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Everything posted by Piero

  1. Why didn't you attach the wheelbarrow handles to the rocker box directly, instead of using an intermediate structure?
  2. Yeah, using a router for the first time is a kind of experience! Wood snow as you said and wild noise!
  3. No problem I checked Berlebach website. Mine is this one: https://www.berlebach.de/en/?bereich=details&id=242 With the extras: * Double Cable Clamps UNI (this is nice for extra safety, but I don't think it is needed - for my set up at least) * colour: Natural (the nutwood brown looks lovely too.. ) * Thread: 3/8" but I asked them to make the bolt protruding 15mm (done free of charge) * leg spread stop: Not the optional one, but I asked them to install this instead: https://www.berlebach.de/en/?bereich=details&id=170 My tripod was ordered directly from them. They are nice guys, excellent customer service, and they accept customisation. My UNI is rock solid with the Tak-100DF (which is a light refractor) but I don't think it would have any stability issue with 120mm diameter refractors. A guy on CloudyNights uses this same tripod with his TEC140 and he's happy with it. He also uses an AOK AYO II giro mount like mine. With that size, I think one is a bit in between this tripod and a Berlebach Planet. TeleVue refractors can be a bit heavier than Tak ones. If I had a Tele Vue 102, I would go for a UNI for stability. Reports are nice and would do the job, although some vibration damping should be expected. All is a compromise really... less stiff => more vibration, but less stiff can also mean lighter, therefore more portable and ideal for quick observations.
  4. Yes, my berlebach UNI19 has an extension column and works really well. In the UNI, the central column can be locked. I would also suggest to get the leg spreader (no innuendo was meant!). Berlebach can do it for you. They might install this slightly lower if you get a tripod with a central column, but this won't affect its stability. These are great tripods.
  5. Also my telegizmo didn't cost anywhere near 200 pounds, but it is massive for your telescope...
  6. In the end I decided to get plywood panels from https://www.slhardwoods.co.uk/ . Great customer service and very good sample. For the time being, one B/BB board (12mm thickness, 9 plies) and one BB/BB board (15mm thickness, 11 plies). I will glue boards to get more thickness for the rocker box. My order from Randy (Astrosystems) should arrive soon and truss attachments are already ready. So, it should not take me much time to make the UTA. Thank you, everyone, for your advice
  7. I've often wondered whether the hyperflex zoom is a clone of the Nikon zoom MC2. I have the MC1 version, which is 21-9mm and unbarlowed, it performs slightly better than the Vixen SLV I had, which to my eye, were on par with TV Delos, apart from fov and colour tone. For the latter, I preferred the SLV. A combo that I found to work really well is: low power / large fov ep, zoom, Barlow. I regularly use two of these combos: 1) 2" combo: 30mm APM UFF, Zeiss zoom 20-75x, Baader VIP Barlow 2) 1.25" combo: 24mm TV panoptic, Nikon MC1 13-30x, Baader Barlow 2.25x A good quality zoom can replace many eyepieces.
  8. Sad news. I have three of them and they are outstanding on both planets and double stars. They are also terrific for white light solar observing, although I do not remember the last time I observed a spot due to the low solar activity in these years. It is also a shame that they did not make a 5mm model. As far as I read, the design cannot be scaled to that focal length. In a desperate need for a 5mm, some time ago I bought a Fujiyama 5mm HD ortho. Clearly not as comfortable as the Vixen HR, but to my surprise I do not have any issue with its rather tight eye relief (I observe without spectacles). I might have been very lucky with its optics because the eyepiece looks like on par with the HR trio I have, in terms of sharpness, snap focus, and neutral colour tone. It has been delivering some great views of Jupiter, despite the low altitude of this planet in these years.
  9. How many plies does your Marine and Birch plywood have?
  10. Thank you all guys, really helpful feedback. I will check out Jewsons and Travis Perkins as you suggested, now that the mirror cell for this 16" dob is completed. My plan is to have a wall thickness of 12mm or 15mm for both the UTA rings and mirror box. For an f4, I could probably go for 18mm and make it hyper sturdy! Kriege advises 5/8”, which is almost 16mm anyway.
  11. I'll check. Thanks for the info.
  12. I will need thicknesses of 1/2" and 1". So far, I found this source: https://www.slhardwoods.co.uk/
  13. making a telescope, of course
  14. Do you have any recommendations for a reliable supplier of high quality hardwood hardcore plywood in the UK (preferably)? Thanks
  15. Hi Mark, apart from losing ~1 mm in aperture, it seems that the mirror almost touches the internal walls of your mirror box. Even if it does not, I feel there is not enough distance to guarantee adequate air circulation around the mirror. The internal dimensions of the mirror box should be 1 inch larger on each side at least. Also, the baffle ring structure seems to be almost the size of the mirror. This can potentially cause warm air coming from the mirror to move right on the light path. A larger mirror box can allow you to build a more adequate lateral support than three strong side pins - which can easily cause a large amount of astigmatism particularly on a large mirror like yours. I've been there on my 12" and it was a nightmare.. I don't want to sound over-critical or dismissive, but I would re-do the mirror box if I were you. A bit time consuming, yes, but less time (and energy) consuming than having to redo the mirror box, rocker box, revise the tubes, revise the telescope balancing etc later.
  16. Regarding the giro mount, a few people enjoy attaching a second telescope on the other arm. Personally, I've tried that combination but it never allowed me to align the two telescopes properly so that they could be used at hight power. I do use the other arm to hold a finder though. This works very well also because it reduces weight on the focuser side of the main telescope. It also improves the balancing of the giro mount, even though the ayo2 is not really affected by the weight of the tak-100. With the finder, I can often leave a high power eyepiece (e.g. one of the Vixen HRs) and observe at high mag straight away. This is useful when observing tight double stars.
  17. Time to time berlebach tripods appear in the classified, but I've never seen one with the central column. Another advantage of the central column if you observe sitting, is that there is no need to regulate the chair height, just the central column. If standing, it means no sore back or neck due to awkward positions.
  18. It is a great tripod in my opinion. I recommend to add the leg spreader. Berlebach can assemble this for you if you ask. I am very happy with it.
  19. Thanks for your feedback, Gerry. And yes I agree. To do so, I would have had to sand it first, which was even more work. On the other hand, I recently built a wood panel to cover the opening on the lower part of the mirror box. This mod has given positive results, although there is still a bit of boundary layer that can be blown away. For this I will study the use of a fan gently blowing on top of the mirror surface. Anyway, because the opening is semi-permanently closed, I painted this wood bar instead. Therefore the is no chance to get stray light from the rocker box. And to be thoroughly, I would have preferred to stain and varnish the telescope rather than using lacquer on the outside. This would have required sanding the whole telescope enough so that the previous coat given by David did not interact with the stain and varnish.. I didn't want to risk, so I simply apply 4 coats of the same products. All in all, another bit of leaning curve for my future project if it will ever come up to life! -------- The wood bar. It's light and attaches with 4 velcro stripes. Two side openings allow some air flow. After lacquer and painting:
  20. Thank you! It is getting there! The positive thing of all this process is a good learning curve. There are a few things I would like to build..
  21. Just returned from a session outside. Venus was superb, the best view I ever had. Faint white - grey patches were visible between 250x and 400x. Really good view! I then moved to the classic open cluster in Auriga, Gemini, Cancer, and eventually ended up to the bright galaxies in Leo. The new black paint certainly makes a difference. On Venus I believe the top of the mirror box now painted black also increased contrast, as the sky appeared noticeably darker than usual. Looking forward to use the new light shroud, which landed in Heathrow airport this morning!
  22. Mounted! Just re-collimated the focuser and secondary. Therefore, I collimated the focuser and primary axial alignments and now it's ready! Here are a few photos after painting:
  23. This past weekend I took care of the telescope coatings. Certain parts were minimally coated, whereas others (e.g. UTA, wheelbarrow handles) didn't seem to be coated at all. Also, the internal was gray / black. After ordering the same products used by David from Rustins, I applied 4 coats of clear lacquer to the outside and 4 coats of matt black to the inside. Now the telescope looks so robust and protected from any kind of humidity! The parts in the light path are really black now. Also, before doing this work I removed the "button" screws used for attaching the light shroud to the UTA and mirror box. So many! Once removed the holes were all filled and the sanded. This was done a couple of weeks ago. I also removed the usual label that is attached to the UTA as the specs were wrong. in addition, I attached 4 X 2mm felt pads to each wheelbarrow handles so that there is a small gap between these and the rockerbox. This should have been done a long time ago, but for a reason or another I always forgot . Anyway, there are two advantages with this little mod: 1) the wood does not touch, therefore no scratches, cracks noises, etc; and 2) if the telescope is left out overnight or during a week of clear sky (I use a telegizmo cover when this happens), this gap allows the wet surfaces to dry properly. I also decided to apply the matt black on top of the mirror box, to optimise contrast by reducing any stray lights or reflections. Will post a photo later! Finally, Rob Teeter let me know that the Heather completed and just dispatched my new light shroud! It will arrive soon, hopefully. This evening I will put back the primary mirror and re-collimate the telescope. Very happy with the results. Now I am confident that the telescope can really last for several years! The first two external coats (..the UTA looked already so different!):
  24. Congratulations John! I tried it with the Tak tonight, but was only able to see an elongated shape with no clear split. This was at 215x and 308x. However, I managed to split Iota Leonis at 308x. It is a nice yellow-white pair with magnitudes of 4 and 11, respectively. The companion chases the main star very closely as the latter advances towards the eyepiece field stop.
  25. In my Dobson 200mm F6, I never felt the need to have a magnification between 50x and 100x. Something in between like a 75x? What can that show that the other two magnifications don't? I don't see an use case, except from collecting one more eyepiece. 50x is a good low power, 100x is a good medium power. Add a 200x as high power and you are done. These jumps will show different views, worth swapping eyepieces during a session. P.s. the same approach can be used for larger telescopes. In this case though, the medium power will have a higher magnification, and the high power will be subjected to seeing conditions. As Don suggested previously, I also think that eyepieces should be chosen and bought considering the exit pupil, rather than the mere magnification. Ideally, something like the following works well: * 4-5mm exit pupil for low power * around 2mm for medium power * 1mm for high power * 0.7mm for very high power depending on seeing and telescope.
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