Evolution of the cheap scope

June 22, 2010

How it came to me:

How it looked about a month ago:

How it looks now:

The altitude bearings are PVC endcaps turning on pound-in furniture sliders. The azimuth bearing surface is more pound-in furniture sliders turning on a vinyl record. The whole setup weighs about 20 lbs, and delivers most of the performance of my 6-inch scope in a much more portable package. It’s a keeper.

Many thanks to frequent commenter David DeLano for advice on sealing and painting the wood, discussions on bearing surfaces, and some peel-and-stick Teflon tape that I ended up not using (too slippery, if you can believe that).


  1. The more I look at this base, the more I like it! Since my 80AR is on the EQ2 right now, maybe I’ll add a Dob base to my list of things to do!

  2. I seem to be hitting enter too soon a lot these days….

    Is there going to be wear where the PVC sets in the cradle? That’s the spot I was thinking needed the tape.

  3. […] terminator. Last night was about the last “good” night for it, in my book, so I took my cheap scope downtown for an hour, and showed 53 people the moon and Saturn. Two of my visitors were a father […]

  4. I’d love to have the plans for that dob base. I’ve got the same Skywatcher 130N-eq2, but find myself NOT using it because of portability and frustration over the controls. I want simplicity..a dob mount. Anyone have plans, checklist and price list for a dob mount for a 130 f/6.9 scope? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  5. Hi Rich,

    I don’t have plans, I just sort of made it up as I went along, but I could take some more pictures and measurements and post them with instructions. Basically, for the rocker box you need a three-sided box with a floor, and V-cuts in the side for the altitude bearings. The ground board is just a square of wood, and the ground board and rocker have a hole drilled through the middle with a bolt to hold them together. The classiest ones use Teflon on Formica for the azimuth bearing surfaces between the ground board and the rocker, but I just used cheap Teflon furniture sliders and an old vinyl record. Mine is only a bit simpler than the classic Dobsonian design, plans for which are posted here.

    Thanks for your interest!

  6. Matt,
    I too have the 130N-EQ2 and am very interested in building a dob mount like you did. I have looked over the Dobsonian design link that you provide on 10/16 but, like Rich, would be interested in the exact measurements that you used, etc, etc. Have you given any more thought to posting more pictures, the measurements and materials that you used? Thanks.

  7. I have given it plenty of thought, and still plan to do it. I haven’t yet because I’ve been very busy wrapping up the end of my teaching block. But I will endeavor to get something done on this front in the next week or two. Feel free to prod me again if nothing is forthcoming, and thanks for your interest!

  8. Matt,
    Thanks for helping us out. It seems that Dan and I are probably only a few members of a small majority of people looking for plans like yours. Most everything on the net is catered to 6″ or 8″ OTAs, so finding some GOOD plans for a 130mm OTA is rather difficult. Those plans that I’ve seen also make some rather large assumptions on the user’s part. It’d be great if there were plans with a complete parts/price list. (No pressure. haha). But with that said, I’d be more than happy to pay/donate. And, I think that if you put your plans out there with a pay/donate option, you’d get plenty of takers. I think your nicely built mount fills a void that I haven’t seen yet. Just a thought. Anyway, can you give me an idea of what you spent on parts for this mount? Thanks again. -Rich

  9. […] as Rich Hoover said in a comment, Most everything on the net is catered to 6″ or 8″ OTAs, so finding some GOOD plans for a 130mm […]

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