Last updated: 21 September 2006
Subject: A New ETX Mount Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 19:26:02 From: Greg Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. Swashplate 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 pillar. 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
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