Hi, my name is Mike and "poof" I'm now an amature telescope builder I guess. The puzzled expression on my face is one that could have been seen MANY times on this project. I must have been possessed when I decided; "hey, I can build one of those", but it worked out well.
The first thing you should know is that I am not a woodworking hobbiest. I have built several decks, doghouses and etc. but those do not require the precission and attention to detail and finishing that a telescope does. My buddy Shane kept telling me that "you have to love the wood" to get a good result. Prior to this my claim to "woodworking" fame was a king sized headboard when my wife decided they were much to expensive to buy and "hey, you can build one can't you?". She, of course, was "right" and together with my 14 year old son we built one. You can see the result of the headboard project below.
What do I do for a living? I am a full time GS-10 / MSgt in the Oklahoma Air National Guard. First 15 years of my career worked on laser targeting systems, A-7 Weapon Control and Navigation Systems, F-16 Avionics Systems to include; inertial navigation, engine instruments, flight instruments, flight controls, radar, UHF/VHF radios, GPS and LANTIRN Targeting Pods. The last 3.5 years I have managed an Engineering and Installation section that installs flight control radar systems, radios and sattellite/wideband communications systems. As you can see, none of these qualify me for wordworking or telescope making!
Special thanks to the following individuals for their contributions to this project:
- My wife Trish who became a "project widow" and acted like she was really interested when I overcame some design obstacle and just had to tell someone. She was also very tolerant of the $$$$ expended that came to about double my "estimate".
- Without Shane it just would not have been possible. He is an avid amature astronomer and telescope builder. Without his knowledge and encouragement the project would never have started. He came over and spent about 11 hours helping me with the final assembly, collimation and showing us some starhopping.
- Shane's significant other, Nellie, who sat with my wife and laughed during that final day of assembly and testing. She has the patience of a saint. (we started at 2PM and finished starhopping about 1AM)
- Chuck Fellows, an amazing craftsman that was kind enough to publish instructions for making a coopered tube (used for the main tube) on his website.
- Harry Siebert of Siebert Optics for rushing out a couple of very nice eyepieces when I forgot to order them in time for my planned "first light".
- And of course all the websites of other builders that I browsed for hours looking for ideas and ways of doing things.