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Why don't people make there own telescopes, is it really that hard?


Mark Harper.
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Hey all I'm new here and have been looking to upgrade my current telescope (Reflector) with a bigger one, I'd like a nice second hand 8" Dobsonian but am struggling to find one.

After stripping mine down to clean it then, Lol, finding it didn't work when I reasembled it, apparently it needs collimating, (I have bought one, just waiting on the postman now). I got to wondering, why don't I just make one, this thing looks simple enough, and it would likely be a lot cheaper than buying one??? So am I living in cuckoo land or is this possible???

Cheers Mark.

P.S. The moon pic isn't relevant, just thought I'd share it.... M. ; )

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As long as you have basic woodworking skills and can think in logical terms, I think making a dobsonian style telescope is quite easy. There are loads of plans and discussions on this in the Cloudy Nights forum or infact just google "Amateur Telescope Making" and alot on info is available.

I was going to build one, in fact I have been thinking about it for years, just never got round to it.

Let us know if you decide to.

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Ok, thanks for the info Mick, I'll have a look.

Now wood would be the most aestheticallypleasing to the eye but I was thinking more of the sorts of materials you see on telescopes you get in the shops, ie; metal, plastic.

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Hi Mark,

A warm welcome to EMS.

I think we have been led by the price, and also the quality of Chinese scopes and optics. If you cost in your time as labour, it's simply cheaper to buy one, knowing it will perform when you use it.

I admire anyone who can polish and figure a mirror, but I know I wouldn't fancy it.

Maybe keep your eye open for mirror sets and build one up from there.

Stargazers Lounge has a very good DIY section

http://stargazerslounge.com/diy-astronomer/

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Thanks Martin, yeah it was the "How to silver coat your mirror" and the this has to be re-done every 6-8 months that did it for me and as you said, I had already looked at buying a mirror set, but like most things, it's more expensive in kit form and time than just buying one....

One day maybe, when I have a LOT of time.... Cheers Mark.

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Its like alot of things these days Mark cheaper manufacturing has brought down prices so folks dont feel the need to make their own anymore. I made a 6" newtonian, ground the mirror and built the scope back in teh 70s when astro kit was very scarce and expensive, I then built a cassegrain with a ready made mirror kit for the same reson.

But now stuff is so cheap its not worth getting tennis elbow by grinding glass for hours and hours for most folks.

Theres still alot of ATM (amateur telescope makers) out there Sky & Telescope have a column for their ideas etc, tends to be alot about dobs cos they are so easy to build but there are a few interesting builds crop up occassionally.

I still go on teh basis of, if I can make the bit I will even if the bit I am after costs less to buy than to make sometimes, just because of the fun of making it and the satisfaction of using something that I have made, (thats if it works of course) ;)

Phil

Phil

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I doubt I would be building my 12" newt if I hadn't already acquired the mirrors first. That said it is fun building.

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You should see some of the big wooden dobs at star parties like Kelling Heath Mark. My favourite is Andrew's home made 24" dob - it's a work of art beautifully engineered and finished. Also - there's one or two very tasty David Lukehurst dobs from 18", 20", 22" and up - fabulous scopes they are. Plenty of "kit form" and "personal build" ones too. :)

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I did with my scope what I do with everything I won... Buy and enjoy! :P

I must admit, being able to build kit does sound appealing but I lack the skills and patience to do so. Credit to anybody who can do this.

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Here's a beauty that was at SGL6, made from a 12" SCT mirror by a chap called Carl, if Iam right. Performed fantastically,and didn't dew even in such a short housing.

Samsung027.jpg?t=1328043831

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Oh my god, I just typed an essay in reply to your comments and hit something that sent me back 2 pages and deleted the lot. D'oh!!!

In brief as much as I would like to build a wooden astronomical marvel, I also don't have the skills or the time, so was planning on a crued version of what I've already got all be it larger. Which is a 76/700 reflector from Jessops.

I don't mean to be tight, but astronomy isn't my main hobby/passion, photography is and it can be pretty expensive, so I'd like to upgrade my current scope but don't want to fork out several hundreds for something that will get used now and again. (when this damned cloud isn't here.) I do have a genuine fascination for all things up, clouds, stars planets, just ask my partner how many times ha, just this month I've said look there's Jupiter, look at that moon, etc etc.... I spend more time looking up than down. The only real bug bear I have around here for astronomy is the light pollution, which I've captured and made a feature of with my camera many times.

Anyway thanks for the replies and who know's I may bump into some of you at some point in the future at a meet. Cheers. Mark.

Here is a link to some of my pics;

http://www.flickr.co...s/maddogharper/

P.S. That thing looks awesome Martyn.

Her's a sight with a toy I like;
/>http://www.need-less.org.uk/#ukatnightsim

The night sky simulator.

Edited by MADDOGHARPER
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Thanks Martyn, I was looking at this one twice yesterday and the again the day before on my favourite telescope video, I'll put a link below and this would also probably be a nice video to be posted in the beginner section as it's pretty informative.... I did really like the look of that scope, but I feel I'd quite quickly out grow it, but it's a definate second favourite, the one I really fancy is the one before in the video, the 8" Dobsonian, I just feel I could grow with that one, you know what I mean???

I kind of like to buy the best I might be able to afford, that way it's cheaper in the long run.... I once heard a guy say, if you can't afford 2 tripods buy the descent one first, by this point I'd already bought my £40 tripod and within a month I'd found it really did have limitations and now I use a pro tripod at a little over £300 and that other one is still sat there gathering dust....

I feel I could easily fall into this trap here and would ideally like to try a couple before I really commit to one....

Thanks for the replies and the links. Mark.


/>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFJP1RguLXI&feature=g-hist&context=G278016aAHTyfnJwABAA

Edited by MADDOGHARPER
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Try before you buy is the best option, keep an eye out for one of our meets, nobody has an issue with you looking through theirs, then you get to try them out first, I had a queue forming at my scope last saturday night........

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As I mentioned I love photography, I've recently started trying my hand at a bit of astro photography but it's difficult shooting long exposures as the sky is constantly moving, I have a friend called Stuart Watt who recently posted a shot of over a minute, so I said, "how do you shoot a minute thirty and not get star trails"? He told me in reply that he used one of those GOTO mounts with his camera to track the stars, well this was it, that got me juiced up, I had wondered for a while if such a thing could exist and there it was!!! Awesome, got to get me one of those.... And that's what brought me here, there was nothing on ebay so I thought I'd scout the local forums, and after buggering up mine, I thought why not kill 2 birds with one stone in buying a nice new/used scope with a GOTO mount, in not finding one but coming across all these awesome shiny scopes you guys use, I became bitten by the bug and have been looking at some of those....

Are there any meets before that star party at the end of the year or is everyone just waiting for that? Cheers. M. ; )

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Possibly a small get together this Saturday at Sawley, weather dependant, keep your eyes open on the announcements, I don't know if it will be open to anyone or dark site members only.

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Meets happen as and when the weather dictates, normally at weekends due to work commitments. If this weekend is looking clear, keep an eye on the announcments section, it will be posted there.

Eddy just beat me to it - lol.

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I would suggest that you see if you can get down the next meeting at Sawley, and have a look at whats on offer and what may suit you.

Is that Sawley Marina way???

Try before you buy is the best option, keep an eye out for one of our meets, nobody has an issue with you looking through theirs, then you get to try them out first, I had a queue forming at my scope last saturday night........

Lol, I can imagine, some of those things are pretty expensive, I can imagine it getting quite annoying, I was just smiling imagining this long line that was just satisfied as day broke again and you didn't get a look yourself....

Fiver a look!!!

Could you not rig up some kind of camera to it conected to a computer, so they can see what you see, hence not needing to disturb you? M. ; )

Possibly a small get together this Saturday at Sawley, weather dependant, keep your eyes open on the announcements, I don't know if it will be open to anyone or dark site members only.

Meets happen as and when the weather dictates, normally at weekends due to work commitments. If this weekend is looking clear, keep an eye on the announcments section, it will be posted there.

Eddy just beat me to it - lol.

Ok, thanks guys. Is it Sawley Marina area?

How do you become a dark site member?

Edited by MADDOGHARPER
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Yes it's Warren Lane which is the road beside the Plank and Leggit Pub, follow that for about 750 yards and it's on the left behind a gate.

To become a member click on the subscription link but visit Sawley once before you pay just to be sure it's what you want.

http://www.eastmidla.../subscriptions/

Ok, thanks Mick.

I get my outboard serviced at Sawley Marina so it shouldn't be to hard to find.... Cheers. M.

I find it interesting that this is considered a dark area, is it really that dark there, being so close to Notts???

Edited by MADDOGHARPER
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No it's not really dark, Belper is much darker. It took us ages to find somewhere to meet, you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a suitable place. It's quite, safe and easy to get to. It's pretty dark, the milky way can just be seen, but the main thing is that it's big enough for us all to meet and thats whats important.

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