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Showing content with the highest reputation since 15/09/19 in Blog Entries

  1. 2 points
    Been working on the handset today and I think I'm almost ready to get the parts printed- exciting!
  2. 2 points
    Working on the motor mount this evening- needs a bit more work but the general idea's there. I'm going to use a magnetic coupling and am thinking to make it quick release so I can take it off if I don't want to use it.
  3. 2 points
    Hello there!! Yeah, its been a while since my last blog post. Work and family life have been unbelievably busy these past months – added to that the summer nights being short, things on the astro front have taken a bit of a hiatus. However, the nights are slowly drawing in now, and following our recent holiday to Cornwall I am slowly getting more time to get out under the stars! A couple of weeks ago, we took a family holiday to Cornwall. We stayed on a working farm, on the edge of Bodmin Moor. I had done some homework, and the farm had Bortle 4 skies, compared to my 6 at home in Derby!! I was looking forward to seeing some proper skies! The first few days, while warm and sunny, moved to cloud in the evenings. However, I got my chance on the Wednesday evening – clear skies from horizon to horizon! I waited for the sky to become fully dark, and went out into the little garden we had the use of at about 10:30pm. I was lucky – the farm didn’t have any floodlighting, and the only light was a security lamp on the farmhouse. I was well hidden from it anyway in the garden. I wasn’t able to take my 150pl with me (too big!!), but took my Celestron 20x80’s along. After my eyes became adjusted, I was rewarded with one of the clearest and brightest skies I had seen since my days living in rural North Norfolk! The Milky way was a bright band across the sky, with Saturn nestled in it toward the horizon, and so many stars I had trouble making out the constellations! M31 was bright and clear, and Double Cluster was amazing. I spent a good half hour just sweeping my bins along the star clouds of the Milkyway. It was then I decided to go and get my camera, and try and my hand at some basic AP. I set up my tripod and Canon 400D, set the ISO to 1600 and opened the lens to f2.8, and pointed it at Casseopia with a 30 second exposure (couldn’t do any longer than that as I had forgotten my cable release!). The image came back and even on the LCD I could see I had captured a lot of detail! I took a few more, and the results are below. Did some basic editing in CS-5 – just tried to make the detail stand out a little more. Am quiet happy with them – only 30 sec exposures! The lack of LP was a real bonus!! This has ignited my desire to take the AP further. Nothing like getting an expensive mount (yet!), but I plan to get the dual enhanced motors for my EQ3-2 and attach my camera to that. Hopefully I can get at least a couple of minutes exposures at moderate focal length. I only have a 17-55mm lens, but is the f2.8 version. I have also looked into getting an adaptor so I can attach older FD lenses to the 400D. There are some real bargains on Ebay for 135mm / 200mm and 300mm FD lenses. I will do a separate review of the place we stayed – it really is perfect if you are looking for base to explore Cornwall and Devon ,and also want dark skies at night!! Thanks for reading, and hopefully, it won’t be 6 months before I post again!! Cheers
  4. 1 point
    24C2AE88-8FBD-47E7-BD34-716FB9018988.MOV Managed to square up the waveform for the step at the expense of halving it’s max frequency But I’ve changed the driver board for the version that actually has half step input so my new max speed is about 3sec/rev which looks ok I think. It’s slmost working how I want it but I need to figure out how to shape the response as it’s too long in the very slow movement then suddenly shoots off into high speed- not sure why as the step times should be linear from the pot Needs some thought Mark (Hopefully the video will load better this time with different codec)
  5. 1 point
    Hi all, Thanks for dropping into my blog – I have had over 9000 views in total now, which is incredible, so thanks all! As you will know if you have read the previous posts (dating back 4 years or so), I have very slowly been pulling together various bit and pieces of astro gear. Currently I have the following: Skywatcher EQ3-2 mount (white, non-motorised) – second hand for £90 off ABS Skywatcher 150PL OTA – new from RVO for about £180 25mm, 10mm eyepieces and 2 x Barlow (came with scope) Cheshire collimating device – new from RVO for £25 Celestron 20x80 bins – new from RVO for £99 Old Dell Laptop – Downloaded all the free software I can find for it. Free – old works one that wasn’t wanted. CMy trusty Canon 400D with EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 A dodgy old Webcam – this has been duly butchered and adapted to allow me to slot into the focuser. From the above, all but the Canon have been procured over the past 4 years, and only the OTA and Bins where purchased new. Going forward, anything I buy I will note how much I have spent. So, I have set myself a personal challenge!! I want to try and show AP can be done on a small modest set up like this! Up till now, its been purely visual that I have been doing. However, alongside that I have decided to dip my toe into AP. My interest was piqued while on holiday in Cornwall a few weeks back. I took some very basic (and out of focus!) shots of the Milkyway, and was impressed with what detail a single 30 sec exposure teased out. Now, general wisdom states that to get into AP, one needs to start with a decent, solid mount such as the HEQ5. I’m not one to argue with wisdom, but I don’t have the funds for big mount right now, nor for any guiding stuff to make things easier, or even a dedicated astro-cam! So, I have decided to see what can be done on a real budget with the kit that I currently have. The only addition I intend to make is to add the Dual Enhanced motors to the mount. I'm getting these for my Birthday at the start of October! Over the coming months, this blog will highlight the ups and downs of my journey. The aim is to start simple, and work upwards as my skills and patience get better!! I have also discovered the 'Imaging with the EQ3 mount' thread here on SGL, so that will be a good guide as well. I intend to try widefield to start with – using my DSLR directly connected to the EQ mount. I also am going to attempt to use the webcam for Lunar and some Planetary photography. Moving on, I may even try some AP with the Canon attached to the 150PL – but lets walk first eh?! I am also planning some DIY on the scope and mount, and will do my best to document this as well. First job is some ring rotator’s, and that will be in the next post! I hope you drop in and see how I am getting on!
  6. 1 point
    After tinkering with the smaller K40 we decided it wasn't quite up to our needs and decided a small upgrade would be more beneficial in the long run. A 12 hour drive and overnight stay in the Lake District later and we arrived back home with a larger 50W machine, a second hand 80W CO2 tube and upgraded power supply. The 80w upgrade will have to wait as we want this machine cutting asap. It's all set up and running now, but waiting on some extras to make the process a little healthier and cleaner. New extraction system (a bouncy castle blower), a water chiller, new focus lens, and a load of stock is due to arrive (3mm plywood, mdf and slate coasters) Took a while to get aligned, but is cutting 4mm MDF in one pass now so happy with that. Once this is up and running fully I can concentrate my efforts on finishing up the CNC build.
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