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Frequently Asked Questions

Why are our scopes superior to other scopes out there?  This page is intended to help explain the significant details.  Our craftsmanship is clearly superior.  We use only stainless steel hardware, mortise and tenon joinery (no nails to hobble the pieces together), a superior cell design, as well as customize the scope to you personally.  Read on for more information.

Do you meet your delivery dates?

We schedule each scope with every customer.  We'll tell you a ship date when you order and we will meet it.  There are times when delays happen with any manufacturer.  If this happens, you'll be the first to know.  And a delay will be a matter of days not weeks or months.  We keep in touch with every customer through the construction process. As of 06/11/05, we have not missed a ship date.

Which mirror cell do you use?

We have designed our own mirror cells.  Most commercial scopes use a very heavy steel cage for their cells.  It's a time honored tradition.  They work but  they are very heavy.  With the new materials available today, we have designed our cell to be very small and light weight. The cell is contained in the mirror box.  We've crafted our cells with computer aided simulation and know that our support is every bit as good as a large and heavy steel frame.

I'd like a removable mirror cell, can you do that?

Once you take the scope apart, you have exactly what you have asked for.  The mirror box is small and is lighter in weight than the competition's removable mirror, cell and carrying case. The added benefit is that there is no chance of damaging that precious mirror by taking it out and putting it back in every time you use your telescope.

Do you test your scopes?

Yes.  We test every scope under dark skies.  Each scope gets at least two nights of testing.  This gives a chance to verify that your mirror performs as advertised, optimize the balance, movement, and work out any quirks so that you won't have to worry about getting a scope that has problems.

Don't I need a light shroud?

No. Not if the scope is properly baffled.  We've found no loss of contrast with the baffling we've designed.  All surfaces that could potentially reflect light into the light path are painted flat black.  This includes the vertical surface areas on the circular cutouts.  A large kydex baffle that extends well above and below the focuser is mounted opposite your eyepiece.  When you think about the problems introduced by a light shroud i.e.; tube currents, dripping water on your primary, and the sail it creates in the wind, you'll probably agree that light shrouds really don't make a lot of sense.

Do you have problems constantly adjusting your mirror cell sling?

We 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 forgotten sling adjustment.  Any design that supports the primary on one side be it a sling, 4 points, what have you, will introduce astigmatism. An added benefit is that the mirror stays centered requiring less collimation time.

Are your scopes as heavy as the rest?

Our design 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. 

Do you use a typical mirror cell?

The cell is a component in our telescopes. It is not used as a heavy frame to hold the mirror box together.  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 scopes.

How easy are your scopes to store?

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 your van while keeping all of the scope protected.

Many manufacturers quote fine finishes on their scopes, but I've seen many that are not. What makes yours different?

We use the finest grade high layered Birch plywoods that we can find.  It is a bit heavier than ApplePly, but we like the look better and we feel that it is stiffer. Since we use so little of it in the OTA, there is negligible difference in the weight.  We use HVLP spray equipment. Smaller parts are wet sanded and polished.  The result is nothing short of spectacular.  We use no nails in the telescopes that  we build.  We 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. We take the time to finish all the parts you can't see.  You will be proud to own a Plettstone telescope.

The hardware on my scope is rusting.  How have you solved this problem?

We don't make trips to the home center for our building supplies. The majority of our hardware is specialty ordered stainless steel. It is stunning to look at, very strong, and a substantial upgrade compared to other premium scopes. You won't have your parts rusting after owning your scope for a few years. The aluminum struts are aircraft grade. 

Balance is such a problem with most dobs. How are your scopes different?

We allow for any special equipment you may have.  We will build the scope, physically take it out under the stars for its star test and check its actual balance point.  After you get the scope you'll have additional options for rebalancing when 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 on our 12.5 " scope, our bearing discs, can be moved up and down on the scope for a more permanent adjustment. Additionally, the 2"  tubes on the 15" and 18" scopes  accommodate diving weights should you need them.  The 18" scope also comes standard with a 2 pound sliding counterweight.  This makes changing a 5mm Nagler to your binoviewer with 27 Panoptics a snap.

My mirror  bounces up and down when I travel.  How do you solve this problem?

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. 

Can you install goto capabilities?

Yes.  This must be requested at the time of the order.  We will need to install the motors at the time of construction.  We utilize the ServoCat system. We are the only manufacturer that can enclose all drive motors inside the rocker box.  This keeps your travel and storage profile to a minimum.  It also protects this delicate equipment. Please contact us for more specific information.

Why do you use only three strut poles in your design?  Are they enough?

We set out to make a light weight scope as well as design something unique. We think that you will agree that the scopes are unique.  The poles we use are larger in diameter (1.5" OD for the 12.5", 2" OD for the 15" and 18") than standard poles but we only use three. Other manufacturers supply straight strut designs that have significant flex.  Our larger poles provide a nice stiff OTA. The net effect is that we get the desired stability with fewer parts and something that is esthetically pleasing as well.

Do you recommend enhanced coatings on the primary mirror?

We provide what our trusted mirror makers supply us.  Currently, Pegasus delivers enhanced coatings. Zambuto and Stevens do not.