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Moonshane

Home made Wooden Tripod for Refractor

5 posts in this topic

Hi all

I have been asked a few times about the wooden tripod I made for my Celestron 120mm OMNI XLT refractor so decided to add a few photos etc of the tripod and a short write up.

The design was broadly based on the excellent version here:

Making a Sturdy Wood Tripod - How To

Thankfully my father in law, Ken, is very generous with his time and although I am a pretty competent DIYer, he had the tools and also a decent sized board of mahogany lying about which made it all basically free. A big thanks to Ken for this.

I have a Vixen GP mount (note the lovely shiny new stainless steel counterweight shaft supplied by Linton!) and this came with a cheap Vixen clone aluminium tripod. This was OK but very unstable at the higher settings and also vibrated a lot. I thought about filling it with iron filings, pellets or maybe some timber but decided that a tripod which was custom made for my height and prevented the need to crack my neck every time I looked through the finder, and allowed me to look at the zenith while seated - what luxury! I ended up with a tripod which is just over four feet tall and about five feet six inches with the mount on - I am six foot three so this is perfect for me. I scavenged the mounting plate and fixing screw and the leg clamps from the old tripod.

The process was to cut the board into three strips for each leg which were about 30mm x 25mm. The middle strip needs to be the width of the 'mounting plate' peg (i.e. the bit that has the N mark on it). I would suggest you buy the wood in cut lengths but this is not totally necessary. Make sure the middle piece is either the exact width required or slightly wider (to be sanded / planed to fit).

We screwed the three pieces together leaving a gap at the top for the mounting plate and at the bottom to fit the clamps from the old tripod. The holes for the bolt and butterfly nut need to be pretty accurately drilled. I used 8mm coach bolts.

We also made a foot section which fits between the two outer sections and slides up and down about two inches to allow for leveling. This can be adjusted / changed as appropriate in your design. They are held securely by a small piece of plywood screwed to each side. A rubber walking stick end is held on each foot with a screw - this also helps damping.

We made a small bracket for each leg to hold the triangular brace and each corner is held with a bolt and butterfly nut. This was initially a temporary item, being just white melamine but I have found it's good to have it white as you can see what on it at night more readily. I bought a tripod chain for £4 which helps with initial setting up.

This is an amazingly stable platform and makes a real difference to me enjoyment and comfort - have a go, it's well worth it. Other timber even softwood / pine etc can be used I expect.

Here's some photos to show you the finished article with the mount and scope too.

More pics here http://stargazerslounge.com/diy-astronomer/99449-more-pics-tripod.html#post1395879

and here http://stargazerslounge.com/diy-astronomer/99451-final-pics-tripod.html#post1395881

Cheers

Shane

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Edited by Moonshane

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You have made a great job of that Shane ;)

It's been a gripe of mine ever since I used my 1st refractor - why can't the supplied tripods be tall enough ? - I just don't want to lie on the floor when observing the zenith area !.

I've picked up an old wooden survey tripod recently which I'm going to tidy up and use with my alt-az and eq mounts - it's almost 6 foot tall fully extended :)

Won't look as nice as your effort though !.

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That looks excellent & very well made

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It's always very satisfying making your own equipment Shane.

Making stuff with wood is always rewarding too, as I'm sure you experienced with your tripod.

Congratulations on a nice job well done, and I hope it inspires someone else to do the same.

Ron.;)

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cheers everyone - glad you like it.

John, I have seen some great jobs of the old surveyor's tripods - it will be great I reckon!

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