I had nothing to do one rainy Saturday, so decided to organize my work a bit. I started by taking apart a Series IV 'Stiletto' focuser.
My intent was to write an assembly reference manual so that my boys
could refer to some simple printed instructions on a particular manufacturing step. This would be useful just in case I fell into an open irrigation canal one day and disappeared.
When done, I was utterly amazed! I counted 52 separate parts - many custom-made. And there were over 101 production steps from start to finish. I couldn't believe that all this went into a gadget that started out as a simple way to focus. It then dawned on me that life had sneaked up and turned the 'Stiletto' into a real product somewhere along the line... and a lot of work!
As I began to describe each component and assembly step, I found
each part and operation had a little trick or 'tweak' that went along
with it. These little 'how-tos' developed over time mostly from
doing the wrong thing first. Some people call this 'learning', but
I just wanted to make it right. I'm not an engineer, but teach math
and computer science. So, in the back of my mind I kept wondering
if this was real engineering. The next Monday I found this unexpected
email waiting in my inbox:
"Richard - I've been looking for a quality grating focuser for my
customers for some time now. All the others have "gone by the wayside"
for one reason or another (i.e Celestron's MMFF-55, SureSharp, etc.).
I just thought I would let you know that I am adding links to your
site from mine.
Thanks for offering a "grate" product. Hah!
Van Slyke Engineering "
The moral of the story, of course, is to not think too much about
the meaning of life - just keep doing what you’re doing the best
that you can. Still it’s nice to know some folks think the Series IV
is a ‘grate’ product. I hope you will too.