Following the immense amount of interest in our prototype case design and telescopes at Starmus we are nearly ready to go into production.  Below are a selection of images showing the workmanship of our prototype box design. We would really appreciate your input as to what features you feel could be included, such as lining, lights, special compartments, chart holder or even hip flask storage.... Yes we have been asked for this! We look forward to you helping us create the ultimate storage, display or transportation case for your cherished refractor. Prices will start from £300.00 +VAT depending on spec.
The sample below feature a 60mm f16.7 Carton Terminator in 23.6 carat gold plate in Moonrakers unique and signature polished colour combination. Gold has better thermal qualities than brass, is less then half the weight of brass and does not tarnish or need lacquering..............Why have brass when you can have gold.


The Gold option is available on all telescopes in the Moonraker range the price of the f16.7 60mm Terrninator is just £1,200.00 + VAT. Brass is an option offered but it weighs twice as much.
 
 
Hard at it again after an interesting 24 hours, thanks to everybody who contacted me for your support.
This scope is to be finished in anodized gold and polished aluminium and is designed to function with a 1.25" prism with no reducer and a 2" diagonal and herschal wedge. It will be finished with new style rings and finderscope mount. By reducing the width of the rings and using a 7" losmandy plate proportions will be kept as they should be, using a single ring on this size scope I feel not an option from an aesthetic perspective. The rings and focuser {as is} shown are just for testing the scopes in-focus. More later................
 
 

Recent brass and gold examples below.......................................... Three other brass and gold scopes are in production at present, along with powder coated and anodized models and a new stunning coloured 150mm f12, hopefully ready in time for Astrofest 2015 and NEAF.
 
 
Only Joking, but here are a few precious keepers that clients have sent or deliverd to have that Moonraker service. Re-baffling, chopping one, making adapters and having new livery. Scopes include a Tak 150mm, a large D&G and a Vixen super Polaris.
All superb scopes, all unique......Just like their owners. Also another 102 f7 triplet ready for dispatch, again as unique as the new owner..........
 
 
It's exciting days at Moonraker, Whilst trying to build two new designs in time for the Shows next year I am being kept very busy with new orders from clients requesting unique telescopes. Over and above this I'm refurbishing numerous scopes and building counterweight systems for clients who like their scopes just the way they are. Below are a few images of five of fifteen scopes starting to take shape from a 60mm triplet f7, NASA 94mm triplet f7, 90mm Vixen f8, Carton 102 f13 and a Moonraker 150mm f12, variety is surely the spice of life. Scopes are just like people, all unique each with it's own personality, style and designation.................Oh... and the four bags and bin all containing swarf is from two days serious manual turning on two lathes. On day two I had to rig up a cooling system to the motor as long term protection against cooking it!
 
 
This is only a small selection of work in progress for some custom builds underway since my return from the Starmus conference. All of the blanks and tubes are just for counter cells, cells and dew shields ranging in size from 2.5" to 8". The coloured samples are test pieces having spent the summer hunting out the best anodizers in the south east of the UK. So moonraker can now offer virtually any colour including clear anodized in hard and normal coatings with the option for lacquer coating.
 
 
I came back from the Starmus conference today and what a fantastic experience it has been, and the venue the five star Ritz Carlton was amazing as were the staff. Special thanks to Ashley and Sarah Doll for their help throughout the week.


Over 650 people attended and the response was excellent. I'm not claiming the two comments below as endorsements, but if Professor Steven Hawkins stops buy and the words are "cool" and Brian May says "They are absolutely beautiful, stunning" I'm a happy telescope maker.


I learn't whilst there that you never know who you're talking to as everyone is dressed down for the hot weather, so I ended up meeting astronauts, editors, designers and incredible entrepreneurs from around the world. Looks like Moonraker is going to be opening up in Moscow after Christmas, that will be exciting, more news as things progress.


Apologies for not responding to people for the past week, I'm back on the case now and back in the workshop as of tomorrow the 29th Sept.


I didn't do any selfie's or whatever, but here are a few images of the scopes and some shots of the venue.


See images on blog below
 
 
Off to Starmus this weekend, looking forward to meeting some clients and a whole bunch of interesting people at a fantastic conference. If I don't manage to answer any emails please be patient, I'm back on the 30th Sept.
In the interim, things are getting busy with three new scope builds in the pipe line, another shop order for three 90mm Galaxy refractors, quite a few accessory commissions  and eight scopes already underway, not to mention the new designs and scopes for Astrofest and NEAF in2015. Looks like I'm going to have to hit the ground running on my return...........


A nice little comment from a small job which ended up in Canada this week.



"Hi Mark,  just wanted to let you know I picked up my 'plug and adapter' tonight. Truly a work of art! And it sure looks good in my Moonlight focuser on the end of my big Meade LX600. Many thanks again. Pat"


Don't forget, if you have a telescope that needs re-building and customising to a high standard please get in touch. I'm currently working of refractors from 60mm to 204mm, triplets and doublets.



 
 
It may seem like a small job, but the problem was to mate two parts of a telescope to fit an existing Altair tube and focuser. This was a real head scratcher. Now, no one's perfect and having spent three hours machining the perfect threaded adapter with the smoothest lip to take a focuser I got distracted....it happens, and I took 0.25mm too much off the thread. ArHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
You live and learn, so I had a re-think and came up with an improved, lighter and perfect solution.


It may not look much, but I'm pleased with the result and it works a dream. So don't forget, never get distracted when on a lathe. Should you need any work carried out on your scopes please do get in touch. Solomon only gained his wisdom after making a few mistakes, you never learn through happiness only pain. 


Oh, regarding the new tripods, they are coming and the price will be very competitive, so don't rush out just yet and buy a tripod wait until you see what we have to offer. These tripods can also be customised to suit your exact needs.
 
 
The ultimate in Telescope cases, Made in England by a New subsidiary to Moonraker Telescopes. The first prototype from Cruickshank-Inns & Turner. I met Paul, a master craftsman, cabinet maker and of course amateur astronomer, after he contacted me regarding some work on one of his refractors. We got chatting about life the universe and everything, realised the answer was indeed 42 and decided we could work together to provide bespoke handmade accessories for refractors.
I'm hands off on the woodwork and leave this skilled job to Paul who machines every part of the box in his workshop, using seasoned timber. You'll not find any cheap plywood, fixings and furniture here. A case is like a frame it suggests the value and importance to the owner of the telescope it houses.


This prototype, housing an f16.7 60mm Tesla Terminator, has a bare interior at present, save for the lidded storage box for eye pieces and diagonals etc. Your bespoke case will have whatever compartment lights etc you feel necessary to use the case in the field or as a presentation piece. From cork faced rests on the stainless steel hinged back, to leather clad sledge runners on the bottom this is a beautifully made work of art. 

The modern classic tripod coming soon. When it comes to the tripod we have been doing a lot of testing and research and have taken our lead from classic and modern designs to create a tripod capable of taking numerous mounts from FTX though to Sabre mounts as well as EQ mounts up to the size of an EQ6. Finished in a choice of woods and incorporating polished or brass metal work {this bit I do!} the tripod will be a perfect accessory for any classic or modern refractor that you use on a regular basis or have permanently mounted to be admired in your home.


The pine used is Scandinavian sawn joinery Redwood.
Top grade Chudova Birch Lamination Plywood top bottom and scope cradles (felt lined)
The hinges are stainless.
latches are Protex medium duty Mild steel zinc plated with safety catch (stainless steel optional and on future hardwood boxes?)
'New old stock' stitched Leather handle
Leather topped sledge runners and feet. (On future ones  the leather will be wrapped over the ends of the runners then they will be protected up against the lip of the side) Improvements already!

External Danish oil finish.