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Solid but removable Scope mount, without tripod legs

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In the dark, I kept tripping on my NexStar 8SE's tripod legs; I also wanted a consistent position on my driveway to set up my telescope at night.  So I built a mount on my front driveway with the best view (albeit surrounded by tall trees) of the sky, but removable for cars to pass and tolerate snow blowing when necessary.



[Above]  I started having a hole drilled (by a professional contractor) into my concrete driveway.  A 1-1/2” (i.d.) galvanized steel pipe with a brass, threaded coupling (to prevent corrosion) was embedded in concrete (that was covered by a sealant) in the hole.

The depth of the top of the coupling allows a removable, square-headed, screw cap to close it to the elements (along with antiseize on the threads), and it all remains slightly below the grade of the cement driveway allowing me to run over it with my snowthrower blade without catching.

I used threaded pipe, instead of just a pipe sliding in as a “sleeve”, to eliminate any chance of a “wobble” when the second, upright pipe is attached.



[Above]  This is an inverted view of the Celestron NexStar 8SE’s tripod’s mounting platform (essentially, the tripod without its legs).

The threaded socket into which the tripod’s center rod (to support the “lens caddy”) is metric threaded: 12x1.75 mm.  Unable to find an inexpensive eyebolt of that size, I found a “Rod End Bolt”, along with suitable nuts.  I also placed a couple of washers in place to ensure that the rod will remain centered in the second galvanized pipe.



[Above]   I sat the platform on top of a threaded flange for a second, longer pipe (length is your preference for the telescope's height), to ensure that the platform will be level (the first and second pipe are “plumb”).

I drilled a hole for a 7/16” transverse bolt through that second pipe that will also pass through the Rod End Bolt’s hole that is inserted inside the pipe.  A little trial-and-error adjustment and final tightening of the Rod End Bolt into the underside of the platform ensured that the whole assembly was snug and without “wobble”.



[Above]   Now the whole assembly (second pipe + mounted platform) can now be screwed into the first threaded pipe’s brass coupling in the driveway.  It is now ready to support the 8SE and even the weight of a wedge, without any wobble.

The red, straight line painted on the driveway is a North-South line (determined by a shadow at Local Solar Noon) to help with the telescope’s nightly set-up.


Now it takes barely a minute to screw out the plug and screw in this mount.  It's rock solid and steady, and its position is consistent every night.

More, when not using my telescope it's not an obstacle to cars or to my snowblower.


Thanks for looking.



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That's ingenious.  How does the stability of the pipe compare with that of the original tripod?

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  1. Cosmic Geoff, Thank You.  I find it noticeably steadier.  With the tripod, there was some "wobble" from either flex of the tripod's legs themselves or else of the rubber tips of the legs, but that's gone (and there is also no longer any need for vibration pads).  Also, there is no longer any risk of accidentally bumping into a tripod leg which was my biggest headache.  I was initially concerned about flex of the upper (longer, second) pipe, but I that's why I chose 1-1/2" i.d. (it's about 2" o.d.) galvanized steel pipe, because there would be virtually no flex at the very modest lengths, 3-1/2 to 4 ft, we're dealing with -- I can slap it sideways using my hand without any noticeable reaction.  Of course, the lower (first) pipe (1 ft long) that is solidly embedded in concrete in the ground is also not an issue.  The NPT threads of the assembly would allow some wobble if the pieces aren't joined  tightly, but I torque it slightly with a pipe wrench when I screw it in -- just remember to use antiseize so you can release it.
Edited by Ken_stargazer
wanted to add "galvanized steel"

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That’s a really neat solution, reduces set up time, and puts the scope in the optimum location, and no tripod legs to trip over.

My gut feeling would tell me you might get some flexture when you compare the pipe diameter to traditional pier pipe diameters, but if it’s solid, then job done!?

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