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Best table for tabletop dobsonian?

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19 replies to this topic

#1 Gschnettler

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 10:47 AM

I am thinking of getting a tabletop dobsonian. I know I could use it on picnic tables. But if I’m just in an empty field at a dark site, what kind of tables are best? I assume you don’t want anything too flimsy. Should I just make something out of wood? If you have any example plans or photos to share that would be much appreciated.

#2 LIVE LONG

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 10:56 AM

 Hello,

 

I have a AWB 130, and made my own wood tripod. The plan's can be found on David Fuller's website. I believe his website is called, "eyes on the sky".

 

Here is a picture of my scope and tripod.

 

   Bill

AWB 130 complete

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#3 DLuders

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 10:58 AM

 Hello,

 

I have a AWB 130, and made my own wood tripod. The plan's can be found on David Fuller's website. I believe his website is called, "eyes on the sky".

 

Here is a picture of my scope and tripod.

 

   Bill

Yes, David Fuller's "Super Simple 2x4 Tripod for Tabletop Telescopes" can be found here.  smile.gif   You can also get a wooden stool from Walmart.


Edited by DLuders, 12 January 2021 - 10:59 AM.

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#4 jmillsbss

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 11:14 AM

Isn't it odd....we buy tabletop telescopes and the first thing that occurs to us is, for whatever reason, we can't find the right table.  So we build a table that looks oddly like a tripod with a platform/base to set up the telescope.

 

It's a fine solution, and I've done it too, I just think it's sorta funny!!!


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#5 SteveG

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 07:37 PM

Or something like this. You want 3 legs, not 4. The perfect height for these scopes is about the same height as a typical chair, for seated viewing which I recommend.

 

https://www.target.c...53/-/A-17021254


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#6 SeattleScott

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 08:19 PM

Isn't it odd....we buy tabletop telescopes and the first thing that occurs to us is, for whatever reason, we can't find the right table. So we build a table that looks oddly like a tripod with a platform/base to set up the telescope.

It's a fine solution, and I've done it too, I just think it's sorta funny!!!

For some people there is an appeal to building something themselves that costs far less than a $200+ Alt Az mount. Others aren’t as handy or don’t have as much time so they pay more to get a complete setup.

Scott

#7 Pierre Lemay

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 09:40 PM

Or something like this. You want 3 legs, not 4. The perfect height for these scopes is about the same height as a typical chair, for seated viewing which I recommend.

 

https://www.target.c...53/-/A-17021254

Same idea but I went with a 4 leg bar stool that has soft rubber tips. Works great on soft soil like grass or sand. On a hard floor I sometimes need to rotate the stool to find the location where there is no wobble which I normally find in less than 10 seconds. Very inexpensive (15$) and depending on size of telescope it's possible to store the scope inside the upside down stool to protect and transport it.

 

130mm Heritage on stool.jpg


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#8 jmillsbss

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 11:02 PM

For some people there is an appeal to building something themselves that costs far less than a $200+ Alt Az mount. Others aren’t as handy or don’t have as much time so they pay more to get a complete setup.

Scott

There's a little bit of something for everybody in this hobby. Build it or buy it.


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#9 rhetfield

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 11:48 AM

Isn't it odd....we buy tabletop telescopes and the first thing that occurs to us is, for whatever reason, we can't find the right table.  So we build a table that looks oddly like a tripod with a platform/base to set up the telescope.

 

It's a fine solution, and I've done it too, I just think it's sorta funny!!!

For me, I already own two suitable camp tables and a suitable patio table.  I bought a small bucket that works in the driveway.

 

I have used picnic tables in the past, as well as the patio storage bin.  These are less than ideal, since you have to pick the direction you will view.

 

Have just set it on the ground for quick views.  Still flexible enough to use the red dot at zenith

 

I recently acquired a small travel tripod.  Easy enough to carry, but more of a pain to setup.  Also does not have anywhere as nice of a degree circle setup and is more wobbly.


Edited by rhetfield, 13 January 2021 - 11:49 AM.

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#10 KerryR

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 01:03 PM

Having owned and used several table-top based scopes, here's my take: Table tops are really limiting.

 

Picnic tables only allow comfortable seated viewing of a small portion of the sky, and that usually ends up being the 'wrong' portion of the sky for the table in your camp site. Portable tables work better, but they're often not particularly rigid, and, with four legs, take more care to prevent wobble. Stools can work, but can be tippy unless they have a good amount of splay (like a tripod!), and suffer from the 4-legged issue. I've had a few instances of comfy seated viewing on 4 and 5 gallon buckets, but the cold and hard ground gets old quickly, as does the very limited leg position. Car hoods... very limiting viewing angle, usually exactly the wrong height to be comfortable, and, of course, they're neither flat nor level.

 

Consequently, I don't use table top mounts, and any of the scopes I had that had table top mounts have been re-mounted on tripods and alt az heads.

 

If I were to insist on a table-top mount, and I do really like many of the OTA's available, I'd definitely opt to build the "Super Simple 2x4 Tripod for Tabletop Telescopes" above, and generally avoid true table top use.


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#11 SeattleScott

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 05:55 PM

Amen! Tabletops sound so good in theory, but are so finicky in practice. They are appealing because they are cheap. Basically half the cost of the scope is a suitable mount, so vendors have figured out that they can sell telescope tubes that are actually functional in a lower price range, typically reserved for more hobby killer type scopes. They accomplish this by leaving out the tripod. Really the best solution is, as said, build a table that looks an awful lot like a tripod. Or if building stuff isn’t your thing, buy a tripod or a scope that comes on a tripod (or a longer reflector on a Dob Mount).

Scott
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#12 barbie

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 09:27 PM

I have a tabletop 4.5" f4 Newt./ Dob and find it quite easy to use. For a rock solid base, I use a bar stool with a 2 foot square piece of plywood fastened to the top of the stool and it works perfectly. I also have additional space up top to keep eyepieces that I'm using close at hand. Works beautifully!! I bought the stool at Walmart and found a piece of wood for the table at my local Home Depot. A cheap, yet effective solution for a fairly simple problem!!


Edited by barbie, 13 January 2021 - 09:30 PM.

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#13 Big_Eight

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 09:58 PM

I built a stand for my Starblast 6i. It's also based off of David Fullers design but shortened the legs so I have very comfortable viewing in a chair as it puts the scope just at the right height and is super stable. I have since put a decent finish on the stand but here it is at a star party and by itself.

 

Tabletop_StarParty.jpg

 

 

TableTop.jpg


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#14 Gschnettler

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 11:09 PM

Your stand looks awesome. How does this design look when it’s folded up?

#15 Big_Eight

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 11:15 PM

Your stand looks awesome. How does this design look when it’s folded up?

I'll fold it up and post a pic for you tomorrow. I don't generally fold it up as it fits in the bed of my truck under the tonneau cover.

Edited by Big_Eight, 13 January 2021 - 11:15 PM.

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#16 izar187

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 04:37 AM

Table top scopes also work great out on the property, on a permanent flat top observing station.

One that you put there, for the scope to be at your own preferred height.

Can be something as simple as a couple of fence posts with a board/pc plywood on top. IME

Or out on the back deck railing, with a view of the ecliptic.

Someone here has posted of using a couple milk crates: one for the scope and one for a seat.

I've used vehicle hoods for years, provided that they happened to be flat enough, obviously.

If one keeps the table topper long enough, then yes one may eventually choose to add a tripod under it, sure.

Dedicate it to a tripod, or separate flat top something like those shown and mentioned above. Done both. 



#17 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 07:52 AM

I have owned a few table top scopes.   

 

As others have said, they seem better than they are.  A 130mm F/5 Newtonian on a steady mount is capable about 300x.  I don't really see that happening on a commercial stool, plastic or wood.  A proper tripod or a dedicated stand is what I have found works.

 

My friend Tom made this for my Starblast:

 

Starblast 6 inch CN.jpg
 

This is Mirascope.  It combined the compactness and affordability of the table top mount with a clever folding leg design that eliminated the need for a table.  Three hinges, three 2x2s... No table needed. 

 

4295399-Mirascope in BackYard CN.jpg
 
Jon

 


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#18 Gschnettler

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 09:31 AM

Several of you have Starblast 6i’s. I’m thinking of getting one too for quick and easy setup situations. My 12” dob is great but it does take about 20 minutes to setup and 15 minutes to pack back up again, plus a lot of car cargo space that sometimes isn’t available if we are taking a family trip.

What do you think of the Starblast 6? I used to have an Orion sky quest XT6. Is it pretty similar, just with a shorter focal length?

#19 Heitman

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 09:50 AM

I have the Starblast 6i, and it has good optics, travels well, easy to set up. I doubt if I ever sell it.


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#20 Big_Eight

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 09:19 PM

I'll fold it up and post a pic for you tomorrow. I don't generally fold it up as it fits in the bed of my truck under the tonneau cover.

Gschnettler,

 

Here are some pics below. Folding wise this is not super feasible but it would be feasible to put a handle on one of the legs for easy carrying. I've also taken some pics of the stand upside down so you can see how it's constructed.

 

Stand Uprite.jpg

 

Stand Upside Down.jpg

 

Stand Folded.jpg

 

 

My stand height itself comes in at 13.5 inches which puts the Starblast 6i in just about the right position for me when viewing with a chair.

 

Clear Skies


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