Home Made Laser Collimator
Newtonian Telescopes

The following pictures illustrate my design for a home made laser collimator.  Since my arms are not 4 feet long, I was tired of bobing between the bottom of the telescope and the top. At the core of the collimator is a cheap $20 laser pointer.  The only other parts are the base, which fits into the telescope eyepiece and the tube, which allows you to "align" the laser.

Many thanks to the members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) mail list for their helpful suggestions.

Above are all the parts, the tube, the base and the laser pen itself.

The base is turned from 1.5" dia. 6061 Aluminum.  The only critical dimension is the bottom of the base, which was turned to 1.248" dia. as it must fit into the telescope eyepiece tube.  All surfaces that might reflect the laser were painted a flat black.

This is the tube that holds the laser pen.  Made from 1" dia. aluminum, a the hole for the laser pen was bored from one end, and a small exit hole for the laser beam was drilled at the other end.  Notice the small holes, for set screws (two rows at 120 degrees apart) which allow you to adjust the laser alignment.  The 45 degree diagonal surface (painted black) fits into the base.

Here's the assembled collimator.  A white nylon screw is used to press the switch on the laser pen.  Small dot in the right image shows the path of the laser beam.  Addition of the danger sticker makes it look store bought!  The end of the laser pen protudes out the top, to allow easy access to the battery chamber.  (acutally, my boring bar is only 2" deep)

The collimator being used to align the mirrors.  Much easier than centering my eyeball over the mirrors, as all I have to do now is adjust the mirros to shoot the laser beam back up the small hole in the adjustment tube.  The picture on the right shows the red laser beam centered on the 45 degree surface, as seen from the bottom of the scope, where the collimation knobs are!

Total cost: $10 for the laser pen, about $3 in aluminum round bar, $2 in set screws + a few hours of machining.  A lot less than commercial collimators, if you don't count my labour.

My July 24th, 2002 presentation to the
Toronto Centre of the RASC about
DIY collimators - Adobe Acrobat .pdf format
 Collimator Presentation - 240K

Drawings of DIY collimator .jpg picture format
Aluminum Collimator - 109K
Wood Collimator - 105K

 e-mail:  vince@vincechanblog.ca

Created: April 30, 2000
Updated: July 20rd, 2008