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Space Laser Astronomical Push-To System for Phones/Tablets Telescopes/Binoculars/Lectures

by the_digital_dentist, published

Space Laser Astronomical Push-To System for Phones/Tablets Telescopes/Binoculars/Lectures by the_digital_dentist Sep 21, 2014
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2243Views 606Downloads Found in Physics & Astronomy

Summary

Update: I discovered a couple STL files were mislabeled/missing so I got rid of the bad stuff and uploaded the good. handle.stl is now actually the handle, and the phone bracket is now bracket.stl.
Many telescopes have motorized/computerized goto systems that will point the telescope at any desired object in the sky, but what about telescopes that don't have a motorized system? Or binoculars? With this system ANYONE can locate anything in the sky in seconds.
This thing allows you to mount a laser pointer up to about 25mm diameter on a cell phone or tablet running Google SkyMap or Skeye, and then to mount that to a telescope, binoculars, a tripod, or a handle. It allows for precise alignment of the laser with the sky map so you can accurately point your binoculars or telescope at any object in the sky. The green laser beam is easily visible to groups for lectures, and the search function in SkyMap/Skeye will allow you to find any object in the sky at any time.

Instructions

I printed with ABS using 0.2mm layer height, 20% infill, 2 bottom and top layers and shells. I recommend printing the objects separately because of the widely varying heights. There is a sacrificial (throw-away) object in the trigger and ring file that helps keep print quality up on the ring piece.
The rail has a hole that fits a 1/4"-20 nut for tripod mount and the other holes are sized for #6-32 flat-head screws. The tablet/phone attaches by velcro tape or screws. You can either put it on the back of the phone/tablet or its case.
The handle is useful for lecturing and even has a trigger to operate the laser so it can be used with one hand. If you are going to use the handle, be sure to mount the laser in the tube with its button on top and aligned with the ring that the trigger pulls down. You can let the laser's button push the trigger open (weak) or help it out with a small rubber band as shown in the photo.
The laser pointer is held in place and aligned by screws in the laser tube. Mount the whole thing on a tripod, find an object on SkyMap and with it centered on the screen, turn on the laser and adjust the screws so the laser points to the object in the sky.

I struggled to come up with a universal phone/tablet clamp design and concluded that it just can't be done. There are too many variations out there- what works for one won't work for another, you end up covering buttons, etc. I suggest you use the velcro that I am using- if you don't want to stick velcro to your phone or tablet, get/print a case that fits your phone/tablet and stick velcro tape to that or screw it to the phone bracket (holes for 6-32 screws provided). The Velcro tape approach is as universal as you can yet, and it holds the phone/tablet securely, a big concern if you're pointing the thing overhead.
You can mount one of the rails on a telescope tube and then slide the laser tube and phone bracket into position on it. I am still working on a binocular mount and will update this Thing when I have it worked out.
The laser tube fits tightly on a gun sight rail. There is a hole in the bottom of the tube to allow a screw to be driven into one of the anti recoil grooves to prevent the whole thing from sliding, should you have reason to mount a laser pointer on a gun. You'll have to figure out how to turn on the laser yourself.

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