And here it is…

I assembled the scope this afternoon. It was a doddle to assemble and I had it put together in around five minutes. David has numbered the truss poles and the fixings, so each truss pole has a certain fixing it has to attach to, as it has to go together a certain way, and this works beautifully. The fact that the focuser and finderscope are attached to one section which is detachable makes the upper tube assembly very light and easy to lift and attach to the truss poles. Because of this, I don’t need any help in lifting the UTA onto the truss poles. Assembly times will get quicker as I get used to putting the scope together because, despite having looked through plenty over the years, I have never used a collapsible truss dob before (the wooden 12 inch truss-style scope I have is not collapsible) it is a bit of a new experience.
While I was at it, I added the Telrad base. A Telrad is a must-have, as far as I am concerned.

Something else which is a feature of this scope is the good, solid collimation bolts and heavy-duty springs. The secondary also has substantial fittings and collimation bolts, so getting the mirrors aligned and keeping them that way should be easy.

The scope is very well built and solid which, of course, makes it heavy but it does mean that it isn’t flimsy, as there’s nothing worse than a flimsy scope. It’s a beautiful piece of workmanship. After moving it around the top garden in its collapsed state, I am getting used to the weight of it – this is why I ordered wheelbarrow handles to go with it. These are pretty much essential for a scope of more than 16 inches aperture and without them, moving it would not be easy at all. However, just like a wheelbarrow, it will only easily move forward or back; if you try to turn a corner, the scope has the turning circle of a large cargo ship!¬†Paradoxically, the new scope is easier to move around than the 12 inch is, simply because the wheelbarrow handles make it so. The 12 inch has some castors I fixed to the bottom and it is unwieldy as it can be, and threatens to tip over if you aren’t careful, especially when moving it over the rough lawn (the legacy of generations of moles and rabbits).

Once in one piece, the scope is easy to move around in altitude and azimuth. The proof of the heart of the scope, the optics, will be in observing. Unfortunately, the Scope Curse is underway. It’s a beautiful day but, according to the weather forecasts, this state of affairs is not expected to last into the evening.

Here are some pictures I took. Note the plywood mirror cover in some pics, I won’t remove it if I am not observing as I’d like to keep the mirror reasonably clean for as long as possible. The wheelbarrow handles will be removed for observing, because they would otherwise be in the way.

18 inch in its collapsed state

 

Assembled, without the shroud

 

Upper assembly

 

With shroud on

 

The front of the scope

 

The scope snug in its new home

 

The detachable section with the finder and focuser.

Now, all I need is a clear, moonless night.