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ALIEN NEIL

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About ALIEN NEIL

  • Rank
    Nebula

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  • Location
    Somerset
  1. ALIEN NEIL

    Alien Neils Observatory Pics

  2. Hello, On this bleak and windy day, I thought I would share with people a design and make project I did over the Christmas Break last year (2017). One of my Telescopes is a Sky-Watcher Esprit 100ED Pro, the stock focuser is a 3” Rack & Pinion focuser with a 11:1 fine focuser and I find is a very good focuser. I wanted to motorise the focuser, but after much searching around could not find a reasonably priced option, so decided to design and build my own. I did have to remove the single speed focuser Knob to measure the shaft, which on mine was Diameter 6mm. I decided to purchase the Sky-Watcher Auto focuser along with the HitecAstro DC Focus control unit from FLO, all I then needed to do was come up with some way of attaching it to the Esprit Focuser. After some careful measuring and partial strip down of the focuser I drew up a plan and a 3d computer generated model. The tools I used were: Vernier Calliper Steel Rule Engineers Square Hacksaw Metal work Scriber Metal File’s Hand Held Electric Drill Dia 3.2mm Drill for M4 tapped holes in Aluminium bracket Dia 5.0mm Drill M4x0.7mm Tap Set The Materials Used were: 200mm length of Unequal Aluminium Angle from a company called “CLICKMETAL” – Cost £19.33 Pulleys and Fixings from a company called “MOTIONCO”– Cost £33.49 Sourcingmap 6mm to 8mm Bore Brass Robot Motor Wheel Coupling from Amazon, to connect to focuser shaft. – Cost £2.94 HiTechAstro DC Focus control unit, from FLO – Cost £69.00 Sky-Watcher Auto Focus Motor, from FLO – Cost £45.00 I had to remove the focuser Pinion Assembly from the focuser by removing the 4 outer most Cap screws, be careful though not to let the focuser draw tube slide out as this will end up with the ball bearings coming out of the race in the tube. I did not touch the 4 inner grub screws as these are a fine adjustment for the pinion meshing against the rack on the tube. I removed the single speed Knob off the focuser as I wanted to drive off the main shaft, not the fine focus. I then fixed the Brass Robot Motor Wheel Coupling to the focuser shaft, which I was able to tighten up the grub screw through the focuser Assembly casing. I then bolted the Pinion Assembly back onto the tube with the new Aluminium bracket on top with 4 off 30mm long cap head screws with washers from the fixing kit, I tightened them down a bit at a time until fairly tight and then adjusted the 4 inner screws to ensure correct contact with the rack. This took a fair bit of adjusting a bit at a time until I was happy there was no free play or it was too tight. I then attached the Skywatcher Auto focus Motor to the new bracket with 2 off 8mm cap head screws & washers from the fixing kit and added the smaller pulley to the motor shaft. I then attached the 8mm Stainless steel shaft to the Brass coupler and slid the larger pulley onto it to line up with the smaller pulley, the shaft was then marked, then trimmed flush with the pulley. With it all fixed in place I loosened the 2 off screws holding the motor to the new bracket, added the belt and pushed the motor up to tension the belt as the Motor bracket is slotted. The only alteration I had to make was to cut a small slot in the Aluminium bracket for the focuser lock lever. Although it is not a stepper motor, I find it is sufficient for focusing whilst in the Observatory from the comfort of the warm room & the HitecAstro controller does also allow override with the “IN & OUT” buttons if you are stood alongside the telescope. If I want to use the focuser without the motor I just loosen the 2 screws to the motor and slip off the belt. The only thing I have to go careful with is that I don’t run the focuser to its stops as this won’t do the motor any good as I found out, although it only broke the bond on one of the motors internal gears to its main shaft, (easily fixed with superglue). As I had all the tools, the only costs were the materials which focuser came to £169.76 If anyone wants to use my plans to make their own, please do so, but do check the measurements as I believe they can vary dependant on the age of your scope and you do so at your own risk as I cannot accept any responsibility if it goes wrong for you. Alien Neil
  3. ALIEN NEIL

    Alien Neils Images

    A few of my attempts at imaging.
  4. ALIEN NEIL

    LIGHT BOX

    Hello All, After much deliberation and research, I decided to make a light box instead of using an LED copy board. I made it out of 3mm Foam Board, used 3mm thick matt white Perspex for the diffuser and the light source was from an 8w Energy saving bayonet bulb, which I turn on about 30 seconds before I use the box. I had to make 2 different inserts to fit my telescopes – Sky-Watcher Esprit 100 ED PRO Triplet and a skywatcher Explorer 200p, the Esprit insert was quite simple but the 200p was a bit more complicated. I also made the back removable so I could change the light bulb. I did plan to take Images as I made it, but got carried away and finished it before I remembered, but I think you can get the general idea from the pictures below. I have tried out the light box this evening and it seems to work very well, when I drag out the levels it shows up the dust spots on my DSLR sensor and also the vingetting, so the final test will be when I can get out to take some real images. Although I have gone a different route from my initial question, I would like to thank you all for your advice, as it did help me make my mind up which way to go in the end. If anyone is interested, I have listed down the items I used to make it below & basically designed it as I went: - 1 10 off sheets White A3, 3mm thick Foam Board. 2 1 off sheet Matt White A3, 3mm thick Perspex. 3 1 0ff Ceiling Rose Batten Lamp Holder. 4 2m length rubber electrical cable & a 3-amp plug. 6 60w Hot Melt Glue Gun with Glue Sticks. The total cost for it all including the glue gun was under £40 from that well known online store with unlimited 1 day deliveries.
  5. ALIEN NEIL

    LIGHT BOX

    Ingenious, saves recycling the box as well
  6. ALIEN NEIL

    LIGHT BOX

    Hi Alan, Thanks for your response, the one I am looking at I am told is dimmmable by the variable current method, so I think I will go for that as it will mean avoiding an attempt at a DIY one. Many thanks for your help. Neil
  7. ALIEN NEIL

    LIGHT BOX

    Hello, I am looking to make a light box for a 4" Refractor, I have priced out the parts for one that I found on U-Tube which came to around £40. Since doing that I have found an AGPtek utra thin Light box LED copy board drawing pad tracing table with brightness control, on Amazon at around the same price, my question is would this sort of thing be suitable for taking flat frames if I just held it up against the telescope. Thanks Neil
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