Dale Sander proudly continues the amateur telescope maker’s tradition of building upon the work of others. Sander’s latest innovative design, which he calls a “truss telescoping telescope,” was inspired partly by his friend Tom Noe, who built the first telescoping Dob scope that Sander had ever seen.
John Dobson is credited with popularizing the type of large, portable, easy-to-make telescopes that became known as Dobsonian telescopes (or “Dobs”) and are now a mainstay of amateur astronomy.
Dobson admits he didn’t invent anything particularly novel; his telescope design was based on military cannon mounts that had been in use for hundreds of years.
Sander, 58, had already built two Dob telescopes that used detachable four-pole support systems, but he was looking to design a new one that was even easier to set up and move around.
Using mostly parts left over from previous telescope projects, along with some high-quality Baltic birch plywood, six camera tripod legs, and a Lycra spandex shroud, Sander created a truss-based telescope that’s his most lightweight and easy-to-assemble model to date.
“Many people buy telescopes only to find out they are too difficult to move and too slow to set up, so the scopes just sit in their closet unused,” Sander points out.
For this reason, his primary design criteria were light weight, for easy portability, and fast setup time. He achieved both: the 10-inch truss telescope weighs in at a slender 38 pounds and can be set up in approximately 1 minute.
A longtime amateur astronomer, Sander lives and stargazes in Dallas, where he works as a printing press operator. He’s been making telescopes since he was 8 years old. Not surprisingly, Sander has posted meticulous build notes and photos online so that others can build on his work.
Telescoping Telescope: makezine.com/go/truss