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Dead Weight

One thing we've known we need to add to the the Skyward 150 design is an ability to handle significant mass at the focuser. We noticed this especially when trying to mount Emily's massive phone camera at the eyepiece. Her phone camera is of very high quality but it would cause the telescope to dip down in the altitude axis.

There are a couple of ways to solve this, one is to change the tension at the alt bearing, and that may indeed be future option. Another option is to add a corresponding counterweight at the rear end of the OTA. It was a bit of a puzzle to try and figure out what kind of counterweights would be very common amongst users. We considered everything from coins to water but finally arrived at something that is truly standard worldwide, and that is batteries of the D cell and AA cell size. Many people have a jar of dead batteries in their house because it is not good to put them in the garbage.

I made this little timelapse video showing the creative process behind solving a problem like this. The software being used is Fusion 360. You can see that there is quite a bit of experimentation to find a solution that both works well and looks decent.

When I finished the design I really felt it looked like something out of Star Wars, so I had a little fun.

So maybe it won't actually travel to space, but with a little luck we will have enough mass to balance Emily's camera phone at the eyepiece- and find a purpose for those dead batteries in the drawer!


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