This site will introduce you to a telescope for contemporary times, when wonderful optics crash headlong into the spreading problem of light pollution. Imagine a 12.5" telescope in your passenger seat, or an 18" scope in the back seat of any car, and imagine a design which does not compromise on shielding or rigidity. Say goodbye to 3/4" ply and find the best spots in the dark country sky.
Mine... To share my research, design and developments in the realm of ultra-portable, maximum-use, state-of-the-art starware. This page is intended for those who already own telescopes and understand the basics of Newtonian optical systems. My scope designs have grown out of an obsession with visual astronomy. If that is your interest, then please read on.
Yours... You love stargazing and your current scope is slowing you down with it's bulk, it's weight, it's complexity and it's sticky bearings. Or perhaps you are ready for an increase in aperture but fear it will become an immovable object. You want a durable ultra-light scope with optics you choose and smooth, well-damped motions. You are curious about LITEBOX.
Professional... I'm a designer with 24 years on the drafting board and 4 current years in a cabinet shop. My work includes architecture, interiors, and high-end cabinetry. I also taught design at the college level and do shows in Honolulu's planetarium. I have a construction background, and began life on the family farm. My current day job in a high end cabinet shop helps to give you teak feet on your ground board!. Most recently I've begun cutting out scope parts using CNC router technology. Picture a quarter million dollar monster robot that drills, cuts and miter-folds with 1/100" accuracy. LITEBOX began on the drafting table but is ever-improving through the realm of AutoCad.
Astronomical... Chronic year-round public and private visual astronomy for over 14 years, averaging 90 viewing sessions a year in locations far from my city home. ATM activity for more than a decade. Disciple of Tom Clark and Tectron Telescopes of Florida. I have built 52 telescopes as of February 2006. 18" LITEBOX built for Hawaiian Astronomical Society 8/1/96. LITEBOX production begun early in '97. Regular contributor to AMATEUR ASTRONOMY magazine. Ran astronomy program at Molokai Ranch, Hawaii's premier eco-resort, for 7 years.Teach leisure astronomy classes at University of Hawaii. Long-term (& current) vice-president of Hawaiian Astronomical Society. Active member of The Sidewalk Astronomers.
Visual thrills provide the driving force for amateur astronomy. If magazine photographs satisfy you, don't bother with a telescope. Telescopes which fail to thrill the senses are, by definition, too expensive. There is no substitute for aperture when it comes to photon thrills, yet 2-person scopes get half the use of those which can be managed by 1 person. An 18" scope size is still convenient for solo observing.
12mm Baltic Birch, polyurathane-glued and screwed, with corner bracing, and finished with textured plastic laminate (Formica, Wilsonart, etc.) or painted and sealed with clear acrylic (used on uppercage, trunnions, groundboard, bevel trim).
7/8" dia. truss poles of T-6, 6061 aluminum. Ultra light & compact aluminum truss clamp system.
Unpluggable mirror box back end with locking cover & handle.
Exclusive "virtual weight/counterweight" feature.
Scope components not only nest snugly but also self-reinforce for damage-free transport. More front end and mirror box shielding than all other fly-weight designs I've seen... to aid with backyard viewing.
NGF-DX3 focuser, (2" barrel with 1 1/4" adaptor)
Proto-star or Novak diagonal holder/spider (for your diagonal mirror)
Modified Novak or ultralight LITEBOX mirror cell
Wilsonart "Ebony Star," "Pearl Sand," and accent color laminates on mirror box and rocker box exteriors, plastic laminate cage tube, ultra flat black on all interior surfaces except for black "velvet" strips inside mirror box. PVC U-cap on exposed plywood edges. Black heat-shrink tubing on all truss poles. Metal corner protectors. Eight coats (minimum) of nick-hiding acrylic finish on diagonal cage, trunnions, ground board and beveled box corners.
10" model in f/4.5 to f/6 range, 16" x 16" x 15.75" packed, plus mirror case (part of mirror box with cover), 14.25" x 14.25" x 4.5". Total weight: 41 lbs, plus optics.
12.5" model in f/5 to f/6 range, 17.5" x 17.5" x 18.5" packed, plus mirror case (part of mirror box with cover), 16.5" x 16.5" x 5.75". Total weight = 55 lbs. plus optics.
14" model in f/4.5 to f/6 range, 19.75" x 18.625" x 21.25" packed, plus mirror case (part of mirror box with cover), 18.25" x 18.25" x 5.75". Total weight= 62 lbs plus optics.
15" model in f/4.5 to f/6 range, 20.5" x 21.25" x 20" packed, plus mirror case (part of mirror box with cover), 19.25" x 19.25" x 6.75". Total weight= 65 lbs plus optics.
18" model in f/4.5 to f/6 range 23.5" x 23.75" x 19.5" packed, plus mirror case (part of mirror box with cover), 22.25" x 22.25" x 6.75". Total weight= 75 lbs plus optics.
Pricing (as of May 2008, exclusive of optics)
10" model: $1475 (incl. shroud)
12.5" model: $1995 (incl. shroud)
14" model: $2250 (incl. shroud)
15" model: $2300 (incl. shroud)
18" model: $2550. (incl. shroud)
Shockingly low air freight rates! (excluding optics)
10" model - $100
12.5" model - $150
14"/15" model - $200
18" model - $300
There should be no middle man markup on optics. We invite buyers to procure their own mirror from one of the sources listed below. If, however, you prefer to have me purchase and install the optics, I am willing to do this, at a very fair price.
1452 Kamole St.
Honolulu, HI 96821