Saturday, July 27, 2013

Master Guide Secrets - Star Honor Part 5 - The Dobsonian Telescope Mount

Although not required by the basic Pathfinder Star Honor, building a telescope is a wonderful Pathfinder activity.  It can be a group project that adds a new and powerful telescope to the club's stockpile of equipment every time you do a star honor class.  If you treat the star honor like a real astronomy class, you'll not only get your Pathfinders a nice patch for their sash, but will encourage them to look up and see the stars which God has made. Some of the kids may even go on to make their own telescopes and pass their knowledge of the skies to the next generation of kids.

Having a nice big powerful telescope along on campouts gives kids something to do in the dark as well - at a time when kids tend to sneak off from the campsite to explore and get into mischief.  A row of telescopes acts as a magnet for restless minds, especially if you have a batch of interesting things to look at that will fire their imaginations.

First we're going to build the mount for the telescope.  The only part of the scope itself is the telescope tube. You'll have to decide what size mirror you are going to use first, select a mirror mount and measure the inside diameter of the tube.  You may want to go on to the second part of the series which I will have done hopefully next week and build the scope first.  I start with the mount first because it's inexpensive and gives you an idea how much you will have left in your budget to buy the lenses, mirrors, mounts and spotting scope - the heart of a good reflector telescope.

The design of this mount, designed by famous amateur astronomer, John Dobson, is simple, inexpensive to build and requires quite simple carpentry skills. It's made out of old LP records, plywood, some glue, felt and a couple of bolts. It's easy to use and comfortable to look through.

To look at the details of the design, follow this link to my Howdy Ya Dewit website.  Have fun. The design we will explore in these next three articles gives you a really fantastic telescope. I collected the parts for mine on eBay over several years of waiting interspersed by frantic bidding.  Someone gave me a six inch mirror and I now have the parts for a very nice six inch scope for under a hundred dollars total. You can't buy a scope of this quality for 5 times the price and it won't be half the fun to put together.


  1. Can you please tell me how to build 8 in base for Dobsonian telescope? Thanks

    1. Click on the link to go to my complete instructions on my Howdyadewit website. The link is in the story. The measurements are for a ten-inch telescope. The actual tube runs closer to 12 inches in diameter. You'll have to reduce the measurements of the box and the width of the base appropriately. I'll take a look at this and perhaps I can do up a chart with measurements for other common sized scopes. Give me a bit to work on it. - Thanks, Tom