Last night I finished the 12.5" scope and got to use it under the stars. The first thing I noticed was the scope was just about perfectly balanced! Just a tad top heavy, but nothing that cannot be fixed with some small counterweights. The other thing is that it is so much lighter than the ballscope. The ballscope had a bunch of weight in it to balance it out. It was a real pain!
Here is a closeup of the back of the mirror cell. It is an open design to allow for better cooling. Fans will be blowing from the opposite side across the mirror. This will keep dew down and disrupt the boundary layer.
Here are the two 2" fans that will be blowing across the mirror. The opening above them is for the control panel (for the fans).
Here are collimation bolts. The 4 holes are for ventilation and for a possible 3rd fan in the future.
I got to observe with it last night looking at Saturn and M81 and M82. The scope moves so much better now. The azimuth stiction is just right. The altitude stiction is also nice, but takes more pressure to move the scope. It still moves smooth though. I used pocket holes for all joinery, although I think in the future I will probably use something different. Filling the holes with the plugs was messy. Plus, this forces me to have to paint it instead of using a stain.
I hope to build a 16" scope next and this scope was a prototype of sorts. I am also thinking about remaking the 8" to be a similar design. I think I am addicted to making telescopes. hehehehe