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Has anyone seen this new ultra portable mount (the Ant)?

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I have been following JTW for quite a while (they have their Trident mount out in the wild and it’s really well reviewed). I had my mind set on a new Minotaur mount from them for the obsy… and then they announced this and have as such thrown a spanner in the works of my brain.

It appears to be a small 2kg (ish) strain wave mount with a 15KG imaging payload capacity. I guess weight roughly comparable to the RST-135? The tripod/pier that comes with it is a self-contained carry system for the mount head, which is straightened out and stored within the tube. All-in, with the tripod, it’s supposed to be about 5kg… and everything fits in a carry on airline suitcase with space for a small frac next to it. I have heard that they are putting much higher quality strain wave drives in than we have seen so far in mounts such as AM5/Nyx/Rainbow etc.

They are putting, or rather giving the option I think, for modular battery to be put at the base of the tripod, in line within the tube. In addition a counterweight can be added at the base for extra stability. The battery also acts as ballast and cabling goes up within the tube to the base of the mount.  Power can then be distributed from the mount to a Pegasus / ASIAIR etc.

Looks like 2 versions

The Ant will be lower priced (though can’t see any actual prices yet), no encoders but some sort of novel drive system which has only been hinted at. And the Fire Ant - the same mount but with dual encoders and expected to be unguided.

It looks like someone just said “let’s put absolutely everything someone needs, short of the imaging train, in one portable bit of kit”. And now they have planned it I can’t work out why this sort of thing has not been done before.

A pic that I’ve seen of the plan is attached. Preorders seem to be £0 no commitment, which is what they have done with the other mounts.

I messaged JTW and asked about prices and they said they would be announced shortly. I also asked about delivery dates and they said they are aiming for the first deliveries within 3 to 4 months.

Now I don’t know whether to proceed with the new Obsy mount I had planned on or to switch to this. I still have questions but I guess I’ll wait for the full spec release which apparently is forthcoming.


Edited by mrflib
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On 17/03/2023 at 14:45, markse68 said:

It does look neat- I like the way the head can be stored in the central tube, but the legs and the bracing look a bit iffy to me


Mark I actually messaged JTW about this because I was curious:



The legs are pneumatic and made from 30 mm thick walled carbon fiber. Because it is only carrying 15 kg they do not need bracing. Two of the legs are individually actuated for levelling and cams stop any slipping. It is rock solid!

This backlash free Harmonic Drive actually needs imbalance to operate... I appreciate that there's no shortage of overloaded Harmonic Drive mounts falling over on YouTube though! This is why the design for the tripod legs trace such a large diameter. To do this they must be incredibly strong.

For comparison this is the same carbon we would use to hold the truss of a 600 mm telescope.

Hope this helps!


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  • 4 weeks later...

This is very cool and appealing to me and I am following with interest.

If only they added software sky modelling, the FireANT would be the perfect portable mount. I find that modelling really makes absolute encoder mounts shine, and can easily notice the difference it makes on my A-P Mach2GTO.

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On 18/03/2023 at 20:28, knobby said:

Certainly looks a very interesting package, but I'm not too sure about wearing the hard hat when using it 🤣

Perhaps to protect you head from repeatedly striking a brick wall when the mist comes in after 25% of your session has completed?

Edited by iapa
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2 minutes ago, iapa said:

Perhaps to protect you head from repeatedly striking a brick wall when the mist comes in after 25% of your session has completed?

Think it's to protect you from the other half.

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