Telescopes for the amateur astronomer can be expensive. Lenses and mirrors in the telescope can easily be knocked out of alignment. When transporting your investment, you should always use a sturdy carrying case to keep all the parts safe.
Designing and making your own telescope travelling case is easy as long as you plan it out in advance. Think of James Bond's gun carry cases. Everything fit neatly into its own spot in protective foam. Make yours the same way.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Wood (pine ½" thick)
- Circular saw
- Tape measure
- Piano hinge with screws
- Closing clasps with screws (2)
- Carry handle with screws
- Memory foam
- Metal saw or cutters
- Sand paper
- Elmer's glue
Lay out the parts on a table in the positions you would like them to be in your carry case. Measure the length and width of the space used on the table taking up the parts. Add two inches to your measurement each way so the parts aren't touching the edge of the case. Measure from the table to three inches above the height of the telescope.
Using your length and width measurement for the top and bottom pieces, mark and cut two pieces of wood with the circular saw. Use your T-square to make sure the box will be square. Cut two pieces of wood the length of your box by the height of your box. Cut the two pieces down the middle lengthwise to give four pieces the same size. Cut two pieces of wood using your width minus one inch measurement by your height. Cut those two pieces lengthwise down the centre to make four pieces. Sand all pieces with the sand paper.
Line up two length and width pieces to form your box on the table with the 1/2-inch side facing up. Place the top piece of wood over it and line all sides up correctly. Nail the top to the bottom pieces with your hammer. Nail the corners on the sides together. Repeat this process with the remaining pieces to form a second box.
Place the top and bottom together to form your box. Cut the piano hinge one inch shorter than the length of the box. Screw the piano hinge into position with supplied screws. One edge should be running along the top section of the box and the other edge on the bottom section. Attach the closing latches to the opposite side of the box from the hinge. Attach the handle to the same side.
Cut to size two pieces of memory foam. Each piece should fit into one side of the box snug and level with the top. Spread glue around the inside of the box and press in the memory foam and let dry overnight.
Once dry, position the parts of your telescope on one side of the memory foam. Mark the foam to show where the pieces go. Set the parts aside and carve out holes slightly smaller than your markings. Carve down so the pieces only go halfway into the memory foam. Put the pieces in place and close the lid to compress the other piece of foam. There will be impressions in the foam so you know where to carve your hole for the second side. Once those holes are carved, you have a telescope travelling case.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure the wood is straight before you buy it. Twisted wood won't work well.
- Make sure the screws used for the handle will hold in the wood. You don't want the handle to fall off.
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