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

Royal Astro R-63 restoration thread

  • Please log in to reply
72 replies to this topic

#1 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 08 September 2021 - 10:33 AM

It has just arrived - a small pearl of the Royal Astro with a diameter of 60 mm and a focal length of 700 mm (f/11.7). The telescope came from Germany and it is the second copy of this model known to me, next to a beautiful, well-preserved one, which appeared in the Netherlands in 2013 and was presented at the CN here: https://www.cloudyni...739-royal-astro -r-63-d60mm-f700mm /

 

Compared to it, my copy is in much worse condition. I can see at first glance that restoring it to its greatness will be laborious and costly. But fortunately the heart - the lens - seems healthy, and the image I had the opportunity to see during the first, terrestial tests - excellent, sharp, precise and contrasting.

 

Since, in my opinion, this is a unique piece of equipment, I decided that it is worth devoting a separate thread to it, in which I intend to present the progress of renovation works - I will be grateful for your comments and suggestions.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20210908_143107(0).jpg
  • 20210908_143124(0).jpg
  • 20210908_152834.jpg
  • 20210908_143113(0).jpg
  • 20210908_143140(0).jpg
  • 20210908_152916.jpg

  • Vesper818, Wisconsin Steve, steve t and 10 others like this

#2 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 08 September 2021 - 10:34 AM

and a few more pics...

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20210908_152927.jpg
  • 20210908_152936.jpg
  • 20210908_153008.jpg
  • 20210908_153044(0).jpg
  • 20210908_153052.jpg
  • 20210908_155251(0).jpg
  • 20210908_155305.jpg

  • astro140, Pete W, steve t and 8 others like this

#3 shredder1656

shredder1656

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,945
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2017
  • Loc: Indiana

Posted 08 September 2021 - 10:50 AM

Good luck! Looks very worthwhile to me.
  • LukaszLu likes this

#4 CharlieB

CharlieB

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,554
  • Joined: 11 Dec 2007
  • Loc: Southern NH

Posted 08 September 2021 - 10:59 AM

Very nice!  I'd bet that the optics are first-rate.  It's one of the few Astro Optical scopes I've never been able to find.  I would suspect that adjusting the mount to be smooth will be the biggest chore.  It looks like you could use parts from any 60mm AO scope for the rebuild if you need to (except for the glass and tube). Congratulations on a great find.

 

Charlie


  • mdowns and LukaszLu like this

#5 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 08 September 2021 - 12:12 PM

Thanks friends! Replacing parts may turn out to be easier than they seem, as many of them are clearly from the same source as the components of the Kenko telescopes. One of my first worries after opening the transport box was the rusty focuser drwatube. However, it turns out that it has the same diameter and thread as the tube in the Kenko TA-910 model. The same goes for the accessories - some of them are identical to the Kenko TA-910 accessories. And because, as some of you know, I'm devoted to buying more and more TA-910 refractors until I finally find a decent lens with acceptable quality, I have already gathered quite a lot of spare parts - maybe now they will be useful :-)



#6 Kasmos

Kasmos

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,152
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2015
  • Loc: So Cal

Posted 08 September 2021 - 02:26 PM

Costly? I'd be thrilled to find one in that condition as it looks good and a easy restore to me. Just needs a good cleaning and detailing. I probably wouldn't replace anything and just clean it up. The rack tube and chrome barrel on the finder is brass so it isn't rust, but rather just the chrome oxidizing/wearing some. Polishing those with something like Nevr-Dull will greatly improve their look, just don't use a harsh abrasive polish. I bet the painted parts (tube etc.) also just need some polishing compound. 


  • mdowns, Piggyback and LukaszLu like this

#7 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 08 September 2021 - 03:44 PM

It is very possible - I will do everything I can to avoid removing the old paint and applying a new one, or re-chrome-plating the elements - this is always the last resort. Perhaps I can replace the chrome sleeve with a Kenko element - in my opinion, this still falls under the "conservative renovation" category. However, the wood is probably suitable for sanding and repainting - in this case I usually have no qualms. Refreshing the wood usually gives a spectacular effect and allows you to divert attention from the minor damage to the varnish on the tube and the mount.


  • Piggyback and Kasmos like this

#8 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 08 September 2021 - 05:26 PM

I quickly assembled the telescope and conducted a short "first light" session, comparing the image with the Towa 60/700 - refractor with identical parameters. Towa is one of my best performers, until recently I put it in second place in terms of optics quality, right after the RAO R-74. Now it has probably moved to third position, giving way to the Carton T-620. However, I consider this specimen to be optically brilliant, giving me a great pleasure to observe. How does RAO R-63 fare against it?

 

I watched Jupiter and Saturn. This evening I only managed to use eyepieces with low magnification - up to 70x. At these magnifications, both planets looked beautiful, super-sharp. On Jupiter, I could see the irregularities of the two main belts, which were divided into smaller structures - among them the outline of the Great Red Spot. I tell the skeptics right away that I did not know if the Spot would be there at this time. After the observations I checked its position and it corresponded exactly to the place where I saw it with 70x magnification. Saturn was drawn sharply, precisely and spatially - even at 35x magnification it made a great impression with its naturalness and precision of the image. RAO showed only traces of chromatic aberration.

 

And Towa? Well - I'm not sure if I can make any firm comparative verdict. Perhaps RAO gave a slightly more precise or more contrasting image - but in this respect these instruments were comparable. I got the impression that the RAO is a bit more sensitive to off-axis viewing. Both instruments are affected by the "flares" that occur with bright objects such as Jupiter.

 

The mount: contrary to the fears raised here, it was enough to balance it and it works! Just! It can be turned freely and remains stable in its position, and on the other hand it runs very smoothly. Of course, it puts some minimal resistance, which with very small movements sometimes leads to "jumps" - but 2 moves are enough to get the right position, there is no need to "fight", repeatedly correcting the position of the tube. Nice idea - but I would prefer slow motions anyway ...

 

The telescope is neat, small and lightweight. However, not as light as the Towa, which can be easily carried with one hand.

 

And this is how it looks after assembling:

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20210908_234351.jpg
  • 20210908_234408(1).jpg
  • 20210908_234412.jpg

Edited by LukaszLu, 08 September 2021 - 06:04 PM.

  • CharlieB, mdowns, Marc-Andre and 4 others like this

#9 Bowlerhat

Bowlerhat

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,601
  • Joined: 05 Jun 2019
  • Loc: Melbourne, Australia

Posted 09 September 2021 - 02:52 AM

is it missing the drawtube locking knob?


  • LukaszLu likes this

#10 Piggyback

Piggyback

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,292
  • Joined: 14 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Germany

Posted 09 September 2021 - 02:57 AM

Nice looking RAO achromat! Congratulations on a great find. Serial number, sticker may indicate 1960 build. CN Member Stargoat has written extensively on this subject. Good luck with your restoration. It will keep you busy for quite some time knowing you won't stop before it is perfect. waytogo.gif


  • LukaszLu likes this

#11 Piggyback

Piggyback

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,292
  • Joined: 14 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Germany

Posted 09 September 2021 - 03:09 AM

is it missing the drawtube locking knob?

Looks like a one piece drawtube to me. Could be this needs no locking knob.


  • Bowlerhat and LukaszLu like this

#12 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 09 September 2021 - 04:38 AM

As you can see in the picture, there are 2 small bolts that adjust the drawtube position. There are no signs of missing any additional locking knob. It is worth mentioning here that the slip washer under these bolts is missing, so it is currently impossible to adjust the position of the drawtube, which is clearly skewed and off-axis. This obviously has to degrade the image quality, so I intend to repeat the benchmarks with Towa once the restoration is complete.


  • Bowlerhat likes this

#13 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 09 September 2021 - 04:52 AM

Nice looking RAO achromat! Congratulations on a great find. Serial number, sticker may indicate 1960 build. CN Member Stargoat has written extensively on this subject. Good luck with your restoration. It will keep you busy for quite some time knowing you won't stop before it is perfect. waytogo.gif

Thank you very much Stefan! I think I'll start with the wood - and here is the first problem that I have already wondered about, but then I ran away from it, contenting myself with removing the old varnish and simply oiling the wood. This time I would like to try to recreate the original painting, which is quite technologically complicated. As you can see in the photo, a white, possibly semi-transparent primer was used here, and a translucent varnish was also applied over it, giving a light brown-yellow oak shade.

 

This solution is quite commonly used in older Japanese models, which I believe was used to visually merge wood that differed in color and grain pattern. I think that the tripod of your Towa Tokyo is also painted this way. Thanks to this treatment, the tripod looks like a bright, brand new wood - despite the advanced age. The photo shows that even the texture of the wood is not a real color of the grain, but it results from this method of painting. How to recreate it? What paints to use ?? Maybe someone has figured it out before?

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20210909_113910.jpg

Edited by LukaszLu, 09 September 2021 - 07:02 AM.

  • Piggyback likes this

#14 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 09 September 2021 - 07:40 AM

A few more pics...

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20210909_121114.jpg
  • 20210909_121122(0).jpg
  • 20210909_121138.jpg
  • 20210909_121158.jpg
  • 20210909_121207.jpg

  • mdowns, Marc-Andre, Piggyback and 2 others like this

#15 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 09 September 2021 - 07:41 AM

...

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20210909_121326.jpg
  • 20210909_121408(0).jpg
  • 20210909_121433.jpg
  • 20210909_121500(0).jpg
  • 20210909_121513.jpg

  • mdowns, Marc-Andre, Bomber Bob and 2 others like this

#16 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 09 September 2021 - 10:17 AM

...

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20210909_165559.jpg
  • 20210909_165651.jpg
  • 20210909_165735(0).jpg

  • mdowns, Marc-Andre, Bomber Bob and 2 others like this

#17 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 09 September 2021 - 10:18 AM

...

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20210909_165932.jpg
  • 20210909_165951(0).jpg
  • 20210909_170029.jpg

  • astro140, mdowns, Marc-Andre and 6 others like this

#18 Kasmos

Kasmos

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,152
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2015
  • Loc: So Cal

Posted 09 September 2021 - 02:31 PM

Thank you very much Stefan! I think I'll start with the wood - and here is the first problem that I have already wondered about, but then I ran away from it, contenting myself with removing the old varnish and simply oiling the wood. This time I would like to try to recreate the original painting, which is quite technologically complicated. As you can see in the photo, a white, possibly semi-transparent primer was used here, and a translucent varnish was also applied over it, giving a light brown-yellow oak shade.

 

This solution is quite commonly used in older Japanese models, which I believe was used to visually merge wood that differed in color and grain pattern. I think that the tripod of your Towa Tokyo is also painted this way. Thanks to this treatment, the tripod looks like a bright, brand new wood - despite the advanced age. The photo shows that even the texture of the wood is not a real color of the grain, but it results from this method of painting. How to recreate it? What paints to use ?? Maybe someone has figured it out before?

A few thoughts about legs. I have some scopes with legs that are finished the same way. In those days it looks like they used a semi-trasparent stain and I'm not sure if they always put a clear over it or it's part of the stain. Some have sort of a white washed finish and some like yours a more yellowed color. On most of them you can't completely trust the color as both the wood and finish has likely changed with age. As time went on it appears that the makers of most brands moved on to solid (opaque) stains that like paint makes them completely uniform in color. These types appear to be a one step finish with no top coat of clear.

 

My circa 1980 Mizar is the solid opaque type so I mixed up some model paint to match, touched up the chips, and then used polyurethane to blend and freshen them up. You could probably do something like that by applying very thin washes of paint on the chips, scratches, and nicks. 

 

If you completely strip you'll probably have to make a best guess of making a mixture of either stains or thinned paints. I once white washed some kitchen cabinets with thinned paint. I brushed it on and sometimes worked it by brush or wiped some of it off with a rag. Kind of experimenting as I went.

 

Just a tought. This scope has a overall patina of use and age, so maybe on this one you don't take the restoration as far and just clean it and touch up the larger chips and such. shrug.gif  On my Soligor, I just cleaned it and made it functional and like it's aged looks. One day I may touch up a few chips and since a former owner stained over them I may redo the legs but I am still undecided.


  • Piggyback and LukaszLu like this

#19 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 09 September 2021 - 03:31 PM

Many thanks for the hints, take my word for it that in the pictures this telescope looks much, much better than it really is. When it comes to wood, there are a lot of holes and cavities that require putty application - and it is extremely difficult to match the color of the putty with the wood. Even by painting them in a color similar to wood, you will get a dead surface that reacts to light in a completely different way than wood - as a result, such a place seems sometimes darker, sometimes lighter than wood. The use of such translucent layers would help a lot.

 

The cases of almost white color you mention are, in my opinion, just the effect of the disappearance of the first, coloring layer. Usually, in such cases, you can see its remains. It would be great if this technology was worked out. I am thinking of mixing polyurethane varnish with white, loose pigment, and after applying such a layer the same thing, but with a yellow-brown pigment. I have to experiment with some pieces of wood ...



#20 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 09 September 2021 - 06:08 PM

Not wanting to waste time, I took care of what did not require much preparation. The focuser was one of the worst looking elements. The biggest problem was the destruction of the chrome layer on the focuser sleeve, which peeled off and fell off even during cleaning. Having no idea what to do with it, I decided to replace this element with a Kenko TA-910 sleeve, which has exactly the same diameter and gear. It is only slightly longer and has two baffles instead of one.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20210909_202409.jpg
  • 20210909_202421.jpg
  • 20210909_202435.jpg
  • 20210909_202514(0).jpg
  • 20210909_223429.jpg

  • Marc-Andre, Bomber Bob, Piggyback and 2 others like this

#21 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 09 September 2021 - 06:17 PM

During cleaning, it turned out that the aluminum focuser knobs were very much tarnished, the surface had bump marks and indelible pitting, and a layer of unsightly patina that could not be removed even with aluminum polishes.

 

Fortunately, CharlieB helped me with the renovation of the Royal Astro R-74 some time ago by sending in the missing focuser parts. After replacing them, I was left with the original focus knobs in very good condition - identical to those that I could not bring to an acceptable appearance. I decided that they would also be replaced. As you can see Charlie, your generous gesture brings another unexpected fruit!

 

It turned out that the new sleeve fits perfectly. I have completed the missing slip washer and adjusted the focuser so that it regained its alignment and runs smoothly:

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20210909_224601(0).jpg
  • 20210909_224614.jpg

Edited by LukaszLu, 09 September 2021 - 08:11 PM.

  • Don Taylor, mdowns, Marc-Andre and 3 others like this

#22 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 09 September 2021 - 06:19 PM

After installing the new parts, I did a quick test on Jupiter. At first glance, the image did not differ from what I saw yesterday during the first observation session with the original focuser sleeve.

 

And here is what the focuser looks like after the whole operation:

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20210909_234012.jpg
  • 20210909_233951(0).jpg
  • 20210909_234024.jpg

Edited by LukaszLu, 09 September 2021 - 06:21 PM.

  • astro140, Don Taylor, Marc-Andre and 5 others like this

#23 Kasmos

Kasmos

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,152
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2015
  • Loc: So Cal

Posted 09 September 2021 - 07:58 PM

Looking Good!

 

Since the 910 is a longer telescope hopefully the longer rack tube doesn't interfere with the light cone of the R-63


  • LukaszLu likes this

#24 LukaszLu

LukaszLu

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 722
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 10 September 2021 - 05:38 AM

I've tried to draw it. It seems that even with eyepieces using a full 0.965 '' barrel diameter, such as the Unitron's Monochro 40, this slightly longer sleeve is still at the edge of the light cone, unless you use diagonal which moves the whole structure towards the objective. Maybe I will cut the sleeve one day :-)

Attached Thumbnails

  • RAO R-63 light cone.png

Edited by LukaszLu, 10 September 2021 - 06:50 AM.

  • Kasmos likes this

#25 Star.Monger

Star.Monger

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 233
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2012
  • Loc: Maine

Posted 10 September 2021 - 08:03 AM

Love these RA eq mounts!  


  • LukaszLu likes 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