Tales of the Lazy Stargazer

Volume One, Number Eleven

Advances in Amateur Telescope Baking

By Alan Rifkin (The Lazy Star Gazer)

Evening Tent Talk Presented at the 2002 Stellafane Convention
Friday night August 9, 2002

The folloing are the text and slides from the presentation

Good evening, my name is Al

My company is Yummy Vue Optics

I have been researching advanced materials and techniques

for amateur telescope makers, that are low in cost and easy to work with.

I Asked

How many of you have a machine shop in your house?

Only a few people responded positively.

How many have an optical shop in your house?

Only a few people responded, and some were the same people.

How many have a kitchen in your house?

Most people responded positive.

Gee a lot more of you seem to have kitchens then the others.

First I will discus new mechanical parts

Telescope tubes-

Gingerbread tubes Vs Cardboard tubes

Today we build telescopes out of cardboard, but not houses.

You have all seen gingerbread houses, but have you ever seen a cardboard house?

If they can build houses out of gingerbread, why not telescopes?

I also have developed a new type of low gloss frosting for Internal light baffles.

Insulating qualities of gingerbread.

Gingerbread is a better insulator then Metal and lighter. This allows for a tube the reaches thermal equilibrium faster.

In assembling the Optical Tube Assembly a special tool is used for preparing the two part adhesive system

Egg White Separator

The adhesive is made from powdered sugar and egg white.

You can prepare the egg white without an egg separator, but it is much easier and you get better results if you do use one.

New Optical parts

Silica Vs Carbon based optical system

You have all heard of pure carbon optical elements.

They have some draw backs, The are very expensive, and very difficult to work with, due to the hardness, but the women really seem to like them.

Instead of Diamond, I am using a low cost glass alloy of two carbon compounds, Sucrose and Glucose.

Sugar Glass Alloy

Let boil till 300 f degrees or sounds like breaking glass when a drop is placed in cold water. Remove from heat, pour into forms and molds.

If you want it to be clear don't put any food coloring in it. Otherwise add:

If you want it flavored add:

Grinding can be done with kosher salt and table salt, instead of expensive carburundum and cerium compounds.

The specific gravity of Silica glass is 2.21

The specific gravity of this sugar glass alloy is 1.58

It is 29% Lighter than Silica glass

This allows you to build a telescope, that is lighter in weight, easier to transport and one that reaches thermal equilibrium faster.


Out of these mechanical and optical components I have two demonstration models

The Tonto, With frosting

Click for larger Image

And if you live in an area where frosting and dewing is a problem

Then use the Kitchen Ranger, which is the frost-free model

The Mount

The mount is an alt/az fork mount made completely of the same sugar alloy, except that it is lubricated with vegetable oil to keep it from sticking.

Different f 's of eyepieces

Nibbler type 1 eyepiece

.f is for focal length and flavor!

Do you have trouble telling your eyepieces apart in the dark?

With Flavored eyepieces, all you have to do is just lick them, to tell which ones is which.

Blueberry 32 mm

Cherry 12 mm

Lemon 26 mm This model I had some trouble with, it is a copy of design taken from a Russian model, and never seems to work right

Lime 4.5 mm

Which would you rather drop? A $400 Nagler, or

something you can whip up in your kitchen for a buck?

In Conclusion

These telescopes have advantages and disadvantages over one of our previous research instruments the LEGO scope

The one main advantage is that the entire telescope and mount are edible, but it doesn't fold up as easily as the LEGO Scope does.

Another advantage is that these telescopes are completely biodegradable. Take a good look around this place. The hillside is just covered with old telescopes. It will take a combined effort of most of you here to clean up this mess. If they were all Yummy Vue's we would not have to worry about cleaning them all up on Sunday, nature would do it for us.

Thank you.

The End

If you would like to see a Tonto, you are Invited tomorrow morning to the lawn in front of the Pink clubhouse to see a Tonto, taste some lens and get a free sample of a Newtonian made out of figs

Before I leave, I want to end some confusion.

I call up Judy

Judy is the one on the right

I am Al, and this is Judy. We are the Rifkin/Allens of Yummy Vue Optics

Ask AL and Judi Nagler to stand up.

They are Al and Judi Nagler of Tele Vue Optics

Ask Al Nagler to come up front.

Click for larger image


Presentation of a Cherry Nibbler to Al Nagler

We both make very sweet eyepieces and telescopes, but if you have a choice get his.

Al, you make some of the most cherry eyepieces that exist and have changed the way we view eyepieces and use them.

On behalf of myself and the rest of the people here at Stellafane, I would like to present you with a Yummy Vue Eyepiece, serial number one, Nibbler type 1 Cherry eyepiece.

Card in case reads:

Yummy Vue Optics
12 mm Nibbler type 1,
Serial Number 1
Cherry Eyepiece

Presented to Al Nagler
At the
2002 Stellafane Convention


Yummy Vue

Visionary / Culinary

I delivered this talk at Stellafane in a very serious manner. I was expecting people to think "Baking" in the title was a misprint of "Making" and most people did think I was serious, at least for a little while. Most of my other hobbies require a very tight watch on the technology or you can quickly get killed. Amateur Telescope Making is the only one where I can have fun. So when I can, I do.

The Friday Night Talks, can get very serious, So serious that all the oxygen gets sucked out of the room, and people start to fall asleep from hypoxia. This talk was scheduled as a break, to give people a chance to wake up and get some more oxygen into their systems by laughing. That was the main goal, and I succeeded.

My second goal was to get kids interested in telescope making. This year's Stellafane convention was dedicated to Children. I wanted to do something that would get the attention of young kids. A candy telescope sure got their attention. The eyepiece on a stick, AKA a lollipop was a big hit. If I got one more child to spend time in the kitchen cooking with their parent, I succeeded in my second goal, and hoping that it will lead to time together, building a real telescope. I even had to learn some new cooking skills. When I started, I did not know that you could not bend gingerbread, so I had to develop a technique for baking curved gingerbread. If you want to know how, email me.

My third goal was to get telescope makers to think "Outside the Box". I try to keep all my designs outside the box. Heck I have even forgotten what the box looks like. The founders of Stellafane were innovators. I want that tradition to continue. You are only limited by your imagination. Can you image that?

I also want to thank Al and Judi Nagler for being good sports. I thought it would add something to the talk, if I were from some company. Tele Vue immediately came to mind, because all of my telescopes and eyepieces are Tele Vue, and if you measured the Yummy Vue Tonto, you would find that the inside dimensions are exactly the same as the outside dimensions of a Tele Vue Pronto. Just don't ask how that came about.

Till the next time
The Lazy Star Gazer

All contents © 2002 by Alan Rifkin. All Rights Reserved.