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Stellafane 2004-05 Mirror Class


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Schedule & Class Pictures

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

1: Saturday, October 16, 2004:

  • 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 are off to a good start with 6 new students and
several returning students who have started figuring.

Click for Session 1 Photo Album

2: Saturday, November 13, 2004:

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

Despite snow to the south, a good turnout. We now have
two 16" mirrors underway, a first for these mirror classes.

Click for Session 2 Photo Album

3: Saturday, December 11, 2004:

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

Threatening weather kept attendance low, but
we have gotten two more students figuring.

Click for Session 3 Photo Album

4: Sunday, January 9, 2005:

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

We began pouring laps for this class, as many
students are moving on to Polishing.

Click for Session 4 Photo Album

5: Saturday, February 5, 2005 in Ludlow, MA

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

Chris finished his mirror, Andy is very close. The rest of
us enjoy a warm winter day and comet observing in the evening.

Click for Session 5 Photo Album

6: Saturday, March 5, 2005:

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 11:00 - 1:00: Class #6: Constructing a Telescope

Good Turnout. 3 mirrors in final figuring.

Click for Session 6 Photo Album

7: Saturday, April 9, 2005, an extra session

  • 10:00 - 4:00: Workshop
  • 10:00 - 4:00: Scope Construction Clinic

Dick M. finished his 16" Mirror. On a fine spring day, many folks
cut out Dobsonian parts on the front lawn of the bunkhouse.

Click for Session 7 Photo Album

Mirror Status

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

Mirror Maker
*Club Member
Cody* A. 6   Fine 2004-Oct-16
Glenn 10 6.0 Polish 2005-Apr-07
Chris 8 6 Done 2005-Fen-05
Jim* F. 8 6 2004-Mar-05
Mark & Alec 6 6 Figure 2005-Jan-09
Jerry 8 6.6 2005-Jan-09
Andy 8 5.4 Final
12.5 6 Fine 2004-Oct-16
Doc* 6 8 Polish 2004-Apr-07
Darby 6 7 Fine 2004-Nov-13
Dick 16 6 Done 2005-Apr-07
Jim M. 16 4.5 Polish 2005-Mar-05
Rob 8 9 Polish 2004-Feb-05
Al* 10 6 Figure 2004-Mar-05
Matthew 8 8 Polish 2005-Mar-05
Cody S. 6 7.8 Final
15 Mirror Makers 16 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 Jay Drew
Jay Drew
Associate Member
Eats #80 Grit for a Snack!
Instructor Junie Esslinger
Junie Esslinger
Full Member
Explaining a Polishing Stroke
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 continues to be strong and as in previous years, we filled up well before class started. We enrolled 17 students, of which 9 were returning students from previous courses, and 8 brand new students.

Attendance was a bit lower this year from last. We had moderate weather and no cancellations. With new moons falling early in the month, we were able to add a 7th session in April without impacting convention site preparation work. The lower attendance for the one Sunday session (Jan 9), and one session held in Ludlow (Feb 5) is consistent with previous years.

Category Oct 16 Nov 13 Dec 11 Jan 9 Feb 5 Mar 5 Apr 9 Average
Students 13 13 9 8 5 11 6 9.3
Instructors 8 6 6 6 5 8 9 6.9
Total 27 21 19 15 14 10 19 16.1

Students: With a large number of returning students, we had a good mix of polishers and grinders at the start. Students came from VT (9), MA (5), NH (2) and NY (1).

Instructors were excellent again this year. We have now developed a strong core of instructors that work very well in mirror class. Thank you very much!

Completions were again disappointing, with only two mirrors actually completed this year by the end of class. One was Dick's 16", which he did largely on his own initiative off-site, checking in with us for guidance over the past 2 years, more so in the last few months as he was figuring. We have 2 people who are in final figuring, and we will work them informally in the coming months, I expect this total to increase.

Even if these complete, we will have 4/17 done, a rate of 24%, half of our 50% goal. We need to continue to improve in this area.

Facilities continue to be the biggest issue for us; they limit what we can do in many ways. Dave Prowten has completed work on a test tunnel, and Dave Kelly has provided us with test head with an auto-collimation flat, improving our testing situation. We need to get a video display setup working on this tester to improve testing throughput. Thanks to both of them for this great work.

The above tester can only handle 12" mirrors; Dick M. had to clean out the bunkhouse basement to make testing space for has 16", and it barely fit.

Our biggest need is more clean, heated space to adequately handle the figuring and polishing workload we have.

Telescope Making As Brad was giving the telescope construction lecture in session 6, he suggested we have a parts making session, so that students without access to tools could get parts cut out if they brought materials. We were able to schedule a 7th sessions, which turned out to be a warm and sunny spring day, and there was a big telescope making parts party on the front lawn of the bunkhouse. This was seen by all as a great success and great fun, and I'm sure we will do it again next year.

Future Demand: We have 6 new students on the waiting list in April for the next class, which is typical. With returning students from this year, and additional new student requests coming in before the next class, it looks like we be full next year.

Summary It was another good year with no weather related cancellations. Two (maybe 4) completions is at half our goal. Demand remains strong. Our biggest issue is adequate space.