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Custom hard case opinion needed

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#1 Chris K

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 09:45 AM

Hi gang,

 

I am having a custom hard case created for my 6" f6 refractor. (there are no standard cases that I've been able to find that I want, like or can afford)

 

I have to make a choice and am on the fence so I thought you'd be perfect to ask for viewpoints if you wouldn't mind.

 

I am designing the interior foam with the manufacturer, which naturally drives the size of the case.

 

Should we:

 

a) design it with the dew shield extended, which would allow me to leave the mounting rings/rail in position to be readily balanced on my mount? This'll increase storage space required and cost/weight. (scope is 20lbs, extended it would make the case about 48"

 

b) design it with the dew shield retracted, which would make the case much shorter, make the case less expensive and lighter, but would require the mounting rings/rail to be slid back. This means I'd have to make the adjustments each time I balance the scope on my mount. I did a couple "practice runs" and it did not take much to reposition the mounting rings/rail. (retracted would make the case about 40")

 

Is it six of one and half the other in your experiences?

 

This is a one shot deal for me and don't want to regret the decision.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Chris

 

 



#2 bobzeq25

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 09:59 AM

This old man does this to mount his heavier scopes in the observatory.

 

Carry the empty rings/rail out, and attach that to the mount in the proper position.  Much easier than doing it with the scope attached.  Have the rings open.  Carry the scope out, set it in the rings, tighten some.  Adjust scope position during balancing.

 

So my scopes sit in cases with dew shield retracted.  The rings/rail is stored on a shelf.


Edited by bobzeq25, 23 August 2020 - 10:00 AM.

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#3 Couder

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 10:05 AM

The opposite opinion - you only have the case made one time. Every time you get it out you will have to do the adjustments, .......how much is it worth not do have to adjust each time? 


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#4 Steve Haverl

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 10:10 AM

Assuming that the case is being made from wood and allowing for the weight of hardware, internal blocking etc. a 48”case is likely to weigh close to 20 pounds. That makes an approximately 40#, four foot long package to hump around. That sounds like absolutely no fun to me !

 

+1 to bobzero’s approach. 


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#5 astrohamp

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 10:14 AM

What about semi retract the dew shield if possible as a compromise.

 

For me this way I don't have to reposition the scope in rings, just it's dovetail plate position in the mount which I have alignment marks for.  I do have to remove the camera for storing although the EAF focuser (and focus position) can stay

 

The SKB golf bag case I use was a bit oversized but adding the EAF used up the excess space.


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#6 Chris K

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 12:40 PM

These are all great suggestions, thank you. I have two confirming opinions and two new ones haha.

 

Steve is correct, the estimated weight is 17–20lbs. Plus the scope is so front heavy with the large lens cell.

 

I'll take some measurements with the dew shield semi-retracted up to the rings point to see where that nets out.

 

All good problems to have!


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#7 SteveG

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Posted 23 August 2020 - 02:06 PM

Have you seen these?

https://www.stellarv...0mm-refractors/

 

I was worried I wouldn’t like a soft case, until I got one. It’s lighter, and so much easier to carry around due to having soft corners. 


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#8 lookoutmtn17

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 08:19 AM

I took the cheap way out and ordered multiple soft golf travel bags from Amazon for my 4" scope/binocs and tripods ($35 ea.). They are padded and have carry straps and offer great protection in my truck. For more money you can buy a hard sided case with wheels and custom order some foam. Some models have external pockets that come in handy. Tim


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#9 KTAZ

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 08:41 AM

Explain your definition of "Hard Case". Is it intended to protect the item from damage during shipping? Checked on an airline? Placed in a room full of 8 year olds?

 

Or is it to provide protection when personally transporting to dark sky sites and daily storage in your home?

 

These are 2 very different things and have 2 very different price tags. What is your budget?

 

This is a $15 storage tub and $30 worth of Plank Foam cut to size with an insulation knife and an electric carving knife. Some spray adhesive and good to go.

 

tTe3M7i.jpg



#10 SloMoe

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 09:45 AM

Here's kind of a hybrid idea for refractor or even a reflector for transport & storage, a soft hard side case, padded soft case with plastic inserts for the six sides.

 

I don't know that I've ever seen one for scopes, most I've seen are basic duffel bags, things can still go bang on the scope during transport, just you don't see nick until you see your scope in the daylight again.

 

My main large eyepiece case is what Tamrak marketed for a while called The Strongbox, not anymore, it's a soft padded case that uses a plastic box with the heavy canvas outside shell with a padded interior like many other compartmentalized  camera cases.

 

So why not investigate using a long narrow plastic box built the same way?

 

Or if you can't find one long enough then use two and cut the ends of and mate them back together inside the duffel bag.

And if not two then three or four boxes, it's not like the scope is going to bend.

Use the cut off ends to reinforce the center divide? 

 

Wood gets heavy fast, hinges & handles,,,,,, but then there's the tradition side of this coin, back in the day every scope came in a wood box,

 

I just got my first large refractor, it came with the factory hard case, while loading, it got genitally pushed while resting on my left toes,,,,,,

The person helping with it did the light push, not realizing my toes were under it,,,,,,,, but the purchase price of the used package dimmed my pain indicating nerves, I said nothing.

For the week and a half that my toes reminded me of that incident I thought of ways for that not to happen again,,,,

 

Your thread is helping me work through almost the same problem, but my dew shield will retract back to the rings, and I'm going to look into the golf club bags that have been mentioned, but it seems you would want one with a full length zipper..

 

But then again would the golf bag handles support 20+ pounds

 

I agree that when setting 23#'s of scope w/rings & bar into the clamp on the mount is tedious, I've done two things that might help others.

 

I put a stop screw at the front of the dovetail bar so it wouldn't slide down through the clamp if I lost my grip on things while loading it.

Black on black, man can't make out the end of the dovetail bar and the front of the clamp on the mount at a glance, so I thought about painting the front of the clamp white, now at a glance I could spot the end of the dovetail bar going into the clamp while holding 23#'s aloft. 

I just went and did a quick mock up of that idea and used white tape, I think it's an improvement. Just remove the tape if the idea doesn't work for you, but at least give it a try.


Edited by SloMoe, 24 August 2020 - 10:16 AM.

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#11 PatrickVt

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 09:58 AM

I make my own wood cases for my telescopes so I'm familiar with this whole concept.  I'd say that if you want to have the scope ready-to-go right out of your storage case, then the longer case is the way to go.  I know that is what I'd do because that is indeed what I do.  

 

For me, these wood cases are for safe storage at the house that looks good and not for portable, carry-with-you transportation.  These cases are not necessarily meant for transport, although, the case would provide protection during transport in a car or on a trailer.  These cases are more about having a very safe place to keep my gear without having the area look like a big mess.  It is about organizing my space.

 

Patrick

 

EDIT:  I do have to say that if I regularly had to pack up my car to head to dark sky sites, I would probably also have soft-sided carry cases specifically for this purpose.  Storage in my home would still be in the wood cases. 


Edited by PatrickVt, 24 August 2020 - 11:04 AM.

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#12 SloMoe

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 10:21 AM

Here's another soft bag choice, the tripod bag for the infinity scopes, pretty well crafted.

 

https://www.bhphotov...vhoCI04QAvD_BwE


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#13 Chris K

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 09:13 PM

I searched far and wide for pre-fab boxes that i could fit with my own foam with no luck.

 

I did get a bag from ArteSky in Italy. Really nice, and they sold it as the bag for my scope... I'm not crazy about the padding, and it is hard to zipper closed because of the scope's carry handle. I'll use this for my tripod eventually.

 

My Orion XT8 came with a carry bag so I'm not opposed to them. This company I found in Europe will make me a custom hard case for almost the same price as others that are not exact fits.

 

I'm only looking to keep the scope safe in my house, and to put it in the car for my 40 minute ride to my dark(er) site. No airline or other rough travel. They're using a material called Astroboard which is about 25% lighter than wood.

 

It really just comes down to the question of whether i want it extended or retracted. I think I've decided retracted because I will also want to store it upright. (thanks to my wife for pointing the out)

 

Really great ideas here folks, thank you.



#14 Chris K

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 09:21 PM

 

I put a stop screw at the front of the dovetail bar so it wouldn't slide down through the clamp if I lost my grip on things while loading it.

Black on black, man can't make out the end of the dovetail bar and the front of the clamp on the mount at a glance, so I thought about painting the front of the clamp white, now at a glance I could spot the end of the dovetail bar going into the clamp while holding 23#'s aloft. 

I just went and did a quick mock up of that idea and used white tape, I think it's an improvement. Just remove the tape if the idea doesn't work for you, but at least give it a try.

This is an interesting idea and I completely relate to the black on black issue. I happened to have some silver metallic duct tape (not the overhyped kind) and used a spot of it to mark the position. It helps, but is fragile tape so the weight of the bazooka has already squished it. But I definitely worry that I'll lose my grip so I'll look into adding a screw there.

 

I wonder if I could have the dovetail bar painted white or if it'll scratch up.



#15 SloMoe

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 10:22 PM

What I did for the stop screw was to replace the front dovetail bar screw, found a couple of tall lock washers that fit into the recess for the screw head and a bit longer screw, 

 

I covered the front of the clamp with white tape, tried it once, removed the tape and pained the entrance for the bar.

 

When I loosen the clamp screws I leave enough of the tip of the screw protruding into the clamp to help capture the bar as I set it in from the front, slide the scope down until it stops.

Then after the glass is on the back I'll slide it back up until it's balanced.

 

I'll take pics tomorrow for you if you'd like.


Edited by SloMoe, 24 August 2020 - 10:25 PM.


#16 25585

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 06:21 AM

Hi gang,

 

I am having a custom hard case created for my 6" f6 refractor. (there are no standard cases that I've been able to find that I want, like or can afford)

 

I have to make a choice and am on the fence so I thought you'd be perfect to ask for viewpoints if you wouldn't mind.

 

I am designing the interior foam with the manufacturer, which naturally drives the size of the case.

 

Should we:

 

a) design it with the dew shield extended, which would allow me to leave the mounting rings/rail in position to be readily balanced on my mount? This'll increase storage space required and cost/weight. (scope is 20lbs, extended it would make the case about 48"

 

b) design it with the dew shield retracted, which would make the case much shorter, make the case less expensive and lighter, but would require the mounting rings/rail to be slid back. This means I'd have to make the adjustments each time I balance the scope on my mount. I did a couple "practice runs" and it did not take much to reposition the mounting rings/rail. (retracted would make the case about 40")

 

Is it six of one and half the other in your experiences?

 

This is a one shot deal for me and don't want to regret the decision.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Chris

If you put spacers of the right height under the tube rings, between them and the dovetail bar, you would be able to have enough room for the dew shield to retract.



#17 PatrickVt

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 07:58 AM

If you put spacers of the right height under the tube rings, between them and the dovetail bar, you would be able to have enough room for the dew shield to retract.

 

Not when it is actually the mounting rings getting in the way.   On my ES ED102, the rings are simply too far forward to retract the dew shield.  Even if there was no dovetail screwed onto the rings, it is the front ring that is in the way because the dew shield slides on the OTA not the front lens cell assembly.  I believe it is the same with the Starwave 152mm.  And, the longer the dovetail bar (which is desirable with a big scope), the less room you have to retract the dew shield.

 

Patrick



#18 SloMoe

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 09:25 AM

So here's the stop screw & lock washers I was talking about, and the rail in the clamp

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Edited by SloMoe, 25 August 2020 - 09:28 AM.


#19 SloMoe

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 12:30 PM

Well I guess my refractor hard case just turned into a Cat case,,,,,,,

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#20 VinceU1a

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 03:22 PM

SloMoe, I think my cat would do the same thing as yours.

A couple of questions if I might. Astronomics sells a hard case for the AstroTec 152mm F8 scope.  They say it weighs 49lbs shipped and the case itself is 40lbs. What does your case weigh? 

I'm leaning to using a soft case for moving the scope from my house to the dark sky sight, but I could be convinced to use a hard case if the weight and cost could be managed.

I'd been using a golf bag case for the last 15 years or so and it's worked very well.  The only thing that was a pain was coming up with foam for the inside to keep from banging up the scope.  I used regular seat foam that I really didn't care for. I'd really like to find a cheap source for the foam like KTAZ used.  None to subtle hint there, KTAZ... :)



#21 KTAZ

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 06:39 PM

Do a local area search for "Plank Foam". Generally carried by packing supply companies, rarely by simple pack n ship places. I found one only 30 minutes away. Take a sharp knife since it usually comes in a 48"x108" plank. You'll need to cut it down to get into your car. I think it was about $70, but enough foam to to several storage boxes..I had enough for my OTA and my Mount head.

#22 astrohamp

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Posted 26 August 2020 - 08:37 AM

Chris K, SloMoe:  I have silver and gold 'Metallic' Sharpies to use for contrast marking.  They are almost liquid paint dispensers.  Blue tape mask a fine line or freehand.

Mostly used for AC power 'wall wort' ID so I can see what's what in the dark under red light with these failing eyes.

The case is no longer yours SloMoe, the claim has been made...Cat's rule!


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#23 aa6ww

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Posted 26 August 2020 - 09:26 AM

Check out the Stellarvue site. They make excellent light weight cases that are very well padded and protective.

 

...Ralph


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#24 csrlice12

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Posted 26 August 2020 - 09:54 AM

Find an old trombone case?



#25 SloMoe

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Posted 26 August 2020 - 10:29 AM

The factory case weighs maybe 18lb's, wait a second,,,,,

 

Without the cat it weighs 12lb's I was wondering where that one went too,,,,,

 

To me it's bulky to move around with the scope in it, total is 35lb's with the scope in it, 10" X 11" X 35"

 

Scopes only 6" X  32", so the case is almost twice as wide and twice as tall with the ring handle.

 

I'll keep the hard case for long term storage, 

 

I missed a deal in the Classifieds for a Neewer case that would have worked well, new only about $40, I can add some foam to the inside.

 

I think a sheet of polystyrene might do.

or I might be able to use the case foam and the long plastic box idea to put inside the Neewer bag, right length.

 

And these are front heavy, might come up with a way to off center the carry strap,

 

But then again, it's not like I'm carrying it very far or a bunch of times a day, I'll just keep and use the case and get a Neewmer for the tripod, it's got a pocket on the side for the spreader.

 

Golf club bags are a bit long for my scope,


Edited by SloMoe, 26 August 2020 - 10:50 AM.



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