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Damo636

Heavy Duty DIY Parallelogram Mount

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Damo636    425

I thought i'd share a few pics of my recently constructed P-mount. When I acquired the 20x110 Helios Apollo, I had to come up with a mounting solution capable of comfortably supporting the 16lb instrument. I already have the Universal Astronomics Unimount Light for the 15x70, but with a 12lb rated capacity, it wasn't really an option for the bigger instrument. The Manfrotto tripod and fluid video head is workable (to a point), but a P-mount will always be my preferred method to observe. So, I had two options, the UA Millennium Mount at £600, or build my own. In all honesty, the Millennium mount, although very desirable, was never an option at the price! So, armed with a budget of £150 (ish), this is what I've came up with....

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The build is all aluminium with stainless steel nuts and bolts for high corrosion resistance. The main vertical mounting post, the shorter piece at the business end, & the section the counter balance shaft runs through are 50 mm square solid bar. The parallel arms are 50 x 25mm 10 swg box section & the mounting arm is 50mm wide x 10mm thick bar bent at 90°.

Overall I'm delighted with the end result. I wanted something that would support the big bino with plenty of capacity to spare for possible future upgrades. As a result of the size of the materials used, this build barely breaks a sweat at the 20x110. Best of all, the total cost to date is £153 and that includes the surveyors tripod I picked up used from Ebay :grin:

Edited by Damo636
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Bart    800

Damo

Great work! I'd love a p mount but couldn't attempt that. Fine skills there. Many happy hours ahead of you there, lovely.

Well done

Clear skies

How's that 12" doin' ?

Barry

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JamesF    7,682

That does look very hefty :)

Where the binocular mount is fixed to the end of the parallelogram, did you decide from the outset that two L brackets back-to-back would be sufficient, or was there a temptation to go for a pair of U-shaped brackets with a pin passing through the open ends to form a hinge?  I've been dithering over this myself and had been thinking that perhaps I should err on the side of over-engineering and go for the latter solution even though it might be more hassle.

James

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JamesF    7,682

Good call on the surveyor's tripod too, come to think of it.  The ones I've used have been very hefty and stable.

James

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Damo636    425

Cheers guys!

James

I had a few ideas in my mind on how to attach the mounting arm (inc the

U bracket approach) but having studied many designs on the net, decided the back to back L bracket was more than sufficient.

The tripod was a bit of an impulse buy on Ebay. I intend keeping the mount semi permanently attached to my home made pier, with a cover over when not in use. That way I can be set up & observing in about 2 minutes flat. The tripod was a bit of a bargain though, and will give me the option of observing away from home.

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Damo636    425

A few pics with the 15x70 beside the 20x110 to better show why the mount needed to be as beefy as it is.....

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JamesM    1,635

That looks like a terrific mount with some good materials and a design that for many probably isn't going to be difficult to copy. I like the idea that you have built in some additional capacity - always a useful feature.

Many thanks for posting

James

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Very nice looking mount. I see you have removed the need for rotating the entire parallelogram around the azimuth axis by having an azimuth axis close to the L-bracket. Does that not mean the arms of the parallelogram get in the way from time to time?

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Damo636    425

Thanks Michael!

Although the entire mount rotates in altitude/azimuth like any other, the bino can also be rotated independently through 180° azimuthly. This extra degree of motion lets me take in huge swathes of sky without the need to get up and reposition my chair as often. I can't take credit for the idea though, I copied it from a design I found on the net! The UA Unimount I have for the 15x70 has (what they call) the ultra swing hinge. Mine is basically a cruder version of it.

You are correct though, only approx 150-160° of this axis is usable (approx75-80° either side of straight ahead) as the lever arm will contact the parallel arm beyond this point (see pic). I could get around it easily enough by replacing the L bracket with a longer piece, extending the lever arm further away from the mounting post and clearing the parallel arms.

To be honest though, from experience with the Unimount, I would rarely sit in my recliner with my head turned more than 45° either way for any length of time, so the available 75-80° is more than enough.

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JamesF    7,682

Although the entire mount rotates in altitude/azimuth like any other, the bino can also be rotated independently through 180° azimuthly. This extra degree of motion lets me take in huge swathes of sky without the need to get up and reposition my chair as often. I can't take credit for the idea though, I copied it from a design I found on the net! The UA Unimount I have for the 15x70 has (what they call) the ultra swing hinge. Mine is basically a cruder version of it.

That's where I'd seen the idea before!  I knew I had, but I just couldn't recall where :)

James

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Damo636    425

Here is a pic of the swing hinge from my Unimount....

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As you can see, it's ever so "slightly" more complex than my effort

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Psychobilly    7,131

Nice work... much more professional than mine...

Here's my DIY effort from a good few years back for my 25x100's

Scanning.JPG

Relaxing.JPG

At  the time I used a Manfroto 3 way pan and tilt head to mount the bins.. but I have quite  a few more "exotic" options these days... might have to have a bit of a "fiddle"  working end...

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Damo636    425

Very nice! I remember stumbling across these pics after googling Parallelogram mount's a couple of years ago, and thinking one day I'd like a set up like it. Who said straight through bins aren't comfortable to use  :icon_salut:

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Dinozorr    0

Hi. I'm looking to buy a pair if the Helios 20x110's

Had a go with the 25x10"'s but I would like a larger exit pupil which the 110's have (5.5mm)

Would yo ease give me our views on them ?

Thanks

Dino

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Damo636    425

Dino

Hi. I'm looking to buy a pair if the Helios 20x110's

Had a go with the 25x10"'s but I would like a larger exit pupil which the 110's have (5.5mm)

Would yo ease give me our views on them ?

Thanks

Dino

Dino

The Helios Apollo 20x110 is excellent and in all honesty I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it. It's sharp and bright and the fov is very well corrected. It's an absolute brute though, much larger & heavier than the standard Chinese 25x100 fare and needs a significant mount to get the best from it. I only ever use it with the P-mount mounted on a steel pier (pic below), as I found all other solutions wanting in some area. HTH

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bambuko    231

The build is all aluminium with stainless steel nuts and bolts for high corrosion resistance.

nice job but...

:grin: aluminium and stainless is the recipe for corrosion (google up galvanic corrosion)

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Bart    800

nice job but...

:grin: aluminium and stainless is the recipe for corrosion (google up galvanic corrosion)

Yes, second that, unfortunately

Barry

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Damo636    425

nice job but...

:grin: aluminium and stainless is the recipe for corrosion (google up galvanic corrosion)

I must admit wasn't aware of this & in hindsight maybe aluminium bolts would have been the better option? It wouldn't be a big job to replace them out I suppose.

I loosely based the design on the UA Unimount, also aluminium with what looks like stainless fixings. I've had a close look at both mounts earlier this morning & there are no signs any corrosion on either as yet. The homemade mount lives outside (uncovered) all year round, so I'll be keeping a tight eye on it especially.

Edited by Damo636

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bambuko    231

As you point out, most of the manufacturers of astro gear seem to be ignorant of this issue :rolleyes:

End result are problems like this

Having said so... it's not as if it is all going to fall apart overnight :tongue:

but when it happens, it's ugly  :evil:

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Great job on your mount Damo, i am a newbie and have got a pair of Helios Quantum 4 25x100, i have them on a tripod but dont use them as often as i would like due to the neck and back ache, tripods are sooooo inconveniant for looking upwards.

I have been looking for a Parallelogram for a while now but i am getting nowhere fast with my quest, i have found an Orion Monster that would suit my bins but its from SCS Astro and there's two things that put me off, they have terrible reviews from customers and they want £500 for the mount with tripod that i dont need. 

I am considering to try and make my own but dont know where to start, dimensions and DIY skills arent really my thing im embarrassed to say. 

Have you ever or would you ever pass on some your knowledge or even construct a mount like yours for a reasonable price? I would gladly pay for something like yours than deal with a shoddy money maker.

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Damo636    425
On 13/03/2016 at 15:13, Breitling1884 said:

Great job on your mount Damo, i am a newbie and have got a pair of Helios Quantum 4 25x100, i have them on a tripod but dont use them as often as i would like due to the neck and back ache, tripods are sooooo inconveniant for looking upwards.

I have been looking for a Parallelogram for a while now but i am getting nowhere fast with my quest, i have found an Orion Monster that would suit my bins but its from SCS Astro and there's two things that put me off, they have terrible reviews from customers and they want £500 for the mount with tripod that i dont need. 

I am considering to try and make my own but dont know where to start, dimensions and DIY skills arent really my thing im embarrassed to say. 

Have you ever or would you ever pass on some your knowledge or even construct a mount like yours for a reasonable price? I would gladly pay for something like yours than deal with a shoddy money maker.

Unfortunately SCS are the only UK based retailer (at least that I'm aware of) that carry Parallelogram mounts of any sort, and as such can charge whatever they like. If I remember correctly, I think a while back FLO were in talks with Larry Patriarca at Universal Astronomics about possibly carrying his product. They can't have been successful though as I've never seen anything listed on their website. 

Unfortunately constructing another P-mount such as this isn't as easy now. I've since changed jobs and no longer have access to some of the tools required  (the pillar drill in particular). I could put together a rough sketch of the build with dimensions & the parts needed if that would be of help to you?

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7 hours ago, Damo636 said:

Unfortunately SCS are the only UK based retailer (at least that I'm aware of) that carry Parallelogram mounts of any sort, and as such can charge whatever they like. If I remember correctly, I think a while back FLO were in talks with Larry Patriarca at Universal Astronomics about possibly carrying his product. They can't have been successful though as I've never seen anything listed on their website. 

Unfortunately constructing another P-mount such as this isn't as easy now. I've since changed jobs and no longer have access to some of the tools required  (the pillar drill in particular). I could put together a rough sketch of the build with dimensions & the parts needed if that would be of help to you?

Hi Damo, thank you for your reply, i have recently spoken to Rother Valley Optics who say they hope to stock the mounts in the future but unfortunately they do not stock them now, SCS Astro got back to me with "Orion are out of stock at the moment untill some time in late April" i cant understand why the dealers do not push these mounts out with big binos instead of providing tripods that are not quite suitable for our needs.

I would really appreciate it if you could post some details on your build, i.e lengths and dimensions and i think i will use oak with some L brackets to construct it.

If it would be easier to do by email my address is. B.hanafin@hotmail.co.uk

Thank you again for your reply and generosity, i really enjoy using my bins but cant observe for as long or as often as i would like to. 

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