Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Cupholder Optional

Back in the fall of 'ought two, my family outgrew our '91 Civic Wagon, and I was forced to buy a minivan.

Horrible a prospect as this was, it meant that I could finally retire my sixteen-year-old '87 Civic, the 'Death Car' of its day.

As it happened, that same season a college chum of mine came back from several years of working in Germany with no family, no job, and no real base for American operations. He cheerfully took the Death Car off my hands (...and would soon drive it to Mexico, but that's another story...), which solved both of our problems.

It was a 4-door sedan, which he converted to a sleeper by ripping out the passenger seats, and building in a plywood sleeping platform. The conversion took place in my driveway (...with my tools...), so he drove off into the sunset and left me the passenger-side bucket seat.

The seat has lived in my storage shed ever since - nearly a decade now - until I finally got around to putting it to use.

This year, in preparing for the transit of Venus, I went to NEAF
and was inspired to FINALLY convert my old car seat to an astronomical viewing chair. It was seeing a $350 observing chair that sparked me into motion. (I have a picture somewhere.)
 Just binocular holders ran into three digits:
e.g., is $300
 here's a homebrew version:

Anyway, see:
 for examples of what I'm working toward.

 $5 in PVC pipe, $5 PVC fittings, a $13 Lazy-Susan bearing, $7 of SAE seat-mounting hardware, and I'm on my way. I probably have enough lumber on hand for most of this.

 (It should probably get some sort of feet to lift it off the damp ground, though adding an azimuth circle and GPS is probably overkill. (GoTo drive! Selsyn motors!) Come to think of it, red LED running lights might be needed.) So maybe another $20 for more fittings and hardware - cupholder optional - and then it'll be time for a decent pair of astro binoculars. (I have my eye on the Chinese-made Celestron 20x80s, $100.)

Dammit, back in 2002 I should have kept the seatbelt.....

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