How to Make a Telescope (Part 3 Making the telescope)

How to Make a Telescope: In this part of the tutorial I show you how to assemble the telescope

In this part of the telescope making tutorial I show you the nuts and bolts of how to make and assemble the telescope. I also have a video that shows you this and how to find the focal length of a lens. The picture below shows the parts needed to make this telescope.

parts and tools used to make this telescope

Parts and tools

  • Two cardboard tubes around 12" each; one should slide into the other
  • Two lenses of differing focal length
  • Two small pieces of corrugated cardboard
  • Scissors, pencil, razor knife, paint and glue

In part two you figured out the focal lengths of your lenses and you cut your tubes to appropriate lengths now all you really have to do is cleanly attach the lenses to the tubes. This can be a bit tricky and I went through a whole bunch of trials before I found a way that was easy and worked well. Here is what you do:

Trace the lens line

Put a lens down on the square of corrugated cardboard and draw a line around it. Do this whole process for both lenses. (make two of these)





Cut teh lens hole out

Using an X-acto or razor knife cut the circle out. You can use scissors but it is rather difficult because you will tend to bend and distort the cardboard. Try to cut the circle so the hole is just a tiny bit smaller than the lens. Maybe about 1/32 of an inch .




pop the lens in

Pop your lens right into the cardboard. Because of the thickness of the cardboard you should be able to squeeze the lens right in there and it will hold tight. If you have trouble or it doesn't hold tight then just use a little bit of glue and let it dry.




Trim the cardboard ring

Now, with a pair of scissors trim the cardboard ring so it is the same diameter as the tube. Remember that you have two tubes and each one is a different size because one slides into the other. Trim the ring with the long focus lens so it is the same size as your thicker outer tube. And trim the ring with the short focus lens so it is the same size as your thinner inner tube.



Glue rings onto tubes

Now glue each ring onto its respective tube.




Your telescope is complete

Slide the thinner tube into the thicker tube and your telescope is complete. Have fun!





Video Tutorial on how to make this telescope (This video also contains advice on how to find the focal length of a lens)


Need lenses? These are the exact lenses I purchased for this project:

LENS DBL CONVEX 3.75CM DIAM 30CM FL (This is the objective or long focal length lens)


LENS DBL CONVEX 3.75CM DIAM 5CM FL (This is the lens I used for the eypiece, the short Focal length lens)


Make your own Telescope kit

I Made My TELESCOPE - Want to make your own telescope? -- Build-It Yourself! -- Its so easy, now even an eight-year-old can build an 18" long, 3X refractor telescope in less than an hour. -- Includes objective lens, eye lens, glare stops, kraftboard tubes, instructions and an Edmund Star and Planet Locator. Finished product is powerful enough to show moon craters, Jupiters moons and many stars not visible to the naked eye. -- For ages 8 and up. --

Making & Enjoying Telescopes Making & Enjoying Telescopes: 6 Complete Projects & A Stargazer's Guide This is a relatively modern book on telescope making (Printed in 1995) and it takes a nice slant on the whole subject by giving you complete details on six different telescope projects ranging from a big dobsonian to a small rich field telescope. Good book and I have a more in-depth review of it here. Book Review of Making & Enjoying Telescopes



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