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8″ String Scope

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I do a lot of camping and am often at locations with very dark skies. I occasionally take my XT10 with me, but most of the time there is not enough room so I decided to build a travel scope that would take up a very small footprint in my car.

Here are some picutres. Commentary and more pictures coming soon.

Here is the upper ring. It is made out of Baltic Birch. The spider, focuser and reflex finder mounts are made from walnut. The string adjusters are barrel adjusters for bicycle brakes that I purchased at a local bike shop.

Sorry about the fuzzy picture I’ll try another one soon.


Another view of the upper ring. The focuser is KineOptics HC-1 Helical Crayford Focuser. I wanted something low-profile since it has to fit inside the mirror box for storage and I didn’t want to have to remove it every time I took apart the scope.

Here the altitude bearings have been rotated into their travel position. This allows the rocker box to be inverted and placed over the mirror box for travel.

Here the upper ring has been nested into the mirror box. Although not obvious in this picture, the ring is resting on the notches in the mirror box. This supports the ring so that the secondary does not touch the primary mirror cover.


Here the rocker box had been inverted and put on top of the mirror box.

The ground board is just temporary. I grabbed it out of the scrap bin this afternoon so that I could try out the scope. I will make one a little smaller for the final version.

The scope in this configuration is just over 1 cubic foot (12.5×12.5×13), and weighs 20 lbs.


Another view looking down at the mirror box.

Next Steps

  • Need to add a light shroud on the upper ring.
  • The scope is a little bit top heavy with some of my eyepieces, it’s very close, so can probably adjust it just by changing the altitude bearing surface or Teflon pads.
  • Need to move the reflex finder. Currently I have to go through contortions to look through it
  • Add a mounting bracket inside the mirror box to hold the reflex finder during travel
  • Drill holes in the rocker box that line up with the upper holes for the altitude bearing mounting points. This will allow me to use the altitude bearing clamps to clamp the rocker box to the mirror box during travel.