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This ultra-short scope, by Todd M, has a mirror of 4.25″ (108 mm) and a pretty short focal length – about 2 feet (60 cm). He made just about everything, right here in the NCA ATM workshop at the Chevy Chase Community Center. He ground, polished, figured, and even helped aluminize the primary mirror; made the primary cell AND the spider and secondary holder; made all of the rest of the mount that you see; and even made the focuser itself from some plumbing parts!

It’s a very nice job, meriting a lot of praise. In case you were wondering, the paint was a special, very-high quality and very expensive top-of-the-line alkyd enamel, costing about $200 per gallon – and we have two of them. Explanation: it was an ‘oops’ can that was specially ordered and mixed for someone who changed their mind and couldn’t return it. In exchange for a non-profit donation receipt in the name of NCA, Bill R was able to get the person to donate both gallons to us.

The spider and secondary holder are very similar to the one made by Ramona D that you can see here. The major differences are:

(1) Todd used busted bandsaw blades rather than steel strapping tape for the vanes. (Both were the same price: free.) After looking at both projects, which both turned out quite nicely, my conclusion is that if you want to use bandsaw blades, you have to heat-treat (anneal) them so they will have less of a tendency to break right at the location where you are trying to bend them by 45 degrees. (Heat it up to cherry red and then let it cool slowly in the air, making it softer and less brittle, I am told…)

(2) And of course, it certainly helps to grind down the teeth of the bandsaw blade both for safety and to reduce weird reflections. Strapping tape is about the same thickness as many band saw blades, but the tape is wider and hence more stable and less prone to turn crooked (I think).

(3) Todd used ordinary 1/4″-20 machine screws (aka bolts) to attach the vanes of the spider to and through the walls of the tube. He cut off the heads of the bolts and ground one side flat near the head, and then drilled a little hole in that flat part, tapped (threaded) that, and used a tiny little machine screw to attach the vane to the specially-prepared screw, in a process that I hope is clearly shown in these three drawings.

(4) Ramona, however, used thumbscrews instead of doing all that cutting, filing and tapping. Actually, our little tiny tapping drills didn’t play well with our bit holders – they kept slipping. So she just drilled holes in the center of each thumbscrew head, and bought three very small nuts and bolts and used them in the place of the little screw that Todd used.

(Thumbscrews like these:)

thumbscrews

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