Kayak Plans & Telescope Plans
Rodger Morris (rodger@FISHNET.NET)
Mon, 16 Jun 1997 00:58:59 -0700
The kayak plans have _still_ not been finished by the person who volunteered
draw them up in an electronic format for dissemination via the Internet. He
hopes to have them done in the next few weeks. I am truly sorry about the
prolonged delay in getting them out to one and all.
I have not given up on this project. Now, on to new business.
About 10 weeks ago, I discovered that there is a group that helps people
build high quality Newtonian telescopes. They call themselves "The Sidewalk
Astronomers". With their coaching, I have built a 10" diameter Newtonian
reflector telescope for use in the astronomy program at our council summer
camp, Camp Three Falls. Two of my Scouts helped me with the grinding and
the polishing and Steve Dunning, Troop 808's Scoutmaster, did an outstanding
job of making the tilt and swivel mount for the telescope out of plywood,
teflon, and a 33 1/3 rpm plastic record.
This involved grinding and polishing the 10" primary lens by hand. The
telescope cost about $350 for everything, including $185 for a 2" thick
blank of 10" diameter Pyrex glass for the primary mirror. I got the mirror
back yesterday afternoon from a fellow in Temecula, California who aluminizes
mirrors, and looked at the moon and some of the stars, even though the moon
is more than half full, which made for poor stellar viewing conditions.
This is the first telescope I have ever owned, and I am not (as yet) an
astronomer. I was quite interested to see how good the 'scope is.
The 'scope does an _AWESOME_ job!!!!!! We had really crummy viewing
weather. The clouds came in for some hours, before clearing up in the
wee hours of the morning. Just for grins, I pointed the telescope at the
moon at a time when it was so obscured by clouds that I could only see a
faint glow. When I trained my 'scope on the glow, I was astounded to see
the moon quite plainly, with no sign of the clouds, save a dimming of the
About 1 a.m., I trained the 'scope on Jupiter. With the high power
(~2000mm focal length/13mm eyepiece = ~160x magnification), Jupiter and
4 of its moons filled almost the entire eyepiece. Some of the major
atmospheric color stripes on Jupiter were clearly visible. Jupiter looked
like a marble in the eyepiece.
I can't wait to take a look at Saturn!!!
I have become a member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Sidewalk
Astronomers. We have plans available for making 8" and 10" diameter
Newtonian reflector telescope with "Dobsonian" mounts. If you wish to
obtain a set of these plans, please e-mail me.
Unlike the plans for the kayaks, these plans are complete and I have
them in hand. There is no charge for the plans, but I would appreciate
a few dollars to defray the cost of photocopying and mailing the plans,
if you can afford it. If not, I'll absorb the cost myself.
These plans do _NOT_ include instructions about how to grind and polish
the primary lens, as that can get pretty esoteric in nature. These mirrors
can be bought via mail order.
These mirrors used to be prohibitively expensive and the quality was
reportedly pretty variable, but I am told that with the advent of
computerized grinding and polishing, the quality has gone up and the
price has gone down significantly. A good quality 10" mirror seems to be
about $400 (vice the $185 and ~10 hours of grinding and polishing time I
needed for my 10" mirror), albeit I am not sure if this is for a plate
glass mirror or for a Pyrex mirror.
If you live near Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto (Canada) or Munich
(Germany), there are chapters of the Sidewalk Astronomers. There are
probably other chapters of which I am unaware. They will be happy to
help you make your telescope. The Los Angeles chapter will be holding
their next set of classes, starting in October of this year.
I was deeply moved by what little I saw last night, and I now have a
pretty good idea of what moved the astronomer Johannes Kepler to declare,
"The astronomer who is not devout is mad!" and the Bible to say, "The
heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork."
My Scouts now want to make an 8" Dobsonian for the troop, and my 11 year
old niece is now finishing the rough grinding of an 8" mirror for a
telescope that she is building.
I hope that you and your Scouts find this project to be as much fun as
my Scouts and I have found it to be.
Yours in Scouting,
Rodger Morris <email@example.com>
Asst. Scoutmaster, Troop 808 Wood Badge 416-18
Ventura County Council at Philmont, 1973
Camarillo, California, USA "I used to be a Beaver..."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City