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10" F 5.6

Astronomy is a good thing; and, as usual, I worked my way through some smaller scopes. I had custom made an 18" Sky Valley Scope. Orion telescopes used to have a parking lot sale once a year. My friend, John Wright, and I went over to "scope" things out. John got some goodies, and I came home with a 10" mirror that a fool had returned because of some teeeensie chips on the vertical side of the glass. I did some testing and found that it was perfect Only $85 for a $400 mirror. I figgered I’d make a ‘porta-potty’ out of it someday.

Then we got an invite to a wedding on the big island of Hawaii—oh duhh—Mauna Kea, DA MECCA!

So I thunk up something I could do to make that trip da best since the 18" was a bit large for carry-on.

So for four months I would come home from work, make a part or two, set up a mold, mix up some epoxy, heat the thing to trigger the reaction and go to bed. Next day, samo-samo. I wanted to have a carry-on rig, and it had to meet FAA bs rules.

The stick is 6 half-inch carbon tubes with 0 flex at four pounds horizontal pull at 5 feet from the clamped end. That meant I had to design a bearing system that had less than four pounds resistance. I had done a favor for a guy on the job I was working, so he gave me a 3/4" thick slab of aluminum, which I took to John’s house and using his milling machine, created the elevation wheels. Thank you, John.

The Great Cheeseburger obviously was testing my "nesting instincts," ‘cause everything had to nest like those little Russian doll thingys.

To get the secondary mirror to absolute alignment, I set up the mirror box true, square and level, hung a plumb bob off a beam, and measured repeatedly until I was sure I was dead on; then epoxied on the .074" thick piece, then the secondary mount from ProtoStar.

About the coolest thing I did was to ‘cam mount’ the side wheels to shift the weight of the primary mirror back to maintain balance as the eyepiece is lowered—you can go to 15 degrees below horizontal, and it stays put. That was so I could go as low as I could at Mauna Kea.

The case with scope weighs 24 pounds 0 ounces; then the stick goes into a fishing pole case.

Aerospace Composite Materials is where I got the carbon stuff.

Side view fully assembled

Side view with arm tilted up



View with mirror visible

Bottom view


The components disassembled

Carry-on case with secondary mirror,
side wheels, and legs.


Mirror and rocker boxes being fitted into case.


Case fully loaded.


Packed and ready to go.

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