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Member-Built Telescopes

TAAS members have built dozens of scopes. Ranging from pretty standard simple, functional ones to ones that pack into a suitcase for travel or let you look with both eyes like binoculars. With the help you can get from TAAS in building your scope, the only limits are your imagination. Here's a sampling of member-built scopes.

As a retired machinist, Brock Parker built scopes that were functional, precise and a pleasure to use. This example is now in our Loaner Program and is shown here with one our frequent Loaner Program customers. The scope is a 13-inch f/4.5 reflector and started life as a 100+ pound monster. It took a pickup truck to transport. Brock cut the weight nearly in half, used a truss tube design to make it easily transportable, and made it into a beautiful instrument.

This 10-inch Dob was hand built by member Sigrid Monaghan. A manually operated telescope, this is a simple reflector. A Telrad view finder is mounted center top. The base rotates 360 degrees and the barrel shaped tube can also be adjusted (rotated) to accommodate the user's personal preferences. Has a 2-inch focuser that accepts 1.25 and 2-inch eyepieces. Total weight ~50lbs. Of Sig's 4 telescopes, (2 SCTs + 1 refractor + 1 reflector) this is her all-time favorite.

Another member-built scope, also in our Loaner Program, is this 10-inch f/4.5 Newtonian built by Neil Goldberg and Barry Spletzer. Neil ground the mirror, with help from our group, then Neil and Barry built the structure together. It is very simple and, at 26 pounds, surprisingly lightweight. Using a cardboard tube, intended as a concrete form, and plywood for the base, construction materials couldn't be more common. With a fairly short tube, the scope was too low to the ground for easy viewing, so they built the triangular support to raise the eyepiece to a comfortable level.

Alan Scott has built a number of lightweight compact scopes. He is shown here with his 20-inch f/4. The inset in the upper right shows the scope packed and ready for travel. It's a very small neat package and easily meets Alan's criterion of fitting in a hatchback. A typical scope this size requires a pickup to transport it. This is a great example what can be done with a lot of imagination, creativity and hard work.

This 13-inch f/4.5 scope was built by Barry Spletzer for a trip to New Zealand. The packed configuration is shown in the inset. It easily fits in about half of a checkable suitcase and at 22 pounds is very manageable to carry. Like Alan's scopes, this is an example of how far you can go with a custom design built to you own specifications.

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