last updated 01/25/24

The SSV Community Web Page of Member's Tips

3-D Printed SSVs

Long Ta just sent us pictures of his 3-D printed SSV. His method makes it easy to have precise alignment of the lenses and also easily produces parallel vertical supports for the lenses and the screen. He has promised to make his code available so you can reproduce his design if you have access to a 3-D printer. 


Below is one of his SSVs. Every SSV has better image contrast if a cardboard  sheet is positioned to cast a large shadow as Long as done with this one. We will post the code as soon as we have his link so you can use it to print your own SSV.


A Polar Axis Mount for the SSV

Many SSV Community members are satisfied to lean the viewer against a rigid object for support and aiming Children seem to enjoy the task of keeping a viewer mounted in this way always aimed to keep the Sun in view; however, some among us who are accustomed to tracking celestial objects using an equatorial mount, desire to have their SSV work in a similar fashion.

John Dixon has devised a simple mount with a polar axis that does this job very well. His mount use pipe fittings and galvanized plumbing pipe available from a good hardware store or one of the home improvement stores. The pipe comes in various lengths already threaded on both ends (called "pipe nipples" in the trade) so no cutting should be necessary.

His mount also has a wooden cradle to hold the SSV and adjust the angle to the declination of the Sun on eclipse day. The range of motion of the cradle need be only enough above or below the celestial equator (the position where the SSV body is perpendicular to the pipe) to point the viewer at the Sun.


A mount built for any eclipse needs to adjust to twice the angle of the ecliptic with the celestial equator. In other words twice 23½°. We suggest 50° or even a little more just to be safe.


The base of the mount has the plumbing flange on a piece of wood that is attached to a bracket bent to form an angle that is the complement of the latitude of the observer. The pipe in the picture is firmly threaded into the flange and does not rotate. Because of its length it is also braced by the cinder block that is mostly out of the picture.

To the right we see the equatorial head of John's mount. The flange is not tightly threaded onto the pipe so that the top of his mount can smoothly rotate to follow the Sun as long as the polar axis had been roughly aligned with geographic north. This process need not be that precise so that a cell phone or a simple magnetic compass is all that is necessary.


More items will be added as they are sent to us.

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