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Sometimes things are best left alone :(

Decided it would be a good time to get them shiny screws (god only knows why they couldn't have used black screws) inside my OTA blackend out with a bit of enamal paint. On trying to reach ones further down the OTA I rested my hand on the side of the tube. BLING new shiny bits! :) thinking it's just the nature of my greasy mits I decided to give it a wipe with me man sized tissue.... BLING more shiny bits and snow :icon_eek: Lets try the man size with a bit of water to at least mop up the snow from the residue of tissue left in the tube BLING now I have a 2 tone matt, satin finish half way down my tube :)

Don't get me wrong it's not the kinda shiny surface you could have a shave in front of, and the man on the street would wonder what all the fuss was about, but is there a way get the FLAT MATT finish back with out the use of aerasol's or is this better left as a reminder to wear gloves next time.

Will it make any difference to leave it? It dose seem to have a little more reflectiveness compaire to the rest of the tube but it is still matt black it just no longer has the flatness. And before anyone recommends flocking I honestly don't think it will give me a substantial gain to the image quality to justify the cost and effort involved applying the stuff. I would only accept it being a cost effective mod if it has been meter tested and proved to have made a substantial difference by 2 identical ota,ep's etc side by side looking at the same planet at the same time and the only difference being 1 is flocked 1 is standard. I have searched the internet and no mention of any such a test (be it meter tested or eyeball tested) has been carried out to prove it's effectiveness in telescopes.

I understand the theory behind it and if you have endless amounts of cash then why not do it, but wouldn't the money be best spent on a better EP or HC filter.

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Just a suggestion perhaps you could construct a right angle Camel hair brush about "1/2 wide on a long stick, you could then gently paint over the damaged area with a Matt black solution of the type they use in the photographic industry, best to work on the scope placed upside down though if you can, to avoid any spillage onto the mirror.

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it stops greasy hand prints too :)

personally if I was painting anything matt other than nuts etc at the very top of the tube, I'd always take the primary and secondary out. if your going to do this, it's only another couple of steps to getting the thing flocked. I worked out that I could get enough to more than do my two dobs, delivered from USA for £75. not a small sum of money but not too expensive and you could even share the cost of delivery with someone locally if they want some material too? the above was the 30" roll.

I do believe that it works but also it maintains the tube temperature at a more stable level as it acts as an insulator and therefore it is likely to improve the image in more ways than one.

Edited by Moonshane
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These are where my doubts stand with flocking:icon_confused:

Below is from the UK distributers web site Q&A:-

Flocked Light Trap Material FAQ's

1) Is the improvement really that noticeable after applying flocked light trap material?

On bright planets like Jupiter and Venus, you should be able to easily see an improvement in field glare surrounding the planet (assuming your original condition was a simple painted tube wall). Contrast on the moon is also noticeably improved. The improvement is more subtle on deep space objects, though the flocked paper does a good job at reducing glare from nearby bright objects like streetlights, house lights, etc.

2) How hard is it to install flocking?

For most tubes or structural parts it is not difficult to install. Small diameter (under 8" ID), and long tubes are the most difficult to install the flocked paper in. It is recommended to install the material in manageable sections, starting from the middle of the tube and working out to the ends. Don't worry too much about small imperfections in your installation job, as they will be invisible when the job is done.

3) Does dew or moisture damage the flocked paper?

ProtoStar flocked paper is a completely synthetic-based material, so moisture won't deteriorate it.

4) Does the flocked material have good thermal insulation properties?

The flocked material is a poor insulator by itself. If you are trying to insulate your metal telescope tube, you should line it with an insulating material (e.g., cork) before applying the flocked light trap. Our air-spaced tube liners are another option for many metal tube sizes. They insulate and baffle metal tubes at the same time.

5) What are the light absorbing properties of ProtoStar light trap material?

ProtoStar light trap products are designed for the visible spectrum (~400-700 nm) where it absorbs over 99% of incident light. It also attenuates in the near-IR and near-UV by over 80%.


As you will see from the highlighted fields, it states that there is no significant improvement for dso's although it will absorb 99% of incident light. This I am assuming dose not include all types of street lighting??? (I was made aware that some LPR filters were able to completely reduce the glare from orange type st lighting but is useless on others) I assume the statement on the web site is particular in it's description? as would any manufacturer trying to sell a product.

It also states that there are no insulating properties the the material itself and that further cost and effort would be require to acheive this.

The flocking paper is I assume able to offer some improvement if you intend to observe from a light polluted area. But as we all know if your going to observe from an urban location your never going to achieve great resaults anyway no matter what you do to your telescope as the laws of phisyics simply don't allow it. It may be said that it offers lunar & planetary defenition by reducing glare and so a gain in contrast. Varying contrast and defenition can also be achieved by reletively inexspensive filters. These filters can be kept along with EP's to be used in any telescope. Glare from st lighting can be cut down by making a simple shade fron a foam camping mat and elastic.

I know you will always have an argument from people who have done flocking and swear there is an improvement but you could go out observing 2 nights in a row at the same time in the same place but have 2 totally different viewing experiences due to all the factors that play a part ... atmosphere, turbulance, your eye adaption etc the list goes on. It's not necessary the flocking that made the improvement.

I know it's not convenient or possible for everyone but I make the effort to get away from light pollution when I intend to search DSO's with out the light pollution I don't see the need for flocking or even filters as the only thing thats against me is nature. As for lunar and planetary observing I am under the impression the longer the focal length the better if this is your observing of choice and typically people purchase with SCT's MAK's or refractors for this perpose. I have found as the focal length goes up the glare from street light is not so much of an issue due to optional dew shields with such a telescope. Not that flocking would be an option to most sct owners. If know smaller appature reflectors can be used for lunar observing but again dew shields offer shelter from stray light entering the end of the focuser. As reflector have the focuser so near to the open end that stray light is enevitable by design and the easiest solution is to extend the front of the telescope so that the light no longer reflects behind the secondary mirror and focuser opening. Many people blacken the edges of the secondary mirror to help compensate for this but unless you stop the light from hitting the back wall in the first place you will always be fighting a loosing battle. Flocking the tube helps when this is the case as the back wall is no longer as reflective. But it still dosn't solve the stray light entering so close to the secondary and focuser.

Edited by spaceboy
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the way I look at it, every 1% improvement in another fine tuning exercise worth doing. it's all down to personal choice I suppose. like eyepieces, I feel it's worth paying extra for the 'top quality' even though the price / improvement in performance ratio is not always in line. I was actually going to stick the protostar onto 1.5mm 'fun foam' sheets. you could do a whole tube with £10 worth. this will make them easier to fit as I can glue them in with PVA or similar and they won't stick on contact like 'waste' to a blanket. I might even be able to do my 6" dob in one pice and my 12" in two pieces. simples. insulated and flocked in one.

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the way I look at it, every 1% improvement in another fine tuning exercise worth doing. it's all down to personal choice I suppose. like eyepieces, I feel it's worth paying extra for the 'top quality' even though the price / improvement in performance ratio is not always in line.

I have to agree with Moonshane, we all indulge in a bit of 'increasing expenditure vs diminishing results' to one extent or another. ;)

You mentioned "the only thing thats against me is nature", but surely anything that 'could' give you that little extra edge against nature is well worth having, even if it only helps once or twice a year! :)

Just have a look in the DIY threads, the lengths people go to and the hard work people put in to get that little extra edge is incredible at times - they can't all be wrong.

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this is one of the things I love about dobs. I'd never dream of drilling the OTA of a refractor but with a dob it's normal/almost expected!!

I've always been a tinkerer and hence dobs suit me well. ;)

Is that difference ? :)

Just using it is like owning a tool vs tinkering with it is having a hobby ???

Answers on a postcard please

This would probably make quite a good thread to start - don't know where to put it like (might already have been done ?)

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Due to exchange rates making flocking from the US even more exspensive than it usually would be Imformations will be required from all flocking veterans!

I have searched the forum and the internet to come up with........

Protostar Telescope Making & Upgrading Purpose made for telescope, says no fiber will shed but long way away to complain if they did.

Adhesive Backed Flock Material and Brushed Nylon Notice Board Material velcro friendly and available in many colours. Not sure what the intensions but this is no doubt how protostar started it's life (looking like a carpet)awaiting details from fellow SGL member

Light Absorbing Black-Out Material - Edmund Optics Cannot guarantee fibers will not shed but has not had any complaints from other applications. For 4 sheets 20"x 30" £30 the postage is £12 ;)

Self Adhesive Films Just one I found not details as yet

ScopeStuff again perpose made, Probably protostar.

Needless to say there are no end of available flocked adhesive papers available from craft stores. Or felt sheet that can be glued to the OTA wall. But what happens after a few cold dewy observations and then in to the warm living room back out again like a little breading ground for mould. I read some where that some refractors suffer with mould inside the OTA due to the flocking. And of course the worst nightmare of all... eyelash flock on the primary due to shedding.

I know you're all saying buy the perpose made stuff then you can go wrong :) I just wonder if all flocking is made in the same process and what you pay $$$$$ for can be purchased relativly cheaper in the UK. Is it all to do with the way some companies advertise the stuff because they saw the gap in the market. Or is it manufactured different for the perpose and dose it do what it says on the tin? Do you have to pay holding fees, custome & duty importing the protostar into the UK??

All help welcomed, remeber you have a none believer here! I could get an EP with the money I save by not flocking.

Edited by spaceboy
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I used something like this...

Fablon - Black Velour

And it works fine.

Not sure what you were on about earlier in the thread about flocking being a waste of time when you were in such a panic over a shiny patch inside your tube. Flocking is the best way to make sure it's as unshiny as can be.

Whatever you use just run the vacuum over it before installing to prevent loose fibres shedding.

Edited by haitch
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Due to exchange rates making flocking from the US even more exspensive than it usually would be Imformations will be required from all flocking veterans!

Go for it mate, I intend to follow what you do (at some point), so anything you learn I will read with interest.

Nice one :)

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Not sure what you were on about earlier in the thread about flocking being a waste of time when you were in such a panic over a shiny patch inside your tube.

Sorry guys don't mean to moan because I'm a tight :) but I have an EP collection to improve upon also costing £££'s already thinking I got into the wrong hobbie.

I didn't mean to give the impression flocking was a waste of time :D I find it hard to part with cash for such an item if there's a possibility that cheaper alternatives may offer the same improvements with less effort. After all most telescopes are sold with the same finish for a reason. Suerly can't all be about cost. They must have done some research into the best and cost effective material to use otherwise it's bad business. You can't sell some thing that's not going to attract more sales otherwise you would go out of business pretty quick. I opened the thread originally as I woundered if anyone had come across some kind of repair paint or something. There are a few telescopes out there and I can't be the 1st to have put a shine to the inside of an OTA. I would have thought SW may have done some touch up paint after all they must have drums full of the stuff.

The panic over shiny bits... think of it like a new car and you catch the paint work with your keys :p all you ever seem to notice afterwards is the scratch. I agree flock it and be done with it. I'm just having a hard time coming to terms with the cost. I wouldn't have any issue if B&Q did it at £20 an OTA

I clicked the proceed to check out on US websites in the past. Paid the $$$'s and then had the note from DHL wanting me £££'s too:cussing:;):cussing:

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Decided to FLOCK IT:D:):icon_cheers::) I think I put up my best argument against flocking and yet you stood by it as being a good investment. As a beginner to modding just needed a stern vote of confidence guys. Plus if it turns out to make an improvement I will have wasted my last 6 years looking at washed out views.

Self Adhesive Flock Material

Has been used by another SGL member so I know it will at least stick OK to the tube. The helpful lady at ABM is sending me a sample to put my shedding fears to rest and if the material comes up to standard it should come in at £31.08 for more than enough to do a 10" dob. At least my kids won't have to starve now! FYI Protostar from US with just enough to do the tube would be £44 including the risk of being more if it got held up in customs. (which for me even under £38 sometimes dose sometimes dosen't) Royal mail holding fees alone are £8 now (was £4) Then there's the VAT which they charge for total cost inc shipping £7.70

Thanks everyone for sticking it out and offering the good advice ;):icon_salut: I'm sure I will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. I may even flock that scratch on the car :p

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