Saint Petersburg Astronomy Club - Mirror Lab

Location

Science Center of Pinellas
7701 22nd Ave N
Saint Petersburg, FL 33710

We're available from 12 Noon to 4PM each Saturday

Our Founder

Paul McNabb founded the mirror lab in 1997 in order to create the best amateur telecopes possible. Inch for inch our mirrors surpass store bought or commercial grade scopes.

04/12/2012 more

Members

  • Ralph Craig - Lab Instructor
  • Allen Maroney - Lab Instructor
  • Ron Jones - The Figurer
  • Mike Davis - Casts Mirrors
  • Dimitri - Support

Friends

  • James Lerch - Robo Foucault
  • Matt Terry
  • Charlie Mullen
  • Bruce Kazcmarik
  • Keevy McAlavy

In Memorium

  • Irv Nadelhaft
  • Lenny Remetta

04/12/2012 more

Welcome

Where the 19th Century Art of Mirror Making Meets the 21st Century

The Saint Petersburg Mirror Lab is a small band of dedicated mirror grinders and telescope makers living in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. We offer a mirror making class for interested persons. We strive to create the best mirrors our home brew technology can muster. This includes robotic foucault testing and laser interferometry.

  Dew Heater Controllers
2019-01-14
Mike (left) and Dave (right) are building a couple of dew heater controllers. Brad (center) already
built one and is assisting the projects.

  Ralphs' Secondary holder
2019-01-14
Ralph built in some resistors for dew control on his secondary holder.

  Mike's slumped 16
2019-01-14
Mile slumped a 16 inch blank and brought it to the lab the same day that it came out of the kiln.
This is a beautiful piece of glass just under an inch thick.

  Allen's 16 inch Mini Maxx telecope
2019-01-14
The 16 inch Mini Maxx f/4.66 telescope had first light on January 7th. It's similar in design to
the 18 inch Maxx scope but considerably lighter.

  Brad's Copper Clad Telescope
2018-12-14
Brad covered his telescope with a thin layer of copper sheeting. Now he is using some copper strip
to cover the seams. Here he is starting with the with the seam that goes the length of the
telescope. That will be followed with strips covering the seams that wrap around the circumference
of the telescope.

  Dave Grinding 12.5 Inch Mirror
2018-11-25
Dave grinds his 12.5" mirror while Paul (left) and Bill offer their opinion of his technique.

  Glass Floor Tile Becomes 8 Inch Mirror Blank
2018-11-10
Mike bought a case of clear glass floor tiles and he used his kiln to make a test 8 inch mirror
blank out of one.

  Brad refinishing his telescope
2018-11-10
Brad is smoothing his altitude bearings before refinishing them. His scope should be well tuned
before the Orange Blossom Special (OBS) Star Party in January 2019.

  Pauls Drum Shell Telescope Update
2018-11-10
Paul with the help of Mike is cutting a circle out of some Baltic Birch plywood to fit his 16 inch
drum shell telescope. During the test fit he looks pretty pleased with the results.

  Bath Interferometer
2018-05-10
Paul McNabb built a Bath Interferometer and lab members have begun experimenting with a mirror that
was finished using the Foucault tester. The test uses a laser, beam splitter and a couple of
lenses to create fringes from the mirror's shape. An image of these fringes is processed by a
program appropriately called 'Fringe' that creates a 2D color topography of the mirror showing high
and low areas relative to the perfect parabola for that mirror's diameter and f-ratio.

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