Last updated: 21 September 2006
Subject:	A New ETX Mount
Sent:	Tuesday, September 19, 2006 19:26:02
From:	Greg Campbell (
I have created a custom ETX mount which I thought might be of interest
to your ETX community.

My ETX 125 came with a #883 mount  a good sturdy choice for this
telescope, but not without its limitations. Let's face it, leveling a
tripod is a pain, and frankly not very precise for small adjustments.
I'm very pedantic about getting the scope level and adjusted precisely,
and I wanted to make this crucial process a lot easier. Also, because
the ETX eyepiece socket doesn't rotate at the back like the large Meade
scopes, viewing through it can mean stooping, getting on your knees or
standing on something to see through the scope. Except for things near
the horizon, the tripod really is too short for me.

I wanted a stand which would be easier to level than a tripod, and would
also allow me to observe standing up for the whole session. I also
wanted something which could be built with a simple saw bench, drill and
sander. Crucially, it also needed a minimum level of woodworking
competence to make. My design fits the bill nicely.

ETX stand extended


ETX stand retracted


The most obvious (though not original) feature is the square telescoping
sleeves. Using these, this stand can be adjusted from 1.2m to 1.7m+.
This fits me and most of my visitors. Rubber chords between the
telescoping sleeves help take the weight when raising the stand. The
inner and outer sleeves of the stand are separated by teflon pads.

For leveling, the feet heights are adjustable, but the fine-tuning of
the leveling is done at the top using a "swash-plate" assembly.

The swashplate assembly is two plates separated by three marine-quality
stainless steel turnbuckles firmed up with teflon tape. So by simply
twisting the turnbuckles the scope can be easily and precisely leveled.
This is a lot easier than leveling tripod legs! The bottom plate is also
great for holding the Autostar controller. There is more than enough
clearance between the plates to fit the 'scope mounting bolts (and your
hands). The curved slots in the top plate are for the mounting bolts.
This allows me to rotate the whole scope towards north after I've
leveled the stand rather than before.


The overall performance of the stand is excellent. Using a 16mm
eyepiece, there little to no noticeable movement of the image when the
stand is extended or retracted top different positions. The scope stops
vibrating within a second when bumped even through the scope is propped
on the turnbuckles.

The base legs can be removed if necessary for transport, but portability
isn't this stand's strength. I'd probably only take it apart and
transport it for a star party. The biggest headache in the whole thing
was getting a design for three legs to fit properly to a four-sided

This first stand was designed to be semi-permanent. With my ETX and
accessories on a trolley, there's now far less excuse for not getting
out in my backyard for half an hour's viewing.

Being an engineer, I'm already thinking about Mark II

Greg Campbell

Return to the top of this page.

Go back to the Tech Tips page.

Go back to the ETX Home Page.

Copyright ©2006 Michael L. Weasner /
Submittal Copyright © 2006 by the Submitter