The Altair Vixen-format dovetail bars are narrow and light - the perfect option for small telescopes, for example a refractor of up to about 102mm or 4" aperture.
To mount two small telescopes with Vixen-format dovetail bar side-by-side, we recommend the Altair TMS "Small Vixen Dovetail Clamp" which is designed to bolt directly onto either end of our Vixen (or Losmandy) bars and plates with two bolts, giving maximum rigidity and strength. (If you order clamps with your bars, we'll include all the stainless steel bolts you need).
Optical tube separation: When using the 180mm Vixen-format dovetail bar to mount two optical tubes "side-by-side", they will have a centre to centre separation of 160mm. When using the 250mm Vixen-format dovetail bar you'll get 230mm centre to centre separation.
A countersunk M6 hole at each end, plus a countersunk centre M6 slot, allows maximum compatibility for attachment to most telescope tube rings on the market today.
Precision CNC machined locally, and hard black anodized for extra resistance to tarnishing or scratching. Altair TMS is a precision machined modular Telescope Mounting System. Our aim is to provide a simple, safe and rigid mounting system for most types of telescope on the market, to give our customers the best possible results for astro imaging and visual observing. All components can be re-used which makes the overall cost of ownership very cost effective in the loing run. Made from the highest grade British aerospace 6068 T6 tempered and artificially aged aluminium, which has the highest strength in the 6000 series alloy range and is extremely corrosion resistant. All threads are stainless steel, and dovetail clamps are spring loaded with teflon washers.
The Altair SkyShed Pier is a revolutionary design. It's made of rock solid 4mm thick powder coated steel, and is 32 inches in height excluding the pier cap which adds another 4-6 inches depending on your preference.
Download Print Altair SkyShed 8" Steel Pier installation instructions here (opens new window)
The original SkyShed pier is the only pier on the market which can be adjusted in tilt and 360 degree rotation after installation and tightening down the base bolts. This means you can install the pier, put your decking in place (please click on the large image to the left to see pictures) and then adjust the pier afterwards to suit your mount. This design is the easiest to install and use on the market. The unique design is the brainchild of Wayne Parker of SkyShed, the worlds most prolific observatory manufacturer, and is often purchased with the SkyShed POD or roll-off observatories. The product is manufactured in the UK by Altair Astro with SkyShed's permission, with a combination of structural and ergonomic features, which distinguish this product from other telescope piers for customers who expect the best. The piers components are laser cut from steel plate, then the base plate and anti-flex fins are welded to the 8" diameter steel column on a jig for perfect alignment. This results in a pier which is as light as possible for ease of installation, while remaining extremely rigid. The piers are then sand blasted to prepare the surface, then flame-sprayed with zinc. This is a better process than galvanizing, and is often used for industrial and military marine applications where a professional finish is required. Once the flame spraying process is complete, the piers are placed in an industrial oven and powder coated. This creates an extremely tough coating which not only creates a perfect finish to the product, but also protects it against knocks and wear and tear. This two layer coating technology is far superior to painting processes, and provides the ultimate in durability.
Various adapters (part of the Altair Telescope Mounting System (or TMS) are available, which allow your Altair SkyShed Pier to be used with most equatorial mounts on the market, and the pier top plate has a standard Meade LX series 6-hole pattern, enabling direct attachment of Meade wedges and some Astro Physics mounts. The pier top plate doesn't have to be changed (or even adjusted in tilt) in order to fit most mounts, adding to the modularity and convenience of the product. The price includes UK Mainland delivery. (Far North Scotland, EU or overseas customers please email us for a shipping quote).
Why a pier? It's ultra-stable, and you don't have to keep re-aligning your telescope mount every time you use it. It can be quickly and conveniently moved if you move observing locations, and it's a must-have if you have an observatory, creating loads of space around the telescope - no more bumping into tripod legs in the dark, and causing wasted sub-frames during a good imaging run.
Why the Altair/SkyShed Pier design? It's the easiest pier to install, period, and the special adjustable pier-head saves you set-up time. Pier levelling and rotation can be adjusted AFTER installation on the base! This is the most innovative pier on the market, and the first to sport this feature. It's for customers who appreciate a good quality finish, and a nicely made product due to laser cut steel, and a beautiful gloss "automative grade" powder coated finish. No spraypaint, no single coat of DIY-quality "rust resistant" paint finish which will chip off and corrode, and no amatuerish welding. This product is professionally built to last.
What's the benefit of post-installation adjustment? The pier head can be locked in any position, at any time. That means there's no need for perfect North alignment of the base bolts, and even if you get the base levelling slightly wrong, you can still ensure your mount is perfectly upright and aligned North/South. That means you don't have to be a DIY expert to install it! You can also lower and raise the pier head by about 6" by adjusting the 4x 16mm bolts around the perimeter.
What comes in the box? The pier assembly and all bolts and nuts for the pier-head are included. Yur choice of either straight or L-bolts and nuts are included for fixing the pier down.
How to I fasten the pier to a new poured-concrete surface? If you're going to pour your own concrete, we suggest using a wooden template for the base and L-bolts and nuts. Simply cut a piece of wood to the same dimensions as the concrete you're pouring, and place the pier on top of the wooden template. Mark the 4x holes through the base, and drill holes for the L-Bolts. Then push the L-bolts through and fasten them to the wooden template. When you've poured the concrete, place the template on top, and allow the L-bolts to sink into the wet concrete. Remove any excess concrete and allow it to set. When you remove the template you will have the 4x bolts protruding, to which the pier can be fixed down using the nuts provided. (Click on the image gallery for step by step photos).
How to I fasten the pier to a new poured-concrete surface? If you want to install the pier on an existing flat surface, choose the straight-bolt option when ordering instead of the L-bolts. Once you have drilled 4x holes in the hard surface which correspond to the pier base holes, you can fill the holes with "builders epoxy" and allow the straight studding to set before attaching the pier with the buts provided. Alternatively you can use your own expanding bolts and so-on depending on the type of surface and your preference.
How do I attach my telescope? The pier is pre-drilled with 6x holes which fit our CNC machined aluminium Pier adapters for the iOptron iEQ45, Celestron CG5, Skywatcher EQ5, HEQ5, EQ6 German equatorial mounts (see the related products below). Installing a mount and adapter takes a few minutes - all the stainless steel bolts and nuts are provided to attach it. You can also easily drill the 13" diameter top plate with a normal drill with metal drill bit to accommodate your Meade or Celestron Wedge or a Losmandy Pier adapter - in fact any mount can be easily adapted to fit. Finally, you can bolt certain mounts directly to the top plate without an adapter or the need to drill holes - such as some Meade LX200 fork mounts and Astro Physics mounts with a 6 hole pattern.
A original and innovative design!
Can be adjusted in levelling and rotation AFTER installation.
8 inches in diameter adjustable in height from 37-42 inches (optimum size range for small or large SCT's, or long refractors on an EQ mount).
All steel construction throughout for extreme rigidity, yet relatively light weight.
Powder coated laser-cut steel for a crisp finish. (Another first).
Flame sprayed zinc undercoat for a better finish than galvanised, and marine spec durability.
Large, flat 13" Dia baseplate, for easy access to the base bolts, with four perimeter fins.
4x massive 16mm bolts support the top pier plate.
Pre-drilled for classic Meade and Celestron Fork mounts.
Adapters available for most mounts, CGEM, EQ6, HEQ5, even EQ5.
(Search for "pier adapter EQ6" for example).
Suitable for up to 16" Cassegrains and heavy duty mounts. (Call for larger custom sizes).
Hole in base and cap for neater hidden power cables.
Perfect for any observatory, including the Skyshed POD.
Can be filled with sand (in bags) to dampen vibration even further.
We provide "L-bolts" if you're pouring concrete, or "straight" bolts, enabling you to drill holes in an existing surface - such as a concrete pad. Just let us know which you prefer.
Can be shortened easily if needed - just cut the top off the tube with a bandsaw or plasma cutter. Your local metal shop or even garage can do it in minutes. Alternatively, place a special order with us.
L-Bolts or straight bolts included. Your choice.
Usually in stock in standard length.
A crisp, tough high quality powdercoated finish, with neat welds, which will last many, many years.
The SkyShed/Altair pier is the worlds best selling pier design. Over 8 years in production as of 2010, much imitated, never equalled.
The entry level Starwave dual telescope mounting features a 3" centre dovetail bar, and two corresponding clamps, which attach directly to each end with the supplied hardware.
Optical tube separation when mounted side by side is approx 265mm centre to centre.
Compatible with Losmandy-format telescope mounting systems.
**Price Includes Carriage**
Now you can mount your wide field refractor of up to 80mm next to your autoguider unit, whilst keeping the centre of gravity as close to your mount as possible.
This is the ideal kit for someone starting imaging with a refractor up to 80mm. The perfect companion for the Starwave 70ED refractor and the iOptron ZEQ25 mount!
Starwave MiniGuider 60 Side-by-Side dovetail bar kit consists of:
The renouned Altair Astro 60mm Miniguider OTA, with special super-rigid locking focuser for your autoguider.*
Starwave 1.75" (44.45mm) width dovetail clamp to mount your refractor on one side.
The Starwave 200mm 1.75" (44.45mm) width Vixen-format dovetail plate which fits most portable mounts on the market today.
A set of mini guide scope rings with nylon tipped screws to mount on the opposite side of the dovetail bar, with connecting bar, to mount your 60mm Miniguider.
A set of M5 screws and nuts to mount the Miniguider 60 rings, and a set of M6 screws and nuts to mount the Starwave1.75" format clamp.
Can easily support refractors up to 80mm and will accurately guide up to at least 1000mm focal length without differential flexure.
Keeps your telescopes low and spaced widely enough apart such that the cables and autoguider unit can be adjusted easily without interfering with the main camera, unlike "piggyback setups". This is desirable when imaging with a DSLR enabling it to be easily rotated it when framing the subject. without fouling the autoguider unit.
The centre dovetail bar can be slid from side to side for easy balancing.
The Starwave Vixen-format clamp is strong yet light, with 2x spring loaded 2x steel alignment pins. The CNC machined e-coated knobs feature Teflon washers to stop binding. It also has a 1/4" UNC camera tripod thread on the underside, so you use it to mount your telescope on a camera tripod for casual stargazing, or daytime observation.
The Altair 60mm Miniguider probably needs no introduction. It's widely acclaimed for it's simplicity and accuracy, and is far easier to use than an Off-Axis-Guider (OAG) unit. It doesn't take up space in the imaging train, and require more adapters and calculations, nor does it cause flexure problems, due to it's unique locking focuser, with 3x clamping screws and brass insert. Selecting from a huge field of stars is easy at a very fast F3.75 so you don't need such a sensitive autoguider camera - and what's more, and theres no pickoff prism to intrude into the light-path of your full frame DSLR. Nor does it add flexure to the imaging train, or need to be frequently focused, unlike some cheap OAG units. Simply add your guide camera, set focus, and tighten the locking ring, and that's it. The Miniguider doesn't even need to point in exact the same direction as the main telescope so you can move it around in the (extremely unlikely) event you can't find a bright star.
The Starwave 200mm dovetail bar is strong, solid and more rigid than the cheap extruded rails often offered with guide-scope kits, and will fit the majority of mounts on the market.
* Do not be tempted to buy a finder-scope with a helical focuser for autoguiding. They focuser loses it's focus easily, and they aren't rigid enough for autoguiding due to the play in the helical mechanism. They are OK for eyepieces but not for autoguiding. We researched this thoroughly, and it's why we developed the superb Altair 1.25" locking focuser.
**Note Price Includes Shipping Cost**
Convert your Vixen-format mount to the wider 3" Losmandy-format dovetail with this conversion clamp. It fits the following mounts and more:
Skywatcher EQ5, EQ3-2
Vixen GP2, GPD2, SXW, SXD2
Meade & Celestron mounts with 1.75" dovetail bar
The Starwave Losmandy-format clamp is strong yet light, being spring loaded with 2x steel alignment pins. The 2x CNC machined e-coated knobs have teflon washers to stop binding.
Simply attach the Starwave Vixen to Losmandy Adapter to your Vixen-format mount using the 1.75" Vixen dovetail bar on the underside of the clamp.
The 3" Losmandy-format clamp can be separated from the Vixen-format 1.75" dovetail bar underneath by unfastening the hex bolts, and used separately.
**Note Price Includes Shipping Cost**
Regulated mains to 13.8v power supply with 1 x cigarette lighter socket and 2 x terminals
Available week beginning October 14th is the new IKI CNC Aluminium Pier top adaptor for the EQ8 Mount.
CNC machined from a solid block of aluminium the pier top adaptor has been created specifically for the new EQ8 mount.
It includes a substantial teflon washer for ultra smooth azimuth polar adjustment and an azimuth locating pin.
Also included is a set of stainless steel pier top mounting bolts.
This is a Vixen/Synta compatible side by side plate for mounting two instruments onto any Vixen/Synta compatible mounting.
The plate is light and compact and features two Vixen/Synta compatible saddle plates with claoms.
Weight is 940 grams
Made of high strength aluminum
Weight: 940 grams
Overall Width: 37.5 cm
Distance between the clamps (center-to-center clamping clamping): 23cm
Avalon Instruments has designed and built this new useful accessory for long exposure guiding during deepsky imaging.
The Avalon X-Guider is a high precision and play-free guidescope aligning device. Unlike conventional guidescope rings, which
rely on pushing screws on to the body of the tube, the Avalon XGuider features a dovetail mounting system (GP 45mm size) for
a quick-release attachment/detachment of the guide scope on the main telescope.
The X-Guider features a very compact body,
an innovative design and a beautiful look. All metal aluminum parts are CNC machined. All screw knobs, designed by Avalon Instruments, have a special ergonomic design and are made with
a special polymer. It features also a very hard anti-scratch anodized surface finish with CNC engraved characters.
The Avalon X-Guider is used to easily locate guide stars during astroimaging sessions and it has been designed after much experience in deepsky astroimaging.
ONe of the most innovational aspects of the Avalon X-Guider: is the ratio between the high loading capacity up to 5 Kg (12 Lbs), and the device weight, of less than 500 g. This is a very useful
characteristic for portability as well as putting significantly less load on your mount.
The X-Guider mechanics are very simple, sturdy,
totally free from backlash in azimuth and free from
flexure in typical working situations.
Standard Version (body only, without lower mounting plate)
Full Versions with lower mounting plate (male or female dovetail bar/plate)
These attractive and well engineered rings accommodate telescopes ranging from 55 to 100 mm external diameter. The rings have a flat base and single fixing point making them easy to attach to a variety of standard plates and mounting platforms.
Main features of the IK-R100 rings include -
low flexure – the generous wall thickness of the ring together with careful material selection makes for a ring with exceptional rigidity. We are not aware of any stiffer ring in this size category.
Soft scope pads – astro.phad’s in-house formulation polymer pads are kind to your scope’s surface finish. Their high coefficient of friction means that less clamping force is required and thus scope tube deflection is also reduced. Replacement soft pads are inexpensive and readily available from Ian King Imaging. Hard delrin pads for heavier duty use are also available.
Ergonomic chunky knobs – generously proportioned acetal thumb wheels that accommodate fingers and don’t cut into you. The scalloped design means that they are easy to use with gloves and cold fingers. These are specifically made for the job, not just the cheap, mass produced injection moulded knobs found on some models.
Simple, clean design and well crafted – individually hand finished and black anodised in-house to over 25 microns by astro.phad.. We think they look great!
The set includes a complementary spare set of soft pads and two M6x25 caphead screws, nuts and washers suitable for fixing the rings to an appropriately prepared plate up to 14mm thick. Note that if holes are to be prepared to suit these fixings use either a 6.4mm or ¼” drill.
Astro.phad are extremely proud to be able to declare that these rings are designed, manufactured and assembled entirely in the UK.
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