Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ready for first light!

After shimming and bolting the pole blocks on the mirror box permanently in their final positions, I added foam pipe insulation to the truss poles so handling them during cold weather would be kinder to the hands. The black foam will also suppress reflections off the shiny aluminum tubing. I also found the bores in the pole seats were too tight for the poles to fit into them, so I had to take them off the upper cage. Then I used a cordless drill and a drum sander attachment to enlarge the pole bores enough for the poles to slip into the pole seats. The result is still a tight fit, and when the knobs on the pole seats are tightened the poles are held even more tightly. It still takes a bit of effort to take the upper tube assembly off, but at least I do not have to worry about it falling off in the dark. Now before I can take it outside in my yard under the stars for the first time, all that remains is to touch up the finish on the blocks and the drum too, put the primary mirror back in it's cell and then adjust the sling and collimate it. That event will take place this weekend, if the weather permits.I expect the truss poles to be a little too long, and they will be trimmed to final length at that time. First light will be a test to see if everything is in order before I commence full scale observing with the telescope at a dark site. After that, all that remains is to make the shroud and acquire the digital setting circles, coma corrector and dew heater controller I plan to purchase for it.

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