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PARTICLE WAVE TECHNOLOGIES - MONOLITH MODEL TRIPODS
Above: PWTEC Monolith tripods in red and black finish (27,955 bytes).
The Monolith are a series of portable tripods that exceeds most people's expectations for lightweight and rigid payload handling and disappoint on no count. Monolith differs from it's cousin the Pinnacle tripod in that the Monolith will tend to weigh a bit more than the Pinnacle of comparable height. The Monolith does allow the customer to make many choices to personalize it to suit a preference however it can not accept the option of electromechanical control of elevation, Monolith is a fixed height tripod that allows only some modest changes of height by varying the angle of the extended leg. Monolith produces better rigidity dollar for dollar than the more complicated Pinnacle. While both tripods represent the best innovative and aesthetically pleasing application of technology - the Monolith does it but with a hammer too.
Right: Meade Instruments 14 inch aperture Cassegrain telescope optical tube assembly on Mountain Instruments MI250 German Mount with Losmandy Gemini Control System, supported by Monolith tripod. Tripod choices include Pier Adapter, finish is clear coat (natural aluminum), with standard flat feet on leg tips, and optional JMI Wheeley Bars tripod dolly (156,555 bytes).
Monolith supports an astronomical telescope mount and other payloads with excellent rigidity, with a more economical yet still comparatively light weight construction. The design is based upon a pier post with three fixed length legs. The legs are machined of aluminum alloy with extensive milling to provide good strength and rigidity where needed, and lighten the weight where possible. The pier post and leg hinge are designed to evenly distribute the forces on the pier down through the three extending legs. The legs fold in for travel, and extend as necessary to form a wide and stable footprint. Each of the three legs is extended independently, and so the pier can be leveled by changing the angle of each leg.
Left: As the legs of the Monolith pivot inwards, the support rods that span from the pier to the leg will retract and store within the pier (35,300 bytes).
The PWTEC tripods are made so that one size of pier can be used to support any one of a number of mounts attached to it. To install a mount onto the tripod one must first bolt the appropriate optional Pier Adapter onto the top of the tripod's open pier post. These fully machined adapter plates are made in either a circular, square or rectangular profile fitted to accept any one or more of the poplar mounts made by Astro-Physics, Losmandy, Mountain Instruments, OGS, Software Bisque, Takahashi. Furthermore, there are Universal Adapter Plates that can accept or be easily modified to fit many other custom instruments.
Some of the Pier Adapters are made to accommodate more than one model of mount. For example, we offer a Rotating Pier Adapter made to support either the Astro-Physics 900GTO or the 1200GTO mount heads. And the adapters work with any fine azimuth adjustment mechanisms provided with the mount. So there is no need to buy several tripods, and you may need only Pier Adapter. This versatility is among the long term benefits made possible by intelligent engineering.
The Pier Adapter incorporates a bubble level so that when working in conjunction with the leg extensions then the fine adjustment Leveling Feet one can attain remarkably good accuracy. So while it is not absolutely necessary to level a platform to support a German Mount (the head can be adjusted to compensate), by doing so then one will have minimal need of changing the tilt (elevation) of the mount head as long as it is used at the same site or at a similar latitude.
The Pier Adapter construction is fully nonferrous and so to aid in setting up the tripod to be Pole Aligned a simple magnetic compass is installed recessed into the plate. This aid is coarse in resolution but it will get you started, pointing close enough to make fine adjustments at the mount head, or if you ordered it so equipped (as illustrated below) by unlocking and then rotating the entire Pier Adapter with payload. Note the accuracy of finding a celestial pole with a magnetic compass varies by region and by Longitude, so consult area topographic charts to obtain the local magnetic deviation if you wish to learn more about using a compass to assist in Pole Alignment.
Furthermore, the Pier Adapters permit the tripod to accommodate much smaller mounts and other components than those that the tripod is engineered to support. So if one buys the 10 inch diameter Pinnacle then it can also be used to support larger mounts including the 1200GTO, but with a Pier Adapter then the same tripod can be used to support a much smaller diameter head such as the Losmandy G-11, or the Celestron CGE. And the Pier Adapters are so well thought out that the larger diameter Pier will not interfere with the operation the mount or typical attached payloads.
Fine adjustments to the leveling of the system can be made with Leveling Feet provided as standard equipment by Company Seven. The feet provided with these tripods will have the customers choice of either a flat or spiked bottom; flat for hard surfaces and spiked to dig into dirt and other soft surfaces. And adapting one of the features developed by Company Seven working with PWTEC, either foot arrangement can be bolted in place onto a platform or slab.
Above Left to Right: Flat Leveling Feet installed on Pinnacle tripod, Spiked Leveling Feet installed on Monolith tripod.
The adaptation of good ideas into sound engineering occur quickly as evidenced by the carrying handle provided with each Monolith tripod. It was not well enough to provide a simple handle, but the handle is made to be quickly rotated 180 degrees by hand with no tools. So when one picks up the Monolith by this handle the grip can be closest to the center of gravity regardless of whether or not the tripod is carried with the Pier Adapter installed or not.
Left: Carrying Handle provided as standard equipment with the Monolith. Note how even this component is carefully made and milled to preserve strength but also eliminate unnecessary weight (10,991 bytes).
For those who wish to use their Monolith with several telescopes that vary in physical length, then one can attach an optional Pier Extension to provide the added elevation of the platform to suit the observers comfort.
Particle Wave Technologies again came to our mind when Company Seven was looking for solutions to support some of our larger industrial and government products. Our requirements went beyond those of our typical amateur consumer and were not constrained by budget; we were pushing the envelope balancing rigidity with light weight while also factoring in resistance to high wind loading and endurance to environmental extremes from seashore to desert environments. With some cooperation PWTEC was able to start with one of their products and gradually evolve it to meet our requirements. We were so impressed with the desire of the founder of PWTEC to work with us to make a successful product that we decided to offer some of his consumer oriented product for sale to our amateur astronomy clients. And so today we consider these to be the most sophisticated and elegant products of their class, well at home with our premium Fork and German Equatorial Mounts mounts by Astro-Physics, Losmandy, Optical Guidance System (OGS), as well as for those who demand better for their Celestron and Meade Instruments telescopes.
Features common to the Particle Wave Technologies platforms include:
• Fully CNC machined from 6061 and 7075 aircraft quality Aluminum and 17-4ph Stainless Steel - machined to extremely close tolerances
• Optional construction of some components from composites providing even lower weight
• Corrosion resistant materials and finish
• Modular design incorporating structural reinforced and ribbed for maximum strength, rigidity and weight savings
• Internally baffled to reduce dampening time
• Interference fit, zero play leg pivots - Teflon coated bearings for effortless opening and closing of the legs
• Legs adjustable in spread - tripod can be leveled then locked in virtually any position
• Fully supported leg design
• Four surface positive leg lock mechanism - no knobs
• Fine height adjustment built-into the feet for accurate leveling
• Interchangeable shoes for the feet - adapts to different surfaces
• Lightweight and compact for transport
• Superb machining and assembly quality control
• Stunning looks
• Low maintenance
• Available in clear, red, blue, or black anodized - custom colors quoted by request
Right: Losmandy G-11 Mount with Gemini 'Go To' control system installed on Particle Wave Technologies Monolith tripod.
To learn more about how these products are developed and precisely manufactured read our illustrated page describing the Monolith Tripod from concept to reality.
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