I cut down my truss pole tonight and had first light, sort of. What a great feeling of accomplishment seeing it all work and worked nicely it did. I was a little worried about balance as I had to move the mirror cell up an inch because of the large collimation knobs on the cell. I didn't take them into account when I designed the mirror box or the rocker. :S After cutting the poles down 1 1/2" total I was able to focus all my EPs but not by much. I'll
still need to trim about a 1/2" off of them after I mount the mirror for good. Interestingly, I was able to collimate the scope really well with my HG laser and without the center spot on the mirror no less. I collimated the focuser earlier so I set the scope up and put the laser in and projected it onto the mirror box lid and adjusted the secondary till the beam hit the center of the knob. Took off the cover, centered the mirror best I could by eyeball and the return beam was close and adjusted the collimation knobs. I thought it would be really rough collimation, but surprisingly it was pretty close.
Anyway, I got to look at the Moon which was exciting for a change. 8) Needed those sunglasses, too. Very bright, but it was a nice image although it had a lot of scattered light.
The best part was after taking the picture I tested the balance by loading up the UTA with everything I plan to use: Paracorr, 26Nagler, telrad, and finderscope. I was afraid the finder would put me over, but it balanced like a champ first try.
And the motions were as smooth as any telescope I've ever used. Absolutely no striction or backlash. I moved it easily and it stayed put. Who ever said you'll never need to use the algebra you learned in High School never built a telescope. The math in Kriege and Berry's book was right on the mark. I also had a lot of help from my friends Eric Webster and Dave Lacko, who both got me through some of the tricky parts.
Except for putting foam on the truss poles and getting the Argo Navis up and running it is finished. I have a shroud on order from Floyd Blue which should help with the scattered light and a star party storm cover coming from astro systems.
First light under dark skies will be in two weeks at a star party in Georgia. I can't wait! 8)