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Dobsonian Particleboard

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#1 BDS316

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 03:44 PM

Hi, 

 

Asian Econodobs have positives and negatives, but one of their biggest negatives, IMO, are the particleboard bases.  

 

Wondering how many of you Dob owners, like me, have replaced your particleboard base with something nicer, be it plywood or something else, and how the upgrade is working out?


Edited by BDS316, 03 December 2020 - 03:54 PM.

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#2 Jim Waters

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 03:50 PM

I have an Orion XT12i and the particleboard has swelled in some places causing issues.  I have had to repair it several times.  


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#3 BDS316

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 03:56 PM

I have an Orion XT12i and the particleboard has swelled in some places causing issues.  I have had to repair it several times.  

With an intelliscope or a go-to Dob with particleboard, it would be much more complicated, if not impossible, I would think, to replace the particleboard with higher quality materials.  Was easy with my XT8 Classic Dob.



#4 photoracer18

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 04:15 PM

Many years ago I bought a used Meade 16" Dob. The previous owner had reinforced the base with wood panels about an inch thick on every flat particleboard surface.


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#5 havasman

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 04:31 PM

I've got an XT10i I bought at least 4th hand @ 7 or 8 years ago (geez, time flies!) and it still has the original base. I've drilled holes in it to mount stuff and it's been soaked by dew 'til it runs off in rivulets. It's been covered in rime ice. More nights than not dew is a big problem at my primary site. I load it back in the car wet and drive home. It dries on the way. The base is in fine shape. There's no degradation.

 

So not all particle board bases fail. Some certainly do but most do not. The Appleply bases some folks have made can be really nice.


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#6 Mike G.

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 05:04 PM

I replaced th particle board base on my 12" LB with a Dobstuff Baltic Birch kit.  I had the uprights made just a bit higher for personal reasons, and then added a lighted EP tray and a Alt stop for the trusses.  I transferred the needle bearing AZ from the original base to the Dobstuff base and made some other improvements as well.  saved 12 lbs over the original base, smaller footprint and functions better.

IMG 5381
 
IMG 5384

 


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#7 Chucky

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 05:25 PM

That is one wide eyepiece tray.

#8 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 05:29 PM

Hi, 

 

Asian Econodobs have positives and negatives, but one of their biggest negatives, IMO, are the particleboard bases.  

 

Wondering how many of you Dob owners, like me, have replaced your particleboard base with something nicer, be it plywood or something else, and how the upgrade is working out?

First thing I did, on both of mine, after determining the mirrors were good, was to replace the junky particle board bases.  Baltic birch, heavily finished and waterproofed.  New, virgin teflon azimuth bearings riding on textured formica.  The results: Much smoother movements, stiffer bases, translating to better viewing.


Edited by John Fitzgerald, 03 December 2020 - 06:06 PM.


#9 N3p

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 06:03 PM

Asian Econodobs lol I keep this one. smile.gif


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#10 cuzimthedad

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 06:19 PM

There are some nice threads and pics of upgrades such as you speak in the ATM forum.



#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 06:24 PM

My 10 inch GSO is 18 years old, I bought it when it was a year old. I got a good price, partly because it had spent a night in the rain.  It's made it through nicely, the only real problem has been the edge tape. My friend Tom refinished it a year or two back with new tape and paint..

 

It's good for another 10-15 years.

 

GSO Dob Base refinished.jpg
 
Jon

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#12 junomike

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 06:29 PM

No issues with mine (three) but I've only had them 2 - 3 yrs and only dampness they experience is Dew.



#13 BDS316

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 07:16 PM

My 10 inch GSO is 18 years old, I bought it when it was a year old. I got a good price, partly because it had spent a night in the rain. It's made it through nicely, the only real problem has been the edge tape. My friend Tom refinished it a year or two back with new tape and paint..

It's good for another 10-15 years.



Jon

1. What's the sticker on the tube?

2. Looks like ebony star on the alt bearings?

3. Looks like a counterweight on the rear bottom of the tube...a magnet?

Thanks 😊

Edited by BDS316, 03 December 2020 - 07:27 PM.

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#14 Sky_LO

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 12:13 AM

I have the Orion XT 10 i  - The pressed wood base is a concern.

 

I made a moisture barrier mat - from a super stiff foam - it is antifatigue flooring.  

There are three small holes in it for the feet of the dob base.  

The idea is to protect the base from wet grass or ground moisture.    

 

I am in Central Oregon and we don't seem to get heavy dew. 

 

I also store the base and the OTA separately.

That way the weight of the OTA cannot warp the base over time.

Also, I cannot move it assembled anyway as each piece is about 30 pounds.

Move the base first, then set the OTA on it.   

Storing separate facilitates how I move it and set up

 

I can't say if these are long term fixes as I have only had the scope for 2 years.

So far the pressed wood base is perfect.  

 

-Lauren  

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#15 doolsduck

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 12:22 AM

 

My 10 inch GSO is 18 years old, I bought it when it was a year old. I got a good price, partly because it had spent a night in the rain.  It's made it through nicely, the only real problem has been the edge tape. My friend Tom refinished it a year or two back with new tape and paint..

 

It's good for another 10-15 years.

 

 
 
Jon

 

A night in the rain! Luxury!  This is what happens after 6 years in the weather    lol.gif lol.gif shocked.gif

 

https://www.cloudyni...e-resurrection/

 

I replaced everything with HMR board and liberal coating of marine epoxy.  Quite happy with the particleboard/mdf.


Edited by doolsduck, 04 December 2020 - 12:23 AM.

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#16 brentknight

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 12:47 AM

I replaced the particle board base on my XX14g when the Go2 got up and went.  I had no problem with the material coming apart or anything like that (and I live in a very humid location).  It was the huge amount of extra weight and poor balance/motions that I didn't like with the original base.

 

I dropped 70 lbs. and over 6" of height with the new DobSTUFF base (much of that weight was the motors though, just to be fair).


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#17 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 05:01 AM

1. What's the sticker on the tube?

2. Looks like ebony star on the alt bearings?

3. Looks like a counterweight on the rear bottom of the tube...a magnet?

Thanks

Bryan:

 

1.  It a sticker from the Longhope Donkey Shelter.  They rescue Burros, it's a charity my wife and I support. 

 

https://longhopes.org/

 

2. That is Ebony Star on the Alt bearings.  I had some leftover so I thought I'd try it.  It was a mistake.  The plastic was better, the Ebony star does not have enough friction.  Unfortunately, there is no easy way to remove it.  The azimuth bearing is Ebony star- Teflon and that was a significant improvement.  It tracks nicely, I manage 822x on close doubles relatively near the zenith. 

 

3.  It's actually a sliding weight system that I got with the XT-8 that was my second Dob, my first metal tubed Dob, I bought it used at OPT, back in the good old days.  It has two 1 pound weights that slide on a Dovetail.  I swap finders between various 50mm and even a 70mm finder and sometimes use a Paracorr, sometimes not, I need to rebalance it when I change configurations.  

 

Overall, it's been a good solid scope, I think a 10 inch F/5 is a sweet spot in the GSO/Synta metal tube Dobs, it will fit in any car and 8 inch F/6 will fit in, not too much heavier but it's significantly more capable than the 8 inch.  The 12 inch F/5 is another foot longer and the OTA is 15 pounds heavier, it's not an easy fit in many cars, it always surprises me when I see one, just how much bigger the 12 inch is than the 8 inch. 

 

Jon



#18 BDS316

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 10:32 AM

Here's a fresh photo of my XT8 with the replacement Baltic birch base.  

 

I also replaced the focuser.

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Edited by BDS316, 04 December 2020 - 10:34 AM.

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#19 BDS316

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 12:06 PM

I replaced the particle board base on my XX14g when the Go2 got up and went.  I had no problem with the material coming apart or anything like that (and I live in a very humid location).  It was the huge amount of extra weight and poor balance/motions that I didn't like with the original base.

 

I dropped 70 lbs. and over 6" of height with the new DobSTUFF base (much of that weight was the motors though, just to be fair).

The main reason I never considered purchasing one of those Orion Go-to Dobs is the fear of the electronics or motor breaking down and having no recourse other than conversion to a manual scope. How long was the guarantee on your scope?

I prefer dobs to be as simple as possible. 


Edited by BDS316, 04 December 2020 - 01:18 PM.


#20 brentknight

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 04:58 PM

The main reason I never considered purchasing one of those Orion Go-to Dobs is the fear of the electronics or motor breaking down and having no recourse other than conversion to a manual scope. How long was the guarantee on your scope?

I prefer dobs to be as simple as possible. 

I bought the telescope used almost 2 years ago.  It was a couple years old when I bought it.  I had no warranty and I realized that when I bought it.  I also didn't pay retail for the scope and accessories, but did expect it to work better than it did.

 

The motors still worked, so I could have continued using it just for the tracking, but it was so darn overbuilt and heavy and just became a hassle that I stopped using it.

 

Much happier with it now and just bought a Moonlite CRL 2.5 for it...


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#21 nirvanix

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 05:18 PM

Dropped 15 lbs, and it still looks good after 15 years. 3 coats of marine grade urethane helps.

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

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Edited by nirvanix, 04 December 2020 - 05:20 PM.

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#22 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 December 2020 - 04:24 AM

Dropped 15 lbs, and it still looks good after 15 years. 3 coats of marine grade urethane helps.

 

There is no doubt that many of the stock particle board bases can be quite effective.  But a base like yours represents both an upgrade in function as well as attractiveness.  Nice job.

 

My 12.5 inch F/4.06 Discovery had a particle board base when I got it.  It worked OK.  The mirror cell was one of those old style particle board cells that was very heavy and totally blocked the air flow down the tube.  I replaced it with a University Optics cell and that reduced the tube weight by 10 pounds dramatically affected the balance.  Rather than adding 10 lbs of counteweights, a friend helped me build a new base that was taller.  

 

Original base:

 

4171341-Pirate Instruments and Discovery Dob CN.jpg
 
New Base:
 
1916767-Palomar Discovery.jpg
 
Jon

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#23 brentknight

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Posted 05 December 2020 - 11:58 AM

Jon,

 

When did you get that Discovery?  Mine came with a birch base and a black Sonotube tube made around 2003.  Great upgrade too...



#24 BDS316

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Posted 05 December 2020 - 04:39 PM

One thing I didn't like about the particleboard base was lateral slop.  With the new base I put Teflon pads on the inside of the rocker box to fix this.

Attached Thumbnails

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Edited by BDS316, 05 December 2020 - 04:41 PM.

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#25 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 05:23 AM

Jon,

 

When did you get that Discovery?  Mine came with a birch base and a black Sonotube tube made around 2003.  Great upgrade too...

I bought it used in 2000.  It was pretty beat up. It had to be at least 5 years old.  It was from the era when Discovery was primarily making Dobs for Orion and Celestron.  The Sonotube Orion Dobs were made by Discovery, the 11 inch, 14 inch and 17.5 inch Celestron Sonotube Dobs were made by Discovery.  

 

I have never heard or seen another one, a 12.5 inch F/4.06 Discovery.  But earlier this year, I was talking to the guy that sold me the scope 20 years ago.  He had bought another one 4 or 5 years ago.. Of course, Discovery was based in the Oceanside-Temecula area and this guy lives right there between the two cities.  

 

In 2003, the PDHQ series had the birch base and large bearings but there was another series that included a 10 inch F/5.6 that used particle board.  

 

The other scope in the photo is a Pirate Instruments 8 inch F/6. I was my first Dob,I bought that in 1999.  It was very crude, single stalk secondary mount, bending was the only adjustment. The mirror cell doubled as a counter weight, it was three spokes made from cast lead.  Pirate Instruments was the first incarnation of the Bill Larsen/Terry Ostahowski team that became Discovery.

 

Jon


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