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Porter Gringing
Russell Porter
Grinding a Mirror

"For it is true that astronomy, from a popular standpoint, is handicapped by the inability of the average workman to own an expensive astronomical telescope. It is also true that if an amateur starts out to build a telescope just for fun he will find, before his labors are over, that he has become seriously interested in the wonderful mechanism of our universe. And finally there is understandably the stimulus of being able to unlock the mysteries of the heavens by a tool fashioned by one's own hand."

Russell W. Porter
Founder of Stellafane, March 1923


A lot has changed since Russell Porter wrote those words - today the "average workman" can afford to buy an already made telescope and Dobsonian mountings are very popular.  Much is also unchanged - mirror grinding techniques are very similar to those written up by Porter and Ingalls in the 20´s and 30´s. Many amateur astronomers still choose to fabricate their own instruments, for the pride of accomplishment, the gaining of knowledge and the insurance of quality. Telescope making is at the heart of the Springfield Telescope Makers - after all it is two thirds of our club's name - and on these pages we hope to show you that you too can make your own telescope - and it can be an excellent performer!

A note on ATM techniques: There are almost as many ways to make mirrors and telescopes as there are telescope makers. On these pages we present one or more ways that have worked for us, but that doesn't mean there aren't many other valid approaches. In fact, many of us enjoy ATMing because we can experiment with different techniques and sometimes find better ways of making or building a telescope. And even if our new technique isn't better, we usually learn something valuable in the process. On these pages, however, we have tried to stick with simple and proven techniques that are most appropriate for novice mirror and telescope makers, and are generally what we teach beginners at the Stellafane Mirror Class.

Amateur Telescope Making Table of Contents

General Information

Telescope Mirror Making

Optical Testing

Cody Testing
Cody Tests his Mirror

Dobsonian Telescope Our Dobsonian Telescope

Build a Dobsonian Telescope

Plans for building a Newtonian Optical Tube and a Dobsonian
Mount for 4 to 12 inch telescopes.

Complete step-by-step instructions for both the optical tube
and Dobsonian mount.

ATM Resources & References

Page last revised on Wednesday, 2012-Aug-29 19:20:55 -0400