View Full Version : Building you own Telescope

2006-Apr-09, 04:25 PM
Have any of you tried and what were your expeiences? I know of one person who started and gave up trying to build a Dob and another who has 4 projects going simultaneously (for several years now). Are you motivated by cost savings or by the prospect of doing it yourself (as its own reward)?

2006-Apr-10, 01:04 AM
I built my own 10 inch scope, but I used commercial optics (bought a mirror that was already completed, bought the focuser).

I did it in order to get what I wanted, not because it saved me any money. I think that is typical. You could build a real cheap scope with scavanged parts if you wanted, but you can buy a decent commercial 6 or 8 inch dob so cheaply that it's not really worth the effort. Building though can get you precisely what you want, and it can be fun, and it can be a learning experience.

2006-Apr-10, 01:27 AM
I am also one of those who once thought that building myself will have a better outcome...
To try something like that you have to have some mechanical design skills, and a good and patient friend with well equipped workshop is also essential ingredient :-) (and very supportive spuse is even more important :-)
While in general I am happy with the fact that the design was under my control, it took quite a while... actually it is still not finished (after 20y) because there is always something that I could have done better or different...
So, if my advice is worth anything, go for a commercial one, and be prepared to spend a good money on it... Here the old saying ("how much money, that much music" applies. It should be your LAST telescope... Only then you will be able to start using it, instead waiting for that "last critical part" to arrive from workshop...

Kaptain K
2006-Apr-10, 06:47 AM
There was a time when you had three choices:
1) Cheap commercial scopes (mostly 60mm refractors).
2) Expensive comercial scopes (Unitron, Questar, etc).
3) Build your own, from scratch. This was the only way to get a "large" scope without breaking the bank. Many of the current manufacturers got started this way.

Now, with good quality commercial scopes available at every price point, the only reason to build from scratch is for the sheer satisfaction of having done it.
Many, like aurora build the mechanical parts, but leave the long, tedious grinding, polishing and figuring to commercial firms.
Most people opt for a commercial scope unless they want to build their own, because there is no cost advantage to building your own anymore.

2006-Apr-10, 11:36 AM
Greetings everyone

As i said in my previous post, i plan on building a little split-ring EQ mount for astrophotography purposes, using my new set of binoculares (CCD webcam attached) and a couple of cameras. I plan on building a telescope but, as most of you already said it, itīs for the fun of it. As an engineer, a want MY first telescope to be as I want it to be: an 8 or 10 inch f/6 flexed mirror newtonian and a split-ring EQ motorizes and computer controlled mount. But thatīs in a near :) future.

I have enjoyed designing my scope and use AUTOCAD for it, so when i get my hands on a little CNC machine, i can start building my dream scope. Patience will be most important, but if one loves it, no problem... :)

Stay cool

2006-Apr-10, 04:35 PM
A lot of the big regional star parties give awards for amateur telescope builders and their creations. If you go to one of those events, you can get to look at lots of homemade scopes, and probably get a lot of great ideas.

In recent years, in addition to the awards, there has been something called a "walkabout" at some of the star parties, where a person leads a large group around the field from scope to scope and the builder describes the scope and what was done and answers questions. Since it is not a contest, it makes an even better learning experience for everyone.

Here are some examples:

Rocky Mountain Star Stare (http://www.rmss.org/atm.htm)

Oregon Star Party (http://www.bbastrodesigns.com/osp01/osp01.html)

Stellafane (http://www.stellafane.com/atm/atm_main.htm)

2006-Apr-12, 04:38 AM
I've built two 12.5" scopes now and am in the rough grinding stages of a 20" mirror. I am totally hooked on building my own scopes. As I didn't have anyone to help me or to talk to, the first one was a steep learning curve. But once a guy gets through the first one, then the second is much easier. I think the the best part of mirror making is the final figuring and testing. One thing I learned was, don't try doing a Foucault test while your neighbor is mowing his yard with a D7 cat. You won't save any money building your own scope, but you will love it more than any scope you will ever buy. Not to mention all the attention you get at the star party.

2006-Apr-12, 05:12 AM
it will be one hack of an ego booster if you have a problem with that also will tell you right of the bat what you can do. any how don't stop your self others will dop that for you