Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_dslr_mirrorlesss.thumb.jpg.5b348d6a5e7f27bdcb79e9356b7fc03b.jpg

Robp

3D printed telescope

Recommended Posts

I like this forum, it's a friendly place. If I post an image, idea or just an opinion it is always met with positive comments and constructive criticism when necessary. But... when there is any astronomy related article in the newspapers or news websites why do we feel the need to tear it apart and rubbish it?

The makers of that telescope are very possibly members on here, would you be happy speaking some of the above comments to their faces?

I think the difference is when we post an image or a DIY project we don't generally claim to have 'disrupted' astronomy. I would be comfortable expressing why I'm sceptical of this project's value face to face. I do like the idea of putting a cheap camera in place of the secondary and would like to see what it's really capable of.

I like the principle of 'never assume malice what can be explained by incompetence'. The article may well be distortion of the maker's views on it, this can easily happen when PR departments put a spin on things and when journalists don't understand a subject but have a deadline to meet. I wonder if the line "claim the image quality from the PiKon telescope compares to models costing 10 times as much..." might stem from a misunderstood comparison with a Hyperstar. (But if so, why hasn't it been corrected by now?)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the difference is when we post an image or a DIY project we don't generally claim to have 'disrupted' astronomy. I would be comfortable expressing why I'm sceptical of this project's value face to face. I do like the idea of putting a cheap camera in place of the secondary and would like to see what it's really capable of.

I like the principle of 'never assume malice what can be explained by incompetence'. The article may well be distortion of the maker's views on it, this can easily happen when PR departments put a spin on things and when journalists don't understand a subject but have a deadline to meet. I wonder if the line "claim the image quality from the PiKon telescope compares to models costing 10 times as much..." might stem from a misunderstood comparison with a Hyperstar. (But if so, why hasn't it been corrected by now?)

The BBC has a great reputation for being fair and unbiased in its reporting but I agree that this article doesn't really challenge the makers claims. The makers are making unsubstantiated claims and the journalist has not challenged these at all. If all the parts were printable except the Pi, camera and tube (you could substitute a cheap cardboard tube) then that would be fair. You still need to obtain a mirror and tube to complete the project as it is at the moment and how many people own or have free access to a 3D printer?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"No one expects the Spanish Inquisition"

Hi, I am the person behind the 3D printed telescope in this news article!

The project started when I applied to Sheffield University for funding from their "Festival of the Mind" community engagement programme.

I'm not an astronomer, I'm a semi-retired physicist with a passion for photography. My "coding" skills go back to Fortran IV and Commodore 64s, so I'm pretty interested in new technologies and wanted to get my hands on a 3D printer which Festival of the Mind kindly supplied. I'm also a Council Member of the Institute of Physics and I'm always looking for projects that will enthuse young people.

My collaborators at Sheffield University are physicists with an enthusiasm for the "maker" community.

So the object of the exercise here was to make something which included Raspberry Pi and 3D printing. It's called "disruptive technology" because we believe that Raspberry Pis and 3D printing are game changers. In this case things which will democratise science and technology.

At the end of the project, we have a device which can take reasonable pictures of the moon, has a field of view of about 1/4 degree, a single optical component and includes a camera and computer for a cost of £100. The is no Lego in there, but the focus rack uses 2 Meccano components! The tube is a venting duct for an air extractor.

What next?

We will be making the designs available to anyone who wants to try a DIY telescope. We'd also like to encourage programmers to write some astro-software. We work on an open source basis and ask collaborators to do the same. For people who do not have access to 3D printers we will be launching crowd funding soon so we can supply parts and even constructed telescopes.

For more links and updates you can follow us on Twitter and at our Blog:

http://pikonic.com

https://twitter.com/PiKonCamera

If you want to contact me please Tweet or leave a message on our blog.

P.S. I take no responsibility for what journalists say when they are looking for a good story line ;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So the object of the exercise here was to make something which included Raspberry Pi and 3D printing. It's called "disruptive technology" because we believe that Raspberry Pis and 3D printing are game changers. In this case things which will democratise science and technology.

I've asked elsewhere as well Mark, but perhaps you can explain exactly how you see this "changing the game".  As I've already posted, it's interesting to see someone building a kind of newt-based lensless Schmidt camera, but not particularly novel.  Neither is it obvious from the BBC piece that it will be any significantly cheaper than something you can buy off the shelf now and achieve similar results.  And I think many of us will struggle to get our heads around the idea that it can image galaxies as claimed in the BBC piece.

So what have we missed here?  What is it about this project that is actually a game-changer?

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the benefits to the BBC article is that it may inspire someone to take up astronomy as a hobby, perhaps they have access to a 3D printer. They're not so uncommon these days (we have one at my work and its in constant use). All new technologies have teething troubles, I don't think 3D printing is any different. So while we all comment on the admittedly poor quality image, we should think about how it can be improved, and then improve it. That's how we got to where we are now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the response Mark. Can I ask whether you've considered contacting the BBC to ask them to make some corrections to the article?

One of the benefits to the BBC article is that it may inspire someone to take up astronomy as a hobby, perhaps they have access to a 3D printer.

That's actually the biggest problem I have with the it, that if anything it could have the opposite effect. It implies that imaging the Moon requires expensive equipment beyond the means of most people, when this isn't actually the case.

"The University of Sheffield researchers behind the project claim the image quality from the PiKon telescope compares to models costing 10 times as much."

Does anyone have any Moon shots taken with the £6 XBox Live Cam and a cheap scope please? There are lot of pictures from page 3 onwards of that thread, but they are mostly taken with more expensive scopes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The is no Lego in there, but the focus rack uses 2 Meccano components!

I was going to make a quip about meccano but who would have expected the Spanish Inquisition. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Markwrig, I'm happy you have retained a sense of humour over this. After all "we all came here for a good argument" :grin:

The device is very interesting and hopefully will encourage people to have a go at making things and also get into astronomy. I think the issue some of us have is the claims of the journalist who has exaggerated a bit.

Did you get a chance to review the piece at all before it went out at all?

I hope you hang around on SGL, there is a thriving DIY section and I have even posted some of my own stumbling efforts. A few of us use Raspberry's, Arduinos and custom electronics to aid our astronomy and other projects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was under the impression the pi's GPU counters ran out after 1 or 2 seconds. Things must have moved on and an upgraded GPU since the last time I looked at it. Which Pi model and camera do you have. Do,you know if the NOIR will do 30 seconds aswell as that would be better for astro imaging.

I have a model b. Not used a noir but have heard it might better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, forgot to add camera is picam. The picam python module allows quite a bit of experimenting with different exposure settings. Can capture a movie too :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone have any Moon shots taken with the £6 XBox Live Cam and a cheap scope please? There are lot of pictures from page 3 onwards of that thread, but they are mostly taken with more expensive scopes.

Shots taken with £5 modified xbox webcam using a skywatcher 130m on EQ2 mount:

gallery_27622_3363_32458.jpg

gallery_27622_3363_80438.jpg

gallery_27622_3363_1716.jpg

The Skywatcher 130M retails at FLO for £165 (OTA, EQ2 plus motor) the EQ2 alone retails for 120 and the motors for £62!! Ok there are savings in a package deal, but still it seems like the 130 OTA is about as cheap and cheerful as you can get...

Anyway slightly prejudiced but I'll take my beginners shots over the printed telescope ones.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a model b. Not used a noir but have heard it might better.

Thanks. I have done some googling but I haven't found any evidence of anyone pushing the picam past 2 seconds exposure time. Do you have any examples of the 30s exposures?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shots taken with £5 modified xbox webcam using a skywatcher 130m on EQ2 mount:

Thanks. Once you factor in the cost of the mount the 130M probably wins on price.

It's not just the BBC, the University of Sheffield news release says (underlining mine):

"The entrepreneurs responsible, Institute of Physics member, Mark Wrigley, and University of Sheffield Physics and Astronomy research associate, Andy Kirby, have even made the plans available online so that any budding astrologers can build their own telescope, saving a minimum of £800 compared to models of the same capabilities."

I like the concept and think it may have some mileage, but this is an absurd claim and really needs to be withdrawn.

Edited by Knight of Clear Skies

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I feel such a fool now.  If I'd realised that astrologers were the target audience I'd not have batted an eyelid.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's not just the BBC, the University of Sheffield news release says (underlining mine):

"The entrepreneurs responsible, Institute of Physics member, Mark Wrigley, and University of Sheffield Physics and Astronomy research associate, Andy Kirby, have even made the plans available online so that any budding astrologers can build their own telescope, saving a minimum of £800 compared to models of the same capabilities."

I like the concept and think it may have some mileage, but this is an absurd claim and really needs to be withdrawn.

Surely if they're Astrologers they can save themselves a fortune by forseeing when a really cheap telescope will come up on gumtree from someone who doesn't know what they are selling, and snapping it up for a pittance?

Although why they would want a telescope I don't know...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So the object of the exercise here was to make something which included Raspberry Pi and 3D printing. It's called "disruptive technology" because we believe that Raspberry Pis and 3D printing are game changers. In this case things which will democratise science and technology.

At the end of the project, we have a device which can take reasonable pictures of the moon, has a field of view of about 1/4 degree, a single optical component and includes a camera and computer for a cost of £100. The is no Lego in there, but the focus rack uses 2 Meccano components! The tube is a venting duct for an air extractor.

Well done for coming on here and responding.  I love the fact that the £100 really is the whole price of the Optical Tube Assembly including camera and computer (and though you don't mention it explicitly, I assume the mirror too?).

Shouldn't this post be on the homebrew forum? *duck*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Is this the 5 minute argument or the full half hour"?

On disruptive technology; no one is claiming that the telescope is a disruptive technology, it's 3D printing and Raspberry Pi that's the disruptive technologies. If you don't agree that the Raspberry Pi and 3D printing are "disruptive technologies" then it's going to be more that you can fit into the full half hour argument ;-)

Like wise, no one is claiming anything unique here other than we believe this is the first time that a combination of Raspberry Pi camera and 3D printing has been used to build a telescope. 

Cost wise; 3D printed vs metal components, the use of a 5 Mpixel camera costing £18 and a £35 Pi will probably be hard to beat. We are also up against one off vs. mass production but have still managed to deliver the camera, computer and telescope for £100.

What we are interested in, is making science more inclusive, encouraging people to have a go, make things and generating some enthusiasm for science and technology.

As I said in my last post, I take no responsibility what journalists say when they are looking for (what they think is) a good story line.  It is unfortunate that the message of what we are trying to do should be distorted by the need to find an eye catching superlative, but that seems to be the focus of P.R. agencies.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some good astro images using the pi camera here:

http://www.raspberrypi.org/astrophotography-with-the-camera-board/

They are good but they are also videos of bright objects so not particularly difficult. I am looking for evidence that the pi camera can do exposures longer than 2 seconds for DSO or star-trails. 20 seconds is what I need but I don't think it is possible with the GPU on the current Pi models. I would love to be proved wrong.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They are good but they are also videos of bright objects so not particularly difficult. I am looking for evidence that the pi camera can do exposures longer than 2 seconds for DSO or star-trails. 20 seconds is what I need but I don't think it is possible with the GPU on the current Pi models. I would love to be proved wrong.

Perhaps it was streaming I was thinking of. Got me interested in finding out. I'll have to go and play :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Is this the 5 minute argument or the full half hour"?

On disruptive technology; no one is claiming that the telescope is a disruptive technology, it's 3D printing and Raspberry Pi that's the disruptive technologies. If you don't agree that the Raspberry Pi and 3D printing are "disruptive technologies" then it's going to be more that you can fit into the full half hour argument ;-)

Like wise, no one is claiming anything unique here other than we believe this is the first time that a combination of Raspberry Pi camera and 3D printing has been used to build a telescope.

Cost wise; 3D printed vs metal components, the use of a 5 Mpixel camera costing £18 and a £35 Pi will probably be hard to beat. We are also up against one off vs. mass production but have still managed to deliver the camera, computer and telescope for £100.

What we are interested in, is making science more inclusive, encouraging people to have a go, make things and generating some enthusiasm for science and technology.

As I said in my last post, I take no responsibility what journalists say when they are looking for (what they think is) a good story line. It is unfortunate that the message of what we are trying to do should be distorted by the need to find an eye catching superlative, but that seems to be the focus of P.R. agencies.

I think it's a great project and wish you all the best for future.

I really hope you can prove some of the above naysayers wrong in the near future.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not backtracking but my main gripe was with the PR spin. I can see your cost calculation includes the full image capture so for comparison you'd have to include the cost of a laptop. I think a small on board computer is interesting though perhaps something with a bit more power than the Pi would open up more possibilities. If you take it forward I'm sure there's plenty of people here who'd be interested and positive if you wanted to get some feedback.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

forget about the 10" newt,

this photo

http://alternative-photonics.com/2014/09/

suggests it's a cheap Celestron mount so perhaps  130 Astromaster.  The scope & mount costs more than £100 so they're not including the mount costs (or perhaps the donor scope that provided the mirror).  With that reckoning you should compare it to a cheap webcam (£5?) , longer tube and perhaps a metal ruler to stick it too.  - 3D printing is fun though.

I agree that it's almost certainly one of the lower-end Celestron mounts.  I'm not aware that they can be bought on their own and I don't believe this one would cost less than £100 anyhow so I think the mount doesn't come into the costings, especially after you've taken over £50 out of the £100 allowance to cover the RPi and camera.  EQ1 mounts go reasonably cheaply, but still wouldn't leave you much in the budget for a mirror, the hardware and the cost of the plastic.  Oh, and the dovetail.  Assuming that's included.

If we're excluding the mount, I've just been pondering on how I'd achieve the same ends (ie. putting the RPi camera in a telescope) using off the shelf parts combined with a 3d printer whilst trying to stay within the £100 budget.  At the moment I think it's probably one of the Skywatcher 76 dobs and 3d print an adaptor to put the camera in the focuser tube.  If we said £53 for the RPi and camera, the scope is available for £40 to £45 leaving a few quid over for materials.  You'd have a finder and a couple of eyepieces into the bargain too and unless you needed some form of tracking then you could avoid the additional mount altogether.

I look forward to seeing the plans becoming available though.  It would be great to find that there's more to this than a poorly-written press release.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.