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Milling a large partPartial view of shop

Machining the turntable of a 50" capacity mirror lapping machine on my Bridgeport mill (left), and view of the shop (right)

I was fortunate enough to have acquired a reasonably complete machine shop for my telescope making activities.  It is a big advantage to be able to make the proper part for a scope rather than having to adapt hardware store or commercially available parts that aren't quite ideal.  See my shop section for my equipment and custom projects for pictures of special stuff I have done.

Another view of the shop25" lapping machine made for Dick Wessling

 Above left:  View of the shop with a 20" f/3.0 under construction, see more about it below (photo by Mike Lockwood)
Above right:  Custom 25" lapping machine constructed for Dick Wessling's Pines Optical
(photo by Dick Wessling)

Custom Telescopes

JP Astrocraft has built a variety of custom telescopes, mirror cells, and specialized components. For more information, contact JP Astrocraft.

Custom 20" f/3 telescope20" f/3 telescope and friends

Above is a custom 20" f/3.0 telescope and some people for scale (photos by Mike Lockwood).  The primary mirror was made by Lockwood Custom Optics, and is 1.25"-thick Pyrex.  That's not a second focuser, it's a camera holder for when visual observing is being done instead of video.

24" f/3.3 telescope24" f/3.3 telescope, view from the front1

Above is a custom 24" f/3.3 telescope, also with a primary from Lockwood Custom Optics.  The owner requested the focuser be placed on the "other" side of the cage.  The telescope includes the owner's finderscope and Servocat drive.

Construction picture of 32" f/3.6Construction of 32" f/3.6

Above are some construction photos of a 32" f/3.6 completed by JP Astrocraft in 2014.  The beautiful completed scope is shown below at the Okie-Tex Star Party (photo by Mike Lockwood).  All JP Astrocraft scopes are built solidly to withstand moderate wind speeds.  After all, being built in Illinois, we know about wind.  Note the offset spider in the secondary cage - this is done specifically to reduce wind-induced rotational vibration.

32" f/3.6 at the Okie-Tex Star Party

Finally, here are some close-up shots of the cage and mirror box of the 32" f/3.6.

Mirror box showing boundary layer fanSecondary cage and wiring boxOffset spider hub

See above images.  At left, we see the mirror box with a front boundary-layer fan suspended with stainless wire.  This helps the excellent mirror to cool of more quickly and evenly.  The center image shows the telrad, wiring, SIPS with extra-large fine-focus knob, and the beautiful wood stain.  At right is a closeup of the offset spider that prevents the secondary from rotating due to wind or during collimation adjustments.  This is a standard feature of many JP Astrocraft telescopes.  Photos above by Mike Lockwood.

Other Projects

Astronomical Research Institute 32" Telescope Drive Fabrication

32" telescope drive 32" telescope drive

RA Drive Unit (left),  RA Drive, front side (right)

32" telescope drive32" telescope drive

Close-up RA Worm Gear (left), DEC Drive Pulley (right)

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