Deep Violet - an 18" f/4.5 Truss-Tube Dobsonian Telescope
Deep Violet setup outside of Benson, Arizona with the Dragoon Mountains in the background

In April 2001 I realized a dream that had been many years in the dreaming and a year in the making, a large aperture dobsonian.

The decision process that eventually settled on the 18" f/4.5 design was a long one. As a very active amateur I had had many opportunities to examine other scopes. To see where they excelled or where they fell short. With this experience I eventually decided on a list of requirements.

  • The scope had to have sufficient aperture to take advantage of the dark skies available near Tucson. I wanted to see spiral arms in galaxies.
  • The design was to be visual only. No drives, but provisions for an equatorial platform at a later date.
  • The mount would be a no compromise rigid structure, capable of allowing good optics to perform at their best.
  • The scope had to fit through a standard doorway.
  • The scope had to fit in the cargo compartment of a Ford Explorer Sport.
  • The eyepiece must not be an excessive distance above the ground, allowing use while standing on the ground much of the time. (But then, I'm 6'2" tall)

Over a decade of engineering experience has taught me that a well defined set of specifications can make all the difference at the end of a project. With these design goals in mind the plan then progressed rapidly.