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I wouldn't want to miss observing the Sun in a full-size 300mm filter, the detail compared to smaller instruments is such a joy to see. I do have an off-axis mask for my 300mm dob but not all the time. If daytime seeing is too bad for such a large scope, I'll switch to a smaller one, but the extra resolution and ease of spotting micro-detail thanks to the brightness is something I can't do without.

 

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A sheet of 500mm wide Baader fillm allowed me to craft this. I had enough left to cut several smaller filters.

 

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To protect it I made a storage box from cardboard of obvious origin. The box had to be custom-made to save space in my dwelling, and it also hosts a bahtinov mask for nighttime. At f/5 fine focus is not too hard with the smooth single-speed focuser, but in order to enjoy moments of clarity immediately at high power, I pre-focus with the bahtinov, which sees through turbulence, what a nice invention, and simply wait for calmer air. No need to rush to fine focus and waste precious moments. This mask needs to be copied in some sort of plastic, the cardboard trial proved the number and width of the slits are fine.

 

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The rear of the filter shows the four clips mating the four button screw heads outside the tube.

 

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And this lateral view shows the sandwiching. A rigid backing plus two layers of lightweight neoprene foam cut from a cheap mat in tiger-stripe deco, its poor taste matching its 7€ price. The bottom sheet used to be a shower booth panel, my neighbor had in its garage. Hey, do you need that? No? Okay, thanks!

 

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The Baader film is held between the neoprene sheets by staples and many strips of tape. The neoprene is held to the shower booth sheet by little collars, and its edges are sewn together for a finished look. Oversize 10mm stitches didn't take too long to do, and the foam layers can be separated for replacing the film, something glue would prevent. Holes in the neoprene allow to check that the clips' bolts are always tight.

 

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Close-up of a clip. They are made of a material whose name I forgot, I only remember it is made in the UK (thanks, guys!). This is a PVC foam that's much easier to cut, drill and sand than full-density PVC, and it's much lighter (thanks, air bubbles!), which is essential for an item that's at the front of a scope where leverage is maximal.

 

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My GSO dob has four of these screw heads, one for each spider vane. They proved very convenient for attaching the filter. The black knob is an add-on to move the scope without having to grab the large tube with both hands.

 

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Pretty obvious what we're seeing here. Note the clip is flush with the tube, and pressed hard against the scope's metal rim for a very secure and tight fit. Only four clips but eight attachment points, really. Building this with tight tolerances was more lengthy but more reassuring.

 

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It is impossible to disengage a clip by accident because tolerances are too narrow, and the shower booth plastic tough spring action doesn't allow it. But should it happen three clips would hold the filter safely. All three layers of frame material are flexible, so, to remove the filter from the tube you just bend it at a corner while you lift the clip, and the clip disengages.

 

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I already rebalanced the dob by pulling the 7-kilo mirror to the rear thanks to shorter and tougher cell springs but I'm working on a sliding counterweight made of pliable steel ribbon. Adhesive felt pads protect the paint. Thanks to the large hole the 300mm filter is not too heavy (and it's used without the finder) but the off-axis mask has only a 115mm hole, so it's heavier and may require this. While I study the combinations of heavy or lightweight eyepieces, finder/no finder, mask, filter, I can change the experimental counterweight by cutting off or adding pieces of steel ribbon. Little mounting nuts and bolts through the many holes, there's always one at the right place.

 

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Ever hated to feel the Sun while loving to watch it? If you have no sunshield you did. Heat is a discomfort on the head, and light kills off contrast. So I cut a plastic folder in this weird pattern to allow sliding it between the shower booth plastic and the neoprene mat.

 

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When it's stuck there it makes quite a large area of shadow, that's such a relief. But that's also only a prototype that wants to be made again with a better material. Has to be opaque, quite thin, very lightweight, but rigid enough. I'll stumble upon the right material sooner or later.

Edited by Ben the Ignorant
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What details can you see on a 300mm dob with this great 300mm filter invention?

i normally put a baader film over the small hole in my 300mm lens cap, but don’t see much details on the sun apart from sunspots when they appear

Recently bought a full size baader filter for my 130mm Newtonian hopefully I will see little more

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