Rebuilding my 6" telescope
10/27/2012 9:24 PM
This is one of two 6" telescopes I am working on. I bought a Celestron C6N optical tube earlier this year. It has become my favorite telescope for more every application: General use, planetary, (most) deep sky, outreach events, etc. It just plain does pretty much whatever I ask of it, and to boot, it isn't very large or heavy. I made a foldable tripod / pier for it, and I can pick up the whole thing and move it outside in on fell swoop. And it breaks down quickly and easily for easy transport in the car.
But! I want to improve it.
There's something to be said for using a fan in a reflector (that link is a LOOONG read, but well worth it). So despite a 6" mirror cooling fairly quickly, I think having the fan in there to remove tube currents matters, in addition to mirror cooling. I've purchased a fan, and a nice chromed fan protector. I also got a University Optics mirror cell, which I believe will be fantastically strong and hold collimation perfectly (after I change out the felt mirror pads). I also am in possession of an Antares dual-speed Crayford-style focuser. And on Wednesday of this week, I finished painting the tube for this new project. That's the picture shown here.
I chose a black hammertone. Why black? Well, it dissipates heat faster than any other color. And why hammertone? I figure it will help make fingerprints less noticeable and other scratches / iimperfections that are likely to occur.
Now, the tube is aluminum. And I know from my day-job that aluminum is best painted one of three ways:
- After it has been anodized
- After it the surface has had a chromate conversion
- Powder coat the aluminum (instead of paint)
So what did I choose? Well, all three of those are out of my price range at the moment. So I picked up a Rust-O-leum "Aluminum Primer" and, after sanding the tube smooth with 320 grit sandpaper, I put two coats of primer on, then two coats of the black hammertone I like. I hope it lasts a year or two - at that point I may get it powder-coated. But for now, I think this will work. I hope.
I can be somewhat impatient when working on projects like this, but recognizing that the paint needs to REALLY cure well for at least a week before doing ANYTHING else, I am letting it sit inside and cure. It feels pretty hard right now, but I don't want to risk screwing anything up.
But next up will be measuring carefully for the mirror cell and spider locations. Oh yes, and I need to build a spider. I'm thinking a curved vane, but I do want to try both that and straight vane, for comparison. We'll see how it goes.
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