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6" Newtonian

The scope is finally finished.  see pictures below.   

    Currently my telescope is a 6" f4 Newtonian reflector.  I used a 2" diameter helical focuser from University Optics, and it is the only thing I have purchased there I have been unhappy with.  Way to much play to get good colimation.  The whole thing was assembled in a piece of 8" diameter PVC tubing that is about 32" long.  There is a factory that makes PVC near my home and they gave me some scrap pieces to use.  The primary mirror holder is from  The PVC tubing is a little heavy but is very durable.    So far it looks promising.  I  was able to see the rings of Saturn and the Great Red Spot on Jupiter in detail, although there was a slight halo around most objects at high magnification.   I haven't even perfectly collimated the scope yet. f4 optics in a 6" mirror are proving to be extremely difficult for me to get collimated perfectly. See Collimating Newtonian Optics  for more details.  I am also working on mounting my QuickCam to the scope. Check out  DIY CCD Imaging for some ideas.

    The next phase of my project will be to motorize the scope.   I plan on using stepper motors controlled through a serial or parallel interface.  I am still researching my options.   Several people have already done it using the parallel port and have even written software to drive the scope.   I

    I have been working on a gear reduction system for a while.  I wanted something that was accurate, and cheap.  Unfortunately those 2 words don't get along together when it comes to Telescopes.  I found an article by Tom Krajci describing worm gears made with wood and JB Weld.   Here is the link   I already made one with a ratio of 1000:1 and it should work very nicely.  I will post pictures soon.