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Dollar $4 Dollar the Best Astro Investment You've Ever Made

Everyone has a favorite...whatever in everything that you do. Favorite food, color, place, we all have them. This hobby is no different. We all have something in our tool boxes that we prize above all else that we have. Be it a scope, an imager, filter or what have you. This is not a discussion about what is you favorite...because let's be honest, that 'favorite' item is usually your most expensive or hardest to obtain item. No, this discussion is to discuss your best dollar for dollar item that you own. As an example let me tell you what mine is...or rather let me show you:




Handmade Bahtinov mask. Note the fine craftmanship in the duct tape. End of last year while tooling around the web I found this website it allows you to enter your scopes specs and generates a template for your own customized mask. I then simply cut it out with a razor blade and mounted on a piece of cardboard. For the inevestment of less than $1 worth of materials and 1/2 of cutting while watching Spongebob with my kids,I have a tool that allows me to acheive perfect focus in seconds!

I know some of you are like...duh!...but I did not know about it, so it is possible some of you don't either. If like me you still "fudge" focus and are never really sure if your focus is perfect or not, this is a must have item. You can buy one for $10-$30, or make your own which is way more satisfying. And let me tell you, I had no idea just how out of focus I was until I was in focus!

Now I know, some of you techie guys on this site are like..."well my scope autofocuses"...and that is great but as there does not exists an autofocus system on the market that costs less than a dollar out there I am gonna stick with my little ghetto mask. Dollar for dollar, my best piece of astro equip I own.

t

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Should mention I have made one of these beauties for each of my scopes...and while I was making this one watching Spongebob...my kids weren't even home. What can I say, I like Spongebob.
Great post Trevor! I want to make my own ghetto mask! I'll let you know how it goes
Hope it helps..two things to keep in mind, okay three things...the design is very forgiving, need not be perfect. I cut through several spokes and scotch taped them together, really. Two, use a 'new' razor blade, trust me. Lastly, when you create the template,it comes out as some funky document I am not familar with. I had a friend open and print it using Google Chrome. I could not find another program that printed it correctly, but I am sure they are out there. Good luck, hope it works for ya, I love it! Check out this to get a good description on how it works. Lemme know how it goes.

t
Dollar for dollar, the Starshoot guider, even though I've moved on to a better guider and scope now, once I discovered guiding that was the biggest single jump I've had in my telescope.
Ya the B-mask is the best , one less thing to worry about while imaging.

I used a plastic file folder from Staples , the thickest I could find and then I ruined one of my wifes wooden cutting boards but it was worth it.
LOL, I am sure she understands...you still married?
Ya , I guess she wasnt that attached to it :)
Damned I can't wait to nail a perfect shot and talk crap on your ghetto mask... lol
lol, actually it is crap talk worthy regardless...ya gotta love duct tape!
Sweet Hopp! The reticule on my finder scope for my 4" is illuminated. Makes centering stuff so easy...but of course, the first week I forgot to turn it off at the end of the session...still have not gotten around to replacing the batteries, lol!

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