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A Telescope You Can Build for Conical or Standard Mirrors

The following design can be modified to suit a wide variety of apertures and focal ratios. Eventually I intend to include a set of dimensions for an 8" model, but for now I am offering plans and instructions for building ...

A 10" f/6, Truss Tube, Rotating Head Telescope

This telescope is a specific design for a 10" f/6 instrument intended for equatorial mount use. When completed, it will weigh about 25lbs, exclusive of mount. You may change a few or many of the details to suit your own aperture size, desired focal ratio and viewing preferences. For example, the rotating head may be eliminated for alt-azimuth mounting. The true Surrier double truss design can accommodate a wide range of focal ratios by simply recalculating the length of the truss tubes. The telescope may easily be re-scaled to accommodate an 8" mirror, or a 12.5" mirror. Mostly, I hope that this design will inspire the use of new construction techniques and enable people to make a telescope of high quality and utility without spending a fortune. The telescope also breaks down into two pieces for easy car transportation but does not require time-consuming re-assembly and re-collimation; four wing nuts does it all. My techniques are fairly simple and my design simplified to the greatest extent possible, the result of years of thought and practical experience. The construction is straight-forward and the goal utilitarian. This is not a furniture making project adapted to astronomy or a machine shop job. There is nothing superfluous, yet everything you need for the best observing possible. I have purposely used simple and inexpensive tools; a basic table saw, a band saw, a small drill press and a power drill is about it. And one could replace the band saw with a hand held saber saw and the drill press with a hand drill and drill guide. You don't need a machine shop and lathe or a super equipped woodworking shop, just some basic skills, patience and the desire to have a great telescope. 

This is my telescope, the one I take out and use when I observe. Using things I have built is important to me and a source of great joy and satisfaction. I hope that these few ideas may help others build a telescope of their own that they can be proud of and give years of excellent observing.

I have divided this project into several sections as follows:

   - General instructions

   - Plans in printable format

   - Photographs of actual construction with detailed technique explanations.

   - Installing the spider and secondary mirror

   - Adjusting the rotating head

   - Calculating strut length

   - Accessories you'll need

   - Set-up for observing