Saint Petersburg Astronomy Club - Mirror Lab


We are looking for a new home
As soon as we have the new location set we will post the location and hours here.

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.

  16 and 8 inch mirrors
We recently had a half dozen mirrors and mirror blanks donated to the club. Here are a couple of
finished and coated mirrors. These should make awesome telescopes.

  Ralph setting up the Robo Foucault tester
Here is Ralph setting up the parameters for a mirror test in the Robo Foucault tester. Since the
Mirror Lab lost its home the testing is being preformed at Ron's house (Thanks Ron!). The mirror
lab gang gets together at least once a month to discuss progress on various telescope and mount
progress, and of course, eat.

  OCAL Electronic Collimator
We have been testing the OCAL Electronic Collimator. This is it on a 2005 era Dobsonian telescope.
If it had not rained here for the past two months I would tell you if the stars looked sharper. The
laser collimator says that it's good.

  Chris rebuilding part of his dob
Chris's scope needed a few tweaks. The secondary two vane holder was replaced with a four vane
model for better collimation adjustment and the cage was rebuilt to make it a bit lighter and
squarer. The Mirror box trunnions needed to be include a center pivot point for his new digital
setting circle encoders. Chris and Allen met at Ralph's garage for an afternoon of wood dust making
and deep scope design discussions.

  Chris's new cage
The new cage was assembled and tested to locate the new center of balance on the scope (yes, we know
that the Telrad is upside down). With the new spider and staining it looks pretty good.

  2022 OBS Raffle Scope Winner
Phillip Roey was the winner of the 2022 Orange Blossom Star Party raffle telescope. This was a
rebuilt Meade with a real wood base. Thanks to Ralph, Brad and Mike for the rebuild.

  A Trio of Mirror Lab Scopes
Here is Allen, Mike and Ralph (left to right), Mirror Lab instructors, with their personal
telescopes at the 2022 Orange Blossom Special Star Party. We had a week of clear skies!

  Telescope Walk-A-Bout at the 2022 OBS
This is Tom Spano (far right) describing his three pole telescope to a group of OBS Star Party
attendees during the Saturday telescope walk-a-bout.

  Light Weight Pre-Slumped Mirrors
These are Mike's finished 10 inch and 12 inch blanks that still need to be edged and diametered. The
top image shows the 3D printed pattern that they are made from. The bottom image shows that they
are pre-slumped to a rough ROC. There is also an older video on Youtube that shows his entire
process of making the light-weight blanks, from design and 3D printing, to plaster casting, to glass
casting, to slumping and final edge finishing at Mike recently
posted a video on Youtube of him cutting a bunch of mirror blanks out of a thick glass tabletop. You
might find it interesting. Here's the link:

  3D Printed Dob Truss Pole Clamp Set
This is a 3D printed 1" truss pole clamp set for a Dobsonian telescope. The STL files and editable
model is available on Links on where to get the knobs, truss poles and other
parts are in the comment fields there also. The parts have been printed and fit nicely but have not
been tested on a scope yet.

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