The V2.1 update produced a working mount, but it unfortunately was not very user friendly. I made a few modifications to improve the setup and aiming time, as well as its ability to disassemble and stow in a modest-sized wood box for storage and transport.
V2.2 (codename: HoLi) is the mount’s final design, as I’m very happy with it and have moved on to building the V3.0. See the photo of Orion’s Nebula below taken using this mount, I’ve been happy with its performance using lenses as long as 300mm.
TRIPOD MOUNTING & ALIGNMENT
First up, a couple tripod clamps were purchased from eBay (less than $10 total). They were slightly modified to hold support arms, the other end of which fastened to the tracking mount. This improved the mount’s stability ALOT.
The white bushing on the end of the clamp is 3D printed, designed so that the support arm can slide through until the knob is tightened. A 1/4″ wingnut on the yellow arm makes assembly / disassembly easy.
Aligning the mount is very easy now with the red dot sight. It is mounted on the blue interface component which was 3D printed as well. Magnets in the interface hold it firmly on the mount body and allow easy removal. Works very well!
RIGHT ASCENSION ADJUSTMENT
Adjustments to the aiming using only the 3-way head were torturous. I improved this somewhat with a Right Ascension (RA) clutch / fine adjustment assembly. This only allows easy adjustment in one axis, but is a huge improvement. If adjustments need to be made in another axis, it’s really no big deal to do them and risk throwing off the RA axis. Just fix the RA axis afterward. I did have a Declination axis adjustment at one point, but it did not work so well and added alot of bulk to the mount. It was tossed.
The clutch is really a clamp on the pivot shaft. The grey lever doesn’t really do anything except hold everything together. You can see in the second photo how the clutch disengages quickly and easily, allowing a gross adjustment of the RA axis.
The fine adjustments are made with the two nuts on the centre of the rod. The clamping arms flanking the longer driven arm are really what’s turning the camera. The longer driven arm is only an idler, and moves the clamping arms via the threaded rod you see. I really should replace them with wingnuts, but it works so well at the moment that I’m not concerned. There’s only a few degrees of fine adjustment. That’s all I need given the type of imaging this mount is designed for.
The entire device disassembles in a few minutes and stows nicely in a wood box. The only complaint I have is the magnets on the alignment sight don’t always sit nicely with all the other metal. I’ll probably eventually write Ikea-style assembly instructions on the lid so that anybody can borrow and use it.
Thanks for reading!