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DIY scope bag


Ad Astra
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Hi Folks,

I needed a protective bag for my big refractor. Because of the size of the mount, we often set it up in the afternoon in order to assemble, mount and balance everything before it gets dark. The problem is that it is windy here, and the afternoon sun can really heat things up - causing no end up problems with extended cooling times, tube currents, etc.

I decided to use $5/yd cotton canvas, (Celestron Orange, of course) and make a padded bag. A bit of exploring at the fabric store and I came up with a polyester padding made with a super-thin aluminized mylar layer inside. (see the last photo) It was sold as 'insulated lining' for curtains; 'guaranteed to reflect the IR light from the sun back outside'. Very light, and not too expensive (about $3 / yard). I put a single layer between two sheets of canvas, doubling the insulated padding over the optical cell and focuser region on each end. The layers quilted together quite nicely in my sewing machine.

As I wanted to put the bag on when the OTA was mounted on the EQ head - I had to make the diameter large enough to accomodate the rings and the dew cap. A 'water resistant' (read very smooth, tight-fitting, non-maring nylon) zipper on each end closes the bag right up to the dovetail platform and rings. The fit turned out to be just right. The bag got its first testing out today - set up the scope two hours before sundown and left it outside with the OTA in the sun. After sundown, we unzipped the bag and removed it to find the tube almost as cool as it had been when we took it out of the garage storage.

Here are a few pics of the finished bag and that fancy insulated padding, one shot of the matching tripod bag as well.

Dan

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Edited by Ad Astra
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Very smart indeed and it's good to see another fella openly admit to using a sewing machine!

My dear old Dad and Grandpa were both U.S. Navy vets - and both of them insisted that 'sewing was a manly art - and fit for any lad to take up.' Besides, Dad always said that if you can do it yourself, you will never have to pay another fellow to do the work for you.

Anyway - it had to be me or nothing.... Mrs. Astra does not count the manly art of sewing among her many accomplishments. And yet we continue to cohabitate peacefully... :)

Dan

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Male sewing machinists unite! :)

I've been contemplating making a similar bag to keep the newt in, that looks very good Dan :(

It wasn't terribly difficult. Just a flat piece (in layers, of course), hemmed and rolled into a tube. Then install the end caps and zippers - presto! The biggest pain was the end caps - I had to hand sew these as there were too many layers for my little machine to deal with. Not too bad, though.

Zippers went in easily and work great; I'm sure it would be an easy matter to make one large one that went from one end to the other. I'm planning to get some iron-on letters to say "ApoMax / Pro" near the dew cap end and "Barth Observatory" in small, neat letters near the center. :)

The anti-vibration pads you see in the photos are DIY as well. They were cut from a 'tree-ring' made from shredded tires glued together. The tree ring cost about $10, and gave me enough for three tripod pads, and a set of nice pads on the bottom of my scope case!

Cheap out FTW!

Dan

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I've repaired all my motorcycle leathers myself and recovered the seats on my FXR, in black cowhide and tan pigskin. That job just about killed my 40 year old Singer. Thankfully there is a sewing machine repair shop lass than a mile from my house, where the propietors son runs an 850 Commando, needles to say, the Singer was placed on priority and return post haste in excellent working order.

I've not had any need to make a scope bag though, as I found a nice 'garden chest' at the local discount store...

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Well done Dan. Nice job!:)

I am about half way on mine now. I am using upholstery fabric and a heavy duty curtain interlining.(Starting to think it is a little too thick for my machine though!!) I have not seen anything over here like the mylar lining you have used. May go down the velcro route instead of zips- definately not my forte!

One thing is for certain -my scope is going to be well protected for transporting in the car.:(

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Well done Dan. Nice job!:)

I am about half way on mine now. I am using upholstery fabric and a heavy duty curtain interlining.(Starting to think it is a little too thick for my machine though!!) I have not seen anything over here like the mylar lining you have used. May go down the velcro route instead of zips- definately not my forte!

One thing is for certain -my scope is going to be well protected for transporting in the car.:(

Thanks, Trillian!

The curtain interlining sounds exactly like what I used (that's what they sold it for, anyway...) but mine had the 'heat barrier' mylar layer. That may be a function of where I live (in the desert), and that's exactly why I needed it. If I set up and balance in daylight and leave the scope up for even a few minutes - solar heating can raise the temp of the scope (and optics) tremendously in just a few minutes - requiring many hours off cool-off time.

Your bag sounds champion!

Photos???

Dan

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