Capella Logo

"Whereas other animals hang their heads and look at the ground, he made man stand erect, bidding him look up to heaven, and lift his head to the stars."
Metamorphosis, Ovid (Roman poet, 43 BC - AD 17?)

Many people have requested plans for the tripod german equatorial mount we built for Michelle's telescope, CAPELLA, so I am providing the plans here on the Web for general and wide access. Feel free to use them and link to them, but do not redistribute them. If you have problems getting or printing the plans from this site, drop me some email ( and we'll see what we can do to get you a hard copy.

I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the Solar Physics Group at Montana State University for providing space on their server for these plans.


I haven't provided much in the way of describing anything about telescopes in these documents -- they are just the raw plans. It will likely require some basic level of knowledge about how a scope works and the jargon associated with equatorial telescopes (e.g. you probably need to know what a declination bearing is).

For those interested in building telescopes, I strongly recommend the following two books, which also have plans for telescopes in them, but also teach the lingo and the basics of the craft.

BULLET Build Your Own Telescope, Richard Berry
BULLET Making & Enjoying Telescopes, Robert Miller and Kenneth Wilson


Having no metal working skills and no access to machining tools, I have limited my telescope building to wooden construction. Everything you see on these pages was constructed using a jigsaw and a hand drill in the carport of my apartment. Nothing fancy (e.g. a drill press, or a radial arm saw) is required to build this telescope. That is not to say fancy tools won't make your life easier -- if you've got them, use them! If you don't got them, don't worry!

I have tried to make the plans as detailed as possible, but if I have learned anything at all about building telescopes, it is that there is always a better way to do something. I suggest using these plans as a guide -- if you are building and think you can improve on the design, do it! The better your scope performs, the better views you will have of the sky.

There are 20 pages of plans, listed and numbered in roughly the order that I built everything. The first 13 are for parts construction, and the last 7 are for the final assembly of the mount. I've also included a page of some pictures Michelle and I have of the scope.


BULLET 01: Declination Bearing Blocks
BULLET 02: Declination Box
BULLET 03: Cradle, Part 1
BULLET 04: Cradle, Part 2
BULLET 05: Pier Head
BULLET 06: Main Pier
BULLET 07: Pier Base
BULLET 08: Miscellaneous Parts 1
BULLET 09: Miscellaneous Parts 2
BULLET 10: Tripod Leg (Top View)
BULLET 11: Tripod Leg (Bottom View)
BULLET 12: Tripod Center Ring
BULLET 13: Bearing Surfaces
BULLET 14: Assembly 1
BULLET 15: Assembly 2
BULLET 16: Assembly 3
BULLET 17: Assembly 4
BULLET 18: Assembly 5
BULLET 19: Assembly 6
BULLET 20: Assembly 7
BULLET Some Pictures

Page Maintained by: Shane L. Larson (
Last Updated: 7 December 1997