Links and resources for amateur telescope makers

There are many websites with information to help you.

There are many websites with information to help you.

Resources for amateur telescope makers

A number of links related to Amateur Telescope Making (ATM). I found all of these sites particularly useful or informative, and recommend you explore them thoroughly.

Last updated: 13 Dec 2011.

San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers Plans
Plans for building a Dobsonian mounted reflector for minimum cost, even using scrounged parts – courtesy of the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers. Of all the plans I looked at, these were the most clear and easy to follow.

Stargazer Steve Telescopes
As well as the very well reviewed SGR-4 inch telescope which he sells as a complete product, Stargazer Steve also sells kits to build your own 4.5 inch and 6 inch Dobsonian reflectors. If you don’t feel like hunting down parts yourself, these kits may be the next best thing. The SGR-4, by the way, though only 4 inches in diameter, looks fabulous, and received fantastic reviews from Sky & Telescope.

Fraser Valley Astronomical Society – Victor’s Homepage
This member of the Fraser Valley Astronomical Society has published a comprehensive Web site with information on building telescopes, grinding mirrors, etc. He also has a an excellent list of sources and resources, particularly useful to Canadians.

The Official 4 inch Dob Web Site
Site contains plans for building a four inch Dobsonian reflector for as little as $125. Pretty cool. Check this one out if the idea of building a six inch is a bit daunting.

Astronomy Links
A central source of links related to telescope making. The parent domain lists a variety of astronomical links on various topics.

E-scopes
The new owner of Coulter Optical runs this company that sells telescopes, accessories, and telescope parts. They have all the parts you can think of, including Telescope Component Kits – kits that contain all the optics and other hard-to-find bits and pieces you might need in making a scope – in various sizes – at very reasonable prices.

Bob Bunge
Bob Bunge builds telescopes and stargazes. His site contains a lot of information about the scopes he’s built, as well as some interesting observing logs and sketches. I spent a pleasant evening reading through the material on this site, wishing I was as good a handyman as Bob.

Just a Little Project
Having built one telescope over the course of a week, after umpteen weeks of research and planning, this site is an eye-opener. It recounts a project in which the members of The Wilderness Center Astronomy Club built 25 small reflectors in a single day for a local school. Fascinating read, with lots of great pictures.

Amateur Telescope Makers Workshop
A site published by one guy who is really into telescope making. Much of the site is under construction, but there’s a lot of good material here.

Stellafane
You can’t do much research about telescope making without running into the name Stellafane. Stellafane.com is the home of the Springfield Telescope Makers who have been around for most of a century, building telescopes and sharing their enthusiasm for star gazing.

Newport Glassworks
A US supplier of glass blanks, mirror grinding kits, etc. Prices are similar to ASM in Canada.