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TheoP

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About TheoP

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    Vacuum

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  • Location
    Adelaide
  1. I have now made a new worm gear and worm with a 10×2 ACME threaded rod (10mm diameter with a 2mm pitch). I milled a few slots into a section of the ACME threaded rod to try and make a tap. It works quite well but this “ACME tap” cannot start the aluminium worm blank in the same way as the M10 thread would. This meant that I would have had to manually cut or saw the starter slots into the blank for the ACME thread to lock onto. It’s quite a bit more work with about 200 odd slots to cut! Eventually I got a M14 tap with a 2mm pitch and I started the worm with that until there were well defined teeth in the worm wheel. I then changed to my home made ACME tap and continued until the worm gear was done. A new ACME worm was then mounted on the guider with two pillow blocks that I used previously. The assembly is quite heavy but very solid. The tracker will be mounted on a Meade wedge at first until I make a more solid wedge out of a few steel plates. The orientation of the tracker’s RA shaft is 90 degrees different to the normal way of mounting it on the Meade wedge. Fortunately the Meade wedge can adjust far enough and I can reach the southern celestial pole with this unconventional configuration. I mounted a piece of angle iron onto the RA shaft and mounted two camera ball heads on it; one for the imaging DSLR and one for the webcam autoguider. To align the mount I use a green laser pointer that is mounted on a bracket that sits directly on the RA shaft. This allows me to to align the mount very accurately to the SCP. I was very pleasantly surprised with the stability of this new mount. There is almost no vibration or oscillations in the mount, even when touching the mount or adjusting the settings on the camera. It is reasonably heavy but it will also be able to carry quite a payload. At this stage I have only tested it with a DSLR but the next step will be to load it up with an Orion ED 80mm to see how it performs. Maybe it will take a 8″ SCT optical tube as well ….. Due to the very light suburban conditions I only took a few test photos to see how the tracking and autoguiding works on the new mount. The Omega Centauri image is a heavily cropped section of a photo taken with a Canon DSLR with a Canon EFS 55-250mm lens at 250mm and a single 2 minute exposure at f/5.6 and ISO-400. I am happy with the performance of the mount at this stage. The stars are mostly round but I can definately do better under dark skies when I will spend more time to get the alignment right. The stepper motor has a nice quiet hum and the worm and worm gear seems to hit it off quite well without binding. It all works quite smoothly. I must also mention that the autoguiding software from Stark Labs; PHD Guiding (http://www.stark-labs.com/phdguiding.html) works beautifully and I could focus on the imaging and let the software and webcam look after the tracking. I guess the next step is to take this new setup out to a dark spot under a clear sky and see what it can do. I can’t wait!
  2. I am in the process of designing and building an equatorial mount for tracking and guiding of a DSLR camera + lens and/or a small telescope (perhaps up to an 8" SCT optical tube). My iOptron Skytracker is great for shorter lenses and exposures but I cannot load it up too much before it runs out of steam. I want a tracker than can manage an 80mm refractor or up to an 8" SCT optical tube assembly without throwing its toys out of the cot. I know I can go out and buy an EQ6 but where is the fun in that? I don’ have a final design yet, it's a work in progress but you might find something of interest. I have built and tested a few versions already and assembled the electronics for a basic RA tracking mount using a stepper motor drive that uses an Arduino to control the stepper motor. I have also implemented autoguider functionality on the RA axis that is working quite well. All details are available on my blog. I am machining my own worm gears and worms as well and it’s a "journey of discovery". I am busy on my third iteration of the mechanical design and I am now trying to cut a new 130mm worm (~204 teeth) gear pair with an ACME thread. I have used M10 stainless steel threaded rod before but have found that it is important not to cut the M10 thread too deep into the aluminium worm gear disk. It causes the M10 worm to bind very easily when the worm/gear assembly alignment is not absolutely perfect. I am now trying out a 10×2 mild steel threaded rod with an ACME thread (10mm diameter with a 2mm pitch). The ACME thread is much more suitable for a worm gear than the M10 type thread. You are welcome to take a look at my progress at https://starsinphotos.wordpress.com/ Advice and comments will be appreciated. Cheers Theo
  3. I am in the process of designing / building a mount for tracking and guiding of DSLR cameras and a small telescopes (perhaps up to an 8" SCT optical tube). I dont have a final design, it's a work in progress but you might find something of interest. I have built and tested the electronics for a basic RA tracking mount for a stepper motor drive including the Arduino code. I am to machining my own worm gear and worms as well and its a "journey of discovey". I am now busy with my third iteration of the mechanical design and am trying to cut a new 130mm worm gear pair with an ACME thread. I have used M10 stainless steel threaded rod before. You are welcome to take a look at https://starsinphotos.wordpress.com Good luck
  4. Thanks for your comments. Ivo, I will look into it, my version cannot be updayted but I will get the latest one if it will help me focus. Btw, what is a Jaffa-cake?
  5. This image of the Carina nebula was taken with my modified Canon 350D. The 350D camera is now quite an old model and it is not supported by the latest Windows operating systems. This means that I have to use old software to assist me with the focussing of images such as this. For this image I used Astro Photography Tool (APT) version 1.93 (www.astroplace.net). I am quite happy with the performance of the 350D. It now outperforms my 600D for astrophotography, especially when deep space objects is imaged. The only problem is that the 350D does not have a live view option and that makes focussing very difficult. The image above was created with 17 subs of 30 seconds each with five darks. I obviously used the modded 350D and a Canon EF-S 55-250mm lens at 250mm, f/5.6 at ISO 800. I tracked the sky with iOptron SkyTracker on a Meade tripod. The full resolution image is available at http://astrob.in/74776/0/ Theo Meade 2080 8" SCT Orion EON Apochromatic ED 80mm Refractor Canon 600D, Canon 350D (Baader ACF2) Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Canon 60mm f/2.8 (macro), Canon EFS 18-135mm, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 Home built tracker iOptron SkyTracker Lots of coffee http://starsinphotos.wordpress.com/
  6. Hi All, I hope this project is still alive and well. A very interestinfg read! I built the Audine camera more than a decade ago. It worked well but the windows and laptop environment has changed so much that it is very hard to keep on using it. I am keen to build another CCD or CMOS camera... Theo Meade 2080 8" SCT Orion EON Apochromatic ED 80mm Refractor Canon 600D, Canon 350D (Baader ACF2) Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Canon 60mm f/2.8 (macro), Canon EFS 18-135mm, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 Home built tracker iOptron SkyTracker Lots of coffee http://starsinphotos.wordpress.com/
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