Last updated on
4/11/
2006

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Items You Can Make
[Eyepiece Tray] [Eyepiece Case] [Mounting an HC] [Balance Weights] [A Pier] [Observer's Seat] [Scope Stand]

There are a number of accessories you can make for yourself: an eyepiece tray for your scope’s tripod, an Eyepiece Case, an easy way to mount a Hand Controller on your tripod, balance weights (for a Losmandy counterweight bar and for a Celestron U2K scope), a permanent pier for your scope, an observer’s seat, and a storage stand for an SCT to eliminate the need to lift a heavy SCT up from the floor.  Click on one of the links above for instructions and photos of these items.  There are also some links for making your own dew heater on the Dew Prevention page.

One helpful link for do-it-yourself amateur astronomers is the Reid Tool Supply Company, which carries an assortment of tool parts (such as knobs, etc.).  Note also that Phil Harrington’s book Star Ware includes some other do-it-yourself accessories for astronomy. You can find a list of these items under “A Brief Outline” of that book on his Web site.

One other thing I mention on the Eyepiece page and may be worth repeating here - I have an Orion 17mm Lanthanum Superwide eyepiece (made by Vixen) that is so wide it hits the two set screws that hold it in place at the top of a Celestron or Meade 1.25” diagonal (but not a 2” diagonal).  If this happens to you, you can get longer screws. On the Celestron diagonal they’re 3mm screws so you need to go to a very good hardware store to purchase longer ones - 3mm is not a diameter commonly stocked by home improvement centers which typically start their stock at 4mm.  Get screws 15mm long and a pair of 3mm locking nuts, and thread the locking nuts on the screws all the way up to the screw head so you’ll have more area for your fingers to grip when tightening the set screws.

If you get deeply involved in astrophotography (or even in visual observing) you are likely to find that constantly carrying all of your equipment outside, setting it up, re-doing your polar alignment, and taking all the equipment back inside afterwards becomes a real chore that takes away a lot of time from (or dampens enthusiasm for) actually making astrophotographs.  You may then consider building a small permanent observatory to house your equipment. An observatory need not be an expensive rotating dome - many amateur astronomers (more than you might guess) have built a “sliding-roof” or “roll-off roof” observatory which is basically just a garden shed with a roof that slides out of the way when you want to use your scope.  Go to Bill Arnett's Amateur Observatories Links Page for a good list of links to Web sites that show what folks have done. However, a rotating dome is very nice especially in climates with cold, windy winters. A very simple and clean example is Greg Parker's New Forest Observatory in Hampshire, U.K.

 

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