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Premium Solid Tube Dobsonians

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#1 John O'Hara

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 10:04 PM

With Rob Teeter going on hiatus, I've been wondering if anyone out there still makes premium solid tube Dobs?  I'm thinking in the 8" to 10" aperture range.

 

Thanks,
John



#2 George N

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 10:46 PM

Normand Fullum has said in a recent You-tube interview that he will still make his 'small' wood telescopes - and they are listed at the bottom of the 'telescope' link on his web page. I would imagine that they ain't cheap (He just raised the prices on his large mirrors 20%) and would take a while. They look so good I'd be afraid to take one out to observe with -- but I've seen a number of them out in the dew at Stellafane.

 

Link: https://www.optiques...com/telescopes/


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#3 John O'Hara

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 06:46 AM

Thanks, George.  I looked at the web site and I'd be afraid to take on of those beauties out myself!  It would be nice if someone still made solid tube scopes from 8 to 10 inches aperture with something more than a sonotube, and that had premium mirrors and silky motions.  I imagine that the Normand Fullum telescopes would be quite heavy, and I'd be afraid of scratching such a beauty in transport.  However, his web page makes for some enjoyable browsing.


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#4 Kutno

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 06:59 AM

With Rob Teeter going on hiatus, I've been wondering if anyone out there still makes premium solid tube Dobs?  I'm thinking in the 8" to 10" aperture range.

 

Thanks,
John

None of Rob's "In-Stock" productions meet your needs? 



#5 helpwanted

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 08:09 AM

None of Rob's "In-Stock" productions meet your needs? 

 

None of those are in stock, none are made yet. I emailed Rob and those are what he plans to make in 2022, nothing is in stock on the shelf. 

 

I agree with the OP, we need someone that makes high end reflectors to "step down" to the 8" to 12" size... Even Obsession is only making 15" Ultra Lights, no classics even though they are on the webpage as well. 

 

I've said it before, when a manufacture of high end mirrors starts making "plug & play" replacement mirrors for Orion Telescopes, they will make millions! Think of how many Orion xx12i or xx14i or (on and on) are out there, those are the buyers wanting to upgrade their mirrors. 


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#6 George N

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 10:43 AM

Thanks, George.  I looked at the web site and I'd be afraid to take on of those beauties out myself!  It would be nice if someone still made solid tube scopes from 8 to 10 inches aperture with something more than a sonotube, and that had premium mirrors and silky motions.  I imagine that the Normand Fullum telescopes would be quite heavy, and I'd be afraid of scratching such a beauty in transport.  However, his web page makes for some enjoyable browsing.

I've never looked thru one of Normand's 'fancy wood' telescopes - however, I have seen about 20 over the years at Stellafane - since the "early days" when he was an ATM and his scopes & optics won all the 1st prizes at Stellafane. As recently as 2019 he had two ( 6 and 8 inchers I think ) on display on Breezy Hill - and used for observing - but of course as a 'pro' he can't enter them in the ATM contest. So far - I've only seen one of these come up for sale 'used' - so I guess the owners are very happy with them.

 

I would be happy to leave an 8 or 10 inch Fullum Woodie at my Adirondack Camp - as both a fine telescope to observe with ( SQM = 21.7 ) -- and a beautiful "display" - or even work of art.


Edited by George N, 23 September 2021 - 11:02 AM.


#7 George N

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 11:01 AM

None of those are in stock, none are made yet. I emailed Rob and those are what he plans to make in 2022, nothing is in stock on the shelf. 

 

I agree with the OP, we need someone that makes high end reflectors to "step down" to the 8" to 12" size... Even Obsession is only making 15" Ultra Lights, no classics even though they are on the webpage as well. 

 

I've said it before, when a manufacture of high end mirrors starts making "plug & play" replacement mirrors for Orion Telescopes, they will make millions! Think of how many Orion xx12i or xx14i or (on and on) are out there, those are the buyers wanting to upgrade their mirrors. 

Ryan Goodson of New Moon Telescopes sort of 'started out' (beyond being an ATM making personal telescopes) building Classic Truss Dobs around the optics and mechanicals of friends 10 and 12 incher Orion, ect, Dobs and too-heavy Newt-on-a-GEM scopes. These folks were happy with their optics - but not the mass and set-up time. None of these were solid tube.

 

He also made a few "tiny" 8-inch F/4 Dobs ( Classic-style truss tube design ). For a while "Mrs New Moon" was using one as "her telescope". Over time all got sold - mostly to friends. Considering his "overload" of orders for 'bigger than 20" telescopes I doubt you will see anything smaller than a 12.5 come from NMT.

 

Interestingly - the current Nov issue of S&T notes that -- "Chinese Commercial" mirrors are mostly quarter-wave or better today. I've used one Dob with an excellent GSO 12.5" F/5, and met a few people claiming theirs is very good. I've personally been more 'unhappy' with the weight, long-term reliability (particle board mount parts???), and especially the physical movements - of the various modern 'commercial Dobs' (spoiled perhaps as a 18 year owner of an Obsession 20 "buttery smooth" Dob with no stiction and one-finger tracking).

 

Perhaps there'll be a "new hobby" out there - re-figuring commercial Newt mirrors and making carbon-fiber tubes for 6 to 12 inchers!  cool.gif


Edited by George N, 23 September 2021 - 11:07 AM.

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#8 ckwastro

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 11:04 AM

I think Parallax is still making solid tubes. At least their website is still up, but these aren’t cheap either. Joe will probably make whatever you want. 
 

http://www.parallaxi.../newtonian.html

 

Price list:

 

http://www.parallaxi...#newtonianprice

 


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#9 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 11:53 AM

It might be easier to assemble your own from parts. I'm not so sure about tubes of good quality, but if you have the time, Zambuto will make an 8" mirror to your spec. 

 

Aurora precision makes nice cells. Secondary from Antares, parallax rings. . . maybe they'll sell tubes too.


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#10 Bill Jensen

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 12:15 PM

None of those are in stock, none are made yet. I emailed Rob and those are what he plans to make in 2022, nothing is in stock on the shelf. 

 

I agree with the OP, we need someone that makes high end reflectors to "step down" to the 8" to 12" size... Even Obsession is only making 15" Ultra Lights, no classics even though they are on the webpage as well. 

 

I've said it before, when a manufacture of high end mirrors starts making "plug & play" replacement mirrors for Orion Telescopes, they will make millions! Think of how many Orion xx12i or xx14i or (on and on) are out there, those are the buyers wanting to upgrade their mirrors. 

Carl Zambuto offered a trade in program years ago, offering to take in the Chinese mirrors on trade for a drop in Zambuto using the BK-7 substrate. I purchased a couple of the drop in mirrors, one that fit in a travel dob I had, the other into a Starmaster shorty structure. I think to do it correctly though, one owning a mass market dob would need to upgrade several things, including the cell, secondary, potentially the focuser. Not sure how many Carl sold but he didn't continue the experiment very long. 

 

I have one of Rob's 10 inch STS models, purchased in August 2020. Nice scope, and the chinese mirror in it is actually very good. Rob described it as a "killer" mirror- it performs very well.

 

I will probably end up selling it to step down to an 8 inch STS if I am fortunate to grab one of his last 8's next year. The 10 is just a tad heavy for me to carry on to my deck. I use a cart, but the step down/up to the outside deck gets a bit dicey. 

 

I guess in a pinch I could source a mirror, and if I wanted a tube, buy one from Hastings, the cell from Nate at Aurora, etc. 



#11 EJN

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 12:39 PM

Aurora precision makes nice cells. Secondary from Antares, parallax rings. . . maybe they'll sell tubes too.

 

The Aurora cell is $320 for an 8" dob. For an equatorially mounted 8" OTA, it's $810. To quote your user name, are you kidding me? I can make a cell for less that $50 in parts.

 

Parallax has no tubes in stock, I just asked them because I am looking for one, he said use Hastings.

 

Hasting wants $100 shipping, which is a deal-breaker for me.



#12 tboss70

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 12:51 PM

The shipping is high but considering the cost per ft, personally, I would pay for it. Only issue for me is I need a 14" OTA and they max out at 12". I had a quote here in Missouri for someone to roll a similar 14" tube but it was more expensive than Hastings prices, by a good amount. I also see Hastings does not poweder coat 'small' orders any longer. So that could be an additional cost.

 

When I 'ballparked' the pricing for a 12" DIY newtonian (mirror, cell, etc) I was coming close to the cost of a C14 OTA.



#13 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 12:54 PM

I bought the Aurora cell awhile ago. Yikes, their prices have gone crazy. For an 8" mirror, I would tend to agree that you can get away with something rudimentary that will work as well. I decided to go with the Auroroa cell because the mirror is a thin quartz Zambuto, and I couldn't stand the thought of putting it in an old cast cell with clips.

 

I have a Hastings tube. It works fine, but it is out of round and has several dents. I bought it along with most of the other parts to assemble my 8" F7. It's the one part I am thinking of upgrading, but despite looking like pretty terrible, it does work very well--cooling is pretty much a non-issue despite the uglyness.


Edited by areyoukiddingme, 23 September 2021 - 12:56 PM.

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#14 EJN

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 01:34 PM

What I ended up doing for my 8" dob was to buy an Orion 8" f/5 OTA used.

 

The Synta mirror was only average, I was able to get a GSO 8" f/5 mirror on sale from Agena, that turned out to be excellent. I did some tweaks on the cell, and mounted a fan pulled from a dead PC.

 

I felt the spider was too flimsy, so I replaced it with a homemade one.

 

The tube box and Dob mount are homemade, from birch plywood (note: not Baltic birch, but ordinary plywood with birch veneer).

 

 

While it might not be "premium" by some people's standards (single speed Crayford focuser, GSO mirror), in use it has proved premium enough for me.

 

 

IMO the best tube Dob ever was the Starmaster Oak Classic. Starsplitter made some nice tube Dobs also.

 

Both companies are long gone. IMO the only way now to get a premium tube Dob is to DIY.

 

 

8dob-p_f.jpg


Edited by EJN, 23 September 2021 - 01:45 PM.

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#15 helpwanted

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 01:38 PM

the only way to get a premium tube Dob is to DIY

 

that's a shame,

 

but nice looking scope! 



#16 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 02:29 PM

My plan is to turn my 8" Newt into a Dob at some point.

 

I like the look of the mounts from Astrogoods. Prices seem very fair too:

 

https://www.astrogoo....standard.shtml

 

There is also the Gerd Neumann tubes.

 

https://www.gerdneum...hard-paper.html



#17 YeloSub

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 08:49 PM

+1 for AstroGoods.com. Chinese solid tube with premium motion and controls. Upgrade your focuser and mirrors as desired. You will still be under a true premium dob price by a large margin.

Kind of a poor man's premium solid tube dob.

Edited by YeloSub, 25 September 2021 - 08:58 PM.


#18 FoxIslandHiker

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 10:24 PM

Interestingly - the current Nov issue of S&T notes that -- "Chinese Commercial" mirrors are mostly quarter-wave or better today.cool.gif

Is that good?



#19 MER

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 10:46 PM

Orion Optics UK makes what they call an Ultra Newtonian 10" f6. I bought the OTA from them in them in the UK.

Their Ultras have very good optics. I love mine! The tube is sandwiched carbon fiber

Once the OTA arrived here I have a custom dob mount made for it by

mark at Astro Goods

 

Some people love OOUK and some do not. I bought my OTA arrived about 4 month ago and it is an awesome scope!


Edited by MER, 26 September 2021 - 04:14 PM.

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#20 galaxyman

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 10:55 PM

Orion Optics UK makes what they call an Ultra Newtonian 10" f6. I bought the OTA from them in them in the UK.

There Ultras have very good optics. I love mine! The tube is sandwiched carbon fiber

Once the OTA arrived here I have a custom dob mount made for it from Astro Goods

 

Some people love OOUK and some do not. I bought my OTA arrived about 4 month ago and it is an awesome scope!

I have their VX 12" f/4 dob, and love it. Excellent optics in this scope. 

 
Karl
E.O.H.


Chesmont Astronomical Society - www.chesmontastro.org
Galaxy Log - www.youtube.com/user/GalaxyLog4565
The Astro Observers -https://www.youtube....K_PScnqVdnrcQHw
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Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
Orion UK 12" f/4 Dob
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High Point GSO 6" f/5 newt.
Sky-Watcher 4.7” f/7.5 ED APO refractor
E.S. FirstLight 102mm f/6.47 refractor.
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#21 25585

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 01:40 AM

Orion Optics UK makes what they call an Ultra Newtonian 10" f6. I bought the OTA from them in them in the UK.

There Ultras have very good optics. I love mine! The tube is sandwiched carbon fiber

Once the OTA arrived here I have a custom dob mount made for it from Astro Goods

 

Some people love OOUK and some do not. I bought my OTA arrived about 4 month ago and it is an awesome scope!

I have an OO UK 10" F6 in an aluminium tube with 1/10 mirror, my most used Dob. Its a great general purpose scope, sorta big brother to my 8" F6.


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#22 gwlee

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 10:38 AM

I haven’t been able to find one and don’t want to build one, so continuing to use and tinker with an inexpensive Synta dob. It’s much easier to scratch the premium itch with a refractor. 




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