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Mak Has A New Set Of Wheels

Posted by Steve Couture   03/14/2005 12:00AM

Mak Has A New Set Of Wheels
Discovering that a hernia operation would soon be necessary, I place a concerned call to Larry Fisher at ScopeBuggy , tel. 866-312-8449, where three weeks earlier I had placed an order. You can visit their website at After being assured by Larry that the order had been shipped, the package arrived three days later which, happened to be, in ironic fashion, on same day I had made a doctor's appointment for a hernia consultation. The box arrived taped and strapped so securely that there was no doubt everything was safe and secure inside. This is more than I can say about yours truly.

I had been planning for many months to build a home made scope cart with pneumatic tires. One look at the advertisement in the February edition of Astronomy magazine convinced me that I didn’t need to waste time and energy with this building project.

What caught my eye was the ScopeBuggy’s 10 inch pneumatic tires which, although not apparent in the black-and-white advertisement, have attractive gold anodized ball bearing hubs. Limited to the driveway, the pneumatic tires would not have been so important, but I have several viewing spots in my yard, some of which involve transporting the scope through thick grass. There’s a park nearby that has gravel and dirt surfaces, where the pneumatic tires would perform better than the thin hard rubber tires of other carts.

Assembly was rather easy and straightforward. Fit and finish was very good, with the exception being the clip on pull handle which attaches onto the front wheel yoke. The yoke has a threaded bolt on each side. Both sides of the pull handle yoke have slots into which the threaded bolts slip. The clearance between the handle yoke and the wheel yoke is so tight that it is possible for the handle yoke to pop off the bolts while lifting or adjusting the handle to pull the ScopeBuggy. Some filing and sanding is necessary to fix the problem, but I would still prefer a more secure connection. If you happen to find the front wheel rubbing on the side of the wheel yoke, don't go running for the telephone like I did, just turn it around.

First light with the fully loaded ScopeBuggy, with my Russian Mak, an Intes Micro M -715 and Celestron CG-5 GT, proved how easy it is to begin an observing session. Rolling around the driveway was not an issue, as was to be expected, but the lawn grass offered serious resistance. With the rear T bar in its’ low 1 ½” position, dragging it through grass was a strain. Raising the rear axle to its six-inch height eliminated the problem immediately. This is probably the optimum height if you plan on rolling the ScopeBuggy anywhere else besides your paved driveway, since the 1 1/2 inch height may also cause problems on gravel or slightly rocky terrain also. Although I didn't have an opportunity to test on a gravel area, the ScopeBuggy handled the dirt with some rocks very easily. For peace of mind, I would recommend, in any situation, to pull with one hand on the scope mount and steer with the other hand on the pull handle. I wouldn't recommend pushing or pulling with the pull handle exclusively in any place other than a smoothly paved driveway.

I never really had a vibration problem with the Celestron CG- 5 GT, although it did appear that the rubber tires of the ScopeBuggy slightly reduced some of the vibration caused by focusing. Vibration reduction is just icing on the cake when one considers the ease with which the ScopeBuggy allows me to transport my scope. The ScopeBuggy also has a stabilizer by each wheel which also acts to level the scope. The advertisement claims the ScopeBuggy is load tested to 600 pounds. I can testify that it held my 235 lb frame rather handily when I stood on it.

With the impending operation, the only remaining issue is how to lift my 31mm Nagler t-5 to the diagonal.