Mark Wrigley of Sheffield, England has completed the construction of a telescope made with 3D printing. Although, not entirely composed of 3D printed parts, this telescope, dubbed the PiKon, does contain a vast amount of 3D printed parts. The telescope is available for purchase, but does require a fairly strong design experience from users when constructing the telescope.
The PiKon is actually quite basic – it is a standard 113 mm Newtonian telescope. In this type of telescope, light is captured inside of a tube and 2 mirrors reflect the light back up the tube to form an image in the eyepiece. The tube ends, telescope tripod, focus dial, and mounts & casing for the imaging system are all 3D printed parts while the mirrors, nuts, bolts, springs and complete imaging system are all non-3D printed parts.
All of these 3D printed parts are fairly simple in complexity and easy to 3D print for the majority of printers available on the market. The assembly process itself is also fairly easy to do for users. The major challenge lies in the calibration and operation of the telescope because of the Pi-powered camera system. This system is designed to take astronomical photos which means users will have to work with a trial & error mentality in order to obtain the desired results. Users must also conduct complex astrophotography data processing to combine images that in turn produce useful data.
This telescope provides users with a fun, yet complex project. The non-3D printed assembly parts are available for purchase from PiKon for those who have access to the 3D printer to produce the required 3D printed components. For those not wishing to take on the construction process, completely assembled telescopes are also available for purchase.