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Thread: Build a Telescope

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Northville, MI
    Posts
    507

    Build a Telescope

    Anyone here ever build one? I saw an article in one of workshop magazines where it mentions a guy making telescopes. It got me thinking about my childhood interest of the sky and how I always wanted a scope, If it weren't too involved, time and money, I wouldn't mind making a go at building one.
    Jim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    810
    I've not built one, but a few years ago I studied quite extensively on it and went so far as to purchase the mirror set and sono-tube for building a reflector telescope (then I was called back to work and had no time to actually do the construction... ). I don't think that the materials cost will be too high, other than the mirror set, as you can use sono-tube for the barrel and wood scraps for the frame that supports the tube. As I recall the difficult part is the alignment and making sure that the focal length is correctly set.

    That's my minimal experience so far.

    cheers eh?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Sarasota FL
    Posts
    39
    check for local astronomy clubs . we happened upon one set up outside the local muesem once . a lot of then had home made ones

    to much light pollution around here for one to be practical

  4. #4
    Skip, from what I hear and read, it seems that observatories on top of peoples homes in Florida are becoming the next big thing. I am not sure what the resale value of a house with one of those things would be, but they said it takes a lot of work to make the observatory absolutely stable. That is, a lot of extra framing, labor and materials.

    I would never build one, but the idea did interest me. My house is located on top of a hill, and in the winter with the leaves off the trees, and its a clear day, I can see the snow capped mountains of what is known as the Rumford Highlands, which is about 100 plus miles away. I guess I got the place to build one should ever I choose too!
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Villa Park, CA
    Posts
    1,407
    I built a six inch reflector many years ago. Ground the mirror myself. I wouldn't recommend grinding your own mirror today - the prices on mirrors have really come down, and the learning curve to grind your own is steep - your first mirror is never flawless.

    That said, if you decide to build your own from purchased parts, go with an eight inch mirror (it's sort of the same as the argument about a six inch or eight inch jointer).

    Once you build the telescope, you then need a mounting, and a tracking device. All told, it can be expensive.

    My problem after building my telescope was that I was much more interested in building the telescope than in using it. I found looking at the sky fairly boring.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    37 5'16.25"N 7625'28.11"W
    Posts
    193
    Jim,

    I looked into it myself a while ago but never did build one. The build seems very basic and could probubly be made from scraps around the shop. The optics are the main cost here. Some folks actually make their own mirrors, but I don't think I'd attempt it Here's a link to plans for a Dodson telescope that I had bookmarked.

    http://members.shaw.ca/srgeorge/telescope/telescope.pdf

    Mike

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