This picture gives you a bit of an idea of the size of the telescope (in comparison to my arm). It is ten inches in diameter and it is twenty-nine inches in length.
An important bonus about this tutorial: This isn't just a step by step on how to make this exact telescope. I also explain to you the why of the making. This means that you will be able to use this build technique to make any size newtonian telescope. You don't have to have the same exact mirror that I have. You can have a smaller mirror or a large mirror and it can be of a different focal length.
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1 piece of one inch diameter dowel that is 2 inches long
For the Mirror mount:
3 brass flat head bolts that are 1/4-20 and 3 inches long (Brass is optional but they have to be flat head bolts
3 1/4-20 wing nuts
9 1/4-20 flat washers
3 1/4-20 hex nuts
3 springs that will slide over the 1/4-20 bolts. About 1 inch in length. You can get a bag of various springs cheap. Or you can get one long spring and cut it into three pieces.
4 wood screws to attach the mirror mount to the tube (can vary in size)
For the Focuser:
4 bolts that are one inch long and 6-32 thread
4 nuts (6-32)
4 flat washers (6-32)
3 small pieces of sheet metal
3 small pieces of cloth or velcro
Flat black for inside of tube
Your choice of color for outside of tube. I chose red.
Tools, Drills etc
Saw to cut the tube and the wood with. You are going to need some kind of power saw to cut the disk circles. A jigsaw or bandsaw will be good for this.
A couple of screwdrivers for the various nuts and bolts
A couple of wrenches for the various nuts
2 inch hole saw
Various drill bits to create clearance holes
A respirator, latex gloves and long sleeve shirt if you are going to fiberglass your telescope tube - The respirator will cost you about 25 dollars.
Overview of the Newtonian Reflector:
This shows us the telescope that we will make.
You can see the four major parts. They are the eight inch primary mirror, The smaller secondary mirror, the focuser/eyepiece and holding it all together is the tube. So the whole task is to figure out where these parts go in the tube and how to make them adjustable.
An important thing is that all these parts line up very accurately so we guide the light correctly and not lose any light. To do this we make the two mirrors adjustable. So, when we want touse the telescope we can adjust them so they are just right and then use the telescope. This is pretty easy to do. We build it so it is adjustable.
We could build it so everything was exactly secured in place. But that is a difficult challenge. We have to get the accuracy down to fractions of an inch. But the way we build it we can turn some screws and get it just right very easily.
We build a mirror mount that holds the mirror on springs. You turn those wing nuts and it adjusts the mirror exactly as you need it.
And we can adjust the smaller secondary mirror with the threaded rods and nuts.
Ok, we need to figure a few things out when it comes to the mirror we use for the telescope. This is pretty easy. I will show you how.
There is an important thing about a telescope mirror. It is not flat. It is curved.
let's take a look at the light path bouncing off a mirror.
On the left you see a regular mirror. The light hits the surface and bounces straight back. But the telescope mirror on the right is different. The light bounces off and comes to a focus point. Every point on the mirror will direct the light rays to the focus point.
This focal point is important. It is the distance from the mirror surface to that focal point that we need to make our telescope. That focal point is where we put our eyepiece.