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Stellafane 2002-03 Mirror Class


This class is over. To sign up for a Mirror Class, see the pink box on the Mirror Class Main Page.

Schedule & Class Pictures

Including brief notes about the session
Class Pictures
Click Image for Photo Album

1: Saturday, October 5, 2002:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 10:00 - 11:00: Class #0
    Selecting Aperture & Focal Length
  • 11:00 - Noon: Class #1:
    Introduction, Overview & Rough Grinding

We had a great turnout, and the nice fall
weather let us rough grind outside!

4 Mirror Makers hard at work in front of our Bunkhouse

2: Saturday, November 9, 2002:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - Noon: Class #2: Fine Grinding
  • After Lunch: We will be Making A Plaster Disk for
    Joel's polisher, all are welcome to watch and learn.

Another good turnout, all mirrors making
great progress!

Grinding an 8" Mirror

3: Saturday, December 7, 2002:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop

We made 3 pitch laps (and rescued a 4th)
so there is plenty of polishing gong on now,
with 5 mirrors at this stage and one being

Polishing and Figuring

4: Sunday, January 4, 2003:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - Noon: Class #3: Polishing

Session #7 added as a makeup.

Due to Snow Storm

5: Saturday, February 2, 2003

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - Noon: Class #3 & 4: Polishing & Figuring

Deep snow made site access a challenge, but
we had enough hardy mirror makers to keep
us busy all day.

Polishing & Figuring Lecture

6: Saturday, March 1, 2003:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - Noon: Class #4: Figuring & Testing

Very high turnout, we got a lot accomplished in
somewhat crowded conditions.

Foucault Testing Lecture

7: Saturday, April 5, 2003 at the
    Episcopal Church, 33 Fairground Road:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop

Session added to make up for canceled Session #4;
Rescheduled (again!) as Session #8.

Due to Snow Storm

8: Sunday, May 4, 2003:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop

A nice spring day with some people working outside.

Sher grinding on a bench in the bunkhouse

Mirror Status

Here is a report on what our participants are making, and at what stage they are at:

Mirror Maker
*Club Member
Frank Bayerle 6" 8.0 Done 2003-May-8
Glenn Becker 10" 5.0 Polish 2003-May-4
Gary Cislak* 7" 8.0 Done 2002-Jul
Carl Herschel 8" 8.0 #220 Grit 2003-May-4
Aleks Hunter 8" 6.0 #80 Grit 2003-Feb-2
Kuniko Hunter 6" 8.0 #80 Grit 2003-Feb-2
"Doc" Keleman* 6" 5.0 #120 Grit 2003-Mar-1
Kris Larsen* 8" 6.0 Done 2003-May-30
Brian Lecau* 8" 7.0 Done 2003-Dec
Bruce MacLachlan 8" 4.5 Done 2003-Apr-27
Sher Malik* 8" 7.0 25 Micron 2003-May-4
Joel Neidbala* 8" 9.0 Polish 2003-May-4
Mellisa Neidbala 6" 4.5 Polish 2003-May-4
Al Rifkin* 10" 6.0 Polish 2003-Jun-8
John Stetson 8" 7.0 Figure 2003-May-4
Jim Zebrowski 8" 5.0 #220 2002-Nov-9
Elizabeth LePan 8" ? #60 2002-Nov-9
17 Mirror Makers 17 Mirrors 5 Done


Thanks to our large group of volunteer instructors, we can hold these mirror class and give everyone the individualized attention they require. Several of our instructors work professionally in the optics industry, and many have competed dozens or mirrors and more complicated optics as amateurs.

Instructor Junie Esslinger
Junie Esslinger
Explaining a Polishing Stroke
Joel Gillman
Joel Gillman
Associate Member
Grinding a Mirror
Instructor Tom Gorka
Tom Gorka
Full Member
Making Mirror Kits
Instructor Rick Hunter
Rick Hunter
Full Member
Using the Foucault Tester
Instructor Dave Kelly
Dave Kelley
Full Member
Demonstrates Polishing Techniques
Instructor Phil Rounseville
Phil Rounseville
Full Member
Making Pitch Laps at the 2001 Convention
Instructor Ken Slater
Ken Slater
Full Member and Mirror Course Co-Leader
Explaining Foucault Testing
Instructor Brad Vietje
Brad Vietje
President and Mirror Course Co-Leader
Explaining Telescope Construction

Final Report

Schedule & Attendance: A tough winter caused two class cancellations and with makeup sessions we extended into May. Despite the weather turnout and enthusiasm was good:

Item Students Instructors Total
Registered 18 8 26
Peak Attendance 14 7 19
Average Attendance 11.2 5.7 16.8
Lowest Attendance 10 5 14
Perfect Attendance 4 1 5
No-Shows 1 0 1
First Timers 9 N/A 8
Retuning from Last Year 5 7 12

Of special note is that this year's class had three father-daughter teams.

Completions & Mirror Status: You can check the status table on this page and see only two mirrors were completed by the end of class. I believe at least 3 more will be finished up outside of class in the next two months. While we have year to year variations in completion rates, weather, space, equipment and instructor time all contributed this year to lower than usual rates. See issues, below.

Issues: Work space continues to be our most significant problem. We are at or slightly beyond the workable limits of the space in the bunkhouse and McGregor observatory for classes this size. Proposals are being made to do minor renovations tot he space to make it more useful to the next class.

We also have a bottleneck at the main Foucault tester; again a proposal is being prepared to build a "production" tester for the class to help alleviate this problem.

Two weather cancellations late in the year caused a loss of momentum for some students. Not much we can do about the weather -- after all, we do live in New England.

Lastly, we had some issues with having enough instructors assigned to the polishing and figuring area towards the end of the course, and this slowed up some of our students. We will try to make sure we assign enough help here next year.

Summary: A good course with plenty of enthusiastic students and great support from our cadre of instructors. We need to improve some of our equipment and space on the off season to make the next class more effective and efficient.