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Stellafane 2003-04 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 25, 2003:

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

Good turnout and a good start. A brisk day,
only two folks choose to grind outdoors.

Janet & Jay (Click for Photo Album of Session 1)

2: Saturday, November 15, 2003:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - Noon: Class #2: Fine Grinding

Good turnout and good progress by all
students, both grinders and polishers are
moving steadily towards completion.

Ken, Jay, Dick, Carl, Andy and Jim (Click for Photo Album of Session 2)

3: Saturday, December 13, 2003:

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

We poured four laps and one lap disk, which
is a good indication of the great progress this
class is making on their mirrors.

Brad pours a lap (Click for Photo Album of Session 3)

4: Sunday, January 25, 2004:

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

Plenty of work on polishing and figuring and
our first mirror for this curse was completed.

Our New Test Tunnel (Click for a Photo Album of Session 4)

5: Saturday, February 21, 2004 in Ludlow, MA

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - Noon: Class #5: Testing

We had a small turnout due to weather, but finished
another mirror.

Jay figures his mirror while Dave chats with him (Click for a Photo Album of Session 5)

6: Saturday, March 20, 2004:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - 1:00: Class #6: Constructing a Telescope
Telescope Construction Lecture (Click for a Photo Album of Session 6)

Mirror Status

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

Mirror Maker
*Club Member
Chris 8 6 Polish 2004-Mar-20
Jay & Ned 6 7 Done 2004-Feb-21
Jay 8 7 Polish 2004-Mar-20
Jim* 8 6 Polish 2004-Mar-20
Carl 8 8 25µ 2004-Mar-20
Janet 8 6 #80 2003-Mar-20
Andy 8 6 Polish 2004-Mar-20
Doc* 6 5 #120 2003-Oct-25
Yumna 6 7 #220 2003-Nov-15
James 8 6 #80 2003-Nov-15
Dick 16 6 Figure 2003-Mar-20
Al* 10 6 Figure 2003-Dec-13
Elizabeth 6 8 #220 2003-Mar-20
Cody 6 ? Polish 2003-Mar-20
Darby 6 7 25µ 2003-Dec-13
John 8 7 Figure 2003-Nov-15
Suzanne 8 5.5 Done 2004-Jan-25
16 Mirror Makers 17 Mirrors 2 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
Full Member
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

Registration was strong and we filled up well before class started. We enrolled 17 students, intentionally "over booking" as we know there will be some dropout, and as the next section shows, it was a little more than desired. Our goal is to have 14 to 15 students engaged, while the attendance analysis indicates only 11 or 12 actually were.

Attendance was strong this year, helped by moderate weather and enthusiastic students and instructors. Note the slightly lower attendance for the one Sunday session (Jan 25), and significantly lower attendance for the session held in Ludlow (Feb 21).

Category Oct 25 Nov 15 Dec 13 Jan 25 Feb 21 Mar 20 Average
Students 12 13 10 8 5 10 9.7
Instructors 5 7 7 7 6 7 6.5
Total 17 20 17 15 11 17 16.2

Students this class, those that become engaged in the activity, were very enthusiastic, and generally more knowledgeable about mirror making than our average class. It was a very good group to work with.

Instructors were excellent this year. We had great support from club members, no issues with understaffing, and good teamwork. Thank you very much!

Completions were disappointing, with only two mirrors actually completed this year by the end of class. We have 4 people who are in final polishing, and as we will work them informally in the coming months, I expect this total to increase, we still are far below our objective of achieving a 50% completion rate during class. The instructors all worked at emphasizing the need to make steady progress and work at home to get mirrors done, but this meat with limited success.  Completion rate is one of two key issues to work on between classes.

Facilities continue to be a big issue for us. Thanks to Tom Gorka, we have a number of facility improvement for this year with better work surfaces, windows and doors in our tow locations. Dave Prowten has completed work on a test tunnel, and Dave Kelly will provide us with test head before convention. Dave Prowten will also work on a video display setup for this tester, which will help instruction and throughput immensely. Thanks to both of them for this great work.

However, raw square feet of usable space is our big issue, and I believe does somewhat impact our completion rate. Even though we have restricted class sizes, all too often we are literally elbow-to-elbow in our workspaces. In the last class, we had a student ready to start polishing, and he could not, because there was no suitable clean space to do this. We need to continue to work on making more and better space for this class in the long term

Cleanup after class was a big issue in the previous year -- we did not do this as well as we should, and received justifiable complaints from other club members. This year, we instituted a more formal clean-up time, and a "pack-in, pack-out" trash policy, and we succeeded very well in leaving club facilities in a clean and orderly state after each class.

Summary It was a fun year with a good class and no weather related cancellations. The signup list for next year is almost full, so demand remains high and we will work to deliver the best mirror making instruction we can to as many people as we can cram in our limited space.