Homemade Advanced VX Mount Pier

Celestron Advanced VX Mount Pier Project

This webpage documents construction of a homemade Celestron Advanced VX Mount pier. The project goal was to build an inexpensive coupling bracket to attach the AVX mount to my existing observatory pier (below photo); this design could easily be adapted to other existing piers or a new build. Typical prices for an AVX pier top plate and adaptor are in excess of $300 USD. This project cost approx. $20 and was completed in a single weekend. Due to recent instances of my equipment photos being posted without my permission on eBay (used in adds for C8's, C90's, and SCT accessories), I have had to watermark my equipment photos.    

Project Background and Design Requirements

The first time I assembled the AVX mount in my observatory, I immediately recognized that the tripod occupied too much floor space. I decided to pier mount the AVX, however I am not willing to spend in excess of $300 USD on a pier top plate and adapter. Since I have no plans to go back to using my wedge mounted C8, I decided to modify my existing pier. Rather than mounting the AVX equatorial head on top of the existing pier, I decided to take a simpler approach and construct a bracket system to compress and hold the AVX tripod around the existing pier; this also eliminated having to store the unused AVX tripod in my basement. The project design requirements were:
  1. The entire AVX pier coupler must cost less than $30 USD
  2. Couple the AVX tripod to the pier in a manner that reduces the tripod footprint but retains stability
  3. Use only common tools and construction materials

AVX Pier Coupler

I began by cutting the top off of the old C8 pier (below left photo). The AVX coupler is a series of plywood disks that slide onto the existing pier (below middle photo) and hold the AVX tripod against the pier. The bottom disk is made from two 1.8 cm thick plywood disks that are glued and screwed together. The AVX tripod sits on the bottom disk, which rests against the concrete pier base. The middle and top disks are 1.8 cm thick plywood with 5.1 cm diameter cut outs to accomodate the AVX tripod legs. Plywood tabs fit around the tripod legs and press the AVX tripod into the pier coupler (below right photo); the plywood tabs have 5.1 cm diameter holes that tightly fit around the tripod legs, and are screwed into the plywood disks.  There are three M8 set screws under the middle and top plywood disks to hold everything secure against the central pier and prevent movement.  Losening the set screws allows the entire mount to be rotated around the pier for rough polar alignment. Final polar alignment uses the AVX mount alignment screws.