Originally posted on Make::
Oakland resident Douglas Smith has a degree in architecture from UC Berkeley, and works as a BIM / CAD manager at the San Francisco offices of internationally-renowned skyscraper architects Skidmore Owings & Merrill. In 2006, co-worker and amateur astronomer David Frey persuaded him to take an amateur telescope-making class at The Randall Museum, taught by famous amateur astronomer John Dobson.
In 2010, Smith unveiled FirstLight, a homemade reflecting telescope with a 16.5″ primary mirror and a focal length of 117″. It’s 10′ long, fully assembled, with an aluminum truss-tube design that keeps the weight down to just 160 lbs. The base is a signature Dobsonian altitude-azimuth design, with extra amenities such as LED-illuminated scales, a fan to prevent condensation on the mirror, and detachable barrow-wheels for easier movement. Smith ground the large primary mirror, by hand, from a piece of porthole glass.
Smith is now secretary of the
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