Today I finished my prototype telescope caddy, and got it ready for a night under the stars this coming weekend!
Last time, I discussed how the extra-heavy eyepieces would prove too much for Velcro to hold the caddy onto the side of the telescope.
I altered the design to use a new idea for a suspension mechanism: A “cap” that covers the top of the telescope. The inside-facing side of the cap provides the support needed to suspend the outward-facing side.
Patterns and Cutting
Some things I needed to do:
- Draw a pattern piece for the back side.
- Add seam allowance to the front side piece.
- Redraw the pattern pieces for the bellows pockets, this time to better fit the eyepieces.
- Measure out two additional oilcloth strips to seam the inside to outside-facing piece.
After all the pattern alterations, I measured and cut all the pieces from the oilcloth. (Click or tap photos for larger versions).
Welcome to my project-in-progress. Last time, we discussed the project concept and the overall plan for the telescope caddy. In this segment, we start putting the plan into action.
To create an overall pattern for the caddy, I taped artists tracing paper (the same stuff I use to trace patterns) to the side of the telescope. Using a graphite sketch crayon from the art store, I traced an impression of the outer edge of the telescope’s base. Then I cut it to size with rotary cutter and scissors. (You can click or tap on the photos for a larger view).
Now that I have a specialized notebook for my astronomical observing, the next thing to tackle is a way to keep tools and accessories organized while at the telescope.
The most important accessories are the telescope’s eyepieces, which are interchangeable like the lenses on a high-end camera. Like camera lenses, each offers different magnification, zoom and field of view. And they’re a pain to keep organized in pitch darkness; each one is about the size of a hand grenade and can cost several hundred dollars. The last thing you want is for one to fall on the ground and hit cement or dirt.
There’s several types of telescopes; my preferred type is called a “Dobsonian” after its creator, John Dobson. It somewhat resembles a cannon on a pedestal. Compared to other types of telescopes, it is drop-dead simple to use and the optics are powerful enough to show even faint galaxies. Fully assembled, it is taller than I am; it breaks down and nests for easy transport to and from an observing site.