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DIY Solar Filters for Telescopes and Cameras
Believe it or not, it's actually possible to create safe solar viewing filters for telescopes and cameras by hand. All you will need is some solar film and a few readily available supplies. If you follow the instructions listed below you'll be done with your filter and out observing the sun in no time.
The Supplies You'll Need Are...
Non-stick painter's or gaffer's tape: Make sure that it's non-stick so as not to have your equipment covered with sticky residue once you're done with solar observing.
Wide-tip marker: The solar film is highly reflective so a thick marker will help you see the marks you will need to cut later. Permanent marker works great.
Scissors: Standard office-style scissors should do, nothing fancy. However, dull scissors will make cutting the solar film more difficult, so make sure they're sharp.
Solar film: This is the material that you will use to ultimately make the filter. Several types are available for sale on our website.
For telescopes, use a cover with a removable center: The center hole is where the filter will ultimately be placed, so a cover like this is the best choice for telescopes.
For cameras, use a round lens hood: Using a lens hood of this type will make applying the solar filter easy.
Avoid fluted hoods: This type of hood makes creating a safe filter extremely difficult, as it's hard to cover the entire hood to eliminate all gaps. Avoid this hood type.
Creating a Telescope Filter
Place the outer cover on the solar film and trace the outside with the marker: This will give you a circle on the solar film roughly the size of the telescope cover.
Cut out the circle, leaving a small gap inside the line: The filter will need to fit inside the outer telescope cover, so a small gap of about 1cm is needed.
Place the solar film inside the cover, trimming it to fit: Trim it so that it can rest as flat as possible against the front inside of the telescope cover.
Cut tape into thin strips with slits for easy folding: Taking strips of tape, tearing them down the center, and making short cuts to the strips should do the trick.
Tape the solar film to the cover's inside rim to keep it flat: Be sure that the tape strips are applied to keep the filter flat and prevent any light gaps.
Trim edges where needed for the best fit: Remember, this still needs to fit on your telescope. Make sure it can properly fit for safe solar viewing.
Your telescope filter is now complete!: You are now ready to use your do-it-yourself telescope filter for safe solar observing.
Creating a Camera Filter
Place the lens hood on the solar film and trace the outside with the marker, leaving a small gap: Drawing right up against the edge should give you the circle you need.
Cut along the edge of the circle: Cut directly along the line. Since the solar film will be taped to the front of the lens hood it should match its size, more or less.
Tape along the front edge of the lens hood: Apply the tape so that roughly half of its width is over the edge of the hood, covering it's entire circumference.
Cut the tape edge into slits for easy folding: Make sure that the slits that have been cut can fold out all the way. Don't cut the lens hood.
Fan the tape slits outward and apply them to the solar film: The objective is to have the film securely attached to the lens hood via the sticky side of the tape.
Tape down the edges of the tape: This will prevent the exposed sticky edges of the tape slits from clinging to anything and helps make the filter look more appealing.
Your camera filter is now complete: Thanks to the DIY solar filter, you're now ready to use your camera for some hand-held solar imaging.
Whether you want to make a telescope or camera solar filter, OPT has the solar film to fit your needs. Pick up your film today while supplies last!