Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Introducing "Electa"

After some final tweaks, "Electa" is done.  She is named after my great, great, great grandmother, Electa Ann Grubaugh Hissong who lived from 1841 to 1934.

Close-up of name tag I had made.  You can see a piece of brass stock I temporarily attached as well.  This will be replaced with a counterweight system from

Here is the secondary ring with a Protostar, 3-vane spider and secondary.  The secondary is heated using Protostar's built in dew heater.  The light baffle on the other side of the ring is made of Kydex and I attached some Protostar flocking paper.

The focuser is a Kineoptics HC-2.  Dennis Steele from made the spider brackets focuser board.  The struts and strut seats are made by Moonlight Focuser.

"Electa" and "Ada" side by side.  This has been a great project.  I had so much fun and I learned a great deal.  First light was last night and I noticed I had the truss tubes cut about and inch short.  I was able to compensate for it by using spacers on the focuser.  The action was stiffer than I would have liked too.  This evening, I applied some Turtle Wax Express Shine Spray wax to the laminate bearing surfaces and the scope moves just like my old Obsession.  I observed M81, M82, M37, and Mars this evening.  I cannot wait to get her under dark skies!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Truss seats are here...

Truss seats attached to the mirror box.  Also have the dust cover finished.

Also got the baffle installed in the mirror box.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Moonlight Struts

I ordered the Moonlight truss system yesterday.  Completion of the scope should be next week sometime.  I am trying something new to mechanically fasten the struts to the tubes.  I saw Teeter use this technique on his struts (he uses moonlight as well).  I will be using rivets to fasten the ball inserts into the tubes.  I picked up a rivet tool and some rivets and tried it out on my existing tubes on my 12.5".  They work great!  I also plan to run the connecting cables through one of the struts.  Ron Ravneberg did this on his scope and it really helps keep the scope nice and tidy.  I will test this on a leftover strut I have on the 12.5".  If it works out ok, I will use it on my 16".

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

First Light!!

First light! I used a 2x4 as a strut to get the exact measurement between the secondary ring and the mirror box. I estimated it to be 51". Turns out it is 50 3/4".  Now I just need to get the moonlight truss system and this will be done!  Got to see the moon eclipse a bright star too in the scope!
Closeup of the Protostar spider and the secondary ring.  You can see I used some clamps and scrap wood to attach the ring to the 2x4.

Mirror Box Completed...

Finished the rocker and mirror boxes a few days ago. Instead of painting it, my wife and some other ATMs convinced me to leave the wood a natural color. I like the results!!!  I used Minwax Gloss Oil Based Polyurethane.

This is a view of the back of the scope. There are two fans to blow air across the surface of the mirror. I also have a fan to blow on the back of the mirror. The top set of fans is controlled by one switch, the single fan that blows on the back of the mirror is controlled by a different switch. 

I decided to name the scope "Electa". My wife and I recently got into genealogy and I found out my great, great, great, great, grandmother was named Electa. I thought it was such a great name!

Here is a closeup of the bearing mounting. I decided to use threaded inserts on the mirror box, and finish nuts on the outside. It has a really nice appearance.

The bottom of the scope. Here you see the back fan.

Close up of the electronics.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saint Patrick's Day Prominence

An amazing solar prominence was present on the limb of the sun on this wonderful Saint Patrick's Day.  This is my first real attempt at doing solar photography with my PST scope.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Adding Polyurethane to the bearings

Decided to go ahead and finish the telescope with Polyurethane instead of painting it.  Really like the look better.

Ground Board finished

Made the ground boards today.  Instead of going with hockey pucks, I went ahead and used some plywood disks I had left over.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Laminate Installed... Secondary Ring just about done

Cemented the Ebony Star laminate this evening.  It always makes me nervous!  It fit just right.  I will be heading to Lowe's tomorrow to pick up a Flush Trim Bit for my router to get the extra laminate off.

Here is a shot of the secondary ring.  I need to get some longer bolts to go through the 3/4" spacers and some washers so the spacers are not digging into the plywood.  Dennis of made the spider brackets (where the spider attaches to the bolt and spacer).  He also made the focuser board.  Great work Dennis!!  I also put a 10-24 threaded insert on the opposite side of the focuser board for the light baffle.  I will be using a threaded knob to attach the baffle.

Rocker Box just about done

Just about done with the rocker box.  I liked the tapered sides with the routed out circles.  Makes it look nice.  Instead of painting the rocker box, I have decided to Polyurethane it for a natural look.  The bearings will also have a natural look.  The mirror box will have a black textured paint and secondary ring will be flat black.  I used screws and glue for all joints.  Still wondering about whether I will glue the bearings on or bolt them.  And if I bolt them, should I use threaded inserts or not.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rocker Box Coming Together

This past evening, I spent some time working on the rocker box.  Got the sides cut and rounded.  I am debating about whether I want to cut the circles in the rocker sides.  I think it will look nice.  It will save on some weight too.  My only concern is that the plies are not all totally glued and there may be some gaps.  Paint and some filler should cover it.  Decisions...