The 16″ Starfinder is quite a big bruiser and as such, because of its size, is considered by most as a two person telescope to load, unload and set up. With the use of a “Dolly,” this telescope can be handled by just one person. However, even with the usage of locking wheels, the telescope will still move a little when you “turn” your scope to locate an object.
This could be a little irritating, but if you are all alone, it is quite acceptable. Especially as you would not be able to be out viewing without the use of a dolly. * This idea can be adapted to suit smaller Dobsonian telescopes if you have one.
In the photo’s, I have made just such a dolly to enable me to handle and set up without any help from anyone else. As you can see from the photo’s below, I have opted to use four (4) dolly wheels, two (2) which have wheel locks to keep the telescope in place once positioned.
The four wheel dolly is good for usage on a “FLAT” surface, like a parking lot or other paved or cement surfaces.However, if you will be using the dolly on uneven ground, I would highly recommend making a three (3) wheel dolly to prevent the scope from teetering back and fourth while in use and use two (2) locking wheels.
The “rubber feet,” provided with the Dobsonian mount from Meade, “should” be used as noted in your Meade instructions. The rubber feet will hold the Dob. mount to the dolly pretty securely under the given weight of the Starfinder.
However, you may wish to add three or four bumper guards to the perimeter of the dolly for extra security. That’s to prevent the Dob. mount from sliding off the dolly should any of the wheels hit something, stopping movement abruptly while moving your telescope.
I am using a good grade plywood that is 5/8″ thick and 36″ in diameter. You can obtain a 36″ square piece of 5/8″ plywood and cut it into a circular 36″ disk using a saber saw.
However, many “LARGE” hardware stores already have pre-cut 5/8″x36″ plywood disks available. This was the case for me when I went down to the local Home Depot store to obtain the materials for the dolly.
In the pic I’ve already positioned, marked, drilled and mounted the dolly wheels onto the 5/8″x36″ plywood disc. If you look closely, you will note that I have also recessed the washer and top of the 5/16’x1-1/4″ bolt head into the plywood surface.
I used a 3/4″ wood drill bit for the recess. This was done to prevent an uneven surface in the event that one of the “rubber feet” on the bottom of the Dobsonian mount rested on one of the bolt heads.
You will need the 5/8″ thickness to support the bolts used to secure the dolly wheels and to keep them from pulling through the plywood under the weight of the Starfinder.
I used a 5/16’x1-1/4″ bolt, two washers each and a 5/16″ hex nut to secure each of the four mounting positions in the wheel mounting plate to the plywood disk. Source