather tomorrow looks good enough to get the first blue coat on it.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 22 February 2020 - 05:01 PM.

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#13 mattyfatz

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Posted 01 March 2020 - 03:12 PM

Not an impressive photo, but proof that SteelStik works...

 

attachicon.gifATM 5x5T - Restore S08 (Filler Polished).jpg

 

Haven't done this polishing in a while, so I put too much pressure on the file in spots, but after a bit more polishing & prep, she'll be ready for the Blue Treatment.

 

A frac this short doesn't really need baffles -- thorough flocking & blackening any shiny bits does wonders.  But the conic baffle I made for the (Z) Tanzutsu 999VR helped that scope a lot, and I like to experiment.  We'll see.  Meanwhile, weather tomorrow looks good enough to get the first blue coat on it.

 

JW.. was there a thread about that comic baffle? I'm struggling right now with making baffles for my 3" Edmund. I was going to start a separate thread on it later today.



#14 Bomber Bob

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Posted 01 March 2020 - 06:27 PM

IIRC, it was part of a thread on the Tasco 9 / 99 / 999 VR red 60mm F5 refractors, and not a separate thread.

 

I bought a 999VR first, and it had factory-installed baffle(s) that corrected for a so-so lens by vignetting the field.  I took all that stuff out, and saw just why they'd done it!  My solution:  Carve a plastic cup to fit between the lens & focuser, then paint & flock it.  The results were very good for low to medium power wide field.

 

The TN5 has a very good lens (though probably not intended for a scope).  My idea is that the right size conic baffle will make the most of the lens center, which has outstanding color correction, while showing less of the crazy curved field edges.  I guess that I'm using Tanzutsu's method with the 999VR, after all...

 

I got the tube painted blue today.  In the sunlight, there's some purple in that blue, but in normal lighting, I really like the color -- gonna make that stainless steel end ring stand out.  (I polished it before taping & painting.)


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#15 Bomber Bob

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Posted 03 March 2020 - 07:06 PM

A Smurf got crushed by a Giant Plum...

 

ATM 5x5T - Restore S11 (BLUE Tube).jpg

 

... and I appreciate that he paid the ultimate price to make my Triple Nickle look nice.  In my Man Cave, the tube is a very dark blue -- almost black -- and definitely not the Meade / Mizar blue. 

 

I don't think it needs another coat!  All those extra holes are gone, too.  I'm going to lightly sand the interior, apply a coat of the chalkboard black (brush-on), and while that cures, try to decide on baffling.

 

Note that the small black plastic knob (focuser lock) broke off the focuser.  I don't know if it was made this way, but the steel collar for it was attached with just one dab of solder.  IF I get really motivated, I'll re-attach it.


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#16 Terra Nova

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Posted 03 March 2020 - 08:02 PM

It looks like the old Meade blue. Like that thirty year old 10” SCT I had. I like it! Good job!


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#17 wrnchhead

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Posted 03 March 2020 - 08:28 PM

This really really is cool. I love all aspects of astronomy and since I am also a tinkerer, this is giving me that fever to buy a fixer-upper again. I wish I could find something to do with this old Palomar Junior pier mount that I restored, it is perfect and just sitting in my closet taking up space and of course it’s next to useless and no one wants it. Anyway not to hijack I love the scope you are fixing
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#18 Bomber Bob

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Posted 03 March 2020 - 09:24 PM

For the Record:  My Wife is not a genius.  She is a Super Genius.  

 

I told her I needed a large paper cone for this scope, and asked if she'd seen any at the craft stores (as a kid, I saw huge thread spindles that they used in textile mills).  She said no, then, "What about one of those huge Styrofoam cups?"  I just did some Googling, and a 32 or 64 oz would work.  Lightweight, paintable, and very easy to adapt to the focuser.  Since they can hold hot coffee, The Swamp's heat shouldn't get to it, either.  [Unlike my panted sandpaper "flocking" that I used in my JaegerMeister 4" F5 RFT.]


Edited by Bomber Bob, 03 March 2020 - 09:27 PM.


#19 Terra Nova

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 07:53 AM

JW, did you see this? It’s another Triple Nickle, well sort of, a bit bigger at 5.5”- a 140mm F5 triplet by CZJ in a b_ugly tube needing replacement, but nice glass!

 

https://www.cloudyni...m-f5-refractor/


Edited by Terra Nova, 04 March 2020 - 07:54 AM.

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#20 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 09:56 AM

Thanks for the Link!

 

That got me Googling Zeiss aerial camera lenses, and the 140mm F5 shows up fairly often, and at about $1000.  On the complete / original assembly, there's a ~ 100mm CX / CV lens at about the F1 position -- I imagine to flatten the field.  Wonder how that would do as a scope?

 

Then I got to Googling aerial camera lenses in general.  Very wide variety, and some are HUGE!  Plenty of USA-made ones out there, including some made for the SR-71 Blackbird.

 

Wish I knew more about optics, as it seems to me you could Petzval one of these big triplets -- put a smaller (say 50mm aperture) lens assembly in the light path and correct the worst of the curvature without adding a ton of weight to the thing...

 

Based on my TN5, I wouldn't spend too much $$$$ on one of these camera-lens fracs.  They do gather a lot of light, and they are fast, but the useful field is small.

 

We have a restaurant supply company here in the Big City that I'll go by on Friday.  They should have all kinds of Styrofoam cups & containers to choose from -- maybe some plastic ones, too.  The Cone can't be too narrow or it'll vignette more than is needed; too wide, and it won't be the least bit effective.  My idea is to secure it to the base of the focuser / back plate; as an integrated unit, I'll be able to clean the tube interior & lens rear face without too much hassle.  As of right now, that's The Plan.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 04 March 2020 - 06:13 PM.

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#21 Bomber Bob

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Posted 05 March 2020 - 01:32 PM

Last night, I tried to clean the TN5's lens... but, it is stuck in its cell (I think I know why). 

 

Since this is the main thread for this weird RFT, here are some Specifications...

 

LENS CELL Diameter = 148mm [outer]
LENS CELL Length = 54mm
LENS CELL Weight = 6.8 lbs
LENS Diameter = 134mm
LENS Clear Aperture = 128mm (5.04")
LENS Focal Length = 680mm (26.77")
LENS Focal Ratio = 5.3  

 

The Cell was machined from a single piece of aluminum.  It is anodized black.  Where it's been rubbed, this black is shiny.  A previous owner painted the front & back with flat black, which has worn off in some spots.  The cell sides have streaks from being slid in & out of the tube.

 

ATM 5 RFT S10 (Lens Cell Removed Top View).jpg ATM 5 RFT S12 (Lens Cell Removed Side View).jpg

 

The Lens has 3 elements -- E1 / E2 / E3 (from sky to eye).  E2 is the thinnest, and has that large clam on the front face that extends 3mm into the light path, and is 28mm wide at its base.  Flat black paint was used on the exterior faces of E1 & E3 to mask the clam.  Why isn't the clam itself painted?  Glad you asked!  This lens has no spacers.  E2 has a bead of glue between it and the other 2 elements.  Under the microscope, this bead has a uniform width & thickness around the circumference -- except where the impact that clammed E2 occurred.  IOW:  The lens was made this way, then damaged.  I see no / zero / nada dust between the elements.  What I thought was mold / debris are tiny flaws in E3's coatings (eye side of this glass).  I don't know what this glue is, but it's a translucent white.  It hasn't yellowed the way Canadian Balsam has on some old lenses I've owned.  Here's my best guess on the lens elements (not to scale, & curves exaggerated):

 

ATM 5 RFT - Lens Diagram P11.jpg

 

This large clam makes for some interesting star tests:

 

ATM 5 F5 - Star Test Sketch S11.jpg

 

What I try to show is that as the rings get closer to the clam, they widen on that side.  Then, the first couple that intersect the clam deform around the shadow.  Finally, the outermost rings disappear at the clam edge, and reappear on the other side.

 

I suspect that whoever painted the lens to shadow-out the clam used the same flat black paint on the "lens compartment" of the cell, rather than blackening the lens edge.  I did that with both my Mogey 3 and JaegerMeister 4 cells.  I think that over the years, the lens pressed into this paint, and is now stuck to it.  This paint resists Zeiss Lens Cleaner.  Can't recall if I've tried alcohol on it.  So, all I could clean were the two exterior faces -- that's when I saw the pin-sized flaws in the coatings.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 05 March 2020 - 07:11 PM.


#22 Bomber Bob

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Posted 05 March 2020 - 06:52 PM

Cloudy Nights & Aerial Cameras:

 

I don't know that the TN5 has an aerial camera lens (that was Terra's idea), but it didn't dawn on me until today to Google CN + AC... 

 

- Here's a Zeiss:  https://www.cloudyni...ctor-telescope/

 

- Bausch & Lomb:  https://www.cloudyni...omb-optical-co/

 

- Unbranded:  https://www.cloudyni...-this-lens-set/

 

It seems that the lenses from B&L, Kodak, etc. are engraved with the maker; but, Bell & Howell, Fairchild, Wollensak, and others are not engraved / marked -- at least not on the cells.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 05 March 2020 - 06:59 PM.

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#23 Terra Nova

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Posted 05 March 2020 - 08:29 PM

Here’s one of the 4” F6 Bausch and Lomb Aero Tessar lenses for sale:

 

https://www.ebay.com...7gAAOSw6CJdmmjG


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#24 G-Tower

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Posted 05 March 2020 - 10:13 PM

Here’s one of the 4” F6 Bausch and Lomb Aero Tessar lenses for sale:

 

https://www.ebay.com...7gAAOSw6CJdmmjG

Built a couple of scopes with those back in the day....most unremarkable



#25 Kasmos

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 12:33 AM

https://www.youtube....h?v=PcGwkyzmPmA

 

I couldn't help myself.


Edited by Kasmos, 06 March 2020 - 12:36 AM.

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