Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Astro Works Project

  • Please log in to reply
40 replies to this topic

#1 martinontheroad

martinontheroad

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2021

Posted 02 January 2021 - 11:46 AM

All - I am new to Cloudy Nights, and am hoping I can obtain some guidance on a potential scope refurbishment. A gent has an old Astro Works scope for sale. The pictures show it to be at least a 12” beast. I’ve done a bit of digging on the internet, and it looks like they were great back in the day. Jim Riffle must be a great engineer. However, the sheer mass of this item alone is quite daunting, much less checking out the optics and the controller. If it is really a good scope, I’d hate to see it tossed out or sold for scrap, if someone out there hs the ability to resurrect it. I have no connection to this other than interest. If this is the wrong place to post such an item, I apologize in advance.

https://www.facebook...97607897379556/
  • Bomber Bob, Defenderslideguitar, Volvonium and 1 other like this

#2 Russell Smith

Russell Smith

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,965
  • Joined: 27 Aug 2017
  • Loc: 76707

Posted 02 January 2021 - 11:52 AM

Welcome to cloudy nights.
Grab it. Run don't walk.
Russ
  • pbealo, JoeVanGeaux, ianatcn and 7 others like this

#3 Defenderslideguitar

Defenderslideguitar

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,819
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 02 January 2021 - 12:15 PM

Welcome to cloudy nights    you have come to the right place    I cannot see the ad myself as I do not do MyFace or Spacebook    but if the price is right   there is no reason not to go get it and make it a project for this long winter...…...unless it just takes up to much space and also becomes an object to hang coats and tools on  I would think


  • mdowns and martinontheroad like this

#4 starman876

starman876

    Nihon Seiko

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 22,872
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 02 January 2021 - 01:54 PM

awesome looking scope. Run and get it.  Lot of snipers follow this thread.   Good thing I am 3000 miles awaywink.gif


  • JoeVanGeaux, mdowns, Defenderslideguitar and 1 other like this

#5 Defenderslideguitar

Defenderslideguitar

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,819
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 02 January 2021 - 02:42 PM

this is all I could find on astro works   12 inch

 

 

https://www.cloudyni...troworks-mount/


  • tim53 and martinontheroad like this

#6 Peter Ceravolo

Peter Ceravolo

    Vendor (Ceravolo Optical Systems)

  • *****
  • Posts: 384
  • Joined: 15 Apr 2014

Posted 02 January 2021 - 03:39 PM

I looked at the Faceplant ad, there appears to be a glass surface at the front end of the telescope. I suspect it's one of Jim Riffles Astromaks.

 

I believe they were 12" aperture f/5 Maksutov Cassegrains that used a field lens next to the large format film holder when set up for astrophotography.

 

Martin this telescope is definitely worth saving from the scrap heap. At $500 I'd take in a hart beat, but like most such deals they require a lot of effort to acquire and restoration for such a complex optics set is a big deal.

 

You'd be an angel is you acquired it and if you didn't want to touch it, find someone locally who would.

 

Peter


  • gnabgib, Bomber Bob, Defenderslideguitar and 4 others like this

#7 martinontheroad

martinontheroad

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2021

Posted 02 January 2021 - 06:07 PM

Peterb

     I didn't know thing one about Jim Riffles or Astromaks 36 hours ago.  But what little I could dig up on them indicated they were quality instruments.  I really wanted to raise awareness with those who would REALLY appreciate it.  I am ill-equipped right now to do much with it.  I am a one-man band and would need to break it down into manageable parts.  I don't even know where I'd park it, once I got it home!  I've asked the owner to contact me before he goes the scrap route, but there are so many issues that would potentially need to be addressed, and none of them are inexpensive.  I guess I could by an engine lift at Harbor Freight.....

 

Regards, Martin

 

 

I looked at the Faceplant ad, there appears to be a glass surface at the front end of the telescope. I suspect it's one of Jim Riffles Astromaks.

 

I believe they were 12" aperture f/5 Maksutov Cassegrains that used a field lens next to the large format film holder when set up for astrophotography.

 

Martin this telescope is definitely worth saving from the scrap heap. At $500 I'd take in a hart beat, but like most such deals they require a lot of effort to acquire and restoration for such a complex optics set is a big deal.

 

You'd be an angel is you acquired it and if you didn't want to touch it, find someone locally who would.

 

Peter


  • tim53 and Volvonium like this

#8 Peter Ceravolo

Peter Ceravolo

    Vendor (Ceravolo Optical Systems)

  • *****
  • Posts: 384
  • Joined: 15 Apr 2014

Posted 03 January 2021 - 12:24 AM

Here is an adjusted image from the Faceplant ad for the Astromak,

 

It is definitely a Maksutov Cassegrain, you can see reflections from the deep dish meniscus corrector. There's some kind of a weird "handle" at the secondary that I cannot explain.

 

Astromak.JPG

 

Martin don't be too intimidated by the telescopes heft, all it takes is some wrenches to disassemble the telescope into manageable parts.

 

I'll bet ya a dozen donuts there will be some telescope nuts out there that will take the whole thing or pieces of it if you advertise it on CN classifieds. Along the way you can make a few bucks while sparing the land fill of priceless junk... :-)

 

I'd do it but I'm way north, just on the other side of the 49th parallel...

 

Peter


  • tim53, Bomber Bob, STE411 and 2 others like this

#9 tim53

tim53

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15,324
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Highland Park, CA

Posted 03 January 2021 - 12:29 AM

I'd do it too, from 3 hours away.  But I don't have the room, and have already set up a pier in my Joshua Tree observatory.  Those scopes were designed for large format wide field film photography.

 

-Tim.


  • Defenderslideguitar and martinontheroad like this

#10 luxo II

luxo II

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,878
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Sydney, Australia

Posted 03 January 2021 - 04:25 AM

Martin - grab it, do not let this go to scrap. What matters is the OTA, the mount is junk by modern standards.

Jim used to work for Celestron and was a machinist or mechanical engineer of sorts but not an optician - which implies the glass came from elsewhere. As to who was making 10” mak components at that time, I have no idea - and this was before Intes.

I’d love to take it but I know shipping an item like that from the US is basically impossible these days.

Edited by luxo II, 03 January 2021 - 04:49 AM.


#11 RichA

RichA

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,851
  • Joined: 03 Jun 2010
  • Loc: Toronto, Canada

Posted 03 January 2021 - 04:33 AM

Martin - grab it, do not let this go to scrap. What matters is the OTA, the mount is junk by modern standards.

I’d love to take it but I know shipping an item like that from the US is basically impossible these days.

Shipping by say British Airways Cargo would be around $400-$500 to Australia.  UPS?  Try about $4000.  The mount is ok, large gear, has potential, but it'll likely never be Goto.



#12 luxo II

luxo II

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,878
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Sydney, Australia

Posted 03 January 2021 - 04:51 AM

Rich I’ve shipped several big scopes internationally before. Personal experience has been that shipping from anywhere else is quite reasonable - as you suggest - a few hundred euros. But from the US it will be many thousands and effectively impossible.

US carriers offer a low-ball quotation to suck you in, but when they see what a valuable item is insured for they raise the shipping to more than the insured value - and they back-charge after it has been shipped, so either you pay up, or the item is not delivered and they claim it as theirs and auction it off.

In other words, they do not honour the quotation based on size and weight. In my country that practice would be illegal, but apparently it isn’t in the US. It’s tantamount to organised theft IMHO, and they all do it.

Edited by luxo II, 03 January 2021 - 05:00 AM.


#13 Bomber Bob

Bomber Bob

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 18,592
  • Joined: 09 Jul 2013
  • Loc: The Swamp, USA

Posted 03 January 2021 - 09:39 AM

Hi Martin -- Welcome to The Classics!

 

"Martin don't be too intimidated by the telescopes heft, all it takes is some wrenches to disassemble the telescope into manageable parts."

 

Definitely.  But, I understand your concerns, too.  I came very close to giving away my 250 Pound Tinsley.  It was just too dang much to deal with...

 

Separate the Scope from the Mount.  Break the Mount down into manageable chunks.  Work it a chunk at a time.  My first goal was to make things functional.  I hit that mark fairly quickly.  Now I'm at the make it pretty stage.  There's no rush with a Big Project like this.  And, with careful planning, you get to use & enjoy the scope along the way.

 

No matter what you decide, thanks for making the Forum aware of this Classic.  We'll be yakking about this one for a while!


Edited by Bomber Bob, 03 January 2021 - 09:39 AM.

  • mdowns and Defenderslideguitar like this

#14 starman876

starman876

    Nihon Seiko

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 22,872
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 03 January 2021 - 09:58 AM

Hi Martin -- Welcome to The Classics!

 

"Martin don't be too intimidated by the telescopes heft, all it takes is some wrenches to disassemble the telescope into manageable parts."

 

Definitely.  But, I understand your concerns, too.  I came very close to giving away my 250 Pound Tinsley.  It was just too dang much to deal with...

 

Separate the Scope from the Mount.  Break the Mount down into manageable chunks.  Work it a chunk at a time.  My first goal was to make things functional.  I hit that mark fairly quickly.  Now I'm at the make it pretty stage.  There's no rush with a Big Project like this.  And, with careful planning, you get to use & enjoy the scope along the way.

 

No matter what you decide, thanks for making the Forum aware of this Classic.  We'll be yakking about this one for a while!

I believe I have seen this model for sale before.  Not this exact one, but a similar one.   Looks like if it is a super fast scope would be great for imaging at that aperture.



#15 tim53

tim53

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15,324
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Highland Park, CA

Posted 03 January 2021 - 11:56 AM

I disagree vehemently with the negative comments about the Astroworks mount.  That is a very substantial, serviceable mount.  Cast aluminum parts, so not as heavy as it might seem.  And converting to a goto system would be easy, using something like a Sidereal Technology kit and making the necessary mounting brackets and such.  

 

-Tim.


  • gnabgib, jjbird, pbealo and 1 other like this

#16 JoeVanGeaux

JoeVanGeaux

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 154
  • Joined: 01 Jan 2010
  • Loc: SETX

Posted 03 January 2021 - 12:13 PM

Wow!  That's a beautiful beast!! 

I've got a '69 VW bug project car that I'd trade for that thing ...  delivered to me, though.

But, it'd probably be cheaper for me to relocate my family to the scope than to move the scope to me!

 

Grab that thing while you can and keep us posted.
 

-Joe


  • Defenderslideguitar likes this

#17 tim53

tim53

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15,324
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Highland Park, CA

Posted 03 January 2021 - 12:27 PM

A recent thread about one of these, with some nice pics:  https://www.cloudyni...uitorial-mount/

Another, from 2017:  https://www.cloudyni...uatorial-mount/

 

An a-mart ad for one of the mounts:  https://astromart.co...orks-fork-mount



#18 starman876

starman876

    Nihon Seiko

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 22,872
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 03 January 2021 - 02:53 PM

A recent thread about one of these, with some nice pics:  https://www.cloudyni...uitorial-mount/

Another, from 2017:  https://www.cloudyni...uatorial-mount/

 

An a-mart ad for one of the mounts:  https://astromart.co...orks-fork-mount

That mount is substantial  and looks like it would hold a scope much larger than the Mack  I would love to have a chance to use such a system.


Edited by starman876, 03 January 2021 - 02:54 PM.


#19 Peter Ceravolo

Peter Ceravolo

    Vendor (Ceravolo Optical Systems)

  • *****
  • Posts: 384
  • Joined: 15 Apr 2014

Posted 03 January 2021 - 03:25 PM

Most of you know that my priority would be rescuing the Maksutov Cassegrain optics. To the best of my recollection they were made for Jim Riffle by Tom Scott of Fresno. The corrector was aspherized to eliminate the typical residual spherical aberration such designs have. The scope used a field lens, close to the film/focal plane to flatten the field, sharpening the off axis star images. I suspect the instrument would perform well visually without the field lens. Even a smaller CCD camera would probably be OK too. But the design would have a very large central obscuration, necessitate by the fast, f/5, focal ratio. So visually one would not want to use low powers because of the large blind spot in the exit pupil. It's an astrograph...

 

Peter



#20 Starman04

Starman04

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 03 Jan 2021

Posted 03 January 2021 - 05:19 PM

In case anyone is really interested this is probably the 11.5" f5.6 Simak that Astro Works sold for $12,500, without options, in 1983 (I have the brochure).  That guide refractor was $415 and the dew cap $160 and if it had anti-reflective coatings add $360 and another $975 for a field corrector/flattener lens.  So back in '83 you are looking at about $15K sitting there.  If I was within a 500 miles I'd be driving to get it for only $500 but... I'm not.  I do have my own Astro Works 12.5" mount that I am looking at adding GoTo and either a 18" or 20" scope to it.  They are built like a tank and I could easily put a 500# payload on mine.


  • tim53, mdowns and Bomber Bob like this

#21 luxo II

luxo II

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,878
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Sydney, Australia

Posted 03 January 2021 - 06:03 PM

Ha... details and photo at the bottom of this page - yes it’s a Simak and f/5.

https://www.maxreaso...imak/index.html

#22 gnabgib

gnabgib

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 670
  • Joined: 05 Jun 2005
  • Loc: Fall River MIlls Ca.

Posted 03 January 2021 - 08:54 PM

Hello All;

    After several discussions with Martin he decided this was to much for his abilities.  Martin forwarded contact info and I am on the road this Tuesday to pick it up.  So Peter the scope is going to be rescued! 

 

Another "thunder-road" trip!!

 

Kevin Medlock


  • Paul Hyndman, davidmcgo, tim53 and 6 others like this

#23 tim53

tim53

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15,324
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Highland Park, CA

Posted 03 January 2021 - 09:08 PM

This good news!  I just sold my Cave 12.5", and enjoying the room it freed up.  But if nobody else had spoken for this scope,  I was sorely tempted!


  • Mr Magoo likes this

#24 starman876

starman876

    Nihon Seiko

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 22,872
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 03 January 2021 - 10:03 PM

Hello All;

    After several discussions with Martin he decided this was to much for his abilities.  Martin forwarded contact info and I am on the road this Tuesday to pick it up.  So Peter the scope is going to be rescued! 

 

Another "thunder-road" trip!!

 

Kevin Medlock

Awesome.  Please provide details of restoration once started.


  • tim53 likes this

#25 gnabgib

gnabgib

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 670
  • Joined: 05 Jun 2005
  • Loc: Fall River MIlls Ca.

Posted 03 January 2021 - 10:55 PM

Awesome.  Please provide details of restoration once started.

I will start with photos of the "pick up".  It is a 700+ mile trip (one way) and I have enlisted the help of a friend as co-pilot.  Will be burning the midnight oil on this one.  But this IS California, if is is less than 600 miles "it's local" right!  Fortunately most of trip is on I-5, the worlds most mind-numbing freeway.

 

Kevin


  • tim53 and Bomber Bob like this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics