DIY barn door star tracker

Started 10 months ago | Discussions thread
Alen K
Alen K Senior Member • Posts: 1,336
Re: Barndoor Tracker project in this months DIYODE magazine

backayonder wrote:


This reminds me of the saying, "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." In this case, when you have a 3D printer, you naturally want to make as much as you can with it. Specifically here, there seems to be little need to 3D print the hinged arms. Wood would be stronger, stiffer and probably cost less than the plastic filament the 3D printer will use. (But perhaps the material is less expensive than I am guessing it is. I don't have a 3D printer but do acknowledge their usefulness. We used several large ones to make parts for prototypes where I used to work.) Wood arms will certainly take less time to make. To protect the wood from moisture, you coat it with urethane or similar.

The relatively narrow width of the arms is also a concern because it forces a relatively narrow hinge. The one they selected will definitely have sideways play. If the arms were a little bit wider, they would not only likely be stiffer but a hinge with a nylon bushing could be used instead, like this one. Those are almost totally free of sideways play. I used two such in my own barndoor tracker, which eliminated sideways play completely. It's important if you have any hope of achieving the tracking accuracy necessary to use a telephoto lens.

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