Friday, July 28, 2006

bino clamp (Toronto)

Many years ago I had bought a clamp for my binoculars. This was after reading or being told that the use of binos improved greatly if they could be steadied. I cannot remember now where I bought my clamp from...

It consisted of two metal C-shaped pieces that were hinged and wrapped around one of the main barrels of Bushnells. The bottom piece jogged in the middle with a hole that exactly fit the screw of my tripod. A wing nut was tightened to hold the metal rings together. I later added some of that grippy drawer material to improve (and at the same time soften) grip. It worked well. And I immediately enjoyed the benefits of a steady binocular view.

But it wasn't long (it seemed) that the lower clamp piece snapped. The materials looked like "white metal" I remember my grandfather talking about. And I suspected it would be difficult to repair.

Last summer, I created elaborate drawings for a hand-made unit. I bought hinges, wing nuts, long bolts, and so on. All that remained was to find a good piece of wood. All the designs "hinged" (if you'll forgive the pun) on the original design.

Last night, while watching TVO, I became inspired after Bob MacDonald--the host of Quirks and Quarks--while talking about the Sun, showed how you could use your binos to safely do a projection of the Sun onto a piece of paper. As the pair of bright white circles danced around, he recommended that mounting to a tripod would improve the image.

So today I headed out to the garage, Manfrotto in one hand, Bushnells in the other, determined to build a clamp. I reflected back to an alternate design that had wafted briefly through my mind: quite simply a flat board with a string, rubber band, or bungee, holding down the field glasses. I knew I had an old rubber bungee from (presumably) an old car roof rack system. I stumbled across a small floor laminate board scrap. And 30 minutes later, I had a working clamp!

In short order I had the binos aimed to the Sun projecting a 1" image onto a plain white sheet of heavy stock paper. And there, just off centre, was a sunspot!

I verified the location via updated images from SOHO. Cool. Or should I say: hot!

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