Case Foam CUTTING PATTERNS for AP Mounts


Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi,
 
    Since this topic of cutting foam inserts for all kinds cases,  to house any of AP’s mounts (past and present models), comes up so often, I wonder if George or Howard could take on a customer project, to make accurate “cutting forms” for us.
   
    Howard did such an excellent job on his mount dimensions page, for many years now, I would assume it wouldn’t be difficult to provide a Silhouette cut-out pattern, from their CAD drawings, which we could then print for cutting our own foam blocks, to any size case – even if printed on two, or more, profile sheets, then  taped for production. Or, a single smaller sheet pattern, and each user would then enter a “scale factor” into their Print Option box, for a several sheet printout. We don’t need a large commercial printer for that – although that could also be done at a Print Shop with such CAD large, single sheet printers, if desired.
 
    It might be a bit tricky to account for the position of the rotated base angle, which depends on a user’s Latitude, but even that could be printed in two parts, swivelled and taped/stapled to the RA axle head paper section accordingly, prior to the case foam block’s surgery.
 
    The print pattern document should be scaled,  dimensioned, and a 12-inch and 30 cm. metric ruler printed beside it, just to be sure our printer’s output remains true to the same mount scale. That would save many of us hacking out terribly shaped foam blocks.
 
    I think this would be a very helpful, and useful project. Yet another example of Astro-Physics renowned attention to its loyal customers.
 
Joe Z.


Charles Thompson
 

I second that!  I've tried to trace the foam it came in but it wasn't pretty :).



Thanks,
Charles

Sent from mobile device.


-------- Original message --------
From: Joe Zeglinski <J.Zeglinski@...>
Date: 4/14/20 1:33 PM (GMT-06:00)
To: "ap-gto.groups.io" <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: [ap-gto] Case Foam CUTTING PATTERNS for AP Mounts

Hi,
 
    Since this topic of cutting foam inserts for all kinds cases,  to house any of AP’s mounts (past and present models), comes up so often, I wonder if George or Howard could take on a customer project, to make accurate “cutting forms” for us.
   
    Howard did such an excellent job on his mount dimensions page, for many years now, I would assume it wouldn’t be difficult to provide a Silhouette cut-out pattern, from their CAD drawings, which we could then print for cutting our own foam blocks, to any size case – even if printed on two, or more, profile sheets, then  taped for production. Or, a single smaller sheet pattern, and each user would then enter a “scale factor” into their Print Option box, for a several sheet printout. We don’t need a large commercial printer for that – although that could also be done at a Print Shop with such CAD large, single sheet printers, if desired.
 
    It might be a bit tricky to account for the position of the rotated base angle, which depends on a user’s Latitude, but even that could be printed in two parts, swivelled and taped/stapled to the RA axle head paper section accordingly, prior to the case foam block’s surgery.
 
    The print pattern document should be scaled,  dimensioned, and a 12-inch and 30 cm. metric ruler printed beside it, just to be sure our printer’s output remains true to the same mount scale. That would save many of us hacking out terribly shaped foam blocks.
 
    I think this would be a very helpful, and useful project. Yet another example of Astro-Physics renowned attention to its loyal customers.
 
Joe Z.


fl.lusen
 

Joe,

I came across this guy at a local gun show.  https://agvii.com/custom-cases/ I am sure there are many more like him around the country.  He can use your case or provide one.  He can use your measurements or you can send him the item and he will custom fit it.  This could be another alternative.

Fred

-----Original Message-----
From: Joe Zeglinski <J.Zeglinski@...>
To: ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Tue, Apr 14, 2020 1:33 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] Case Foam CUTTING PATTERNS for AP Mounts

Hi,
 
    Since this topic of cutting foam inserts for all kinds cases,  to house any of AP’s mounts (past and present models), comes up so often, I wonder if George or Howard could take on a customer project, to make accurate “cutting forms” for us.
   
    Howard did such an excellent job on his mount dimensions page, for many years now, I would assume it wouldn’t be difficult to provide a Silhouette cut-out pattern, from their CAD drawings, which we could then print for cutting our own foam blocks, to any size case – even if printed on two, or more, profile sheets, then  taped for production. Or, a single smaller sheet pattern, and each user would then enter a “scale factor” into their Print Option box, for a several sheet printout. We don’t need a large commercial printer for that – although that could also be done at a Print Shop with such CAD large, single sheet printers, if desired.
 
    It might be a bit tricky to account for the position of the rotated base angle, which depends on a user’s Latitude, but even that could be printed in two parts, swivelled and taped/stapled to the RA axle head paper section accordingly, prior to the case foam block’s surgery.
 
    The print pattern document should be scaled,  dimensioned, and a 12-inch and 30 cm. metric ruler printed beside it, just to be sure our printer’s output remains true to the same mount scale. That would save many of us hacking out terribly shaped foam blocks.
 
    I think this would be a very helpful, and useful project. Yet another example of Astro-Physics renowned attention to its loyal customers.
 
Joe Z.


Joe Zeglinski
 

Hi Fred,
 
    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.
For example:

48" Gold Hologrpahic Glitter Pool Tube  - and/or -   Big Boss 4"X58" Pool Noodles

    and .....
 
 
    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 ?
Joe Z.
 
 
 

From: fl.lusen via groups.io
Sent: Thursday, April 16, 2020 12:32 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Case Foam CUTTING PATTERNS for AP Mounts
 
Joe,

I came across this guy at a local gun show.  https://agvii.com/custom-cases/ I am sure there are many more like him around the country.  He can use your case or provide one.  He can use your measurements or you can send him the item and he will custom fit it.  This could be another alternative.

Fred
 
 


fl.lusen
 

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.

Fred


-----Original Message-----
From: Joe Zeglinski <J.Zeglinski@...>
To: main <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Apr 16, 2020 3:46 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Case Foam CUTTING PATTERNS for AP Mounts

Hi Fred,
 
    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.
For example:

48" Gold Hologrpahic Glitter Pool Tube  - and/or -   Big Boss 4"X58" Pool Noodles

    and .....
 
48
 
    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 ?
Joe Z.


dang.astro
 

I used mycasebuilder.com for my Mach1 case. Couldn't be happier. I designed it on their web based software. Works perfect and space is maximized for the size of the case. I took a picture of the profile of my mount and traced the outline using their software. Careful measuring is needed to check and verify the pattern but totally worth it.

Cheers
Dan




Terri Zittritsch
 

I used mycasebuilder.com for my Mach1 case. Couldn't be happier. I designed it on their web based software. Works perfect and space is maximized for the size of the case. I took a picture of the profile of my mount and traced the outline using their software. Careful measuring is needed to check and verify the pattern but totally worth it.CheersDan

That's a beautiful job Dan!    Having a new Mach2, I'd like to have a case for it.     I purchased a pelican 1600 case, with the eggcrate foam, but the foam is so soft my guess is the whole thing will fall apart in no time, so I returned it.    

I like your process and may give it a go at some point.    

I personally wouldn't worry about the altitude setting needing to be different for everyone, and would prioritize setting the altitude so everything fit best first.   That is for a standard foam cutout pattern.   Resetting the altitude when I put it back on the tripod isn't that big a deal.   Since i'm portable, it needs to be reset when traveling anyway.    My biggest concern with the mach2, is where to put the counterweight bar, it is very substantial and will need some good padding to keep anything around it safe, or its own case.

Can I ask what everyone does with their weights?    Do you put them in their own boxes for traveling?

Terri


Eric Baumgartner
 

Hi, Terri:

 

I also use My Case Builder for custom-foam-lined cases for small mounts and small telescopes, and their online user interface is second to none. It’s a fun mental exercise to jockey equipment pieces around to maximize content and protection in a case of a given size.

 

My first-gen Mach1 is transported in a Pelican 1620 case. The case accommodates everything related to the mount except the counterweights. I carry the counterweights in a Bucket Boss Gatemouth canvas bag, with pieces of foam in between each weight to prevent them from banging around. Works well.

 

Eggcrate foam is open cell and much to squishy to afford much protection for heavy gear. Closed-cell foam, also known as Ethafoam, is the way go to.

 

Hope this helps,


Eric Baumgartner

Redding, CT USA

 

 

 

From: Astro-Physics GTO users group <main@ap-gto.groups.io> on behalf of Terri Zittritsch <theresamarie11@...>
Reply-To: Astro-Physics GTO users group <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Date: Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 9:19 AM
To: Astro-Physics GTO users group <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Case Foam CUTTING PATTERNS for AP Mounts

 

I used mycasebuilder.com for my Mach1 case. Couldn't be happier. I designed it on their web based software. Works perfect and space is maximized for the size of the case. I took a picture of the profile of my mount and traced the outline using their software. Careful measuring is needed to check and verify the pattern but totally worth it.CheersDan


That's a beautiful job Dan!    Having a new Mach2, I'd like to have a case for it.     I purchased a pelican 1600 case, with the eggcrate foam, but the foam is so soft my guess is the whole thing will fall apart in no time, so I returned it.    

I like your process and may give it a go at some point.    

I personally wouldn't worry about the altitude setting needing to be different for everyone, and would prioritize setting the altitude so everything fit best first.   That is for a standard foam cutout pattern.   Resetting the altitude when I put it back on the tripod isn't that big a deal.   Since i'm portable, it needs to be reset when traveling anyway.    My biggest concern with the mach2, is where to put the counterweight bar, it is very substantial and will need some good padding to keep anything around it safe, or its own case.

Can I ask what everyone does with their weights?    Do you put them in their own boxes for traveling?

Terri


Glenn
 

Terri,

I bought a couple of cases from Harbor Freight and made custom foam with mycasebuilder.com. The counterweights definitely need the sturdier foam because anything softer will collapse in short order. 

Kind regards,

Glenn


Terri Zittritsch
 

Thanks Eric, I've played around in mycasebuilder before, it seems a good way to go without custom patterns from A-P.   Thanks for the suggestion on the bucket boss, I'll take a look.


Terri


Terri Zittritsch
 
Edited

Glenn, Now that's a nice way to handle the weights, I like it (actually love it).     Given the cost of the weights, the cases probably are a small price to pay to keep them from flying around.   I've kept my original packaging but as with other similar packaging, the boxes will eventually fall apart.     For my 18lb weights, I wonder if 2 of those will be carry-able without ripping the handles off.   Hard to tell what weight you're putting in each one.    


Terri


Joel Short
 

Terri,
I did the same thing Glenn did with ONE of those Apache cases from Harbor Freight.  They are fantastic cases and very, very sturdy.  I have over 50lbs in one Apache 4800 case and I have no worries about the handle or the case.  
joel


Glenn
 

For those who are interested in making custom cases for their equipment, mycasebuilder.com is running a special. I just received an email from them that said:

We also want to thank our loyal customers with a 15% discount on any MyCaseBuilder purchase. That’s cases, foam or both. This offer is good until May 31, 2020. Just use the code SPRING20 at check-out and your discount will automatically be applied to your order.
Happy case designing!

Glenn