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Posts Made By: Stephen Collett

September 8, 2005 03:12 AM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

Yup, we got 'scopes in Bakersfield

Posted By Stephen Collett

Here I am pointing to a 7.5" Byers gear that I have installed on the Shaefer mount under my classic C11. I have the vain fantasy of turning this mount into a Shaefer LXD GOTO contraption. In the background is the rolloff shed I built for the scope. The grease in the foreground (belly and pants) came from my garage shop.
Wishing you dark skies from Bakersfield, CA.

March 4, 2006 09:50 PM Forum: Home Observatories

My roll-off shed

Posted By Stephen Collett

Recent posts by my neighbor Patrick Bailey have motivated me to share pictures of my roll-off shed finished about a year and a half ago.
The shed is 4x5x8 feet and was assembled from panels built in my garage and schlepped to the back yard for priming and assembly. The pier is isolated from the floor by sand and fiber expansion-joint material, and flares out underground so it out-weighs the visible portion by a factor of 2.
Four 5-inch casters are under the floor, and a dust skirt made from rubber garage-door weatherstrip keeps most of the dust out. The roof is composition shingles.
I can easily roll the shed off and back by my self. Eye hooks keep the doors from swinging while the shed rolls.
Steve in Bakersfield

November 24, 2006 07:58 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

ServoCAT and GEMS

Posted By Stephen Collett

I am anxiously awaiting my ServoCAT to try to adapt to the massive equatorial mount I've been building (photo). Despite Gary's caution that the software doesn't really accomodate a GEM due to the need to reverse RA polarity when you flip over the meridian, I was so impressed by the performance of Floyd Blue's setup that I have decided to take the plunge. If it doesn't work out on the GEM, I have a nice 17.5" Dob I can use it on.

Who out there has tried the ServoCAT on a GEM (I know it's been done)? I want to make contact with someone who might help me avoid reinventing that wheel.

November 26, 2006 09:27 PM Forum: Telescope Making

ServoCAT and GEMS

Posted By Stephen Collett

Let's try a different forum. Has anybody out there tried a ServoCAT on a German equatorial mount? I'm about to dive into this, but even Gary Myers at StellarCAT isn't sure how well it will work. Been building the mount (picture) since April. I would like to make contact with someone who might help me avoid reinventing the wheel.

February 19, 2007 04:20 PM Forum: Reflectors


Posted By Stephen Collett

I just started this to get something new at the top so as not to have to wade through five screens of wandering "comparison" thread. Moderator?

April 8, 2007 09:38 PM Forum: Mounts

ServoCat in testing.

Posted By Stephen Collett

Finally finished mounting the spur gears, worms and motors for my big EQ project. The ServoCat is the black box on the right leg, just behind the laptop. Motors running fine, but I've got noticeable backlash on both worms -- need to figure out just how tight to make it without binding. Plus I know I have a thousanth or so of slop in the Dec gear bushing. I still don't know how the ServoCat is going to work, since it's not designed to handle the flop when you change sides over the pole, but I'll let everybody know once I've figured it out. Should take about a month to finish adjusting and tuning the drives.

April 14, 2007 03:12 AM Forum: Telescope Making

Cassegrain is nearly done

Posted By Stephen Collett

Here's a pic of my 12.5" classical cassegrain on the big mount I've been working on for over a year. Just got the mirrors back from L & L today. ServoCAT is installed and drives with plenty of torque, but I'm having trouble getting the worms to stay seated -- backlash increases as something slips if I slew too fast. I'm planning to schlep this bad boy to RTMC, finished or not.

April 16, 2007 03:24 AM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

Struggling to finish my Cassegrain

Posted By Stephen Collett

Well, the primary is in and the truss assembled nicely. I have enough counterweights (gulp!!). THe ServoCAT motors seem to work fine but I've got a stubborn amount of slop in my worm gears. Hmmmm -- five weeks to RTMC?

May 4, 2007 05:36 AM Forum: Telescope Making

Folding Lawson's refractor (long)

Posted By Stephen Collett

I’ve been thinking about building a folding refractor for years. I had even purchased a 5” m.a. diagonal at RTMC a few years back with this in mind. After seeing it on AM several times, I finally bit on veteral ATM’r Keith Lawson’s offer to sell/trade that 8.5” f/12 doublet you’ve been seeing in the forums. We met last Saturday at Patrick Bailey’s observatory in Tehachapi, and I traded my old C11 and a rehabilitated old Schaeffer mount for the lens an a few odds and ends.

Driving back home to Bakersfield, my mind was spinning with ideas. As soon as I got home, I decided to inventory the stock of old pieces of Sonotube laying on the rafters above my shop. Then I saw it!! Powder blue, 4 feet long, aluminum … it was the mechanicals from Jim Hodger’s 10” Newt. Jim had given it to me at RTMC last year after selling the optics but finding no takers for the tube and rings. Inspiration struck like lightning. It included cast aluminum end rings with cast-in three-vane spider and lugs for a mirror cell.

After not much thought, I hacksawed out the spider, cut and drilled a piece of ¼” aluminum plate, drilled and tapped the front end ring, and cut an off-center hole to take the adapter flange that Keith had turned for mounting the cell on the lens. I had it put together by dinnertime.

During the last few days, I’ve mounted the rings on a dovetail for my mount, added a top plate, and mounted a plate on the back end for the first flat and the focuser. I have also built a bulkhead that will take a second (3.1”) flat to complete a z-fold light path.

With three weekends left before RTMC, will it be finished in time? It’s come down to the last few do-overs on my 12.5” cassegrain with suspect optics, or slapping together the refractor. Refractor wins.

In the pics you can see the offset of the flange for the objective. Obviously I’ll need to patch Jim’s focuser hole and thoroughly rehab the tube. The blue has to go – clashes with the gloss copper metallic powder coat for the mount.

May 11, 2007 05:10 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: If you want the thread to die, just don't read

Posted By Stephen Collett

A lot of the junk I see on threads that seem to be interesting are exchanges between users that would be better communicated via personal messages.