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Field Tripod Modifications

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#1 diceless

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 12:01 PM

I'm curious what others have done to improve the 2" field tripod that comes with the LX200 10" ACF .  My biggest issue is with how much twist the tripod hub allows with the legs and getting it setup square.  My current thought is to replace the studs and acorn nuts that connect the legs to the hub with bolts, nylon washers between the hub and legs and nyloc nuts.



#2 mrowlands

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 12:20 PM

This is a problem with all of the cast metal (dare I say Chinese?) mounts that I own.  I used a feeler gauge to measure the (average) gap.  Because I couldn't find the proper dimensions pre-made, I cut/punched fender style washers out of appropriate brass shim stock.

 

Mike R.



#3 Supernova74

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 01:08 PM

I'm curious what others have done to improve the 2" field tripod that comes with the LX200 10" ACF .  My biggest issue is with how much twist the tripod hub allows with the legs and getting it setup square.  My current thought is to replace the studs and acorn nuts that connect the legs to the hub with bolts, nylon washers between the hub and legs and nyloc nuts.

Well if you don’t mind the additional weight!? the easier answer would be to puchase the Meade giant feild tripod there really is no other comparisons apart from the earlier RCX 400 tripods which now becoming quite rare!?also as a lot of meade owners have puchased the 12”-14” LX200,s have a now have a obsolete giant feild tripod lurcking around,because thay have decided to mount on a pier in a observatory,you can pick them up for sensible prices in the classified sections.

I puchased mine preowned for £150 or $207 bargain you will never regret it.


Edited by Supernova74, 13 July 2021 - 01:09 PM.


#4 Peterson Engineering

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 03:17 PM

Hello Vostok 1 (You're not Yuri Gagarin by any chance are you?)

 

A friend named Sean, over in the UK, suggested that I look into flexure in Meade's Standard Tripod a year back, and I revisited it today at his prompting.  Setting up a Standard Tripod, the fork ears on the upper legs were tight against the central casting and there was no wiggle when I leaned into the central cast hub and attempted to wiggle it.  Backing off all 6 acorn nuts resulted in a small but visible gap between the forked leg casting and the central hub casting.- perhaps each side of each side of each leg around 1 to 2 mm.  Leaning into the tripod and twisting the central hub casting did indeed show a small amount of rotation - perhaps 1 degree? 

 

Then, with the leg screws loose, the tripod was "squared", the scope was "mounted and the 1/2 inch mounting bolt was tightened.  Once the bolt was tightened the tripod resisted my efforts to twist it.

 

This leads me to believe that there will be no EZ Rigid Tripod upgrade forthcoming.

 

I retightened the acorn nuts the same single full rotation that I'd loosened them.  The cast ears on the leg connections did bend inward and the gaps were closed.  But castings tend to be brittle and if there had been a gap to start with I'd have been hesitant to screw the nuts down further than in the "as received" condition.  And based upon above observations there's no need to fill a gap with a washer.

 

You mentioned difficulty with "getting it setup square" and perhaps that's a hint as to the problem.  In my test, even with loose legs the tripod was rigid once the tripod legs were "squared" and the mounting bolt tightened there was no twisting or turning or other motion.  The legs were locked. But if the legs on my tripod had not been properly aligned (squared?) the weight of the mounted scope would spread them and allow wiggle.

 

Instructions in our Mounting Assistant upgrade address the need to properly position the legs before mounting the telescope.  This may be achieved by simply lifting the unloaded tripod by the mounting bolt as this seats the legs into the spreader.  Lift and set down.  Then mount.  Tripod is "squared" and not going anywhere.

 

If you'd like to give this a try I'd be interested in learning of your results.

 

 



#5 chthonic65

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 03:18 PM

Are you still getting play after you tighten down the spreader bar?

For me, the play between the legs and the hub, although annoying, is necessary in order to position the legs properly into the spreader bar slots. If I remove that play, I'd be concerned that I'd end up putting a bunch of stress on the hub casting.

#6 diceless

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 11:12 PM

Hello Vostok 1 (You're not Yuri Gagarin by any chance are you?)

 

A friend named Sean, over in the UK, suggested that I look into flexure in Meade's Standard Tripod a year back, and I revisited it today at his prompting.  Setting up a Standard Tripod, the fork ears on the upper legs were tight against the central casting and there was no wiggle when I leaned into the central cast hub and attempted to wiggle it.  Backing off all 6 acorn nuts resulted in a small but visible gap between the forked leg casting and the central hub casting.- perhaps each side of each side of each leg around 1 to 2 mm.  Leaning into the tripod and twisting the central hub casting did indeed show a small amount of rotation - perhaps 1 degree? 

 

Then, with the leg screws loose, the tripod was "squared", the scope was "mounted and the 1/2 inch mounting bolt was tightened.  Once the bolt was tightened the tripod resisted my efforts to twist it.

 

This leads me to believe that there will be no EZ Rigid Tripod upgrade forthcoming.

 

I retightened the acorn nuts the same single full rotation that I'd loosened them.  The cast ears on the leg connections did bend inward and the gaps were closed.  But castings tend to be brittle and if there had been a gap to start with I'd have been hesitant to screw the nuts down further than in the "as received" condition.  And based upon above observations there's no need to fill a gap with a washer.

 

You mentioned difficulty with "getting it setup square" and perhaps that's a hint as to the problem.  In my test, even with loose legs the tripod was rigid once the tripod legs were "squared" and the mounting bolt tightened there was no twisting or turning or other motion.  The legs were locked. But if the legs on my tripod had not been properly aligned (squared?) the weight of the mounted scope would spread them and allow wiggle.

 

Instructions in our Mounting Assistant upgrade address the need to properly position the legs before mounting the telescope.  This may be achieved by simply lifting the unloaded tripod by the mounting bolt as this seats the legs into the spreader.  Lift and set down.  Then mount.  Tripod is "squared" and not going anywhere.

 

If you'd like to give this a try I'd be interested in learning of your results.

Sorry, not Yuri.  Vostok 1 seems to be a reputation based title.  And it looks like I have graduated out of satellites and into the first human space flight.  I hide behind my handle, diceless, as I have done for ages.

 

I don't know the history behind my ACF but it appears to have been made after they moved manufacture to Mexico and before they updated the tripod.  I have the older LX200 tripod with 2 tri-handled leg lock knobs on the outside of each leg.  I've tried tightening the nuts but they quickly work themselves loose with only a couple of uses, I'll replace the acorn nuts with nyloc nuts at min.  Once everything is setup and spreader locked in place, it is good.  I is just a pain to get to that point with this tripod.  Typically I'll set it up, and once I move the spreader in place the legs don't even line up.  I'll then move the legs, try again and try again and try again.  If things are straight, I'll just gall the center rod trying to push it through the hub and wedge.

 

The issue I see with the tripod, the contact surface between the legs and hub is extremely small and there is a lot of play between the stud and the hole that it goes through on the leg.  Tightening the nuts will help reduce the play and so I should probably start there.



#7 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 12:37 AM

Gday Diceless

I have modified 2 of my 10" tripods and they are now rock solid,

can be setup and locked without the scope fitted and can be taken fully apart with no tools.

They also incorporate a "springy thingy" and allow the mount to be secured to the tripod

even when the legs are loose.

As per most of my designs, it is totally impractical as a commercial proposition lol.giflol.gif

but if you have a lathe and a few spare bits, it is really quite simple.

It can also be configured for different mount heads fairly quickly.

Can post detailed piccies if reqd but the attached shows the general design

of my last version.

Basically, i have fitted a stainless tube into the head and it is threaded at the bottom.

You slide the spreader over the tube and use the Tbar nut on the outside of the tube

to pretension it.

This allows the tripod to be fully locked into position before the mount

( or even the central rod ) is fitted.

There is an internal threaded bar ( central rod )  that then goes through the tube.

This has an internal spring to provide preloading,

a male threaded section at the bottom to allow a smaller Tbar nut to preload it

and a female thread at the top.

I have several adapter studs that can screw into the top to suit the mount being used

ie 1/2" UNC-13 for my LX200, 12mm for my EQ6, 10mm for my AZEQ5

I also bored out the studs holding the legs to the top housing so the legs can be

held in place using stainless pins, and made low profile leg locking nuts.

As i said, commercially impractical

but it does go together with no tools.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

Full Tripod.jpg Head Assy.jpg Central Rod Assy.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#8 Supernova74

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 02:15 AM

Gday Diceless

I have modified 2 of my 10" tripods and they are now rock solid,

can be setup and locked without the scope fitted and can be taken fully apart with no tools.

They also incorporate a "springy thingy" and allow the mount to be secured to the tripod

even when the legs are loose.

As per most of my designs, it is totally impractical as a commercial proposition lol.giflol.gif

but if you have a lathe and a few spare bits, it is really quite simple.

It can also be configured for different mount heads fairly quickly.

Can post detailed piccies if reqd but the attached shows the general design

of my last version.

Basically, i have fitted a stainless tube into the head and it is threaded at the bottom.

You slide the spreader over the tube and use the Tbar nut on the outside of the tube

to pretension it.

This allows the tripod to be fully locked into position before the mount

( or even the central rod ) is fitted.

There is an internal threaded bar ( central rod )  that then goes through the tube.

This has an internal spring to provide preloading,

a male threaded section at the bottom to allow a smaller Tbar nut to preload it

and a female thread at the top.

I have several adapter studs that can screw into the top to suit the mount being used

ie 1/2" UNC-13 for my LX200, 12mm for my EQ6, 10mm for my AZEQ5

I also bored out the studs holding the legs to the top housing so the legs can be

held in place using stainless pins, and made low profile leg locking nuts.

As i said, commercially impractical

but it does go together with no tools.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

attachicon.gifFull Tripod.jpgattachicon.gifHead Assy.jpgattachicon.gifCentral Rod Assy.jpg

That’s all very well Andrew!?(nice mod by the way) however tho the time you source an engineering company which the op would require if he doesn’t have a small work shop (highly unlikely) ie with lathes and mills etc in practice this wouldn’t be feasible to do or be cost effective!?.its the time it takes to manufacture such items and set up times etc.

just my opinion, he would be already in the market for a giant feild tripod a much more substantial solid platform anyway in the preowned market sections.



#9 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 02:26 AM

Gday Supernova74

 

this wouldn’t be feasible to do or be cost effective!

I do believe i mentioned that ( several times  grin.gif  )

Just for people with a small lathe ( and there are lots of them ), it might give an idea.

The simplest solution for getting the tripod square on setting up is to use the old "wingnut" trick

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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#10 Supernova74

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 05:51 AM

Gday Supernova74

 

I do believe i mentioned that ( several times  grin.gif  )

Just for people with a small lathe ( and there are lots of them ), it might give an idea.

The simplest solution for getting the tripod square on setting up is to use the old "wingnut" trick

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

Hi again Andrew 

this was my little modification!? M8 star knobs improves the sweet spot in not over tightening when adjusting the tripod legs.as I lost one of the UNC threads on one of the tripod legs it made sense to replace all of them.

Attached Thumbnails

  • F8864F87-E4EC-4C77-81BA-91E5C749289D.jpeg


#11 diceless

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 11:53 AM

Oz,

 

I like the modifications you made to center rod, those are really cool.  I don't have any ability to machine metal at home so I'll have to pass on that modification.  When you referenced the 'wing nut' trick, is that just replacing nuts with wing nuts or is there something more?



#12 Peterson Engineering

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 01:13 PM

I developed this trick back in 2002, including a 1/2" wing nut and a large 1/2" washer with the Mounting Assistant as a way to "square" the tripod.  Install the hardware onto the mounting bolt before mounting the scope.  Tighten the wing nut while lifting the tripod from below by the mounting bolt knob.  The tripod legs magically fly into proper formation and the mounting bolt will never be cocked.  Using this approach and the Mounting Assistant positioning studs a scope will mount first try every time.



#13 diceless

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 02:41 PM

I developed this trick back in 2002, including a 1/2" wing nut and a large 1/2" washer with the Mounting Assistant as a way to "square" the tripod.  Install the hardware onto the mounting bolt before mounting the scope.  Tighten the wing nut while lifting the tripod from below by the mounting bolt knob.  The tripod legs magically fly into proper formation and the mounting bolt will never be cocked.  Using this approach and the Mounting Assistant positioning studs a scope will mount first try every time.

Thanks, that sounds like something that will work.  Lot's for a new comer to learn.




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