Good morning all. I’ve got an 8” f/8 newt on a homemade GEM that I built almost 30 years ago as a teenager. It’s a pipe mount using the threads as bearings. Not terribly smooth and not able to be upgraded with a drive system due to the configuration.
I’ve recently gotten the itch to improve the mount ala the classic GEM pipe mount designs out there using pipe reducer bushings and PVC as free rotating bearings, etc. and adding a homemade Arduino geared RA tracking system. (No Dec. I’m not looking for GOTO.) I work in aerospace and this will be a great engineering challenge and opportunity to captivate my five boy’s interest.
But I really want the end result to be capable of AP (5-10 minute subs would be a win for me).
I can’t find an affordable supplier for matched worm drive gear sets (looking for references) so I’m looking toward belt drive or spur gears with a micro stepper motor.
My question is, how tight do my tolerances really need to be to achieve decent amateur AP? Is this a pipe dream (intended)? Should I just save $1500 to buy a sky watcher mount? I’d love a pro mount, but that’s not really what I’m after. I want the engineering challenge.
I am a carpenter and have a shop. But I’m not a machinist nor do I have access to machine tools (or the desire to get into it).
Has anyone out there built a pipe GEM with RA tracking and been able to get 5 minute subs?
Attached a photo of my current setup and a mock-up of new bearings.
Thanks for your thoughts!
Edited by matt_astro_tx, 24 January 2021 - 06:52 PM.