My Steampunk Telescope #6: A Home For My Round Mirror.

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Blog entry by TelescopeMaker posted 08-28-2011 04:56 AM 3460 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Life got out of the way. Part 6 of My Steampunk Telescope series no next part

Special announcement! This will be the last in this blog series! I have finished my Steampunk Telescope! Of course, that doesn’t mean I am finished tinkering with it. That is the thing about Amateur Telescope Makers, we are never really finished with a telescope. But for all intents and purposes I am. When I point it at a star, it is well balanced and stay where I point it. It does shake to much when I adjust it, and it settles down within 3 or four seconds. Not fantastic, but not bad for a first try.

I want to say thanks to my wife Susan for her support and indulgence. When shortcomings were encountered, and disaster befell, she was there there to encourage me and get me going again. I want to thank the many people on the ATMList mailing list and yahoo group, ATM Facebook crowd, and others worldwide who helped and inspired me.

In particular I want to thank: David Harbour from Oklahoma who helped me understand the mechanics of grinding, polishing, figuring and testing the mirror. Mel Bartlels, and Bob May, Berthold Hamburger for their help with mirror grinding, etc. Ross Sackett from California of who inspired the design of the scope itself, and first introduced the word “Steampunk” to me, which has given me a lot of fun for the past few years. Jan van Gastel from the Netherlands who inspired the construction of mirror cell (the thing the mirror sits on). Francis O’Reilly of New York and New Mexico who shared a lot of YouTube videos that helped me a lot, and with whom I share a mutual interest in the music of Steeleye Span. And so many others, I should have kept better notes.

Now that I have finished the telescope which is merely a holder for the big 12” mirror, I can concentrate on finishing the mirror itself. The last I checked, it was only corrected to about 1/4 wavelength of light or less, and I am trynig to get that to about 1/10th of a wave for a clearer image. After that i will send it away to be aluminized, because as it stands, all it will be good for is looking at the Moon.

So, onward to the pictures!
Me and the ‘scope.

Eyepiece at perfect height

Mirror in place, lid in raised position.

Pointing to the zenith

Pointing low. note the pivot point in the center of the base circle. That gives it back and forth movement (azimuth)

Looking down the optical train

Eyepiece on right, diagonal on left. the round black thing below the diagonal mirror is the light baffle. if there is light behind it, then it will keep it from shining into the eyepiece when I am looking through it.

The eyepiece board with the helical focusser.

The lid closes with a rare earth magnetic clasp. This shows the pivot point for the up-down motion (altitude). There is a mechanism here that provides drag in case of miss-balance. Not needed after all!

The underside of the eyepiece board. At the very top of the photo is the finder. it projects a circle on the sky. Put the circle over the star you want to see, and it shows up in the eyepiece…. or close.

Shows how the tube is attached

Shows how the trunnion “crescent” bearing rides on two white teflon pads.

The trunion crescent from the other side. the white part is kitchen counter top laminate. It rides on the teflon pads, and is very slippery. it doesn’t stick when you move it.

The mirror, showing the four pads it rests on (thre is no silver on the mirror yet). The four pads are part of the mirror cell assembly that hold the mirror in an exact and rigid way. The black ring provides a little rigidity to the whole mirror box. It is flat black to keep stray light from entering the eyepiece via reflection.
The black circles and lines on the mirror are actually on the back of the mirror which is about 2” thick and 12.5 inches in diameter. They mark where big pits and scratches used to be before I polished it.

-- Telescope Maker, Woodworker, Brewer, Gizmologist, Gardner, Lawn Mower

2 comments so far

View TelescopeMaker's profile


103 posts in 4036 days

#1 posted 08-28-2011 05:35 AM

I’ll have to fix the photos, they don’t seem to be displaying…

-- Telescope Maker, Woodworker, Brewer, Gizmologist, Gardner, Lawn Mower

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 4174 days

#2 posted 08-28-2011 06:24 PM

Sure, it stays in place with that Plossl, but how about a big honkin’ Nagler?

I like the shirt, though we CCD imagers call what WE do as the “dark side.”. lol

From one astronomer to another, truly this is a spectacular build. I know Dave Kriege and Tom Noe personally (surely you know those names), and your design is equal in class to theirs. I hope to build something like your scope someday, especially since I’d like to get back to my roots as more of a visual astronomer.

-- jay,

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