Celestron Skymaster Tripod Adapter Upgrade

I recently made a very cheap upgrade to a set of high magnification astronomy binoculars.

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Celestron Skymaster 15×70 binoculars with new steel tripod mount

Included with a set of Celestron Skymaster 15×70 binoculars is a small tripod adapter that is made from plastic.

skymaster_tripod_mounts
Original Celestron Skymaster tripod mount on the left. New tripod mount on the right.

This adapter allows you to mount your binoculars to your tripod to keep the field of view steady and to give you arms a rest, after all these binoculars are quiet weighty. Unfortunately, the tripod adapter that is included with the pair of binoculars is not the best. It is constructed from plastic and is not very rigid. The slightest bump with your hand or even the breeze causes the binoculars to wobble and at 15x magnification, the whole image shakes about.

With an upcoming camping trip planned where a dark sky was guaranteed, I thought it was time to fix this problem and upgrade the tripod mount.

Using a piece of scrap 4mm thick angle steel, and some simple tools I quickly made an improved tripod mount for the binoculars.

The new mount screws directly to the tripod quick release plate. A 1/4 inch tap was used to make the threaded hole which the quick release plate screws into.

skymaster_mount_front
Metal tripod mount for Skymaster binoculars attached to a tripod quick release plate.

The threaded mount at the front of the binoculars is a 1/4 thread. A new thumbscrew was made using a  30mm length of thread was cut from a 1/4 inch brass screw and a 1/4 inch wingnut. To secure the wingnut to the threaded brass, the brass was threaded into the wingnut and a centre punch was used to punch the brass into the wingnut. A couple of 1/4 inch brass washers were also used.

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Parts for the new tripod mount.
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A centre punch was used to secure the threaded brass to the wing nut. See the two indents in the centre of the wing nut.

As for the results, there is still some vibration of the field of view when the binoculars are touched, however the vibrations are damped very quickly. Using the binoculars on a tripod is much more pleasant now. See the video below for a comparison of the old plastic mount versus the new steel mount when the binoculars are given a tap from the left hand side.

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