My amateur telescope making page

Another Up-sized "Deep Space Scope" Design

Home | Astronomy | DS-5

DS-3 and DS-4 have ended up being such successful homebuilt telescopes that I decided to create a 20 inch homemade telescope using the same ultralight design.  This web page holds the results of these efforts. 

The original design and requirements page is located at DS-5 Design and brainstorming notes.  My 16" is located here: DS-4

My latest project is a 12" travel telescope. DS-Trill  

I also decided that this web page would generally just describe WHAT I did to make this lightweight telescope, not HOW I did it.  Weights and dimensions are near the bottom of this page.

I added a conclusions and results section at the bottom of this web page.

To see how to create a "Deep Space Scope", see my DS-3 Deep Space Scope Design page.   

Finished scope. This picture shows one of the design requirements - no need for a ladder. When straight up, the eyepiece is 74" high, and I can use the telescope flat footed up to 55 degrees from the horizon. A single step stool works at the zenith.

Here the finished scope is stacked for transport. Another design requirement is that the scope fits in the back of a hatchback.

Starting setup. Bearings are being attached to the mirror box.

The third design requirement is that I can move the scope by myself. Moving the mirror box onto the rocker box. Mirror box, cell and 1 5/8" 20" mirror weighs 55 pounds, and about 60 pounds with the bearings. Ground board and rocker box are in the background. Also note that the mirror is covered and well protected.

Trusses go on the scope.

Secondary cage gets placed. Yet another design requirement is that the scope be easy and quick to set up.

This next section details how I built the scope. It is mainly filled with ideas and designs, not details. E-mail me if you have any questions.

Mirror cell parts. This will be an 18 point suspension. Point locations were calculated using Plop.

Mirror cell parts put together.

Mirror cell parts painted.

Mirror box bottom, with cell laid in place.

Mirror box. Total dimensions are 22"X22"X5".

Mirror box and mirror cell. Total mirror box, mirror cover and cell weight is about 18 pounds. The mirror ended up weighing about 37, bringing the total to 55 lbs.

This is all there is to the ground board and rocker box. The reason that the rocker box doesn't have a back (for stiffening) is so I can lift the mirror box out of the rocker box.

The upper cage. A wire spider and homemade secondary holder was attempted, but really didn't work. It had vibration issues that were unacceptable, and mechanically was problematic. I finally went with a spider from Astrosystems. The commercial secondary holder was 3" taller, necessitating changing the cage from 6" tall to 9" tall.

The upper cage and trusses, together. My neighbor is in the background for scale. The trusses are somewhere around 6" too long in this picture.

The total telescope in it's stored/travel configuration.  The cement mirror will be replaced with a quality mirror from OWL (Optic Wave Labs). Once again, the secondary cage is 3" too short.

We now have some paint on the scope. Starting to take shape! The spider has been replaced, due to vibration in the axis of the OTA.

Here I am next to the stored scope. This includes the base and rocker box, with bearings removed.

Total telescope:

Weight - Actuals

Mirror, mirror box, no bearings
55 lbs
Mirror, mirror box and bearings unknown lbs
unknown lbs
Secondary cage
unknown lbs
Rocker box with base
unknown lbs
Total Telescope weight
unknown lbs
Total weight of the OTA (Optical Tube Assembly)
unknown lbs
Total weight of heaviest item (mirror and mirror box)
55 lbs


Height of eyepiece at zenith
Size of mirror box and base, secondary, no bearings 26"X26"
Size of mirror box and base, secondary, and bearings 26"X32"
Length of trusses