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Easy Refractor Carry Handle

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#1 eyespy


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Posted 22 March 2020 - 11:08 AM



While musing about an easy way to carry my Skywatcher Evostar 102mm F/9.8 refractor, I purchased a spare Dovetail Mounting Plate to match the one already installed on my refractor for tripod mounting purposes.


There are two convenient matching 1/4" x 20 tapped mounting holes for accessories etc on top of the tube rings of 'Synta' type refractors.  All that is required are two 3/4" long 1/4" x 20 bolts and two nylon 1/4" thick collars and install the second dovetail plate on the top of the tube rings.  The nylon spacers provide enough space to grip the plate when picking up or carrying your refactor.  I found that it was a safer hold if I attached the plate 'upsidedown' due to the edges of the plate.


These plates come in 8" and 13" lengths to match the plates already installed on your refractor so that you can use the existing spare drilled and tapped holes in the rings.


The new handle looks good and blends in and looks like it is a part of the telescope.  What handles have other refractor owners used or designed ?









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Edited by eyespy, 22 March 2020 - 11:29 AM.

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#2 Rocket Ron

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Posted 22 March 2020 - 11:21 AM

Here's what I came up with for my Astro Physics telescope: 





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#3 Cometeer



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Posted 22 March 2020 - 11:25 AM

I use the Vixen carry handle. It’s only secured with a single 1/4” bolt, so I wouldn’t trust it for large telescopes because if a telescope is tail heavy, it could swing itself loose from the handle. 



The new William Optics handles look quite nice. 

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#4 junomike



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Posted 22 March 2020 - 11:26 AM

I use opposing Vixen Saddles as well.  ADM even offers a removable  Handle to attach to the Vixen Dovetail If desired. (Dual Vixen/Losmandy available also)

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#5 daquad


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Posted 23 March 2020 - 06:38 PM

Well, I guess if your scope is small enough in length and weight it is OK to place the handle near the center of balance.  But for a longer, heavier scope the handle is better placed at the focuser end so that you can hold the scope by the handle in one hand and cradle the lens end in the other.  Of course, this requires an extra set of tube rings.


I also use a Vixen-style dovetail for a handle, but orient it right side up so that I can add accessories on the bar.  


Dom Q.



#6 STE411


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Posted 24 March 2020 - 06:33 AM


I made this from a drawer pull purchased at Lowe’s for about 5 dollars. It took a couple of hours not counting paint drying time. It works and I think looks pretty good.


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#7 imtl


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Posted 24 March 2020 - 04:52 PM

You should check ES cradle assembly



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#8 lionel



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Posted 24 March 2020 - 05:07 PM

The handle on my 130GTX is made of solid leather.  Leather trunk handles made in Maine are available from brettunsvillage.com. They come in different styles and thicknesses and are sold in pairs. I bought a heavy duty version, TH03...over 1/4” thick, 8 1/2” long with 1” long slots at each end. Total cost was $13 including shipping. They’re also available unslotted. I glued my pair back-to-back yielding a final thickness of 5/8”. This provided plenty of rigidity and stiffness to easily manipulate my 22 lb dressed ota.

Leather offers some advantages over metal bar handles. It makes a secure gripping surface for your hand and is comfortable to hold in cold weather.  I think it adds a touch of elegance as well.
The handle in the photo is ten years old and still looks like new. I originally installed it on my SV130EDT triplet and then transferred it to my new GTX two years ago.





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#9 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 05:21 PM

You should check ES cradle assembly



I actually replaced the tube rings and handle on my APM 140 with the cradle assembly for an ES 152 because the APM handle was too short and put the tube rings too close together. The ES assembly is great. 

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#10 Kunama


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Posted 24 March 2020 - 05:59 PM

I made a few handles for my scopes using aluminium bar stock and carbon fibre tubing, my TOA130NFB and TMB-LZOS152 handles pictured below:

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#11 Kunama


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Posted 24 March 2020 - 06:05 PM

and for some extra bling a silver version:

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Edited by Kunama, 24 March 2020 - 06:08 PM.

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#12 gwlee



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Posted 24 March 2020 - 09:36 PM

I find the tube itself makes an adequate handle for a 4-inch or smaller refractor, but perhaps my hands are larger than yours. I am right handed and carry the scope using two hands with my left hand wrapped around the tube’s balance point. My right hand is somewhere near the the scope’s objective end and both hands are pulling the scope in close to my body on my right front quarter with the focuser end of the scope pointing roughly in the direction of travel. If I need to open a door or move something out of the way, I use my right hand, and my left hand never leaves the balance point. 


When mounting the scope, my left hand is still wrapped around the tube at the balance point, and my right hand comes off the tube and works the mount’s clamping mechanism. A bit of choreography is required to avoid awkward, what-do-I-do-now moments, but the scope feels secure and under control at all times once the sequence of moves is worked out. Nothing extra needs to be attached to the scope, keeping it as light and compact as possible for grab-and-go astronomy.

Edited by gwlee, 24 March 2020 - 10:39 PM.

#13 rustynpp


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Posted 24 March 2020 - 09:45 PM

I think this is cheating since it came stock, but the handle was one of the reasons I chose the WO Zenithstar 103 over many other very nice 4" doublets, so I feel justified in posting it smile.gif Plus I believe you can buy the newer version of the handle direct from WO if you like.


2 (CN).jpg

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#14 ryanr256



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Posted 24 March 2020 - 10:35 PM

I picked up one of these for my Stellarvue 102 Access:






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#15 MJB



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Posted 25 March 2020 - 11:29 AM

Made one from aluminum stock and a door pull handle from the hardware store ... 




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#16 Rick Duering

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 12:42 PM

Posted 11 September 2019 - 02:04 PM
I’ve made a couple of these over time. The one inch steel strap and

handle comes from Home Depot. You will have to cut and paint the

strap to fit.  The handle come in either black or silver.

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#17 aa6ww



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Posted 26 March 2020 - 02:32 AM

My Skywatcher 120ED with a simple 4" wide handle from ebay for a few dollars. The rail is just a half in wide piece of aluminum from tube ring to tube ring.

I do this to every scope I have. Its simple and extremely effective.



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