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.

04/12/2012 more


  • 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.

  New Mirror Completed
Jim Hunter finished his extremely well polished one sixth wave 16" f/4.4 mirror on September 25th,

  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)

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