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Thread: Suggestions on making my own reflector/Dobsonian telescope

  1. #11
    Sn3akyDogg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions on making my own reflector/Dobsonian telescope



    I can't imagine that it wouldn't be satisfying to do so, I'm going to save up a little bit more money, and look around at plans for inspiration.
    Thanks for all the helpful comments I'll be keeping you guys updated on my progress when I start making any

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    Default Re: Suggestions on making my own reflector/Dobsonian telescope

    One thing to be aware of: you probably won't save money. It is a great project; by all means do it. But don't think you'll save money.

    You will have exactly what you want: the right focuser, the right finder, etc. and if something breaks, you can fix it.
    Don

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    Default Re: Suggestions on making my own reflector/Dobsonian telescope

    Way back, 40-60 years ago, there was an economic advantage or imperative to building your own telescope. Today, mass produced telescopes are so cheap that any savings are marginal.

    My attitude now is that designing/making your own telescope mechanicals is a labour of love to be undertaken only if you like making things yourself or like designing your own stuff or need something that isn't made.

    I made my own scope 40 years ago for reasons of economy. Over the past 2 decades, my design construct activities have focussed on accessories, laser guided polar alignment jig, and a strong ultra light mounting (8lbs) that disassembles to low volume flat pack in a suitcase, that I use for solar eclipse chasing. I designed and made this in 2002 before all the lightweight portable trackers and small mounts were released. see photo.



    If the SKy Watcher Star Adventurer, Losmandy Starlapse etc had been available, it's unlikely I would have designed my own. The only small mounts on the market were the Kenko Sky Memo and Takahashi Sky Patrol - both very expensive.

    As others have correctly pointed out you will at most save $120 but that really depends on a few things.

    • Decent focusers tend to cost a lot of money. They are worth it but nonetheless, they will blow your budget. A focuser can be home made but without a lathe it is difficult. A badly made focuser will drive you nuts trying to focus.
    • Red dot finders are cheap and useful however an optical finder of at least 50mm aperture is indispensable in my opinion for a push to dob of this aperture. You might consider having both. These can be made from old or cheap binoculars and PVC plumbing pipe. See my post and pics in the finderscope thread Building a finder from binocular parts
    • Spiders and Mirror cells can be manufactured but if purchased will push your costs over the top.


    In short, I recommend you only do this if you want the experience and satisfaction of building your own scope. I don't recommend this approach if your prime motivation is to save money. A second hand dob is the best way to save money.

    Best of luck

    Joe
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    Default Re: Suggestions on making my own reflector/Dobsonian telescope

    I agree with the above points. If saving money is the main objective then you will probably find after the addition of a couple of good eyepieces that you will have spent the same as buying a new scope. I didn't mean to suggest that doing it yourself is superior to one of the commercially made dobs. When I built mine in 1984 the Dob revolution was new and fresh, and it was hard to purchase a German equatorial mount 8" scope for less than $800 or $900. Home made Dobs of similar size cost around $280 at the time, including finished mirrors. Commercially available dobs outside of Coulter Optical were nonexistent. So it kind of depends on whether you just want to observe through a manufactured scope or through one that you have crafted yourself.

    There has been lots of innovation since 1984 in the commercial development of dobs, so this is something you can take advantage of.

    I should also mention that the plans for a dob that I followed called for the focusing tube to be made out of 1 1/4" gauge plumbing pipe held in place by a thumbscrew, which is hardly advanced. I had an extra 1 1/4" focuser lying around that I used in the scope so I didn't need to go the all do-it-yourself route. Anyway, good luck with the project if you decide to build your own. You'll notice in my signature that all my current scopes are manufactured as I was out of the hobbyf or 25 years before getting back into it in 2012. I was 14 when I built my Dob and 42 when I got back into the hobby (and I actually had some money!)
    Michael
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