It's a god-given right for every man to put on his DIY boots, roll up the sleeves on his flannel shirt, and "save money" by turning a slab of aluminum into a telescope dovetail plate. Using a miter saw can yield a short plate, 9"".
Anything longer requires use of a table saw the most dangerous tool ever invented or a milling machine. The typical cheap table saw will likely ruin your first two attempts and may find you visiting the local hospital's emergency room with a price tag that dwarfs the cost of the scope you were tweaking.
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Yes milling machines can make dovetail plates, and in order to make the part they require a set up, the proper tooling, and for CNC machines, a program. You are dreaming if you think all this can be accomplished in "one hour" of shop time. If you manage to make a DIY dovetail plate, it's an unfinished, untested piece of aluminum.
It has to be cleaned, deburred, those sharp edges need to be rounded, and prudence says it should be checked for proper dimensions. Your DIY plate is 0. The scrap metal hound will pay you 30 cents a pound.
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As a lifetime do-it-myselfer I think you are making a bit to much of it but your warning regarding table saws is right on at least for the inexperienced. If I were to rip aluminum on a table saw I would attach it to a much larger piece of wood for safety. Posted 03 May - I'm a retired tool maker. I have ran some of the biggest vertical mills made.
Believe me, just buy it. Table saws for cutting aluminum or miter boxes are not precise enough.
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Just use ADM, you will be glad you did. Posted 04 May - Posted 05 May - Any reason we can't use pre-cut milled oak and just route or saw down the sides to the proper bevel? I haven't tried it yet, but it would seem a reasonable way to do it, especially if you're just going to use it for visual or on an alt-az mount. Posted 06 May - Of course that would work. All a dovetail needs to be is strong enough to support the weight of what's attached to it when it's in the most stressed position e.
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You might want to add a little extra tolerance to account for the wood shrinking and expanding with humidity changes. Posted 07 May - I don't see a dovetail as a precision piece of hardware. Any small variance in dimensions simply won't matter when you tighten the screws down. Posted 09 May - I was beginning to wonder whether anyone else had noticed.
And their side angles vary by about a degree. That's no big deal, because the saddles of my mounts have about the same variance. I can certainly see why some - including myself - choose to fabricate at least some of their own. Or as my wife sees it, a nice set of sapphire earrings.
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