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Ben the Ignorant

Finder. Didn't know she was missing.

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Don't blame me for the silly pun, Tele Vue actually used it in their ads back in the days when they were written on paper. Now that you are enlightened by this piece of trivia in the history of advertising, here's the topic. My urban observing spots are surrounded by public lamps so I need complete blackening in my finders as well as my scopes, or arcs of light and various shapeless flares will show when I don't aim high. Little stars in a 30mm scope can't compete, star-hopping is made difficult.

This is how I do the blackening. I start with the amici prism.

20180619_184647.thumb.jpg.f0c6579e4ef853e1facbdadc94dca744.jpg

Cleaning it with alcohol proved necessary, some grease was on the exposed faces.

 

20180619_190253.thumb.jpg.966f8cf1bf2a1e0a51db4edff9749671.jpg

Next I paint the rough surfaces with a sharpie.

 

20180619_190443.thumb.jpg.2ee9e8397e7d14840e6ee1ba1a3a1cc6.jpg

And the rough edges, too.

 

20180619_191546.thumb.jpg.e3a85388d78dc134b103ccdee1eb83e6.jpg

When all non-polished places are black, funny, it's actually possible to make the prism look all black from a certain angle.

 

20180619_192116.thumb.jpg.e6a36deacde4aa36666455c668c7dd74.jpg

Then its housing was not cleanly put out of its mold. I don't like finding uneven stuff, so I rectified it even it if was not important for the finder's function.

 

20180619_192822.thumb.jpg.5e5e1e4a9fea2934366914fa14cf3a5a.jpg

40-grit did the job in a couple minutes.

 

20180619_192952.thumb.jpg.930c02c8ad7dfb08f78e59d7d6c3c06e.jpg

The plate side is rough from the 40-grit paper but is now planed, the plate will screw onto it without leaving gaps.

 

20180619_200544.thumb.jpg.1dbdee4f5125efbd9af8c443c5c7146d.jpg

From its usable angles the prism now looks like that: a clear window with black sides that will absorb stray light. Larger amici prisms for full-size scopes might require the same treatment; practicing on cheaper stuff makes it less intimidating. 

 

20180619_210616.thumb.jpg.096cab0849d3d2c77ed7376d57874945.jpg

The housing is garnished with blackboard paint. See how the inside and the barrel are darker than the surface with the screw holes. This paint is water-based, doesn't smell, dries in minutes, and can be removed from places it covers by accident, just scrape it and rub with a wet towel, not a trace will remain. But it sticks hard enough to not chip over time. Have you seen you school's blackboard chip?

 

20180620_133246.thumb.jpg.d60b5102519a63116718ba0ad1f457fe.jpg

The sharpie also cures the objective lenses' rough edges disease. Another funny effect, when the side is barely half-blackened, the untreated edge already looks gray, as if black could reflect on other things; this is promising for the final effect!

 

20180620_134639.thumb.jpg.fb4ed4370486d22417631fd951a9ce46.jpg

The promise is kept! In main scopes or finders, this black ring will kill off nearly all the light that touches it, I can guarantee it from experience!

 

20180620_153220.thumb.jpg.6f7c93940304bb536e45bc2f5d791fcb.jpg

The dewshield (made in the proper length by Sky-Watcher, by the way, congrats!) is also painted. See how the bare anodized aluminum ring at the rear is shiny. I don't paint that area or the doublet won't enter. Its own layer of sharpie paint plus the blackboard paint would be too much. Where are all those white dust specks coming from?

 

20180620_154952.thumb.jpg.4c6f52eda12be85e8b6ce657e9f808f9.jpg

The retaining ring is a treacherous spot in telescopes because the total area is large even if the thing is narrow, can't leave it shiny, especially at those grazing angles! See the difference with the threaded outside of it. Not an essential job in a finder but done it a minute, so why not?

 

20180620_160521.thumb.jpg.9656edf5e8d90bbe7aa00ab81c569fa3.jpg

The eyepiece lenses were white on the side, too, Before the sharpie touch, the objective was that white and bright, but you'd be surprised how quickly the non-yet-painted part turns dark gray when you start painting the rest. The inside of these retaining rings will receive the blackboard touch.

 

20180620_164902.thumb.jpg.a055dd5d2be573d53ec4db497ef8578b.jpg

Now that's how things should look! Both the lenses and their bevels are coated in black. The bevels seem a bit shiny from this angle but their absorption of bad light is vastly better. The eyepiece is a simple Plössl, only two cemented doublets with rounder bellies facing each other, mounting them right is foolproof, unlike other optical designs. You can improve the contrast in unexpensive and simple eyepieces with a good blackening. Costs nothing, proportionate to the thing's price. The eyepiece is fully-multi-coated, by the way, more congrats to Sky-Watcher for taking accessories seriously.

 

20180622_115142.thumb.jpg.00cb09bf1c5d2aee99f74f71893c4a5b.jpg

Another improvement: the tiny original screws are replaced by homemade larger screws. Those white plugs are used in the assembly of furniture, but only one tool store had them, and only once. I bought the two packs they had, can't find them anymore, anonymous packaging. They include a piece of threaded 6mm rod of the right length, just had to plane the tip. I superglue a stainless washer at the top, and fill the space with O-rings. Only those at the outside need to be glued, the others are pinched between them. Just seeing the screws makes the advantages obvious, compare with the two original plastic screws. Hard to grab with gloves, or even without gloves for that matter.

 

20180623_163644.thumb.jpg.4a0ab52e54c8c50572403143277fd1e4.jpg

Now the flocking. The foam side of adhesive velcro is ideal for small areas. I don't glue it to the tube because that would make replacement messy. Instead, I glue it on a strip of paper.

 

20180623_182059.thumb.jpg.4fee65e70b4276a961fb02f9a850add4.jpg

 Then I fold it into a loop, and tape it. It's not round now but it will when it's forced inside the tube. That might be a useful trick when flocking larger tubes; glueing directly onto the tube allows no mistake, and can force you to leave a poorly applied flocking if it sticks too hard. Can't remove that thing but I need to adjust it! GRRRRR!!

 

20180623_183521.thumb.jpg.aa21463a9f035d63fbd4ae34c677a93e.jpg

The finder is so short, only two rings did the job. Do not put that too close to the objective or it will enter the light cone. So, a few millimeters are not flocked but that's okay because the tube was already painted flat black, and all the rest of the finder is treated. Sky-Watcher put a sensible baffle in the back.

 

20180623_182853.jpg.ffc545d43bd7100701b0b1c697028d65.jpg

There, the light cone is not eaten up by the foam, we have a clear view of the optics' edges from objective to eyepiece. The criteria are the same for bigger refractors.

 

20180619_182141.thumb.jpg.7e9ecb7b019297c776b1f8d6e63e1748.jpg

Before any flocking and blackening was done, the inside of the eyepiece was that shiny, the reflection on the side is very bright! Pic taken through the completely assembled finder.

 

20180623_184003.thumb.jpg.bf0c411f6f4b8602a353d9144409a5bf.jpg

It was very tough getting a pic at the same angle, the flat camera objective is hard to position as accurately as the eye with its round cornea, but it's clear the lateral reflections are much dimmer. Again, picture taken through the complete finder even if it might look like the eyepiece was removed from the tube.

 

20180619_183552.thumb.jpg.fb9cfe493c8f33926cf427ae450769bf.jpg

Before the black-ops job.

 

20180623_190313.thumb.jpg.6b1e7d5709ee0723e696e58f6cfe255a.jpg

After the ninjas came. Sorry if the shot is blurry but the brightness comparison still stands. The area around the pupil is darker, and even the inside of the eyecup is darker since I applied a little blackboard paint there, too. It's shiny on the top picture but matte here.

 

20180623_190358.thumb.jpg.4cc0199fc6e216e0e02342ad5557bdeb.jpg

And if the difference does not impress you, see how the tests shots were made: with this setup, flashlight at an angle, and only one inch from the dewshield. Note how a few extra O-rings between the objective cell and the finder bracket keep it from playing. Another set of O-rings between the prism housing and the bracket complete the task. Finders moving fore and aft, and allowed to rotate lose alignment. Thanks to the firm push of these rubber rings, the tube is held tight but free to be adjusted.

 

20180623_190858.thumb.jpg.182d56116f10f1ae7e59307d62fb3077.jpg

I had to buy a few O-rings for something non-astro, but of course you have to take the whole box. Not liking to leave tools unused, I looked for ways to make these rings profitable. One of the useful tasks was as loosened screw safety. This finder won't fall off to the ground.

She's not missing anymore.

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44 minutes ago, Ben the Ignorant said:

Another funny effect, when the side is barely half-blackened, the untreated edge already looks gray, as if black could reflect on other things; this is promising for the final effect!

I've noticed this. It really does seem to make a difference taking a sharpie to your lenses!

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On 23/06/2018 at 22:03, Ben the Ignorant said:

Don't blame me for the silly pun, Tele Vue actually used it in their ads back in the days when they were written on paper. Now that you are enlightened by this piece of trivia in the history of advertising, here's the topic. My urban observing spots are surrounded by public lamps so I need complete blackening in my finders as well as my scopes, or arcs of light and various shapeless flares will show when I don't aim high. Little stars in a 30mm scope can't compete, star-hopping is made difficult.

This is how I do the blackening. I start with the amici prism.

20180619_184647.thumb.jpg.f0c6579e4ef853e1facbdadc94dca744.jpg

Cleaning it with alcohol proved necessary, some grease was on the exposed faces.

 

20180619_190253.thumb.jpg.966f8cf1bf2a1e0a51db4edff9749671.jpg

Next I paint the rough surfaces with a sharpie.

 

20180619_190443.thumb.jpg.2ee9e8397e7d14840e6ee1ba1a3a1cc6.jpg

And the rough edges, too.

 

20180619_191546.thumb.jpg.e3a85388d78dc134b103ccdee1eb83e6.jpg

When all non-polished places are black, funny, it's actually possible to make the prism look all black from a certain angle.

 

20180619_192116.thumb.jpg.e6a36deacde4aa36666455c668c7dd74.jpg

Then its housing was not cleanly put out of its mold. I don't like finding uneven stuff, so I rectified it even it if was not important for the finder's function.

 

20180619_192822.thumb.jpg.5e5e1e4a9fea2934366914fa14cf3a5a.jpg

40-grit did the job in a couple minutes.

 

20180619_192952.thumb.jpg.930c02c8ad7dfb08f78e59d7d6c3c06e.jpg

The plate side is rough from the 40-grit paper but is now planed, the plate will screw onto it without leaving gaps.

 

20180619_200544.thumb.jpg.1dbdee4f5125efbd9af8c443c5c7146d.jpg

From its usable angles the prism now looks like that: a clear window with black sides that will absorb stray light. Larger amici prisms for full-size scopes might require the same treatment; practicing on cheaper stuff makes it less intimidating. 

 

20180619_210616.thumb.jpg.096cab0849d3d2c77ed7376d57874945.jpg

The housing is garnished with blackboard paint. See how the inside and the barrel are darker than the surface with the screw holes. This paint is water-based, doesn't smell, dries in minutes, and can be removed from places it covers by accident, just scrape it and rub with a wet towel, not a trace will remain. But it sticks hard enough to not chip over time. Have you seen you school's blackboard chip?

 

20180620_133246.thumb.jpg.d60b5102519a63116718ba0ad1f457fe.jpg

The sharpie also cures the objective lenses' rough edges disease. Another funny effect, when the side is barely half-blackened, the untreated edge already looks gray, as if black could reflect on other things; this is promising for the final effect!

 

20180620_134639.thumb.jpg.fb4ed4370486d22417631fd951a9ce46.jpg

The promise is kept! In main scopes or finders, this black ring will kill off nearly all the light that touches it, I can guarantee it from experience!

 

20180620_153220.thumb.jpg.6f7c93940304bb536e45bc2f5d791fcb.jpg

The dewshield (made in the proper length by Sky-Watcher, by the way, congrats!) is also painted. See how the bare anodized aluminum ring at the rear is shiny. I don't paint that area or the doublet won't enter. Its own layer of sharpie paint plus the blackboard paint would be too much. Where are all those white dust specks coming from?

 

20180620_154952.thumb.jpg.4c6f52eda12be85e8b6ce657e9f808f9.jpg

The retaining ring is a treacherous spot in telescopes because the total area is large even if the thing is narrow, can't leave it shiny, especially at those grazing angles! See the difference with the threaded outside of it. Not an essential job in a finder but done it a minute, so why not?

 

20180620_160521.thumb.jpg.9656edf5e8d90bbe7aa00ab81c569fa3.jpg

The eyepiece lenses were white on the side, too, Before the sharpie touch, the objective was that white and bright, but you'd be surprised how quickly the non-yet-painted part turns dark gray when you start painting the rest. The inside of these retaining rings will receive the blackboard touch.

 

20180620_164902.thumb.jpg.a055dd5d2be573d53ec4db497ef8578b.jpg

Now that's how things should look! Both the lenses and their bevels are coated in black. The bevels seem a bit shiny from this angle but their absorption of bad light is vastly better. The eyepiece is a simple Plössl, only two cemented doublets with rounder bellies facing each other, mounting them right is foolproof, unlike other optical designs. You can improve the contrast in unexpensive and simple eyepieces with a good blackening. Costs nothing, proportionate to the thing's price. The eyepiece is fully-multi-coated, by the way, more congrats to Sky-Watcher for taking accessories seriously.

 

20180622_115142.thumb.jpg.00cb09bf1c5d2aee99f74f71893c4a5b.jpg

Another improvement: the tiny original screws are replaced by homemade larger screws. Those white plugs are used in the assembly of furniture, but only one tool store had them, and only once. I bought the two packs they had, can't find them anymore, anonymous packaging. They include a piece of threaded 6mm rod of the right length, just had to plane the tip. I superglue a stainless washer at the top, and fill the space with O-rings. Only those at the outside need to be glued, the others are pinched between them. Just seeing the screws makes the advantages obvious, compare with the two original plastic screws. Hard to grab with gloves, or even without gloves for that matter.

 

20180623_163644.thumb.jpg.4a0ab52e54c8c50572403143277fd1e4.jpg

Now the flocking. The foam side of adhesive velcro is ideal for small areas. I don't glue it to the tube because that would make replacement messy. Instead, I glue it on a strip of paper.

 

20180623_182059.thumb.jpg.4fee65e70b4276a961fb02f9a850add4.jpg

 Then I fold it into a loop, and tape it. It's not round now but it will when it's forced inside the tube. That might be a useful trick when flocking larger tubes; glueing directly onto the tube allows no mistake, and can force you to leave a poorly applied flocking if it sticks too hard. Can't remove that thing but I need to adjust it! GRRRRR!!

 

20180623_183521.thumb.jpg.aa21463a9f035d63fbd4ae34c677a93e.jpg

The finder is so short, only two rings did the job. Do not put that too close to the objective or it will enter the light cone. So, a few millimeters are not flocked but that's okay because the tube was already painted flat black, and all the rest of the finder is treated. Sky-Watcher put a sensible baffle in the back.

 

20180623_182853.jpg.ffc545d43bd7100701b0b1c697028d65.jpg

There, the light cone is not eaten up by the foam, we have a clear view of the optics' edges from objective to eyepiece. The criteria are the same for bigger refractors.

 

20180619_182141.thumb.jpg.7e9ecb7b019297c776b1f8d6e63e1748.jpg

Before any flocking and blackening was done, the inside of the eyepiece was that shiny, the reflection on the side is very bright! Pic taken through the completely assembled finder.

 

20180623_184003.thumb.jpg.bf0c411f6f4b8602a353d9144409a5bf.jpg

It was very tough getting a pic at the same angle, the flat camera objective is hard to position as accurately as the eye with its round cornea, but it's clear the lateral reflections are much dimmer. Again, picture taken through the complete finder even if it might look like the eyepiece was removed from the tube.

 

20180619_183552.thumb.jpg.fb9cfe493c8f33926cf427ae450769bf.jpg

Before the black-ops job.

 

20180623_190313.thumb.jpg.6b1e7d5709ee0723e696e58f6cfe255a.jpg

After the ninjas came. Sorry if the shot is blurry but the brightness comparison still stands. The area around the pupil is darker, and even the inside of the eyecup is darker since I applied a little blackboard paint there, too. It's shiny on the top picture but matte here.

 

20180623_190358.thumb.jpg.4cc0199fc6e216e0e02342ad5557bdeb.jpg

And if the difference does not impress you, see how the tests shots were made: with this setup, flashlight at an angle, and only one inch from the dewshield. Note how a few extra O-rings between the objective cell and the finder bracket keep it from playing. Another set of O-rings between the prism housing and the bracket complete the task. Finders moving fore and aft, and allowed to rotate lose alignment. Thanks to the firm push of these rubber rings, the tube is held tight but free to be adjusted.

 

20180623_190858.thumb.jpg.182d56116f10f1ae7e59307d62fb3077.jpg

I had to buy a few O-rings for something non-astro, but of course you have to take the whole box. Not liking to leave tools unused, I looked for ways to make these rings profitable. One of the useful tasks was as loosened screw safety. This finder won't fall off to the ground.

She's not missing anymore.

 

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