View Full Version here: : SDM#046 “Al-Baseera” has landed…
29-03-2012, 12:24 AM
Where to begin. A little over 2 years ago, I placed an order for a basic 16” SDM using optics from GSO. Unfortunately for me the mirror turned out to be an absolute dud and returned back to GSO where it belonged. After much discussion, I settled for a 14.5” SDM with everything, i.e. Argo Navis, Servocat, imaging poles etc.. I had Mark Suchting create the mirror using a quartz blank with a focal length of f4.8 tailored to my height. My budget had doubled from what I initially had planned to spend, but I was somehow convinced the extras would pay off in the long run.
After a long journey, the wait was finally over last night. I drove to Mark’s house to meet with Peter. It was, as they say “love at first sight” the moment I saw the rocker box sitting there, painted beautifully in Peter’s traditional stain. We unloaded all the boxes and Peter began to guide me through the entire setup process. Anyone who compares a mass produced scope to a premium one, in particular Peter’s SDM, needs a reality check. The scope was as pleasurable to use as it was to look at. Every part of its assembly seemed to be a joyous moment rather than a frustrating excercise. There was a moment when I thought to myself “how did I ever observe without one?”.
Unfortunately due to the weather we were unable to venture out beyond Mark’s front garden, but it was enough for Peter to show me the assembly of the scope and how to operate the Argo and Servo cat. I could not believe how well the Argo and Servo tracked considering the poor choice of 2 star alignment (Rigel + Betelgeuse) and uneven floor. The feathertouch focuser combined with Mark’s mirror snapped stars into focus brilliantly.
Both Peter and Mark were a pleasure to deal with. When you order an SDM it comes packaged with a bundle of laughs as Peter’s sense of humour will have you in stitches :lol: I intend on writing a full review of it once I become more acquainted with the scope. For anyone currently thinking about purchasing an SDM, do yourself a favour and place an order now before the waiting list gets longer, you won’t regret it.
The name "Al-Baseera" was derived from the arabic root word "Basar". In summary it means that which will allow you to both look and see something with a deep mental and visual penetration. I thought it was most appropriate for the SDM :)
I’ll attach more pics soon.
29-03-2012, 01:13 AM
Looks a real performer Mohammed, some things are worth the wait!
Having used a very similar sized SDM with a Suchting primary, I can certainly say that it will be stunning performer and a great size too for use comfortably for hours at a time.
Looking forward to the 'its finally cleared up' report :thumbsup:
29-03-2012, 01:48 AM
I was going to comment on the orientation of your photo's but then I remembered you lot here are in OZ, so technically the photo's are in their correct orientation :D
To my mind Peter makes the finest most beautiful dob on the planet. They rave about Teeters over on CloudyNights but tbh I don't think they can hold a candle to an SDM. ie. Teeters are held in high regard because of the advanced features, level of customisation and quality of fit and finish. An SDM blows them out of the water in every respect.
As soon as I win the lottery and emmigrate to Australia I'll be placing an order with Peter for a 36" F3 :D
29-03-2012, 08:22 AM
Well done Mohmmed and welcome to the SDM club. Now you know why club members are always smiling!
I agree 110% with all your comments!
29-03-2012, 08:26 AM
Welcome to the club Mohammed,
Peter's work is stunning to say the least!
Cheers Petra d. SDM #13
29-03-2012, 08:34 AM
These scopes are the business. Industrial Art meets quality engineering. Congratulations.
My Sky Watcher wishes it was an SDM. :)
On another topic, finally I can contact someone who can translate the meaning of the arabic star names. :shrug:
29-03-2012, 09:12 AM
Congratulations Mohammed, I know you'll have many, many hours of enjoyment with your new toy.
Oh! welcome to the Size Does Matter club.
29-03-2012, 09:25 AM
Oh, now that's beautiful! Makes me want to be a visual observer. :P
29-03-2012, 09:33 AM
Your scope looks great and I am sure it will perform superbly, like all SDM's. I have followed its birth very closely in many telephone discussions with Peter.
I like them so much a have a second SDM nearing completion, a 10"/F5.3 with Suchting mirror (SDM #50). Having used all of the premium US scopes with the exception of Starstructure, I can tell you it doesn't get an better than an SDM. What I can also tell you is, having seen and used mirrors from just about all the premium US mirror makers and seen the good with the very bad, is that if I ever buy or build or have built, another telescope ever again (which isn't likely), I will only ever consider a mirror from Mark Suchting or Carl Zambuto on the basis there is only ever very very good and no bad.
I believe I am qualified to comment on the quality of an SDM because a lot of the design features unique to an SDM which you will not find on other scopes I helped Peter with. Things like the plywood light baffle for the upper cage assembly, the zippered light shroud etc etc. We can share the honours 50/50 on the Delrin split blocks. My SDM #33 was the first to have Delrin Split blocks, after much discussion on the problems associated with plywood split blocks and the fact that Delrin, whilst expensive, was easily machined and was probably a much better material as it was thermally and moisture stable, unlike plywood. The good thing about Peter is that he is always trying to improve his scopes and will always listen to ideas and suggestions and run up a sample. If they make for a better scope he will implement them. You will not find that level of dedication to building a high quality product from any other premium telescope manufacturer. To go with that he is an all round great bloke.
29-03-2012, 10:05 AM
Thanks guys for all the positive comments and warm welcome to the SDM club :)
John you are so right about Peter always trying to improve on the scopes. There were some nice suggestions made by Mark about how future SDM's could be further improved. I'm always looking forward to the next SDM getting built to see how it has evolved.
Sorry about the orientation of the pics! They were straight mobile upload, i've re-orientated them around the correct way. If the skies are clear this weekend i'll take some higher quality shots.
Looks absolutely beautiful.
Great to see it fitted with Argo Navis and ServoCAT and I therefore also
wanted to take a moment to thank you for your continued support.
Now go and enjoy it!
Wildcard Innovations Pty. Ltd.
20 Kilmory Place, Mount Kuring-Gai
NSW. 2080. Australia
29-03-2012, 11:21 PM
Congratulations on a great looking scope! I hope you get years of enjoyment from it!
29-03-2012, 11:52 PM
Congratulations on the arrival of #46. She looks a beauty! Having already owned one SDM and a new one on the waiting list (SDM#059) I am already aware of the craftsmanship Peter puts into them. They are a work of art and something to be proud of owning.
30-03-2012, 10:24 AM
We will have to get you up to the Pony Club to show it off.
30-03-2012, 10:41 AM
Looks unreal Mohammed, very jealous. If I ever get the finances I would love an SDM (with Argo Navis of course ;)) just like yours to observe with while I Image - 14.5" is ideal I think? :thumbsup:
30-03-2012, 10:42 AM
Very very nice indeed:thumbsup:
It's fabulous to have Mark Sutching right here in Aust. It says it all that SDM are very happy to build their fabulous scopes with Sutching or Zambuto optics.If that's not high praise for an Aussie mirror maker I don't know what is.
I have been saving for some time to order a beautiful Sutching mirror myself.:thumbsup::thumbsup:
30-03-2012, 11:10 AM
Are you serious:help: If you sold some of that imaging gear (which would be sad because you use it very well) you could afford a 48" SDM ;)
30-03-2012, 01:13 PM
Now, which end do you look through again? :rolleyes: :lol:
That's a beautiful looking scope Mohammed, congratulations, I'll bet you feel like a proud father.
30-03-2012, 09:03 PM
fwiw...I actually rate Mark's mirrors a level above Zambuto's,
He uses a far more sensitive system of metrology to determine the surface profile and doesn't stop until there is essentially no further meaningful improvement to extract from the substrate he is given to work on.
Congrats. Mate on your new scope and welcome to the club. Certainly has been a long time coming, but as you can see its definitely well worth it. Something about these scopes, its hard to describe....just a work of pure craftsmanship.
Any plans of heading to Spsp ? You can give it a full work out.
Love to see the triple 14.5" sdm's @ the pony club one day :-)
30-03-2012, 09:35 PM
:question:...less wires and cables and electrical gismos to worry about if there's a turn of weather too... hmmm
30-03-2012, 11:02 PM
Congratulations Mohammed. Being an SDM owner myself, I can say you are in for a treat. It's one of those things where everything just works as it's supposed to. Even mundane tasks such as collimation become a joy :party:
31-03-2012, 12:10 AM
I can't agree with that Clive. I would rate them equal, as it gets no better than what either produce, and then came all the rest, many many lengths behind.
To be truthful there are some excellent mirror makers out there who do not sell mirrors commercially. One of the very best mirrors I have ever seen was made by a guy called Scott (can't remember his surname) who works for Al Nagler at Televue. He brought a 12.5" scope he built himself (scope and mirror) to 2007 Texas Star party and won an award with it. It had about the best 12.5" mirror I have ever seen.
03-04-2012, 12:18 AM
Thanks again all for positive remarks :) :thanx:
As promised some higher quality pics from last weekends observing session. What can I say, the scope worked a treat :thumbsup: ;)
I'll have to bring it up sometime to the pony club so I can meet my other SDM brothers :rofl:
vBulletin® v3.8.7, Copyright ©2000-2013, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.