Introduction: Telescope Laser Pointer
This is the 3rd of a line of little upgrades and tweaks to my little telescope.
This is my laser pointer stand. Originally I was going to make it a bit more compact and mount it side by side with my finder scope, but once again being awake all night long and being bored kinda took over.
This was in assembly at the same time as 12v battery box and phone holder mount. (see my other instructables)
It uses the mount I designed for the phone holder.
Short materials list.
Green laser pointer (Christmas gift from a good friend, thanks Brandon)
Copper sheet. Lowes.
1/2 x 1" aluminum angle
4mm allen screws
copper plumbing fittings 1/2"
drill, saw(s) files, buffing pads, buffing compounds etc.
Step 1: Concept
I'm sitting around at night browsing the net after a night of observing. I had been using my laser to quick point objects but that meant steering with one hand while trying to hold the laser out on the scope with the other. Not very useful. So I called it and went inside and was thinking. I need a stand. What do i have that i can form one out of.
I found the image of the big dipper with various Messier objects around it on the web, wondered, could i make that into something. That would look kinda cool sitting up there.
So i took a quick pic and went out to the garage and started snooping around. What junk can i use and keep it cheap.
I had some scrap 1/4" plywood that i'd used to build something else and decided to work up a concept. Picked up the pencil and started drawing. Then came the hole idea. It was pretty much a done deal at that point.
The mockup was actually looking cool. Now i needed a way to hold the laser. I was going to use some plastic water tubing but i couldnt find any in my junk tubs. Off to home depot for a little recon. Guess what, the 1/2" copper fittings worked perfectly.
Step 2: Metal Shavings in the Feet and Pulling It Together.
For some reason I chose copper for the final form.
Probably had to do with the copper fittings for the laser holder itself.
I've found that i like the Lexan product, altho i wish i had melt / softening temps from the manufacter. Would have made a couple things easier. And cheaper to have been able to avoid some issues.
Step 3: Copper Polishing 102
After drilling and filing smooth and reaming holes.
The copper had started developing a very nasty look. This was not to be in the plan.
I started polishing. First cleaning / polish was very basic. Lemon juice and salt. That knocked a decent shine on it. But I've seen some incredibly shiny copper and wanted more.
More shine equals more work and a lot of patience.
I started the official polish process with my dremel and the only buffing wheel i had that night. The holes in the copper made short work of that, but it was working. Think i need something a little better.
After a little shopping next day, i find a buffing kit at HD with compounds and 3 wheels.
Tried the wheel on my cordless Ryobi drill. It doesn't turn fast enough to make it a mirror.
I got out my 1/2" corded drill. And the big 4" buffing pad. Then started learning (read-reading instructions) on which compound to use.
Things work better you RTFM. With the big drill and lots of rouge the copper came alive.
Step 4: Assembly
Note, when you polish the copper to its final sheen. Wear rubber gloves. Your skin oils will burn finger prints onto the surface. And you get to go back to the buffing wheel. By now, you're tired of that.
While / After i got thru polishing, and thru assembly i wore gloves. Its now 6 weeks + and the copper still has a great shine to it. Guess i did something right.
I encased the polished copper in lexan, made a mount cut and assembled the feet and had to test it :)
Step 5: The Final Product.
It worked pretty well, not exactly as i envisioned it.
But it looks good.
See pics for final notes.