Sunday, November 20, 2011

Custom Cases for Losmandy GM-8

In preparation for next year's trip to Haleakala, I created two custom transport cases used for my Losmandy GM-8 Mount.  The tripod and counterweight are placed in a High Performance Resin Case HPRC6300 and GEM head and controllers in a Pelican Storm iM2620.  Total weights are 49lb and 46lb respectively.  Technically, the HPRC-6300 is 62.5" overall size.  I am hoping this is close enough to 62".  Cases are both available from

The HPRC6300 is a sold as a tripod case and is the only hard-sided model I found that opens like a coffin, rather than like a tube.  This makes it ease to pack and access other items. Under the tripod is a telescope cover, to the right of the tripod is a lithium power supply.  The counterweight and shaft are nestled in between the tripod legs in a "swimming noodle" split down the middle.  Other bags contain cables etc.

Here is everything unbundled from the HPRC6300.  I created some custom foam blocks to support the tripod on either end.  A noodle covers the counterweight shaft and another snaps on the outside of the upper tripod leg holding the tripod firmly in place when the lid is closed.  The bags contain various cables and power adapters.

I built the custom insert for the Pelican iM2620 case by layering stiff foam sheets. I used a Poyethylene Foam Sheet from Foam Factory.  It is a 2" thick sheet of 2.2lb polyethylene closed-cell foam.  A single quarter sheet is just enough to create the needed 4 layers.  All foam cuts were made with an electric kitchen knife.  The bottom layer has slots to accommodate the ADM saddle plate and the base.  

Second layer of foam does most of the work of holding the mount head.  Layers have been glued using Contact Cement from hardware store.  I tried the recommended Super 77 spray glue but that was both harder to control and less effective as an adhesive.

Third layer similar in profile.  Notch in the lower left is to hold some counterweights.  Recessed areas in the center holds the Gemini board and hand controller in place.

Mount sits down in the holes.  I have left extra room for the polar scope which I have yet to receive from Losmandy.

This extra piece of foam provides a platform for extra bits in the next image. Also helps hold the mount in place.

The Gemini module and hand controller fit in the recessed notches.  The ADM dual saddle plate rests on top of the extra foam platform.  Extra counterweights sit in their slot.  Not shown is a final piece of 2" foam wedged into the lid of the case with two holes to accommodate the motor housings. When the lid is closed, everything is pressed firmly and no stress is placed on the motor housings.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Relevant comments and questions are welcome but submissions with spam-links will not be published.