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I am copying and pasting Clay Davies’ recent article published on a Facebook page for amateur telescope makers, where he gives links to extremely useful sources as well as commentary. I think he did a great job, and want to make this available to more people.

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Amateur Telescope Making Resources & Fast Commercial Newtonian Telescopes

  • Observer’s Handbook, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Every amateur astronomer should have at least one copy of this book. Every “newby” should read it cover to cover. Old hands should keep it as a reference. Avid astronomers get it every year, because it’s updated annually.
  • How to Make a Telescope, Jean Texereau. A classic book by a superb optician. The author taught many people how to make their own telescopes, including grinding, polishing and figuring their own mirrors. This book offers unique and practical telescope and mount designs I have never seen anywhere else.
  • The Dobsonian Telescope, David Kriege & Richard Berry. Want to knock off an Obsession telescope? Here is your bible, written by the creators of Obsession Telescopes. Here you will find well thought out and time proven designs for truss Dobsonian telescopes from 12.5” to 25” and more. If you are handy, if you use one of these designs and follow step-by-step instructions, you can build a fine truss dobsonian. But use free PLOP software (below) to design your mirror cell.
  • PLOP Automated Mirror Cell Optimization. This free windows software can help you design a “perfect” mirror cell. Just plug in the numbers, and in seconds, you have a mirror cell design. https://www.davidlewistoronto.com/plop/
  • Engineering, Design and Construction of Portable Newtonian Telescopes, Albert Highe. Do you want your next telescope to truly satisfy you? This book dedicates an entire chapter that asks you questions that help you design and build (or buy!) a telescope that will do just that. And it has beautifully engineered contemporary designs for large truss telescopes.
  • Engineering, Design and Construction of String Telescopes, Albert Highe. Beautifully engineered, yet challenging, ultra-light, air transportable newtonian telescope designs.
  • Newt for the Web (Stellafane). This is a simple, yet effective tool for newtonian telescope design. You can design an excellent telescope with just this free tool, plus old school drafting tools like ruler, protractor, pencil and compass. https://stellafane.org/tm/newt-web/newt-web.html
  • Reflecting Telescope Optimizer Suite. Mel Bartels created this wonderful free online newtonian telescope design tool: https://www.bbastrodesigns.com/telescopeCriteriaCalc.html If you explore Mel’s website you will find innovative, ultra-fast dobsonian telescopes, beautiful deep sky sketches, and mind expanding ideas that will probably make you a better observer. https://www.bbastrodesigns.com/The%20New%20Sub-F3%20Richest%20Field%20Telescopes.html
  • Right Angled Triangles Calculator, Cleve Books. Are you building a truss telescope but can’t remember trigonometry? This site makes it easy: http://www.cleavebooks.co.uk/scol/calrtri.htm
  • Stargazer Steve 6” Truss Telescope. A very portable, ultra-light commercial truss telescope. Moderately priced, too! http://stargazer.isys.ca/6inch.html
  • Explore Scientific 8”f3.9 Want a fast scope but don’t want to build it? This fast astrograph optical tube assembly has a carbon fibre tube and weighs 18.3 pounds / 8.3kg. It’s remarkably affordable, too! https://explorescientificusa.com/products/208mm-newtonian-f-3-9-with-carbon-fiber-tube
  • Orion 8” f/3.9 You can save a lot of work by buying a telescope off the shelf, like this one. Similar to the Explore Scientific, but with a steel tube at an irresistable price. And this OTA is under 18 pounds / 8kg! https://www.telescope.com/Orion-8-f39-Newtonian-Astrograph-Reflector-Telescope/p/101450.uts
  • R. F. Royce Telescope Building Projects. Simple newtonian telescope designs by one of the finest opticians on planet Earth. The first telescope I built, a 10”f6, and the second telescope I built, a 6”f8, were both based on Royce’s designs. Both performed far beyond my expectations. In fact, the surrier-trusses for my 8”f4 design were based on the Royce design. http://www.rfroyce.com/Telescope%20Bulding%20Projects.htm Want to build your ultimate lunar and planetary telescope? Click the third link. And… considering how much you can learn from one of the world’s greatest opticians, shouldn’t you click every link? http://www.rfroyce.com/thoughts.htm
  • Reiner Vogel Travel Dobs. If you are interested in designing and building your own telescope, have a look at this website. You will find easy and effective construction techniques and ultralight, ultra-portable telescopes here. And big ones. You’ll find equatorial mounts and observing notes, too! http://www.reinervogel.net/index_e.html?/links_e.html
  • Here is my talk at the RASC, Toronto, (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada) entitled, “Designing and Building a Newtonian Telescope for Wide Field Visual and Air Travel”. You can scroll the video to 38:20 if you want to go directly to my presentation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz7TVQkTGCM