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Telescope and/or camera machining

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  • Telescope and/or camera machining

    Just curious if anyone is aware of any telescope and/or camera accessories making homeshop machining websites. I've bought camera accessories from the fololowing ...


    and yes they're very high quality but I thought there might be a machining website or forum somewhere discussing how to make these yourself.


  • #2
    I don't know about any web sites dedicated to photo accessories. Have you checked Yahoo's boards? Seems like they have something for everything.

    Most photo items are fairly simple. You should be able to design them yourself unless you want them to interchange with commercial items. Things like wedge plates are simple plates with 45 degree bevils on two ends and a matching socket that has a latch of some sort to move the mating 45 degree piece there.

    Most cameras mount with 1/4-20 or 3/8-16 UNC threads, even the ones from Europe and the orient. It's just too old a standard to fight it with metric. One caution is not to make the mounting screw too long - I had a 35mm camera that needed repairs because a screw had broken the top off of the mounting hole, allowing light to enter the camera.

    Lighting accessories tend to have mounting studs that are also English dimensions. 1/2", 3/4", etc. Simple pins with grooves to help hold the lock screw. They fit into simple drilled holes that have a screw on one side (1/4" or 5/6mm for locking. That's about the only real standards there. Not hard to work to.

    If you have any specific questions, ask here. There are some photo (myself, etc.) and telescope (Evan, etc.) types here.

    Paul A.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!


    • #3
      Not sure about web sites but these guys have a great selection of astonomy books including several selections on telescope making.
      Ad maiorem dei gloriam - Ad vitam paramus


      • #4
        This isn't the answer you're looking for....but Edmund Scientific has/had a booklet entitled "Photography with the Telescope" that showed how to build some simple photographic accessories. Centuries ago in my youth, I built some of the adapters described in the book and took some decent moon photos. And Surplus Shed at is a cheap source of parts n parts that you might find useful.

        Best regards -- P'rfesser


        • #5
          I don't know of any sites that focus specifically on camera/telescope parts machining. But then, I haven't looked. I just make whatever I need. Sometimes quick and dirty from PVC pipe like a dew cap or an eyepiece projection adapter and sometimes a bit higher quality.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


          • #6
            Here's some info at Steve Bedair's site. Links to follow as well.



            • #7

              That's exactly the "kind" of site I was looking for ... thanks. On another note, if you looked at the prices of the RRS etc. link above you'd see how extremely expenisve thier stuff is. Sure wish I had the machining knowledge and skills to make it myself.



              • #8
                I'm not sure if you're more into photography or telescopes. I'm better at the technical aspect of photography than I am at the artistic side. I like "novelty" lenses and attachments that let one take pictures that are not real common.

                Last fall I got interested in macro photography. So I picked up a cheap bellows and a few lenses off eBay. I soon discovered that with macro photography, there is an extremely small depth-of-field range, which makes focusing pretty tough. To help that, I built a focusing rail. There's one picture of the setup, and a few pictures of the test shots I've taken at

                I have some others that I'll put in the album when I get a chance.

                Another novelty lens/attachment that I'd like to build sometime is a 3-d stereo splitter.



                • #9

                  You might be interested in trying some pinhole photography. It's simple and cheap. If you have a 35mm SLR you can easily make a pinhole body cap for it to take pics. The one big advantage is that it has infinite depth of field at all distances. The pics can look really cool.

                  Have a look here:

                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                  • #10
                    There are a lot of amateur telescope makers who are also home machinist's. Some also have a business on the side selling the accessories they make in their garages.

                    For example:



                    Astronomy, guns, and cars all seem to attract their fair share of home machinist's. I am fortunate (or cursed!) in that I like all three, so eventually had to succumb to machinery!



                    Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:


                    • #11

                      Thanks for the links. I'm actually supposed to be selling our last 35mm. We went to digital last year. I'm guessing that the pinhole stuff should work with the DSLRs too. Maybe some slight differences becasue of the smaller sensor.

                      Is the pinhole size and distance from the sensor (or film) pretty much fixed for one body? Or can you get different effects by "zooming" the pinhole in and out?



                      • #12
                        Thats the cool thing. A pinhole "zoom" lens is just a tube sliding in another with the pinhole on the end. Sliding the tube in and out changes the image scale as well as the exposure. If you are going to use a DSLR you will need one that can do long exposures and/or very high effective ISO. I haven't yet made an adapter for my Canon Rebel but plan on doing that soon. I have it hacked so that it goes to ISO 3200.
                        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                        • #13
                          Pin Hole lense on a digital SLR, beware of getting dust on your sensor. Cleaning a 600$+ sensor and one mistake, thats not something I would be looking forward to. Im already spending 330$ to have my camera fixed, just cant wait til they find more things wrong with it and jack that price up.


                          • #14
                            Good point Bill. It would be a good idea to make a body cap with a plain optical window in it to protect the sensor.
                            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                            • #15
                              I've only had to clean the sensor on the 20d once so far. I was a little nervous at first, but with the help of google, I found a lot of good advice (and some extremely over-priced equipment). My wife wouldn't let me clean it the night before a photo shoot But after the shoot, it got a good cleansing.

                              A couple of sliding tubes was exactly what I had in mind for a zoom. One of the pinhole calculator sites calculated a 27mm "focal length" for the sensor size. I'm guessing that is the minimum distance from the pinhole (to the sensor) to completely fill it. (i.e. any closer will have a black circle around the picture.)

                              What did you have to do to the Rebel to get 3200 ISO? I think the 20d has an custom function to enable it. Is it the original Rebel or the XT?