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Astronomy by Michelle

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Plettstone Custom


Custom Telescopes by Plettstone

After observing for many years with other manufacturers equipment, I decided to list all the problems that I've had with otherwise fine telescopes and solve them in my own telescopes.

Bothersome idiosyncrasies

Sling adjustment.? For some reason, I always neglected to check the sling each and every time I set up. The result would be a pinched optic or poor collimation.? In addition, the standard sling introduces some astigmatism to the mirror.

Weight.? Although I used wheelbarrow handles to move my scope around, it was still one heavy beast.? I wanted a scope where I could actually lift the individual components.

Cell Design. Why does the cell have to serve as the superstructure for the mirror box? Why does it have to be so heavy?

Storage and travel space.? With my big scope, I had two major components to store and haul around.? My upper cage assembly had its own special box to keep it safe.? The mirror box/rocker box and upper cage assembly took up a major part of my van.? Since I like to sleep in my van as well, this left precious little room.

Coolness Factor.? I wanted a scope that was different than the rest. And it had to be very very cool.

Finish.? I'm not really happy with the finishes that come on all the big name dobs out there.? I wanted something that was fine enough to put in my living room.

Components.? Okay, this is a real nit, but I really hate looking at a scope that costs thousands of dollars and see components that came from Home Depot.? I had a premium scope delivered from a major manufacturer and the truss poles had the home center stickers still on it.

Balance. This is a huge issue.? Not any of the premium manufacturers offer a good solution to rebalance your scope after you add that new 3 pound finder.

Bouncing Mirror. With most premium scopes, the primary mirror (your highest cost component) bounces up and down with your vehicle as you travel to your remote observing site.

Customizations.? It's really hard to get a scope in an unusual focal length or to get a manufacturer to add that special item that only you want.? I wanted a design that would allow for weight changes and focal length changes.?

How I solved these problems

Sling adjustment.? I got rid of the sling.? The mirror is attached to the mirror cell with a high bonding silicon adhesive.? Gone are the problems with astigmatism and often neglected sling adjustment.? An added benefit is that the mirror stays centered requiring fewer collimation steps.

Weight.? I've licensed Albert Highe's award winning design.? It uses three poles instead of the customary 8.? Unnecessary components and structure have been stripped.? The result is a scope weighing a fraction of a standard 8 pole Dob.

Cell Design.? The cell is a component in the telescope.? It is used solely to support the mirror and allow for collimation.? Mr. Highe's computer simulated cell designs offer all the critical needs of supporting the mirror and reduce the weight of this assembly to a fraction of what it is on other designs.

Storage and travel space.? One of the advantages of using poles at 90 degree angles is that you can replace the standard struts with shorter ones.? This creates a little short scope perfect for travel.? This frees up tons of space in my van.

Coolness Factor.? Judge for yourself.? Take a look at the photos.

Finish.? I use the finest grade Finnish Birch that I can find.? It is a bit heavier than ApplePly, but I like the look better and I feel that it is stronger.? I put a hand rubbed finish on all of the wood.? The result is nothing short of spectacular.? I use no nails in the telescopes that I build.? I use top quality adhesives, mortise and tenon joinery, and splines to build the various parts of the telescope. These things are extremely time consuming but the results are well worth it.

Components.? All hardware is stainless steel. It is stunning to look at, very strong, and a substantial upgrade compared to other premium scopes. The aluminum struts are aircraft grade.

Balance.? I build your custom scope with optimum balance.? I size the rocker box just for your focal length and mirror choice. After you get the scope you have options for rebalancing after you purchase that new finder.? First, since the struts are perpendicular to the mirror, you can move your new finder up and down to achieve a quick balance.? Should you need further adjustments, our bearing discs, can be moved up and down on the scope for a more permanent adjustment (you won't want to be doing this in the dark).

Bouncing Mirror.? The mirror is attached to the mirror cell support points with top grade silicon adhesive.? The mirror will not bounce. The silicon also provides some "cushion" for those bumpy highways.??

Customizations.? Talk to me.? This is what I do.? If you call me, I'll likely be here.? I don't have another job. Custom mirrors, your own mirror, different focusers.? It doesn't matter.? Let's see what we can do.? Need replacement parts?? I'll send them to you for a reasonable cost.