The Final Push

“Don’t do today what you could put off till tomorrow”. This motto has served me well for years and enabled me to start many many exciting and varied projects without ever finishing any of them properly. It’s a winning formula to always having something to do. Always aspiring to do more, be better. You never cross the line so you’re always trying harder. A fatally flawed approach but I don’t like to admit that bit.

So recognising this I made a commitment to get the 1930’s GEM mounted Newtonian refurbished in time to confirm that there are indeed canals and little green men on Mars for it’s next closest approach on the 8th Dec 2022 which will be the last favorable opposition for a LOOOOONNNNGGGG TIME. Potentially another 60 years if we have to live out a few nuclear winters. Sooner if peace breaks out.

The challenge is to restore this to its former glory. It was in a sorry condition having been in a state or disuse for decades.

The clock ticks, 15 days, 2 hours 8 mins to go. Give or take a week or so for good opposition! Most of the Components had been stripped down so the mad dash now is to get all of the surfaces cleaned down, painted ready for reconstruction. All of the CAD has been completed so the extra odd bits and pieces needed will be 3D printed; but nothing too obvious as I want the scope as faithfully original as practicable.

The scope is going back to being battleship grey and black (it’s original colours prior to the 1970’s). That is me next to the scope. I’m wearing my weekend PVC outfit complete with friar’s wig and patent shoes. The scope will not be that shiny. I just don’t know how to render properly. There’s very little that won’t be original. All of the finder scope, focuser, drawtube, mirror cell will be kept with little or no modification. It will be on a permanent steel-concrete pier

Here are all the real shiny bits all freshly primed and painted with Gloss Black paint (for all surfaces not in the light path. All internals are of course flocked or matt black.

I’ve 3D printed a CONSIDERABLE amount of jigs for centering, re-drilling, fitting things to other things accurately. I’ll explain in greater depth later but the one major addition to the scope is a slightly novel way of doing the mirror cell using a poured concrete disc in a 3D printed mould, photo at bottom. I’ll do a separate post on this at some point.

Anyway exciting days as my task-list is literally now only 22hrs long. D-Day looms close and there is no option on missing the grand reopening as the family (grandson included) of the late astronomer and author George McHardie who designed this scope, ground, figured and silvered the mirror set in 1936, are coming for the grand unveiling. A really happy and poignant event hopefully.