Ross Sackett's amateur telescope making
Telescope making and telescope makers
Rather than present my own modest set of ATM links, you can't do better than the Stellafane
site, with some additions to fill out the international scene.
One of the greatest resources available for amateur telescope making. Be sure to check out
their mirror making section and the most extensive collection of ATM links available.
A very nice set of links by an accomplished ATM in Germany, with an emphasis on Continental
European telescope makers that might not be well known to English speakers (but ought to
A site featuring a number of very creative projects by French ATMs
Where I buy my supplies
I go to John Hall for big mirrors, 18" and 24" so far. A true gentleman and a businessman. I
recommend him highly.
I have had good experiences with Ed Stevens, too, but I can't find a current link to his site.
Come back to us, Ed.
Willmann-Bell and Gotgrit
Where I buy my mirror-making supplies.
Astrosystems and ProtoStar
Where I buy my secondary mirrors (they both sell lots of other ATM stuff as well). I find them
both highly reliable and helpful.
Kineoptics and MoonLite
Currently my two favorite makers of focusers. Kineoptics HC line of helical crayfords are
lightweight and work well for travelscopes and ultraportables. MoonLite makes big, beautiful
full-sized crayfords anodized in gorgeous colors.
Oceanside Photo and Telescope
Need reliable advice on commercial scopes, eyepieces, or binoviewers? The folks at OPT
won't steer you wrong. Once they actually refused to sell me an accessory until I had done my
homework and checked out all the options, not just the very expensive one I thought I wanted.
If you are my age you probably remember the Sears "Wishbook" Christmas catalog. The
McMaster catalog (both online and the hard-to-get paper edition) is my shop wishbook for the
21st century. It's loaded with materials, fasteners, tools and tooling. Teflon sheets, too. It
would be difficult for me to do ATM without it.
If McMaster doesn't have a fastener, Reid probably does. Best selection of knobs I know of.
Where I now buy most of my aluminum tubes and brass. Also other metals and some plastics,
Rockler, Highland Woodworking, Woodworker's Supply, and Lee Valley
Where I get most woodworking tools, finishing supplies, and veneer. Lee Valley's Veritas line is
one of my favorite brands for edged woodworking tools and measuring/layout tools.
Micro-Mark, Little Machine Shop, Victor Machinery, Northern Tools, and Welding Supply
Where I get most metalworking tools, including parts and tooling for the mini-mill and mini-lathe.
Lots of precision layout tools, too.
Excellent source of high-grade tinker's supplies. Where I get my gears and sprockets. They
even have jewelled bearings! (Not that I've needed them yet...)
Edmund Optics, Anchor Optics, and surplusshed.com
Edmunds is the place for high-end industrial optical components. If I was sourcing a precision
relay lens or variable iris it would be my first stop. (Note: this is the serious side of Edmunds:
no bobbing birds here!) Anchor optics is their discount outlet and offers more economical
alternatives for "experimental" grade (=seconds). It's fun to compare the print catalogs from
these two divisions of the same company: there's always a busty va-voom spokesmodel-type
pictured on the Edmunds catalog, while the Anchor cover usually favors the geek-sweet
cute-librarian-with-glasses: I guess they know their demographics. Surplus Shed is the site for
guerrilla optical tinkering. You never know what they will have in stock, so if you see it buy it
now. Next time you look it will be gone.
You guessed it.
Online information resources
Cloudy Nights Forum and the ATM List
These are my two favorite online communities. I think of them as Facebook for ATMs. My first
stop to be inspired, to ask questions, and to crow about my latest scope. Cloudy Nights is like
a big warm group hug, a very supportive place for newbies. The ATM list can be a little edgier:
listers aren't shy about throwing an elbow once in awhile. Both lists are excellent.
Lunar, Astronomy, and Earth Science Pictures Of the Day
My morning eye-openers. Even before my coffee.
To insiders this is one of the scariest sites on the net, where the possibility of an ELE
(extinction level event) is merely a fact of life. All the transient astronomical phenomena:
Sunspots, flares, aurorae, comets, and Near Earth Objects. This is where you go to see if The
Big One is going to hit in the next month. Who knew we lived in shooting gallery, folks?
Online satellite predictions!
Clear Sky Chart
Free customized darkness, cloud cover, and seeing predictions. Atilla Danko is a hero.
Memphis Astronomical Society
First Friday of the month!