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Beginners help.


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Do you intend to make everything including the mirrors?

Back in the early 70's I did make a 6" (150mm) newtonian - including the mirrors and mount (from iron water pipes!) as then it was economical to do things that way. Today not so - it's much cheaper to buy ready made.

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Dobs are reflectors, they are Newtonians mounted on a Dobsonian base so he will still get to make his reflector.

Next decision is size, just how big do you want to go, like Bizi has said are you grinding your own mirror or are you going to buy a mirror set in and build the scope around them?

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I might have a practice at that before I decide, but just out of curiosity what is the largest mirror I could buy without the need for grinding.

*Very* large - larger than your pockets are deep.

But if you're talking about mass market mirrors, 16" is the last "common" size you can get from Guan Sheng Optics (these GSO mirrors are the same ones that go into Meade 16" Lightbridges).

If you're talking about a step above the mass-market vendors, Orion Optics "Professional Grade" mirrors go up to 600mm (roughly 24").

Premium mirror makers will make anything you want, but prepare to have deep pockets and a lot of patience. In the case of very, very large mirrors, you might want to go to fancier mirror types like cellular mirrors, and that could certainly mean it takes a while, takes nerves of steel and takes deep pockets (see Cruxis Telescope Construction and look at the timelines!)

I wouldn't recommend building a first ATM scope that is too large, though.

My first ATM (Amateur Telescope Maker) scope was a 16" and that did turn out well, but I don't think I'm typical. I was well read and I had already studied what other ATMs had been doing for very long.

Michael Kalshoven, a Dutch colleague, also made a 16" Dob (with GSO optics), but he made two before he was satisfied with it, and ritually burned his first Dob structure on a pyre :), even though he's a lot better at building things than I am (and in fact is starting up a small shop to sell his telescopes).

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Oh, before I forget: try to see if there isn't a community of ATMs who organise courses close to you; there often is (here in Belgium we have a couple, with the local Urania scope builder team with excellent people headed by the inimitable "Chriske"; some of their old web pages, if you're interested, are at De cursus kijkerbouw but the most interesting bits are on the Dutch language side and even there, the most recent things are in the forum rather than the general pages).

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Hello Asur84. I think you're not far from me at the Astronomy Centre, I was a professional telescope maker before retirement so should be able to help. :).

I am planning a trip down to the astronomy centre as soon as clouds and time permit.

I think I am going to look into building something around the 10-12 inch mark, however at the minute I am just researching the prospect.


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