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Good morning people of the SGL collective.

I have to admit to an act of selfishness, which is more annoying given that SGLX and the partial eclipse is so close, and the now impending couple of weeks of forthcoming rain and cloud too.  Though I won’t be attending SGLX, I live close to Mordiford, so by proxy, I fear that will have an impact.

I have turned to the Dob Side.

Two years ago, I bought my first scope, a 150p which amazed me.  I was hooked.  This Thursday I took delivery of my new 300p Flextube which now has pride of place in the living room as I don’t have anywhere else to store it.  Matters of consequence are secondary in cases like this you must understand.  The process has taken around 6 months to come through in total while my mind went from scope to scope, review to review and showroom visit to showroom visit.  SGL being key at all stages, even down to supplier reviews.

20150312 162150

I’ve documented the build process and first impressions here.  I will replicate it in part on the forum when I have more time over the weekend.

However, I am now considering the bolt-ons and mods that I can make.  I have already replaced the secondary collimation screws with thumb screws similar to Bobs Knobs.  I also bought a new Telrad base and have removed the stock finderscope attachment in favour of the Telrad base.  And finally, I am waiting on delivery of a dual-speed focuser too. 

Once the damage to the bank account has been repaired, next on my list will be a shroud.

So, my question to the forum.  What suggestions or thoughts do you have about improvements or additions to the scope other than those already mentioned?  The build and construction itself I am happy with, though I have read about owners applying lithium grease to the bearings for smoother running, but at the moment I am happy with the way it runs.  How it reacts in the field is of course a different thing though.

Clear Skies (hopefully) everyone.

Tony

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Hi Tony

I enjoyed reading your build page that you linked to. Thanks for sharing that. I just hope that chicken will give you a look in at the eyepiece when it's time for first light ;)

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Good luck with your new scope. You will love it, my 300 Flextube is the last scope I will buy - well, unless my aging back tells me otherwise!!

Further mods could include a set of castors to help move it around and you could flock the inside to cut down any light reflections even more after you get the shroud. A tip would be not to just rely on the "click" when extending the trusses, push the truss up that final "eyelash" of movement before you tighten the thumbscrews - I find it helps in keeping the collimation better, even after a bumpy car ride to my local dark site.

Clear Skies,

L.

Edited by Lorne

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I would like to make a formal complaint about your detailed review of your new SBT.

It would appear that at least two of the unboxing photographs do not contain a ruuber chicken. This is quite simply unacceptable!

Please can you address this inexcusable oversight or I will have to upgrade my VST (very small telescope) to a 300P Flextube regardless of the consequences to my bank account and marriage!

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Hi Tony

I enjoyed reading your build page that you linked to. Thanks for sharing that. I just hope that chicken will give you a look in at the eyepiece when it's time for first light ;)

Hi Steve,

thanks for reading.  Like I say, I will replicate a version of it on here is well so others can search for it in the future.  I've seen a couple of good similar articles on here so wanted to contribute too.  I can't wait to get out with this scope for first light.  A friend of mine has a 14" dob he commissioned someone to build for him.  It was the bees knees.  From then on, I knew I had to go dob!

Cheers

Tony

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Good luck with your new scope. You will love it, my 300 Flextube is the last scope I will buy - well, unless my aging back tells me otherwise!!

Further mods could include a set of castors to help move it around and you could flock the inside to cut down any light reflections even more after you get the shroud. A tip would be not to just rely on the "click" when extending the trusses, push the truss up that final "eyelash" of movement before you tighten the thumbscrews - I find it helps in keeping the collimation better, even after a bumpy car ride to my local dark site.

Clear Skies,

L.

Hey Lorne,

Castors are a good thought.  I think the feet are a bit small, and I have a gravelled area where I will need to set up for the time being, so they will sink.  If castors are the way to go, I guess they will need to be a reasonable size.  I think I might go to the local hardware shop over the weekend and see what they have there.  I was thinking some sort of trolley contraption so I can wheel it in and out of the garage for the time being.  At least until I get a better shed built in the back garden.

I've heard and read about flocking.  Does it really make that much difference?  It's pointless doing it until I get a shroud really.  After the first few sessions, I may progress with that idea but I will see how it goes first.  I am going to AstroCamp in the Brecon Beacons in May.  What would be ideal is if someone had a flocked 250/300/350 there that I could compare to.  Fingers crossed on that one!

And thanks for the tip regarding the click on extension.  I'll have a bit more of a play with it this evening while I still have the scope in the living room and I can see fully what I'm doing.

Thanks very much for you reply,

Tony

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I would like to make a formal complaint about your detailed review of your new SBT.

It would appear that at least two of the unboxing photographs do not contain a ruuber chicken. This is quite simply unacceptable!

Please can you address this inexcusable oversight or I will have to upgrade my VST (very small telescope) to a 300P Flextube regardless of the consequences to my bank account and marriage!

Apologies Mr Vader sir,

no force-choking please!!! :grin:

The chicken was down to the dog.  Anytime I try to do something not involving the dog, chicken gets dropped in the way.  So, I though I might as well feature it too!  At first, I was thinking to give a sense of scale, but then thought, rubber chickens aren't really a uniformed size, and the chances of people having a rubber chicken laying (no pun intended) around the house are pretty limited to a small percentage of dog owners anyway!  :grommit:

When I re-work the process for the forum, I'll see what I can do - although I don't fancy taking it all apart again I'm afraid! :grin:

Clear skies!

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The 300P is a great telescope. Good aperture in a transportable package. Just right for dark sky trips.

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Apologies Mr Vader sir,

no force-choking please!!! :grin:

The chicken was down to the dog.  Anytime I try to do something not involving the dog, chicken gets dropped in the way.  So, I though I might as well feature it too!  At first, I was thinking to give a sense of scale, but then thought, rubber chickens aren't really a uniformed size, and the chances of people having a rubber chicken laying (no pun intended) around the house are pretty limited to a small percentage of dog owners anyway!  :grommit:

When I re-work the process for the forum, I'll see what I can do - although I don't fancy taking it all apart again I'm afraid! :grin:

Clear skies!

My dog would love that Chicken ! I'm always falling over her toys scattered all over the house !

Looking forward to your first light report - I NEED more aperture - how am I supposed to destroy worlds with my Deathstar if I can't see them !

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I concur with your choice - the 300 Flextube is a great scope. However I couldn't get on with the lazy Susan roller bearing. I did grease it with waterproof grease when I realized that the noise I was hearing was the dry rollers acting directly on galvanized steel discs, but the Az axis was so friction free that it was very easy to over-nudge it and the feel is completely different from the Alt axis and the Teflon sliders in the smaller SW Dobs. So when I fitted a setting circle i also removed the bearing and replaced it with six Teflon furniture sliders. In conjunction with Sailkote dry lubricant, the feel is much better balanced now. One improvement I may get around to soon is to drill the truss rods 10cm back from the ends. I really enjoy using my 300 Dob with binoviewers (plenty of light to share between two eyes) but my scope bought in 2011 doesn't have the extra truss holes that new scopes come with. 

Good luck and clear skies.

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Great scope and really good all rounder. When I had a 300p flex tube, besides what you have already listed as doing such as replacing focuser (Moonlite?) secondary collimation bolts, in time I added the following. Certainly adding an astrozap shroud (which you have listed as intending to do), flocking interior, I also replaced primary collimation springs for Bobs Knobs. A minor detail, the rubber O ring grommets on the bottom of the struts kept falling off so I replaced with tighter ones. In time I had an issue with the two supporting side panels and so remade these out of birch ply and painted black (which superficially made for a nice coordinated contrast). 

Do not dispose of the foam blocks that the scope was packed in, they are just great for anchoring / supporting the scope for transporting to dark sites (in addition to seat belts) whilst lying across the back seat of the car. This was the primary function of my 300p. I think that the mirrors are superb on these - enjoy.

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Just to extend a bit further to my previous post, you will almost certainly require an extension tube with the focuser. When I replaced the stock focuser for a moonlite, combined with the required installation blocks, I also included a 1.5" moonlite extension tube. This was quite sufficient for focal travel for all my e.p's, whilst also being very light weight and well engineered. I had done the same as yourself in removing the finder scope and just using a telrad (in this position) and which also assisted greatly with balance (I now use both options with my current scopes, though still primarily Telrad or Rigel). I also made a dew shield, which I seldom required to use and even though the material was a light weight dark grey camping foam, created some imbalance so not necessarily an essential task in my opinion. 

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Tony,

Funny that you mention a trolley contraption......

post-12367-0-32429700-1426350285_thumb.j

I wheel mine out from the garage when required and level it off using the threaded feet, though the levelling isn't quite so important for manual use.

post-12367-0-38319400-1426350429_thumb.j

I hope this and the other answers gives you the inpiration to "get modding" :)

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Great scope and really good all rounder. When I had a 300p flex tube, besides what you have already listed as doing such as replacing focuser (Moonlite?) secondary collimation bolts, in time I added the following. Certainly adding an astrozap shroud (which you have listed as intending to do), flocking interior, I also replaced primary collimation springs for Bobs Knobs. A minor detail, the rubber O ring grommets on the bottom of the struts kept falling off so I replaced with tighter ones. In time I had an issue with the two supporting side panels and so remade these out of birch ply and painted black (which superficially made for a nice coordinated contrast). 

Do not dispose of the foam blocks that the scope was packed in, they are just great for anchoring / supporting the scope for transporting to dark sites (in addition to seat belts) whilst lying across the back seat of the car. This was the primary function of my 300p. I think that the mirrors are superb on these - enjoy.

Just to extend a bit further to my previous post, you will almost certainly require an extension tube with the focuser. When I replaced the stock focuser for a moonlite, combined with the required installation blocks, I also included a 1.5" moonlite extension tube. This was quite sufficient for focal travel for all my e.p's, whilst also being very light weight and well engineered. I had done the same as yourself in removing the finder scope and just using a telrad (in this position) and which also assisted greatly with balance (I now use both options with my current scopes, though still primarily Telrad or Rigel). I also made a dew shield, which I seldom required to use and even though the material was a light weight dark grey camping foam, created some imbalance so not necessarily an essential task in my opinion. 

Hi there!

thanks for your feedback.  I'm going to see how I go with the primary springs.  Now that the troublesome spring/screw has freed up, I'm going to put the scope through it's paces and see if they need upgrading.  Hold that thought!  I've gone with a skywatcher dual speed focuser.  Whether or not I will need an extension tube for this, I don't know.  I did look at the moonlight focusers, but they were a bit more pricey than what I am willing to pay at the moment.  In the future, I do have the option of still getting one, and moving the other onto my 150p, but we'll see.  And thanks for the reminder of the foam packaging too!  They were in with the cardboard boxes ready to put out for recycling and rubbish.  Now swiftly rescued and due to be put in the loft!

The only thought I've had is about making a fan for the mirror.  Some people have said that it's not needed, others have put one on anyway.  Only scope use will tell!

Thanks once again,

Tony

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Tony,

Funny that you mention a trolley contraption......

I wheel mine out from the garage when required and level it off using the threaded feet, though the levelling isn't quite so important for manual use.

I hope this and the other answers gives you the inpiration to "get modding" :)

Hi Lorne,

thanks for posting the pictures of your trolley solution.  Can I ask what it's made out of?  Is it wood or metal?  I've got a really got local metal fabricator that helped me make my pier adapter for my EQ mount in town.  If I sketched something out, I think he'd be able to knock something up for me.  Welding isn't my strong point.  However, wood I'm OK with.  More than happy to work with wood.!

Thanks again for your help and advice.  Much appreciated.

Tony

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Hi Lorne,

thanks for posting the pictures of your trolley solution.  Can I ask what it's made out of?  Is it wood or metal?  I've got a really got local metal fabricator that helped me make my pier adapter for my EQ mount in town.  If I sketched something out, I think he'd be able to knock something up for me.  Welding isn't my strong point.  However, wood I'm OK with.  More than happy to work with wood.!

Thanks again for your help and advice.  Much appreciated.

Tony

Tony,

Its made mostly of wood, the castors, levelling feet and handwheel knobs are from "a well known internet auction site" the feet are screwed through metal flat bar, there was a bit of welding involved ( I lengthened the levelling feet) and a nut welded onto the flat bar, but you could probably find alternative ways, possibly T nuts into the base.

Hope this helps,

Lorne.

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