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.

Part of the Saint Petersburg Astronomy Club Home of the 2017 OBS Star Party

Lab Members

Ralph Craig is a lab instructor and has made mirrors from 6 inches to his recently completed 16 inch f5 mirror.

Allen Maroney
has completed three mirrors in the lab between 8 and 18 inches. Allen is also buiding a second robo foucault tester based on James design.

Mike Davis
casts his own mirror blanks.

Irv Nadelhaft

Charlie Mullen ground the mirrors for two years worth of rafflescopes but now has moved on the clear skys of New Mexico.

Lab T-Shirts Available

Lab Alumni

Lenny Remetta

Keevy McAlavy

Bruce Kazcmarik

James Lerch built our robo foucault tester and in house aluminizing chamber as well as a laser interferometry testing setup.

Ron Jones AKA the figurer is about the best mirror maker this side of the mississippi. You can see things in his 8 inch mirror that would impress a takahashi devotee.


Russell W. Porter father of amateur astronomy and founder of Stellafane

Mel Bartels Website
Amateur Astronomer and innovator.

Stardate Website
Good overall observation site.

NGC Astronomers
Former member Matt Terry has his own astronomy club north of Tampa.

Southwest Florida
Astronomical Society

A nearby Astronomy club.

Telescope Software
Ray tracing program for determining all required dimensions for a newtonian reflector. (New Website)

Program for designing mirror cells.

Observing Software
3-D interactive simulation of the solar system and beyond.

Plots the jovian satellites.

Lunar Phase
Shows all the phases of the move and more.

Mirror Lab Home Mirror Making Supplies Robo Foucault Tester Telescope Gallery SPAC Library

  New 16 and 18 inchers Debut at OBS 2010
Ralph Craig and his 16inch f/5 Dob at the 2010 Orange Blossom Special (OBS) Star Party on 2-10-2010.
This was first light for this telescope, which was completed about a day before the star party
began. Ralph made the 16" mirror for this telescope at the OBS Optical Lab. Allen Maroney and
his 18inch f/4.89 dob during first light on 2-6-2010. Allen made the 18" mirror for this
telescope at the SPAC Optical Lab.

  We're still Here. Photos for 2009
Lynn, Irv and Allen are all finishing up telescope projects. href=>Here are some recent

  Early 2008 Lab Update
We haven't gone anywhere- just working on mirrors and haven't had time to post anything new to the

Allen made an href=>updated image page from
the last few months for your enjoyment.

From James Lerch...
There is a new place to get coatings: href=>Optical Mechanics They
charge $10/inch with complete overcoatings. Very professional and quick turnaround time. If you
don't mind going without the overcoating James will still aluminize your mirror for $5/inch but he
now recommends Optical Mechanics.

From Ralph:
We just had two more mirrors finished.
Herb Conner 10" f/6
Pete S 8" f/4.5 for club scope

  Recent Mirror Completions
Julio Fernandez completed a 10inch f/5.84

Lynn Joiner 10inch f/6
Peter Rimshaw 10inch f/6
Joe Colontonio 14inch f/5.5 (special thin quartz mirror)

  Another Mirror Completed
Jim Hunter finished his 12.5" mirror last weekend. I think it is a little under f/6. Came in at
1/8 wave. RC

  Joe starts work on his second mirror
Joe is starting work on his second mirror using a fused quartz 14 inch blank. Here is a picture of
his first telescope made at the lab. It's a 10 inch f/6.

  Fused Quartz Mirror Blanks for Sale
Recolabs has around 100 fused quartz mirror blanks for sale. 12.5 inch .8 thick goes for $160 and a
14 inch .8 thick for $200. These are available through ebay.

From one of their auction
pages: "The thermal properties of quartz are 2 times better than Pyrex, it holds a better surface
and it is stronger than Pyrex."

Contact Chris at recolabs for more information or call 503-661-1163

  Eric Finishes his second mirror a 12.5 inch
FYI, Eric finished his mirror today. It tested 1/6th wave or better on all axes tested. This
frees up a table if anyone wanted to work on a mirror???? RC

  Mirror Lab Video for Charlie
Here is 17 minute video of how Robo Foucault works. Allen and Ralph describe how to test a

Watch it in Internet Explorer (wmv) or href=mirrorlab2.wmv>download it (35MB)

  Website Update
The Mirror Lab website has been updated. There are still lots of things to be done with the website
but the majority of pages have been updated. We've added a new feature href=index.php?page=sagitta>a sagitta to focal length calculator.

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