Re: Case Foam CUTTING PATTERNS for AP Mounts
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Wow Joe, you have really given this a lot of thought. For my money a bit overkill. Me thinks the dimensions do not need to be as exacting as you depict them. Case in point is the shipping box inserts from AP when you buy a new mount. To do away with the cardboard box one could built a box using 1/2" or 3/8" cabinet grade plywood with a hinged top to the same dimensions as the original shipping box. You could supplement with the pool noodles as you say. I would be weary of any foam you got to first insure that there would not be any out gassing since most foam is treated with formaldehyde.
Just my thoughts.
From: Joe Zeglinski <J.Zeglinski@...>
To: main <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thu, Apr 16, 2020 3:46 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Case Foam CUTTING PATTERNS for AP Mounts
Therein again, lies the problem – “ACCURATE & PRECISE Mount Outline Measurements”.
We don’t have any, of reasonably good accuracy, to throw money at someone making case foam to order from gun-case experts. I suppose the same goes for any other kind of delicate instrument case foam enclosure, such as Theodolites, etc.
Even worse, if we had AP-provided accurate outlines with dimensions of our “specific” AP mount model, their case layout job would still not prove entirely satisfactory. Making a foam fit a regular rifle, pistol, or small canon, even a refractor, is fairly straight forward. But, we have the additional Rotational Dimension of the RA Fork/Base angle, “rotated” from its upper saddle and angled in the Forks, differently for every individual’s local Latitude unless one unbolts the saddle, every time. The RA section will still be “oddly-placed”.
To solve that extra problem, I think it would make things easier, to purchase such “foam-shaping services”, as you mention, if we could send them an “official” outline with annotated dimensions for our mount, especially the individually RA adjusted base configuration. That would result in a satisfactory foam insert, the first time, instead of multiple refits, lost scope time, costs, etc. for something so simple.
Something I thought of subsequently, was to make an RA “rotatable foam disk BASE section”, inserted into a circular cut-out in the case foam, with its fixed DEC (and upper RA Head and Saddle) section, which never changes shape. The small remaining piece, which does depend on Latitude, is the Forks with its Base and RA axle.
If THAT pattern could be cut into a separate, circular foam disk, then the owner, or fabricator, could insert/rotate the foam disk so the Fork/Base fits the angle of the permanent, fixed cut-out of the rest of the RA & Saddle section. It would likely be a one-time fitting, but easily readjusted if a person moves to a new home, or other regular long term observatory site. Then, you wouldn’t need a new case foam insert – simply, rotate the foam disk. Manufacturing the special fit foam, would be easy, quick, and done in just one fitting.
Then again, wouldn’t this be a great Service that could be done via Astro-Physics?
No need to inventory, “case products”, depend on telescope case makers to survive in business, or have long delay times, for every user request, and AP could hook-up with one or more such CASE “Gun-Foam” shapers, to pass our orders through, instead of everyone hunting (pun),for their own supplier, or hacking out their own case foam blocks – possibly repeated if the user eventually wears out or damages the foam, or gets tired of their particular scope “Luggage” (double-entendre pun).
Or, as I originally suggested, at least AP could provide the GROUP, a set of printable stitching diagrams to hack out, sculpt, ( or case “foam-pluck”) our own foam inserts.
**** Did we get the Mount CASES all wrong, these many years ? *****
Another approach, cases WITHOUT much foam, none of these actually sculpted, inside them at all – Consider ... “AIR CUSHIONED CASES”.
Foam line any Cube Case with flat foam squares, then insert an air bag - possibly made of rugged beach mattress canvass material - and inflate it with a bicycle pump, or car tire battery-operated “inflator”, with the RA section sitting (approximately) in the middle of the air bag. If its shape is loose enough, its INSIDES will mostly CONFORM to the RA assembly (minus the Saddle’s D-Plate), The base and lid/top would be thicker normal foam squares, for vertical protection. For extra vertical confinement, the lid case foam could have a simple cut-out layer, loosely the shape of the saddle, to restrain the mount inside the semi-flexing (depending on inflation pressure) air bag. Then the RA section can bounce around even in rough travel, but can never actually hit the sides of the (possibly additional), foam lined hard case walls.
Or, just Make your own Case Inner Tube – using a kid’s toy Visit TOYS R’ US (see below)
Fill it up (sufficiently) to conform to the RA section. sitting on the base foam cushion. Buy and stack two of these, if needed, and at least as a “partial spare tire backup” inside, if one gets accidentally punctured. Make inflating & deflating easy and quicker – by attaching a regular bicycle pump hose to the air inlet(s), and lead it/them to outside of the case wall, for easier access.
48" Gold Hologrpahic Glitter Pool Tube - and/or - Big Boss 4"X58" Pool Noodles
I suppose, an alternative Air Cushioned Travel vehicle, rather than a special-sized cubic air bag, would be to buy, “vey baggy” inflatable air seat cushions, to insert or prop up, against the case walls. Once they are “hard-inflated”, as above, they would provide the similar side protection, as a conformal inflatable bag with less cost and better availability. Any extra corner space can additionally be stuffed with vertically positioned regular small foam “waist support” (e.g. porch swing) cushions, or those cut from lengths of swimming pool toy “flexible but stiffer, Styrofoam - Pool Noodles”, as above, (with its cushioning center air channel hole)”.
A nice BONUS - when you are tired, packing up the mount case in the cold (winter) dark night for the long trip home, trying (otherwise) to not damage a case’s foam outline as you might otherwise with a regular foam case: -
... You still have your handy bicycle pump, or even far better - the cigarette lighter plug (from the car, or telescope power pack), DC-operated air pump, to quickly, “hard re-inflate” the case air cushion(s).
Just a thought ... too much ?