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6” f/5 tabletop telescope
By Ross Sackett
Commissioned for my brother-in-law Matthew, my design
challenge was to build a compact telescope that fits in an
airline-legal carry-on duffle, with enough room to spare
for a weekend’s worth of clothes, a compact star atlas,
and red LED flashlight.
Red-dot finder
This telescope is the fifth in my Moonsilver series,
featuring a lightweight single-pole structure, compact
focuser board and secondary assembly, and hybrid
Dobsonian-fork mounting. Like a standard Dobsonian
this is an “alt-az” telescope that moves vertically in
altitude and horizontally in azimuth. However, unlike a
conventional Dobsonian telescope, instead of two altitude
arcs this design replaces one of the arcs with a pivot
tightened by a tensioning knob, making it easier to hold
the scope pointed at a particular elevation.
It uses a conventional Newtonian optical design, with a 6”
f/5 primary mirror and small flat secondary. The
commercial 1-1/4” helical crayford focuser is lightweight
and compact.
The telescope is built of solid African mahogany and Baltic
birch plywood covered in mahogany veneer. The
dobsonian bearings are high-pressure laminate (Formica)
running on Teflon pads. The azimuth and altitude pivots
are brass bolts run through bronze bushings with brass
washers and plastic knobs with nylon locking inserts.
Focuser lock
Eyepiece lock
Secondary mirror
(partly hidden)
Glare shield
Altitude pivot and
Knob (hidden)
Primary mirror
Altitude arc
Azimuth knob
Website: Contact: [email protected]