I recently bought an AT102ED 4" refractor and an ES Twilight 1 mount. I love the setup, but like many others decided I wanted to find some way to reduce the shakiness of the mount at high magnifications. While poking around the forums, I found this post by JimOfOakCreek describing his elegant solution, and thought I'd give it a try.
There was only one problem: While I normally live in NYC, I am currently riding out the pandemic with my family in northern Wisconsin, and have limited access to tools and supplies. Also, I have absolutely *no* DIY skills. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
But I was encouraged by the fact that Erin described her own successful recreation of Jim's solution in that original thread. So I immediately reached out to both Jim and Erin and began peppering them with inane questions. And I do mean inane. As in, "Do you paint first and then varnish, or varnish first and then paint? And if you don't mind my asking, what *is* varnish, anyhow? And should I apply it to the rest of the telescope as well?"
Jim and Erin were incredibly kind and helpful (not to mention patient), and after a few false starts, I was able to recreate the modification. (I did take the precaution of ordering *two* sets of wood pieces on the assumption that I would both my first attempt. I was right.)
And here it is!
After waiting impatiently for the clouds to clear, I finally had the chance to test it last night. Big improvement! At lower magnifications, it's virtually rock steady. At higher magnifications, there is some initial wiggle on focus, but it damps within 1-2 seconds just as Jim and Erin describe -- rather than the 7-8 seconds I was experiencing before the mod. I am thrilled. I am also amazed that I was able to do this, as are my children. "It looks very professional," my 11-year-old son told me the other day. And after 40 hours of work, it should.
So: A *huge* shout-out to Jim and Erin, and a word of encouragement to anyone who might be considering something like this but, like me, is handy-deficient: You can do this! And it works! And you can do this! Really!
Trust me: If *I* can do this, your *cat* probably could.
Edited by writerguy, 11 July 2020 - 02:02 PM.