Telescope Light Box

About: I have a physics background and my hobbies are: 3D printing, arduino, astronomy and sci-fi

I had a telescope since I was 8 years old, but recently I started taking pictures of DSO (Deep Sky Objects). In last few months I have` learnt a lot about calibration, auto guiding and various frames (light, dark, flat, bias) that are necessary for good results.

Except taking light frames (your DSO pictures) you also have to take dark frames which are easy to take. All you have to do is cover your telescope with supplied lid and with exactly same camera setting take few dark frames.

Next step was to take flat frames, mainly to remove any dust contamination and to have uniform illumination in your picture. There are various techniques to do that like 't-shirt' technique, but that can be only done at dusk or dawn. I wanted to take all frames at the same time and then move to the next DSO. You can do that by using 'light box' during your night observations and there are quite few projects available on internet, but I wanted to make something that I can easy mount on any telescope. Most of you will probably have more than one telescope with various apertures, so I designed simple 'Light Box' that can be mounted on telescopes from 4'' to 8'' diameter.

Supplies:

- A4 LED Drawing Board Tracing Light Box

- ABS/PLA for 3D printing

- Tracing paper

- A4 laminating pouches

- Super glue

- Sellotape

Tools:

- Laminating machine

- 3D printer

- Scissors

Step 1: Laminating

- cut a tracing paper to A4 size

- put paper inside laminating pouch and run it through hot laminating machine

Note: laminating will prevent paper from absorbing moisture during night observations

Step 2: 3D Printing

There are 4 main parts (corners) and each takes about 7-8 hours to print. Then you have to print 4 bolts and depending on the diameter of your telescope you can print long or short version. I have 6'' and 8'' telescopes so I used short bolts. For smaller telescopes use the long versions.

Step 3: Assembly

- place the laminated paper tracing pad and tape it around the edges so it won't move

- put a little bit of super glue on the corners and then slide 3D printed pieces

- make sure you place the piece with slot for on/off switch and USB post at the right corner (see above picture)

- screw 4 bolts and adjust them to your telescope diameter

Note: If you have bigger telescope you can buy A3 tracing board and scale the parts for 3D printing

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