Sunday, December 11, 2011

Car roof carrier - transformer (Continued)

Just added two wheels. Found a pair in my scrap bin (scavenged from an old collapsible shopping cart, I believe). Two small aluminum L-shapes were drilled to accept 2 bolts (one for the wheel, and one for the board mounting) and for 2 screws (to fix the wheel alignment) - each.

In order to keep the car roof carrier function I had to move the footrest / leg / roof rail stop - a bit higher. The new, not oiled yet, insert is visible directly under the footrest piece. The gap between the wheel and the shelf must be wide enough to accept the car roof rail when covered with 2 layers of the tarp. In addition, the higher location of the foot rest makes climbing into the chair easier when it's set high.

As you can see I have the chair's wood soaked in the Penofin Cover-All already. It gives the wood sort of a driftwood appearance I like. The oil still smells (though, not unpleasantly), but already repels water, and protects it from dust and UV rays very well.

Also, I've made 2 new holes in the mirror's side of the cradle providing comfortable carry handles on that end too (see the image).

The wheels are a really great addition. I can easily move the telescope to and from the car all alone now. No separate dolly cart or buddy help is necessary anymore! Also, I can now put the base on top of the OTA in the cradle, resting the fork on the semi-axes and the bottom on the back of the cradle, and transport both with comfort simultaneously! The wheel is the greatest invention of the mankind!

The wheels are protruding for only 1/3 inch from the mirror side wall, so I can still have the cradle reliably standing upright in the elevator, or for storage. The only problem with these wheels is that now when loading the OTA in the field, with the top side of it in the car's trunk (as seen on my old, wheel less version, images) - you must be extra-careful, as it can easily roll back on the wheels while sliding on the front rails over the trunk's edge. But that's a really minor disadvantage.

By the way, here is the most recent image of the chair in the field. Taken at GSSP 2012. You can see the red seat cushions for the outdoor furniture, which are lashed down to the plywood seat, and stay in place in the "cradle mode" too, replacing the front foam insert (the bottom part must be bent in half to allow the space for the OTA's guiding ball.

Desirable upgrades  

  1. Screw-less front side clamps for the rails.
  2. Steel tabs on the rails and steel receptacles for them on the back board to ditch the bungee cord at the bottom in the Chair mode.
  3. Armrests and the entire chair clamping mechanism disassembled storage holders somewhere on the back board in the cradle mode.
  4. 3D print the focuser box cover piece to protect it from possible bumps while in the cradle.
  5. Additional Chair piece support for the rails' front ends in the cradle mode (will also serve as a chair support for the free standing mode).
(Part1, Part2, Part3)

BB Code to insert all 3 parts

([url=]Part I[/url], [url=]Part II[/url], [url=]Part III[/url])

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