Saint Petersburg Astronomy Club - Mirror Lab


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.

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


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

In Memorium

  • Irv Nadelhaft
  • Lenny Remetta

04/12/2012 more


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.

  3D Printed Focuser
This is Tom Spano's 3D printed Crayford focuser. The white area was printed and it is internally
using a honeycombed design for strength.

  Paul with his finished dew heater controller
Paul took a different approach and mounted the dew heater controller board from the lid of an Otter
box. This came out really nice. Great work Paul! Now all we need is a little dry air and clear

  Paul finished another mirror!
Paul and his finished 10" f6 1/7th wave BVC mirror.

  Brent and Joey finished their 10 inch mirror
Brent and Joey proudly display their amazingly well polished 10" f/5 mirror. it came in better than
1/6th wave with a Strehl of .93. Congratulations!

  Dimitri building a dew heater controller
Dimitri (right), with a little help from Paul, built a dual channel dew heater controller at the lab
today. We should have seven of these keeping our telescopes dew free within a couple of weeks.

  Clean SkyGlow filter
This SkyGlow filter was turning into a mold growing machine. A little 91% Isopropyl Alcohol and a
few cotton balls cleaned it up beautifully. This same approach has worked well on eyepieces in
pretty bad shape. If the optics are bad use distilled water first to get any grit off. Always pat
with the cotton ball, don't wipe unless there is no choice. Wiping may scratch the optics. Do not
use Alcohol on coated corrector plates or bad things happen (really, I know). Distilled water and
cotton balls has worked for us.

  Tom Spano's Newton Telescope Replica
Tom did a beautiful job building this working replica of the original Newtonian telescope.

  Unusual Press
This lap is ready to start it's press. The parchment paper on the lay is used to prevent adding
more correction to the center of the mirror during figuring. The shape helps feather out he contact

  Dew heater test circuit
This is the low voltage cutoff test of the new lab dew heater circuit. It has dual controls and
will cut off power to the heaters at and below 10v to save the battery. It uses a programmed PIC
16F88 microcontroller as the brains.

  Distorted pitch pattern
The distorted pitch lap pattern was caused by the BVC mirror sticking to the lap after the pour.
When we finally separated them this was the result.

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