Stellafane 'Little Man' - click for Stellafane Home Page TM Page Header

Telescope Making

Telescope Making is at the core of Stellafane (after all we are The Springfield Telescope Makers and Stellafane is the "Birthplace of Amateur Telescope Making").  From our founding in 1923, our bylaws have specified that full members of our club must have made a telescope objective. We care deeply about preserving this legacy, promoting this aspect of the hobby, and assisting those that undertake to make their own telescopes.

When you see ATM on our web pages we are talking about Amateur Telescope Making, not Automatic Teller Machines.

Mirror Making Guide

Pyrex Blanks
Pyrex blanks ready to made into mirrors.

Our on-line directions for Mirror Making, Tester Construction and related topics are very popular. If you want to find out how to make your own tele­scope mirror, read this.

Also in this section you will find a comprehensive book list and various on-line calculators to help you design and com­pare telescope designs, and calculate key items needed when making your mirror.

Mirror Making Classes

Grinding mirrors in class
Rough Grinding in Mirror Class

We have offered mirror making classes annually since 1995 in Springfield, Vermont, and have helped many people complete their mirrors with guidance from our expert instructors. Registration is required, please sign up early, as we have had many full classes and un­for­tunate­ly have had to turn some people away.

We also maintain a list of

World-wide Mirror Making Classes

if Stellafane is not in your geographic area.

Build a Telescope

Our Newtonian OTA & Dobsonian Mount
Our Dobsonian Scope

Plans for a Newtonian Optical Tube and a Dobsonian Mount - use them together as a com­plete telescope, or separately if you just need one part. Com­plete, step-by-step plans for the entire scope.

The mount design features a simple to build adjustable cradle that won an innovative component award at the 2010 Stellafane Convention.

Design a Telescope

Newt-Web Focuser Ray Trace
Newt-Web Ray Trace

Newt-Web is a web ap­pli­ca­tion, actually a small computer aided design program, that will ray-trace a Newtonian design, point out errors in the design, report telescope performance in­for­ma­tion, and provide a list of dimensions for laying out the scope. Five sample telescopes are included. All you need is an up-to-date web browser - nothing to install.

Homemade Telescopes

Scope Gallery Telescope
One of Joe Castoro's many telescopes in
the 'Scope Gallery

Telescope Makers love to look at other people's creations and use the good ideas in their own 'scopes. Our Homemade Telescope Gallery allows you to show off your own scope, or look over what other ATM's have built.

If you would like to do this in person looking at real tele­scopes, and talking to their builders, there is no where better to do this then at the annual Stellafane Convention.

Stellafane Convention

Telescope at Convention
Homemade Telescopes on display on Breezy Hill at the Stellafane Convention.

Many activities at the annual convention are oriented to­wards Amateur Telescope Makers: Mirror Making and Telescope Making dem­on­stra­tions, Technical Talks, en­cour­age­ment to Display Home Made Telescopes on Breezy Hill, and Mechanical and Op­ti­cal Competitions for home made telescopes.

We have photos and in some cases videos of all the home made telescopes entered into the mechanical competition from conventions going back to 2000 in this section. This is another good place to browse for ideas and to see what is possible in making your own telescope.