Maxx - 18"  f/4.89 Truss Tube Newtonian

First Light February 6th, 2010

This is the first time that Maxx was fully assembled.  I hand ground, polished and figured the mirror and built the telescope. The darn thing actually worked.

This was the First Light night for Maxx, February 6th 2010.  Other than there being too many clouds, everything worked very well.  The lycra shroud was removed here and you can see the foam covered poles. This was early January 2010 while I as getting the pole lengths right. You can see where the poles go beyond the bottom clamps.  They have since been cut to the proper length and the stops were put back on the clamps.  The trunnions and base were not built yet so it's sliding on towels and trash bags.  I was just happy that it came to focus where expected.

The mirror and rocker boxes in the vertical position.  It will also go slightly below horizontal.  The multiple coats of urethane gave the Birch a nice glow and brought out what little grain it has.  I used Moonlite clamps, poles and dual speed focuser on this project.  Box joints and glue were used to hold the boxes together and 24 biscuits were used to attach the rocker box to the base.  I was trying to avoid visible screws where possible.  This goal was more difficult on the secondary cage. This is the secondary cage.  The old Kendrick Dew Controller had it's power cable shortened and a Dean's Ultra plug added to the end.  The dew controller's LED had a momentary on switch added (red button next to the word Dew) to prevent glare at the eyepiece.  The controller powers the Telrad, eyepiece and secondary heaters.  The box under it is a 12v to regulated 5v converter using a 7805 and three capacitors. it powers the Bluetooth adapter for the Sky Commander.  There is also a 12v pass through for the Sky Commander.  One 12v cable feeds the cage.


Each of my telescopes gets a First Light plaque.

The finished mirror.  It weighs in at just under 42 pounds, not counting the 15 pound mirror cell.  The 1/7th wave mirror was completed in mid 2009.  The Aluminum coating was was applied by Spectrum Coatings in Deltona.  Yes, I drove it over and picked it up. The 'bumps' that appear on the mirror are actually the texture of the ceiling.  The center circle is used for aligning the optics.

This is the mirror box rotated 90 degrees in the rocker box to see how it would fit for transportation.  It has about 1/8" of clearance all the way around.  Perfect.  The light colored wood does not have urethane on it yet.  I didn't like where the poles went through the side bearings and the finial mirror box had new ones that were slightly larger.  This was about the biggest blunder of the construction

The mirror polishing phase was quite a workout that lasted over a year of Saturdays.  I had to keep my fingers high on the glass so that their warmth wouldn't heat and expand the glass face, which would make a depression when it polished off the high spot and later cooled off. Working with 120 grit on the mirror during the rough grinding phase.  Mr. Dobson was kind enough to stop by and visit us at the 2005 Orange Blossom Special Mirror Lab.  This mirror was started over a year ago at the end of 2003, but I put it on hold while working on the 12.5" Griffin and the 2005 raffle scope for the Mirror Lab

Maxx in the Wild

Here are a few of the larger telescopes that members of the mirror lab have made.  We usually have a ring of chairs as visitors hang out to see the faint fuzzies that the larger optics pull in.   This photo is from the 2016 Orange Blossom Special (OBS) Star Party.  The views through all three scopes were amazing and we compared them frequently.  This year I used the iOS app Observer Pro and Deep Sky Planner to select my targets.  Both did a great job helping me create an observing list that included two dozen objects that I have never hunted down before.   I also switched to the home made dew heater controller this year and it worked great. Sometimes the weather gets a little cool and a warm hat is a wonderful thing.  I've been known to place a Hot Hands hand warmer in the hat to get through a cold night.  This is from the 2013 OBS Star Party.


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