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cost effective?

Started by Mark229, 07/15/2004 08:16PM
Posted 07/15/2004 08:16PM Opening Post
Considering that one could purchase a 12" dob with setting circles for about $1100, is it worth the time & money to make one? Then there's replacing the focuser, cell, reconfigure the mirror. I'm not all that crafty a person, but I could bolt on a few upgrades, but, again, is it cost effective? MN
Posted 07/15/2004 08:28PM #1
Yes it certainly can be more cost effective to purchase a manufactured scope that works right out of the box. There are many decent units available from an array of vendors.
I think some of us enjoy building the scopes for the joy of creating and optimizing a fine instrument. It may cost more to do this although some have created cost-cutting methods as well and have simplified the construction and portability of a scope while using quality components. You have the choice and good luck with your scope!
Posted 07/16/2004 12:01AM | Edited 07/16/2004 12:02AM #2
I've bought some mirror blanks in 1998 and I still didn't do anything with it. One day however, when I no longer live in town where the noise would disturb the neighbors, I will try to grind a good mirror. I guess it's only cost effective if you succeed in making a good mirror; if you have the time for it.
Good mirrors cost big $$$.
Posted 07/16/2004 06:03AM #3
I've seen several adds for brand new 12" scopes for $699.
Posted 07/16/2004 08:25AM #4
Putting a price tag on an activity won't tell you whether or not it is worthwhile doing.

Russ Schnitzer
Posted 07/16/2004 10:24AM #5
I do enjoy building scopes, but I actually originally chose to make my scope for economic reasons. When I built my first scope in the early nineties, there weren't as many good, low-cost options for small/mid-sized newtonians. I wanted an 8 or 10 inch newt of known quality for planetary observing and that was not that easy to come by then. So it was very cost effective to buy a truly excellent mirror and build a structure for it.

My particular philosophy about scopes is that I wanted best optics possible, having a fancy focuser, or massive eq mount could come later. If I have the great mirror, I can spend time fixing up the rest. It is true that there are great values out there, building my own allowed me to spend 80% of my money on the optics. All scopes involve compromises. When you build your own, you get to decide what's important -- you get exactly what you want, which in the end can save you money.

There are now Teleports and Portaballs that have great optics, but they are really out of my price range. Compared to a Discovery/Orion/Hardin dob, my scope is not that cost effective. Compared to a 7" teleport -- a scope that is similar to mine in optical quality and portability -- my scope is an amazing bargain.

On another note, I think many people have NO IDEA how amazing a really good 8-10 inch newt can be if the mirror is really good, the obstruction is relatively low, temperature is managed, and everything is collimated. To few scopes actually satisfy those criteria.