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My scope after maintenance, with pictures


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Well after a week or two of on and off attempts at maintaining and modifying, my scope is now done up to what I think is a pretty good standard and lots better than a few weeks ago.

First up was getting rid of those pesky collimation hex bolts and instead replacing them with a DIY version of Bob's Knobs. These were made of three 25mm m4 thumbs screw which were inserted into the holes where the hex bolts used to go. I found these new thumbs screws to be a bit short so I devised a solution whereby I stuck a pile of washers on the back of the secondary to make up the gap. This works quite well and there is more than enough travel in the screws to perform a decent tool-free collimation of the secondary.

Second job was washing the primary mirror which after 9 months of use had gotten pretty dirty. I followed astrobaby's advice on cleaning using soap flakes and distilled water which did alright in removing the big patches of grime but this failed to get rid of a residue which had settled on the surface even after two washes. To get rid of this which I did yesterday after a second wash was I spread a small amount of lotion and washing up liquid and lightly rubbed this in and immediately washed it off. The mirror came up sparkling clean and looks good as new and I hope to keep it that way for a good while yet.

My other job was to have a crack at flocking the tube spurred on by Stafford Stargazer. I bought the flocking material direct from johninderby and I received them on Tuesday after a trip to collection office because no one was in when the postie came. I also bought a tin of blackboard paint from wilkos to do the secondary, the spider vanes and the bits that I missed whilst flocking. I did this on Friday evening under the promises of a cloudy night so I had nothing to lose if I failed to complete it that night. TBH I found flocking tricky, a case of harder than it looks for me, I messed up a bit with my alignment of the material so it went a bit skew and sort spiralled up the tube a bit. Not so much of a problem at the top of the tube because I overlapped it and cut it to fit but at the base I was left with a 4 inch or so gap and one side was higher up the tube than the other. I might rectify this the future by adding another sheet of flocking, but for now I have painted the very bottom with the blackboard paint I bought instead.

I had a problem with paint sticking to the other bits I had painted such as the various screws and nuts, it flakes off when I screw them through the tube, it seems to be very fragile stuff and it is water based so I am unsure how it will hold up to dewing in the winter especially. I am going to roughen up the exterior of the focuser drawtube to make it stick as I had top remove it due to big flakes falling off it.

But all in all after everything I think the telescope is a lot better for all the work I have put into it and I am glad I have done it now. It has given me the practice I need for when I have another scope in the future. I just hope now that astro society I have borrowed it off like the changes :)

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