NOTE: The Tracker V2 I described below had a major flaw: the curved threaded rod. It was removed from the design and replaced with a straight section of Acme rod in Tracker V2.1, which works very well. See Tracker V2.1 for more information and be aware that using a curved section of standard threaded rod is a bad idea! Further improvements and a paint job were added for Tracker V2.2.
Having finished a first attempt at building a working Star Tracker, I’ve recently set out to build a second (final) version. The goal was to use scavenged (read: FREE) mechanical components and cheap electronics from eBay China to build an automated tracking mount which could be used to capture high-quality DSO (Deep Space Object) and Planetary images. I’ve also made an attempt to make it look nice.
The main body of the tracker was based around the pivot assembly – a modified treadmill roller. Treadmills contain a large amount of useful mechanical and electrical components, so I try to pick up any old treadmills being given away on the local classifieds. After disassembling the roller, I shortened the shaft and body to a practical and aesthetically pleasing length.