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  The Traveler 
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10 inch f/4.9 Traveler         

was inspired in part by Steve Swayze who took an 8 inch to the 1998 Caribbean Eclipse and by Mel Bartels 6 inch that went to Africa for the 2001 Eclipse.  Both Telescopes were light and clever.  A traveling "Dob" has been in consideration for many years.

The project started by purchasing a Classical Dobsonian and stripping for it's useable parts
Dave Danskey (right) and Nate Currier of "Aurora Precision" were employed to manufacture the wooden components & supply, Trusses,  fasteners & plenty of consulting.  Their work is responsible for the Telescopes turning out as good as they did. 

The Telescope went to Argentina in 2006 to view the Southern Sky.  It was sold at the 2010 OSP and replaced by the larger 12 inch model.

10 inch Traveler   Ready to Travel    In Argentina    
            First Light: 2006      Sold in 2007
  The Ultra Lights 
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24 inch f/4 Ultra Light
The Philosophy was to simply make a large Aperture Telescope as light and minimalist as possible so that one person can handle it and fit it into a small vehicle with room for camping provisions.  The total weight was 105 pounds, with the heaviest piece 72 pounds, that being the Cell/Mirror combination.  The Pyramid Spider was to get the Secondary high enough so the focuser is above the Cage Ring, with the bottom of the Cage was flat for nesting.  

The material used was Baltic Birch with an epoxy coating.  The outside of the Cage Ring was lined with an aluminum ring on the outside and a partial ring on the inside to give the Focuser additional support.  The Cell is an Astro Systems Baltic Birch with numerous holes and aluminum angle under and an Aluminum Strap wrapped around the rear outside to the Cell.  The trusses are made from foam filled 3/4 inch Graphite tubing and the Spider is made from Aluminum and Composite plates.  The tubing and plates were supplied by  Aerospace Composite Products

A flex board with Cam Follower Bearings is the Rocker that sits on a heavy Ground Base.  The Base is "hubb-less" to permit clearance as the Telescope rotates to the horizon.  The Primary Mirror was supplied by Swayze Optical. 

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery...
When I discussed this Telescope at the 2000 OSP walk about, I suggested that no one should try to take on this design because it is a lot of Telescope carried by few, yet reinforced components.  I thought the radical nature of the design would preclude almost everyone from wanting to build it.  Further, I expected mostly critism on blogs for its open design that seemingly leaves the optics unprotected.  Yet many Amateurs have built similar models.  Seven years after my Telescope's First Light, Obsession introduced an 18 inch production version with other sizes that followed.  Other makers have also introduced their own version.   It has, unintentionally, become my "signature design." 
 First Light June 15th, 2000, 8:25pm - Sold in March of 2009

Amateur Astronomy Magazine - Issue No.: 28 (Winter 2000)    
18 inch f/4.55 Ultra Light           

  This Telescope was my first Dobsonian.  It is a combination of Mel Bartel's 20 inch and Scott Beard's  rebuilt 17.5 inch Coulter.  This Telescope made the large bearing design popular.

It fits snuggly in almost any size vehicle and still leaves room for camping provision.  It weighs just 85 pounds.

The primary appeal of the design was the simplicity of the Mirror box being the Altitude bearings instead of a box.

It is made of Baltic Birch with a marine coating.  Trusses are Aluminum.  It has a conventional Cage, built by Chuck Detloff.  The Mirror is a 2 inch Thick Pyrex made by Swayze Optical.

Most innovative design Award July 1998 Table Mountain WA Star Party. 
First Light: Saturday, June 6th, 1998, 8:38pm. 
Traded in 2000

The Ultra-Light  / Minimalist / Large Bearing Concepts are NOT new.
Where did the minimalist idea come from?    The Large Bearing 
The idea originated from NEED the need to transport a large telescope in a small vehicle to a favorite observing site while still having room for a passenger and gear.  Canadian Michael Taylor's 15 inch Telescope (see image below) fits in a small car.  His Telescope inspired me to study minimalist designs starting in 1979.     Dan Grey graciously gives me credit for coming up with the large bearing design.  Thank you Dan, but I did not.  Scott Beard of Tacoma, Washington rebuilt a Coulter 17.5 inch Telescope using a large bearing design (see image below).  I first saw the design at the 1997 Table Mountain Star Party.  
1979  1980  1997 1998 2000 1970 Cave Optical 16 inch
Micheal Taylor's 15 inch featured in
June 1979 Sky & Telescope Magazine 
 12 inch
Scott Beard's
17.5 inch
Large Bearing
18 inch
24 inch
The dwarfed 24 inch
gathers twice the light.
Pictured: Larry Hardin of
Hardin Optical
in Bandon, OR 
My Early Newtonians 
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10 inch f/5 Torque Tube     

    I was fascinated by an article is Sky & Telescope that discussed different Equatorial Mountings.  It spoke highly of the "Torque Tube" design.   A design used by Boller & Chivens for their research Telescopes.  The "Tube" rotates around the outside of the Right Ascension (RA) Axis and places the counter weight to the rear of the Mount, removing encumbrances t the observer.  The Telescope can rotated 360 degrees around the Axis.  The mounting was built out of iron plumbing pipe.  The Telescope weighed 140 pounds.  40 pounds of that was the counter weight.

Images below:
Left:  Cut-a-way sketch of the Torque Tube Mount. 
The Torque Tube Mount, encouraged me to explore other "extended arm" Mounts.  The center image are of mock-ups of 14.25 inch Telescopes using "Single Arm" Fork Mount designs.  The Telescopes were never built, but several mounts were built.  Right Image: This mount was originally sold to the "Eugene School Distric" (ESD) in 1978 and later re-sold to Tom Conlin for his 16 inch Telescope.  It showed up at the 2008 Oregon Star Party (OSP). 

Built 1977 -Sold 1979

After the Telescope was sold in 1979  to Lynn Carroll,  Mel Bartels  improved the Mount by construct-ing and installing "Sector Drives".  
At the 2008 Oregon Star Party 

Cut-a-way sketch   14.25 inch Mockups using "Single Arm" Fork Mounts   

8 inch f/7.1 Newtonian Telescope
Built in 1971 -  sold in 1976
Picture above was taken in 1972.  The "flash cube" was a misguided attempt to improve my night vision.  I was 15 years old and the Telescope outweighed me by 30 pounds. Click image for larger image & article

Newspaper coverage of 1975 Public Star Party at Alton Baker Park in Eugene, Oregon.
The now classic Dynascope 6 by Criterion with it's $199.95 price tag, made it one of the most popular Telescopes in the early 70's.  It was the Telescope I sought to purchase before I took on building of the 8 inch. 
This was my first "Home Built" Telescope.  It was compleeted in 1972.  The decision to build it came when a friend talked me into purchasing his an 8 inch Edmund Scientific Mirror Blank and Cell for $25.00.  Until then, I was saving for a 6 inch Dynascope.   I was attracted to the 80% light gain of an 8 inch over a 6.   For $70 Cave Optical completed the mirror.  I joined the Eugene Astronomical Society (EAS) to acquire help and confidence to complete the project.  Charles Coffey graciously donated his time on the project.    

The Mounting:
The mounting was made of the high tech material of the day, iron plumbing pipe.  A 3 inch “sanitary Y” was used to achieve the latitude.  The Telescope weighed 135 lbs. 
GOT TO SAY IT; If I could go back in time and re-do this scope, I would remove that guide scope, pushing the balance forward, and cut the pedestal height in half and shorten the Declination Axis.


My Refractors 
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Jason 60   Brandon 94    Brandon 130   Televue 70 Pronto   Televue 85 (TV 85)
Refractors have always filled a nitch the big Dobsonians can't fill.  They are  portable and fun for "grab and go" purposes and they are good for imaging.  I have had as many as 3 at a time.  The ones shown are past models I no longer own.

My interest in Astronomy can be traced to the time I looked at the Moon for the first time through a neighbors Tasco 60mm variable power (15x - 60x) Telescope,  II was age 7 and awe struck.  This was 1964.  I decided then that I wanted a Telescope.  In 1968, at age 12, I purchased my first Telescope, a Sears Discovery 60mm which was not Equatorially mounted.  I felt a 234 power telescope was adequate enough to get me started.  Yes I was sucked into the assumption that capability was best measured by magnification or power.  One evening, I became impatient with the mounting when I observed Venus slowly dropping out of the field of view.  I assumed that the mount was sagging, but the reality was that the Earth's rotation was causing the movement. 
My second 60mm was a JC Pennies 60mm with an Equatorial Mount.  This new Telescope was beautiful.  It was blue in color and at 1000mm Focal Length, it was long and slender.  I did learn a lot about using an  Equatorial Mount. 1973 I sold this telescope to fund the building of the 8 inch Telescope. 

In 1984,
In preparation for the return of Halley's Comet, I purchased a "Jason" 60mm Refractor (pictured) to have a tracking Equatorial Mount, but Halley's Comet was a bust and I eventually, I sold the The Jason in 1988.

I have owned two 94mm Brandon Telescopes.  I purchased the first in 1988.  It was responsible for bringing me back into Astronomy.  With a 40mm Konig Eyepiece, I had a 4.4 degree field of view and enjoy scanning the sky and finding objects effortlessly.   Aperture feever soon took hold and I sold it in 1990 to fund the 130mm purchase.  The next one was purchased in 1998 to replace the 70mm Pronto as my Eclipse Imaging Scope.  It was used to image the 1999 Eclipse.  It was sold it in favor of using the much smaller and lighter TeleVue 76mm.  The optics in the Brandon were made by Christian, currently of Astro Physics.

The Televue 85 (TV 85) was purchased almost impulsively, August 2001 at the Oregon Star Party.  It was an attempt to downsize from the Brandon 94mm.  One month later, at the Mt Bacheor Star Party, I learned the Televue 76 (TV 76) was coming out.  I ordered because it would fit in a carry on box much better than the TV85.  I kept the 85 for several years mostly as a Rich Field Telescope (RFT).  With a 40mm Pentax Eyepiece, it yielded 15x and 4.7 degree True Field.  It was also excellent as a Planetary Telescope.  I have observed Saturn at over 200x with excellent results.  The TV85 was sold in August of 2011 in favor of making the TV76 the "everything" Telescope.

Telescope Websites
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