Thursday, November 5, 2009

Base assembled


After finishing the ground board, I installed the Teflon pads for the altitude and azimuth axis, then installed the locknut and plate assembly. Then I inserted a 1/2-inch bolt and tightened it into the lock nut until a small gap remained between the plate and the head of the bolt. However, I found the rocker box was snagging the mirror box when pointed straight up, so I took my sander and sanded off the face plies along the top of the rocker sides. It wasn't elegant but I sanded it smooth and when the new coats of flat black paint dries the fix will not be noticeable since it will be hidden by the mirror box anyway.

Now that the base is nearly complete, the wheelbarrow handles are next on the to do list. Months ago I measured and cut steel tubing left over from the tailgate, then welded it into handles shaped like a dog leg. This way I won't have to stoop as far when it's time to roll the telescope. I marked and drilled holes to hold the stainless steel eyebolts that will thread into threaded inserts that I will put in the rocker sides. I'll bore them out to 7/16th of an inch to make threading them into the inserts in the rocker box sides easier. The steel handles will be painted with glossy black enamel paint. The eye bolts will be retained in the handles with stainless steel all-metal lock nuts. A larger hole at the end will hold a 1/2-inch bolt that will attach the wheel to each handle. For those I'm going to use a 10-inch pneumatic or air-filled wheel with a 1/2 ball bearing hub, the sort that is used for hand dollies. Eventually I'm going to put some foam rubber on the handles so the steel tube won't be so cold on the hands after a winter night of observing and some bumpers to protect the finish on the sides of the rocker box.

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