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.

  Mike P's eyepiece case 3
Ta Da!

  OBS 2003 Raffle Scope Winners
Darla and Peter Flynn won the 12.5" OBS Raffle Scope.

  Allen separating the mirror from the cell
This mirror is going to be realuminized. It had huge gobs of glue holding it to the cell. Don't do
this to your mirrors. They must be free to adjust to temperature changes.

  Center marking a primary mirror
Ralph, right, and Chris center marking Chris's mirror

  Mirror Grinding Demo at the OBS
Mike showing Scott the proper grinding stroke at the 2023 OBS

  Collimation Class at the 2023 OBS
OBS 2003 Collimation Class with Ralph showing secondary mirror rotation. Ralph and Allen showed
traditional collimation tools, like the sight tube and auto collimator, laser collimation and the
digital OCal video collimation.

  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.

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