it's like all these manufacturers want us to do is spend , spend , spend.
Last week a friend told me he saw a telescope in a Trash Converters outlet. Funny because the day before I had set out to renovate old scopes, must be what they call synchronicity, or destiny in old-fashioned lingo. Here I am in the Trash Converters store, the scope is as I imagined: dirty, flimsy, skinny, but with potential. Worthless Huygenian eyepieces, very dark tunnel-vision and uncoated lenses. Plastic lens finder, but each leg in the alt-az tripod is made up of three very workable hollow aluminum tubes.
Asking 20€ but one steel shaft in the altitude slow-mo is missing so they release it for 16€. Spent every evening since last Thursday reinforcing and accurizing all the mechanics. Sanded and painted the tube, filled the legs with dried/sanitized aquarium sand, adjusted, deburred, fitted, rectified everything. All that after a complete dismantling, down to the very last screw, nut and washer. Cleaned all the dirt it was sold with, must have contributed to the low price, so don't complain about it. The former owner and the Trash Converters staff wouldn't bother cleaning it; they should have known better because knowledge equals money, as was proven when I redeemed the scope with no more expenditure.
Thankfully the SBS 60mm/800mm objective was okay, but pinched in its cell, itself badly pinched in the dewshield, itself forcibly inserted over a large blob of paint at the tube's edge.
Worst of the worst, a 25mm stop inside the tube should have been 38mm, so that an incredible 57% of the light was lost. Its former owner must have found it a dim scope. This is where knowledge makes for spending: since I started rebuilding it I spend nothing more on it, not even one cent. All parts and materials and tools I already had. The missing shaft proved useless cause the scope now has friction bearings, like a dobsonian, and works fine this way. I could already use it but I want to fine-tune and complete it a bit, with a new dewshield (already had the tube) and a solar filter (remaining piece of Astro Solar film after equipping the C5 and the 80mm apo has the right size, no spending).
Its dotation 1.25" diagonal mirror has exactly the same quality as my Celestron/Vixen 1.25" prism, only a tiny, tiny bit less bright. The C5 now has a right-reading 6x30 finder, so its old 5x24 went to the 60mm's side. The material for the new baffles I already have, black paint, ditto, plywood for reinforced ashtray, ditto. Even lead sheets for balance, not one thing missing. If you're a do-it-yourselfer and you keep odds and ends you're your own telescope repair shop.
Best of all, my dob was delivered with a 25mm Plössl I didn't use cause I already had a 24mm Hyperion. Luck or synchronicity to the extreme, the new scope already has its basic low-power/wide-field ocular. No more spending than the puny 16€ at Trash Converters and I'm equipped with a nearly-new scope. I'll take it to public viewing if ISON becomes bright enough this winter. It has no visible chromatic spread at 32x but I need to check up to 114x.
I plan to give it a 36-euro, 70° GSO 15mm eyepiece and a 44-euro, 66° TS 9mm eyepiece, an f/13.3 scope is very forgiving of eyepiece quality. That will be the only extra spending besides the basic "investment" at Trash Converters. They really do convert thrash into cash!
TS 8x40 Wildlife, 10x50 Marine/Fujinon 16x70/TS 80mm triplet, 6x30 finder, EQ-3 mount, TS 2" 99% diagonal/Celestron C5+ and 6x30 finder, DIY tripod/5" Bahtinov/12" GSO dob, 8x50 finder/Meade 2" 24mm 82°/Hyperion 24,13,10mm 68°/TS Expanse 17mm 70°/SW 7mm Panorama 82°/Ultima 2x barlow/Astronomik UHC-E filter/Baader O-III/Astro Solar 5" & 80mm filters/Sky Atlas 2000/Rükl's Moon Atlas/Canon 400D/5mW green laser