Making a Case

Discussion and instructions for astronomy-related projects
User avatar
Apollo XX
MSSF Coordinator
Posts: 2448
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:11 pm

Making a Case

Unread post by Apollo XX » Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:37 am

Eyepiece cases come in all sorts and sizes imaginable. They range from the purpose-built aluminum cases sometimes provided when you buy a full set of eyepieces from a manufacturer, to zip-lock bags and everything in between. And I’ve used them all, but I seem to have a particular bent for quaint wooden boxes when it comes to storing and organizing my astro optical accessories.

Over the winter I added a few new pieces to my RV astro-kit, and now the box that I was using was too small to accommodate the set. I’m fond of popping into the Salvation Army store now and again to prowl the shelves for boxes that show potential to become cases. In the picture below you can see some of my ‘finds’ that I’ve picked up over the years from my local family center. The black box with the Stellafane decal is the one that I was using for an eyepiece case in the camper, and the small box on the lower right holds a .965 set for a vintage Sears refractor that become part of my fleet several years ago.

Boxes.jpg
Boxes.jpg (234.77 KiB) Viewed 785 times
When it came time to make a new case for my upgraded eyepiece set, it became obvious that I had nothing on hand that would meet my needs. On the hunt now, I started looking first at generic plastic cases in places like Home Depot and Wally World, but nothing struck my fancy. Prowling the internet, I happened upon the lovely pine box seen in the picture below, and at a darling of a price too.

PineBox.png
PineBox.png (442.18 KiB) Viewed 785 times
Once the box arrived, I fashioned an eyepiece holder for the interior out of a piece of ¼” Luan plywood. To get the layout I wanted, I first cut a piece of manila folder to size and arranged the eyepieces on it. Then I transferred the layout onto the plywood and drilled the holes with a holesaw.

Rack.jpg
Rack.jpg (297.57 KiB) Viewed 785 times


Inside the box I glued a half dozen stanchions around the perimeter which were fashioned out of a ½” square dowel. These would serve to support the eyepiece rack. I then painted the inside of the box and the lid. Note: it’s a little-known international law that the interior of any astronomical equipment must be painted flat black. Break the law and it’s off to heck with your soul. In this case I partially broke the law by painting the rack in Titanium, but I’ve hear that they’re using the USPS to send souls to heck, so I’m not worried.

Interior.jpg
Interior.jpg (193.09 KiB) Viewed 785 times
Some sanding, stain and poly-varnish prettied up the exterior of the case, and will serve to protect it from those dewy nights ahead.

Exterior.jpg
Exterior.jpg (282.91 KiB) Viewed 785 times
All back together and loaded up. One of the things I like about having an organized case is that once I get used to it I can switch out eyepieces without using any light to compromise my dark adaptation. Somehow I don’t think I’m going to have any trouble knowing when I’ve grabbed that 24mm 82* piece. That thing is a porker!

Done.jpg
Done.jpg (152.59 KiB) Viewed 785 times
Mike M.
User avatar
Pete
Astro Day Coordinator
Posts: 3255
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 9:03 pm

Re: Making a Case

Unread post by Pete » Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:18 am

This is a great project Mike. I've got 2 cases where the eyepieces are lying horizontal and not clearly marked. And your system is clearly superior except for the possibility that my cases may be sealed.

Pete
Pete P.
User avatar
Apollo XX
MSSF Coordinator
Posts: 2448
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:11 pm

Re: Making a Case

Unread post by Apollo XX » Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:18 pm

Thanks Pete, and interesting point about a case being sealed. That can be good and bad. Good if it's stored in damp conditions, but bad if it seals in dampness. I've had a few instances where I was out observing under dewy conditions and everything gets wet, then had to put everything out in the sun the next day to dry out. My aluminum cases with foam in them are especially susceptible to it.
Mike M.
User avatar
Paul D
Secretary
Posts: 2024
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 2:13 pm

Re: Making a Case

Unread post by Paul D » Tue Mar 10, 2020 12:51 am

Mike and Pete,

I always put mesh bags of these in my cases. https://www.amazon.com/Dry-Desiccant-In ... 146&sr=8-3 But key thing with this is only use the ORANGE version that turns green when saturated. The BLUE type is not safe for food and can be considered a corrosive which may or may not affect eyepiece coatings.

On humid nights after observing I throw in 3 or four mesh bags that I made into the EP case and in the morning EPs are dry and desiccant is now dark green from water saturation. I then take the desiccant out, open the bag spread it evenly on a paper plate and microwave it for about two minutes which recharges the desiccant and turns it back to orange and is ready for reuse. Side note also, because the blue type cannot be used with food you would not want to microwave it and would have to sun dry it.
Paul...

16" f/5 Night Sky Truss (Midnight Mistress)
10" f/5 Home built Dob with Parks mirror.
Pre-Meade PST
Celestron Skymaster Binos 25-125x80
Meade Travelview Binos 10x50

See that 16" in the sleek black dress? She is all mine. :)
User avatar
Apollo XX
MSSF Coordinator
Posts: 2448
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:11 pm

Re: Making a Case

Unread post by Apollo XX » Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:26 am

Great tip, thanks Paul!
Mike M.
User avatar
Mark G
President
Posts: 3055
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 6:57 pm

Re: Making a Case

Unread post by Mark G » Thu Jun 11, 2020 7:41 pm

Love this thread Mike! I made one I'll have to post here. But years ago...

Made it for my UO ABBE Ortho collection. Very similar to your EP box.
Clear skies,

Mark

iOptron CEM25P w/ Tri-pier
CGEM DX
LXD750 w/ CDS #1697
LXD75 w/ #497 autostar Hypertuned
Antares 8" f/5 Newt
Antares 4" f/15 "Vixen Spec" long focus refractor
Orion 4" f/7 ED refractor
Astro-Tech 65mm Quad APO
and so much more
Post Reply