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Binocular balance beam mount - low cost and home made

binocular tripod balance beam

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#1 Peter Birren

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:18 PM

First official post from a new member (go easy on me :-)

 

When I started out observing many years ago, I sought out and followed some good advice to start with binoculars for about a year. This way, you don't get lost in the details, more easily learn the constellations and prevent the frustration that telescope ownership can present. But a lot of the good stuff can be directly overhead and laying on cold ground, with the binocs bouncing to the beat of my heart, was not the most fun I've ever had in life. Tried mounting them directly on top of a tripod but that just gave me a pain in the neck. Looking around for suitable alternatives, I came across a parallelogram mount. Not having an extra couple hundred bucks, and being somewhat handy, I devised my own balance beam mount.

 

A little back story: I've flown hang gliders since 1977 and, for some strange reason, have an ample supply of tubing in different sizes. Most of it was accumulated as a result of learning how to land properly. Well, you know the old saying about every problem to a man with a hammer looks like a nail. Same is true with tubing, though aircraft quality aluminum is not required for this project.

 

The result of my efforts, coupled with an adjustable seat modified from the Denver Astro Chair, worked great and that pain in my neck is now gone.

 

The mount allows almost unlimited slewing and viewing in a variety of attitudes. When moving the binocs (12x50 Bushnell), the view shakes for about 2-3 seconds before settling down. And the chair allows me to lay back and thoroughly enjoy the views.

 

A few details: the 5-pound offset weight is adjustable with hose clamps on a piece of tube that assembles with a spring pin; elbow that fits in the main horizontal tube allows for rotation and angled positioning; center hub is tube-into-tube for smooth enough slewing; and the whole setup is light enough and packs small enough for quick and easy transport and setup while being robust enough to withstand all-thumbs handling.

 

Hope you like my effort:

 

Tripod1.jpg

 

 

Here's the chair folded and set up. It is fully adjustable using a loop of perlon through a jamb cleat, acts as a platform for small humans to stand on while looking through my scope, and the seat tips up for use with the binocs (so I don't slip off while laying back).

 

FoldedChair4".jpg

 

ScopeChair4".jpg



#2 SlipperySquid

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:26 PM

Great first post Peter! A warm welcome to the forum!

 

Love the binocular mount sir! Takes all the usual stress of using an EQ mount and makes things a more enjoyable experience :D

 

I can imagine myself now with that set up, under a dark sky with a nice glass of red scanning the heavens until I fell asleep or fall off the chair ;)

 

Did you ever hang glide at night with a pair of bino's? might improve the seeing!

 

Thanks again for joining sir.

 

Clear skies,

 

Matt.



#3 Neil

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:31 PM

Hi Peter,

 

Thanks for joining the forum, that's sound advice and a great first post. Binoculars are perfect for the beginner in all but one respect, mounting them conveniently and you have addressed that issue very nicely here. The parallelogram is an excellent solution for a handy beginner to build and to make the most of their binns...

 

As you point out you don't need aircraft grade aluminium tubing to make it, although it probably makes a nicer solution! :D

 

Clear Skies

 

 

Neil.







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