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Posted by Robert May on May 18, 1998 19:20:35 UTC
Here's what you do. Get a catalog from Willmann-Bell (they're on the Net) and then get one of the books on mirror grinding and read it through. You will find that the biggest problem is the flexibility of the process and how crude it seems to be. They also sell kits for mirrors and that price plus about $50 for Aluminizing the mirror and a lot of time and a few other things (tools that you will build to test the mirror) will be your cost. Fast workers have (!) made mirrors in a single day but for your first mirror (8") I would say that about 50 hours is more like it depending upon your finessing of the testing. Get the book first and see if it is what you want to do. There are no expensive tools to buy to make a mirror. A Focault tester is usually homemade and like everything else about the business of optics, there is a lot of dispute as to what type is the best. Take everybody's advice (including mine) with a Big grain of Salt and everything will probably turn out fine. If you haven't planned to go to Riverside Telescope Maker's Conference, May I suggest that you still go up there at least for Saturday. It is located at Camp Oakes (which is in the little suburb of Lake Williams just about 5 miles out of the East? (the other end from the Dam) out 38? (the road that takes you down to I10). There will probably be a demo on mirror grinding and you will probably find me there at some point in time. Bob May
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