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last updated 7/16/23

Welcome to the SSV Community Page for Box Making

How to make boxes for a 1-lens SSV or 2-lens SSV

                for lenses

Figure 1. Here we see the two basic parts for a 2-lens SSV. The larger box is not a standard Uline box but was cut down from a much larger box found along the street side on trash day. The smaller box was collected at a liquor store and found to be a perfect fit inside the larger box with no wiggle. It became the Barlow holder and saved us a little bit of gluing.

General Comments

After the 2017 total solar eclipse we began thinking about the next eclipse and how the solar viewers we devised could be more easily construed, especially for those who lack access to a wood-working shop. We had already concluded they should be made with cardboard and glue when community member Bart Thomas came up with the idea of using an off-the-shelf box made by Uline as the framework for the SSV. Since we are now teach everyone to fix the objective lens 36 inches from the screen, the skinny Uline box 36 inches long makes a perfect viewer. In this new design, the Barlow lens is in a movable holder that is adjusted to achieve focus.

Suppose there is not enough time to order a Uline box or perhaps you are making a 1-lens SSV and the Uline box is an unnecessary expense. You can make your own box by cutting up and gluing together various east to find cardboard boxes. Some viewers will read this section and look at the picture at the top of the page and set out to complete the task. Other folks want a step by step dissertation on how it is done. I know this because you have told me so and there nothing wrong with that. We want to help everyone be successful with their SSV. So those of you who don't need the rest of this page, go do it. For those of you who want to see how we made our boxes, the rest of this page is for you.

Step One is Box Size

Decide on the final size of your box. Are you making a 1-lens SSV? Then you want to end up with a 3-sided box whose length depends on the power of your eyeglass lens. Check Table I in the section on 1-lens SSVs. A +1 diopter eyeglass lens will give you the largest image and you will need to make a box 39 inches long. A +2 lens will need a box 20 inches long. These boxes could have ends that are 3 inches by 3 inches or larger. With the 1-lens viewer that size is relatively unimportant.

If you are making the two lens SSV, the you should aim for a box 6 x 6 x 36.

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