Custom Telescope Case

I have picked up more hobbies over time, and one of my newly rekindled hobbies is stargazing / astronomy. I picked up a used 114mm Newtonian reflector telescope and needed a sturdy travel case for it, and quickly. While there are some commercial options available, none would make it to me in time for my travels, so I decided to build one myself.

I decided to make the box large enough to hold the scope optical tube assembly (OTA) with the focuser and finder scope still installed. This made the case slightly larger dimensions, but does allow for more foam around it.

The basic idea is a box that allows about 2″ of foam on each end of the box. The foam is cut to match the diameter of the tube and suspend it mid-box. Most of this box was made from scrap wood I had already, so it’s 1/4″ plywood for the top/bottom/sides and 3/4″ plywood for the ends. Joints are glued and brad-nailed together. The 1/4″ plywood is to keep the weight down.

With the 1/4″ being a little flimsy, I decided to stiffen it by adding some 3/4″ strips of pine inside. This will help stiffen/straighten the box without adding a ton of weight. it also gives plenty of surface area for glue to attach the bottom panel.

A quick test fit shows the OTA will fit nicely in the box!

I decided to add a little protection by adding some 1/4″ thick strips of oak to the edges. These are cut to length and glued/nailed in place.

The top is a piece of plywood that is edged with Oak. The oak is rabbeted to allow the plywood to be recessed. The corners are mitered for a clean look.

A few stainless hinges, some cheap rope to keep the lid from opening too far, and the custom CNC cut foam pieces complete the package. The gap around the tube is just large enough to slide in my box of eyepieces in the bottom, housed in an old cigar box!

Here’s a quick look at the foam pieces I cut to suspend the tube.