My dad and I built a 25cm Dob in the mid eighties from plans in Astronomy
Neither of us were much into woodworking so it didn't look pretty. We bought the
optics and most of the hardware from Meade. It was done in time to try to see
Haley's Comet but I could never find it. After many years of sitting around
unused at my parents house, I brought it to Idaho and rebuilt it. The primary
really needs a recoat but it is still a fine instrument. I will likely
rebuild it yet again when my kids get older and I get the primary re-coated.
After moving to Idaho and realizing the skies here are much more accessible than
those in Western Washington I decided to build a new, larger, telescope. I
bought a copy of "The Dobsonian Telescope" by Dave Kriege and Richard
Berry. I thought long and hard about it but decided I could afford a 40cm (16
inch) mirror. I had overly great concerns about coma so I ordered 5.5 focal
length mirror from Swayze optical. Now I would order an 4.0 to 5.0 focal
length without any hesitation as I've discovered its harder to aim a taller
scope. But I am really proud of this telescope and it works very well. It took
me about 6 years to complete this project as I got married, started a family,
and moved a couple times between project inception and first light. I wouldn't
mind trying to build a 50cm now.
More Building Details
I bought an Orion short tube (f5) 12cm achromatic refractor in 2007. I really
liked the idea of wide field views and the possibility of mounting it on the
Cosmos 406 as a finder. This second objective turned out to be impractical as it
is too heavy but I enjoy it for its primary role.
Sky-Watcher 12cm ED APO:
Well I was impressed with the views through friends APO's so much I finally
sprang for this scope in Jan. of 2010. I will very likely sell off the 12ST as
this aperture and focal length are quite similar to the ST12. While the fields
are not quite as large, the same eyepiece yields about 30% more magnification in
this unit over the 12ST. The mechanical quality of the focuser is much better
too (dual speed crayford vs. single speed rack and pinion). After using this
only a couple of times I am very impressed with it. I also really like using it
on my CG5 go-to mount.
Oberwerk 11x70 Binos:
These are wonderful binoculars, producing wide fields and bright views when
mounted on a tripod.