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What is a dovetail?

Started by gmcneely, 01/05/2005 07:45PM
Posted 01/05/2005 07:45PM Opening Post
Hi all!

Can someone kindly explain what a dovetail is? I tried to look it up online but couldn't get a concise explanation.

Many thanks,
Posted 01/05/2005 08:16PM #1
Besides the end of a dove, you mean?

In astronomy the term is used as shorthand for a device used as a bracket. When one says they are looking for a Losmandy Dovetail for a C 9.25, they mean they are looking for the bracket that fits on a C9.25 and attaches to a Losmandy mount.

When one says the finder scope has a dovetail attachment, they mean the finder scope is mounted in a bracket (that has a dovetail male end) that attaches to a mating bracket (with a dovetail female end) on the main scope.

Dovetails make it easier to attach and remove things.

The word dovetail comes form a machinist term that describes a shape. The male end of the shape is wider at the bottom, and then tapers up. From the end, it looks like a trapezoid with a wide bottom and narrow top. This male dovetail fits into a matching female shape, and one tightens a set screw to keep the mess together.

Dovetails come in all sizes.

Posted 01/05/2005 08:39PM #2
One picture is worth a thousand words on this one. This page for dovetail slides will probably nod your head and go 'oh OK it's THAT thing, I just didn't know what that was called'

And then for more pertinent examples in context see these Losmandy pics: