RV-8

Criterion RV-8 Dynascope restoration

(This isn't a digital camera, sorry! You may want to turn back now, while you still can. This is probably only of interest to those who had one of these classic scopes in the distant past, this may look like a pile of junk to a "normal" person)

The story of my RV-8:

     It was 1969 and I was 13 years old. I mowed a lot of lawns, and raked a lot of leaves to save up about 1/2 of the then immense $399 price for this telescope. My parents paid the other half. I had never actually seen one of these telescopes, but the ads in the back of Sky and Telescope sure looked good. I remember the day that the telesope arrived well; after months of waiting, it arrived by truck in some unsavory part of Detroit, and we had to go and get it. I used this telescope every clear night for years. and I loved it. 

     I had last used this telescope about 20 years ago.  My interests had changed, and the clock drive on the telescope broke so it was no longer easy to use. I lived in an apartment and it wasn't easy to take the RV-8 out any more. I built a 12.5 inch telescope, and later bought a new SCT in 1986 to replace the RV-8, but the views were never as good as I remembered the views through the old Criterion. I carried the RV-8 through several moves, and the tube was damaged during at least one of them. I also was guilty of letting the mount sit uncovered in the garage for years.

      

Restoration:

I recently became inspired by contact with other owners in the Criterion Dynascope Group.  I've decided to return my RV-8 to usable condition, and fix as much of the wear and tear as I can while keeping the original parts and finishes when possible. Because I can't duplicate some of the original finishes, I'm leaving them as they are, rust and all. This pictorial documents what I have done so far. If you are a Criterion owner, you will enjoy the shots.

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The tube. Yes, it is blue, apparently that color looked really good to me one day in 1972.

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Some of the damage to the tube. The spider vanes were bent too.

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After removing the hardware. You can see the original tube color.

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Damage at the mirror end

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Start of the repairs. I cemented a thin piece of aluminum inside the tube over the damaged areas.

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Clamping for the cement to dry.

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A finished plate in place. I later removed the plates on the mirror end after the repair was done on; they just served as a form for the body putty that I used.

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Reconstructing the tube with auto body filler.

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After sanding, it is starting to shape up.

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Ahhh. That white paint looks good. I actually used an off white color, but because of the camera white balance you can't tell on this shot.

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The serial number plaque on my Dynascope. Note that I lost the chrome plating on some parts too. That locking knob I repainted with chrome paint.

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I lost my clock drive cover somewhere over the years. I had to make a new one! I used PC board material for the sides.

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The friction clutch on the clock drive needed new cork.

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A new clock drive motor too. I had to make a drive shaft from a piece of brass tube stock.

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After a lot of rust removal, screw replacement, cleaning, and paint, that looks better! Since this photo was taken I have repainted the pier with Krylon mottled paint which is a perfect match.

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The RV-8 in its prime. I think that this was during a solar eclipse, somewhere around 1971. Note a few things: The Criterion drive corrector mounted on the legs (I no longer have it). The home made counterweight on the end of the tube (I made it by pouring molten lead into a pop can; don't try this at home these days). The black rubber rings on the ends of the tube were factory equipment; this is the one piece of of the telescope I have not been able to duplicate yet. The leveling screws in the legs; removed long ago. Boy, that must have shaken in the wind with all that junk on there.