Counterweight Shaft Travel Storage


John A. Sillasen
 

Just wondering how other GTO owners with the larger thickness counterweight shafts are transporting them?
1200, 1100, 900 & Mach2 mounts all use the thicker style shaft. My Mach 1 has the thinner style. Why?  Pffft, a I'm only going to own one Astro-Physics mount, why would I need a thicker style shaft, right?  Then, the 1100GTO came home with me. Three scopes too but that's a whole different topic.

The Mach 1 counterweight shaft is safely stored in my ScopeGuard case.  Nice case, holds everything but weights.

But that big,  heavy toe crusher?  It was in my SKB case but no more.  I'd want to keep the threads safe - especially with Molybdenum disulfide on the threads for protection and reduce that counterweight dry shaft 'squeak.'

So how are people transporting their counterweight shafts?
I'd consider one of those Harbor Freight Apache cases but don't expect pluck foam to stand up to the weight.  Besides any of their cases would be too small or way too hig.

Thoughts anyone?  Case, soft bag?, towel?  How to protect it on a multi-day travel?

Thanks!

John 


Jeffc
 

So how are people transporting their counterweight shafts?


(With the round tube inside)

On May 11, 2021, at 8:09 PM, John A. Sillasen <jasillasen@...> wrote:

Just wondering how other GTO owners with the larger thickness counterweight shafts are transporting them?
1200, 1100, 900 & Mach2 mounts all use the thicker style shaft. My Mach 1 has the thinner style. Why?  Pffft, a I'm only going to own one Astro-Physics mount, why would I need a thicker style shaft, right?  Then, the 1100GTO came home with me. Three scopes too but that's a whole different topic.

The Mach 1 counterweight shaft is safely stored in my ScopeGuard case.  Nice case, holds everything but weights.

But that big,  heavy toe crusher?  It was in my SKB case but no more.  I'd want to keep the threads safe - especially with Molybdenum disulfide on the threads for protection and reduce that counterweight dry shaft 'squeak.'

So how are people transporting their counterweight shafts?
I'd consider one of those Harbor Freight Apache cases but don't expect pluck foam to stand up to the weight.  Besides any of their cases would be too small or way too hig.

Thoughts anyone?  Case, soft bag?, towel?  How to protect it on a multi-day travel?

Thanks!

John 


christian viladrich
 

I put the shaft inside a cylindrical piece of foam used for thermal isolation of water pipes.

Not optimal, but better than nothing.

Christian

Le 12/05/2021 à 06:54, Jeffc a écrit :
So how are people transporting their counterweight shafts?


(With the round tube inside)

On May 11, 2021, at 8:09 PM, John A. Sillasen <jasillasen@...> wrote:

Just wondering how other GTO owners with the larger thickness counterweight shafts are transporting them?
1200, 1100, 900 & Mach2 mounts all use the thicker style shaft. My Mach 1 has the thinner style. Why?  Pffft, a I'm only going to own one Astro-Physics mount, why would I need a thicker style shaft, right?  Then, the 1100GTO came home with me. Three scopes too but that's a whole different topic.

The Mach 1 counterweight shaft is safely stored in my ScopeGuard case.  Nice case, holds everything but weights.

But that big,  heavy toe crusher?  It was in my SKB case but no more.  I'd want to keep the threads safe - especially with Molybdenum disulfide on the threads for protection and reduce that counterweight dry shaft 'squeak.'

So how are people transporting their counterweight shafts?
I'd consider one of those Harbor Freight Apache cases but don't expect pluck foam to stand up to the weight.  Besides any of their cases would be too small or way too hig.

Thoughts anyone?  Case, soft bag?, towel?  How to protect it on a multi-day travel?

Thanks!

John 


M Hambrick
 

Hi John

I use the Ridgid toolboxes. I lined them with the high density closed cell polyethylene foam in layers. You will have to take out the existing internal dividers that come with the boxes to do this. The lid is lined with a solid piece of 2" thick foam. The bottom of the case has a 1" thick solid layer. On top if that is a 2" thick layer with cutouts for the counterweights and shaft. The 2" foam is perfect for the 18 lb counterweights. There is a 1" thick spacer in the cutout with the 10 lb counterweight. I glued the layers together using contact cement.

In one of the cases I have two 18 lb counterweights. In the other I have the shaft with an 18 lb, and a 10 lb counterweight. This is a more or less even distribution of the weight in each case.

I have a bad back, but if I use proper lifting techniques I can carry one case in each hand to the mount.

Mike


John A. Sillasen
 

Oh that is interesting.  Where did you find some with a large enough ID and how do you keep it from disintegrating into dust or getting pieces on the threads?  The original box got a but beat up over time.



John A. Sillasen



Fritz K
 

I have the 1100 shaft with extension.  I used to carry it in my counter weight box, but now that is too heavy for this old guy.
So I keep the shafts in a length of white plastic pluming pipe.  I added standard plastic screw on ends.
Inside there is rigid foam at the ends and a piece in between the two shafts.
It totally protects the shafts against all hazards, takes up little storage space, and aside from looking funny, works just fine.
clear skies,
fritz k


fernandorivera3
 

A long time ago, way back when traveling to star parties & favorite dark sky sites was a normal routine <clearly prior to being locked up & boarded up thanks to the pandemic> I used a metallic tool box [obviously must be long enough to allow the counterweight shaft to fit inside]. I put my couple of weights on the bottom of the toolbox. Then a thick towel above the stainless steel weights. Finally the shaft rests on top. 
So that's how I would do it if taking my 1200 GTO (instead of one of my dobs) far away for a few days of viewing. It is a heavy lift if picking up the toolbox loaded up, around 70 pounds or so 😳

Fernando


rtlangland
 

Hi John,

I also have an AP 1100. I have two shafts because with a smaller scope I have to use the shorter shaft. Either way I purchased a zippered carrying case designed for a tripod . I don’t remember where I purchased it. However, it has some ties sewn into the back of the case to hold the shaft from moving around too much. They have a slight rubberized coating that kind of holds onto the shaft  It also has carrying straps and even a shoulder strap and this setup works fine for me. The one I bought also has a smaller zippered pouch on the  inside where I store the plastic cap on the shaft after the shaft is installed on the mount. It keeps it convenient so I don’t misplace it.

Hope this helps.

Bob Langland

On May 12, 2021, at 9:40 AM, Fritz K <fritztwo@...> wrote:

I have the 1100 shaft with extension.  I used to carry it in my counter weight box, but now that is too heavy for this old guy.
So I keep the shafts in a length of white plastic pluming pipe.  I added standard plastic screw on ends.
Inside there is rigid foam at the ends and a piece in between the two shafts.
It totally protects the shafts against all hazards, takes up little storage space, and aside from looking funny, works just fine.
clear skies,
fritz k


Barry Megdal
 

Reposting from a few months ago:

 

I posted this long ago when I was using a 1200 as a “portable” mount.  Since then I have a 1600 mount in an observatory.

But I recently received the very impressive Mach 2 which I intend to transport on occasion.

 

So what type of case to use for the mount and its accessories has come up again.  Below is a picture of the case I made for the 1200 counterweight shaft (and will shorten for the Mach 2 shaft).

 

It is made from readily available 2” Schedule 80 PVC pipe parts glued together.  The counterweight shaft is an almost airtight fit inside that size pipe, and the screw-on cap is very convenient.

 

Put a small piece of foam in the bottom and it is ready to go.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Barry Megdal

 

President

Shb Instruments, Inc.

19215 Parthenia St.  Suite A

Northridge, CA 91324

www.shbinstruments.com

(818) 773-2000  (818)773-2005 fax

bmegdal@...

 

Faculty (retired)

Dept. of Electrical Engineering

Caltech

 


fernandorivera3
 

I know Office Depot sells or used to sell, a black plastic type of case for storage of big documents <like technical blueprints>, that you can roll up <paperwork> to place within <the case>. You can screw in place the cap at the open end. The case was variable length meaning you could extend or collapse it as needed! Plus it had a shoulder strap, too 👍 This type of documents transport case could easily hold the AP stainless steel counterweight shaft & it's lightweight too. Plus even on rough road trips if the shaft gets bounced around a lot it won't dent the inside of your vehicle because the long case offers protection from bumps & bruises. 

Fernando


John A. Sillasen
 

I appreciate the information Dr. Barry. Like you, my post on a case for 1100 was several years ago too. Sometimes, you just need to reevaluate past choices. In my case having the counterweight shaft in the case with the mount was too heavy. My case was damaged in a tree fall so I had an opportunity to get a new design going, sans counterweight shaft.

How concerned should I be about an 'almost air tight' fit inside schedule 80 tubing?
Did you ever have a problem getting the shaft out of the tube when it was hot, cold or freezing &/or extremely humid conditions?

Wonder if I can make a pipe tube with screw on ends properly?  I've always found the closed cell ethafoam (DuPont), used by Astro-Physics when used with scopes, counterweights & mounts to be exceptionally strong and protective.  I may use it at the top and bottom of the tubes.  Well, if what you said about almost air tight isn't a concern that I may not be able to get the counterweight shaft out of the tube!

Appreciate the information and any further insight you may provide.

Thank you,


John A. Sillasen



Don Anderson
 

John
I have the large counter weight shaft for my AP900GOTO. I made a carrier out of ABS pipe and fittings to transport mine. See the link below to my Flickr page.
Hope you find it useful.

Don Anderson


On Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 09:09:14 p.m. MDT, John A. Sillasen <jasillasen@...> wrote:


Just wondering how other GTO owners with the larger thickness counterweight shafts are transporting them?
1200, 1100, 900 & Mach2 mounts all use the thicker style shaft. My Mach 1 has the thinner style. Why?  Pffft, a I'm only going to own one Astro-Physics mount, why would I need a thicker style shaft, right?  Then, the 1100GTO came home with me. Three scopes too but that's a whole different topic.

The Mach 1 counterweight shaft is safely stored in my ScopeGuard case.  Nice case, holds everything but weights.

But that big,  heavy toe crusher?  It was in my SKB case but no more.  I'd want to keep the threads safe - especially with Molybdenum disulfide on the threads for protection and reduce that counterweight dry shaft 'squeak.'

So how are people transporting their counterweight shafts?
I'd consider one of those Harbor Freight Apache cases but don't expect pluck foam to stand up to the weight.  Besides any of their cases would be too small or way too hig.

Thoughts anyone?  Case, soft bag?, towel?  How to protect it on a multi-day travel?

Thanks!

John 


john vogt
 

Fernando,

That is a great idea! I just checked Amazon and they offer a huge variety of telescoping document carriers.
I just ordered this one for my 1100 CW shaft, 17.5"- 29", 2.5" outer diameter. The ID is not shown but it should 
be just large enough to fit the 1.875" diameter shaft.

Link:
Amazon.com : Black Plastic 17.5” x 2.5” Diameter Telescoping Document and Poster Storage Transit Tube w/Nylon Carrying Strap (1 Pack) : Office Products
 
John


fernandorivera3
 

John, when using the carrier make sure the cap is threaded on well. If it goes unchecked and it's loose, the counterweight shaft could fly out the open end & hit your foot or smash gear next to it when in your vehicle 😲

Fernando


John A. Sillasen
 

That looks like a terrific working system,  Don.
I heard of schedule 80 PVC.

So today,  I spent $25 to get the same parts in schedule 40 parts. A 2' section of 2" ID with screw on caps for both ends and the external threads on the flat sided male section for the caps.  I chose those, like Dr. Barry so the shaft will roll around less.
Also, from what I could glean, one of the major differences between schedule 40 & 80 is color. His, schedule 80 is dark and 40 is white.  There may be a slight thickness in the walls but not much.



John A. Sillasen



John A. Sillasen
 

Very good & solid (grin) advice,  Fernando, thank you. In fact,  I have threaded caps for both ends.  I think I plan to have the case and its contents,  lying under my bad and between the ScopeGuard case with the Mach 1 and a bunch of eyepiece cases or the Stowaway case.  The Mach 1 tends to ride with me even if the 1100 is to be the primary mount. 

I think,  at least at this point,  the Eagle Pier will come out so the ATS Pier can be strapped against the wall in the same location that held the Eagle. Not that any of that has to do with the counterweight shaft and its carry case, just free association for space management.  I gain very little taking the ScopeGuard case out and it does a good job keeping things on the bed in the van where I left them for travel.

Good advice,  thank you.  I do hate the thought of buying a special tool for cutting the PVC pipe to size for this one time job, though. I've got the purple goo to put the male thread cap on the pipe.  Maybe just a Iittle Teflon tape over the threads will help keep the end caps on better. 

Thanks for all the advice!  Exactly what the purpose of this group is and it does it well.



John A. Sillasen



Don Anderson
 

John
Just use a hack saw. Nothing special needed.

Don Anderson


On Friday, May 14, 2021, 01:13:47 p.m. MDT, John A. Sillasen <jasillasen@...> wrote:


Very good & solid (grin) advice,  Fernando, thank you. In fact,  I have threaded caps for both ends.  I think I plan to have the case and its contents,  lying under my bad and between the ScopeGuard case with the Mach 1 and a bunch of eyepiece cases or the Stowaway case.  The Mach 1 tends to ride with me even if the 1100 is to be the primary mount. 

I think,  at least at this point,  the Eagle Pier will come out so the ATS Pier can be strapped against the wall in the same location that held the Eagle. Not that any of that has to do with the counterweight shaft and its carry case, just free association for space management.  I gain very little taking the ScopeGuard case out and it does a good job keeping things on the bed in the van where I left them for travel.

Good advice,  thank you.  I do hate the thought of buying a special tool for cutting the PVC pipe to size for this one time job, though. I've got the purple goo to put the male thread cap on the pipe.  Maybe just a Iittle Teflon tape over the threads will help keep the end caps on better. 

Thanks for all the advice!  Exactly what the purpose of this group is and it does it well.



John A. Sillasen



M Hambrick
 

Those PVC cutting tools don't do that good a job anyway. The cut never seems to be square. You could probably do better with a hacksaw. It just takes a little longer, and you will have to get rid of the burr on the edge where you cut it. 150 grit Sandpaper does a good job for this.

Mike


John A. Sillasen
 

Thank you. So I've heard.  Good to know that's for sure. 

My problem is I got fittings with caps to go over both ends but the opening isn't wide enough to get the shaft out!!

One side isn't bad. I'd still have enough room to give it a push with a broomstick if needed but I need a threaded cap that goes over the tube opening that allows full access to the 2" ID PVC. 

I got schedule 40 PVC, not Schedule 80.  For the most part the only difference is color. 

Anyone know if Home Desperate has a cap that gives access to the entire 2" opening?  I imagine a rubber cap would do but it gives the danger of having the counterweight shaft push it off if enough turns to one direction made the shaft slide out!

Thoughts?



John A. Sillasen



Fritz K
 

John,

Surely you are making this too hard.  My plastic pipe came from Home Depot.  For the ends I got fittings that slipped over the outside of the pipe and was threaded for a cap.  It does not restrict the pipe throat at all.  And forget the pipe dope.  I just used epoxy.  Cheaper :)
fritz k