Free-Turn X: Hi-Performance Alt-Az for a New Age
Is your current alt-az mount state-of-the-art or stuck-in-a-rut?  Times change.  Simply claiming to be the best doesn't make it so.  Point by point, the Free-Turn X makes its case!

The Version 2 Free-Turn X adds new features and options to the rugged, reliable, easy-to-use workhorse mount that has proven so successful.  The overall dimensions have not changed although the weight has increased slightly -- but the solid, friendly character of the FTX remains.  Click here for a listing of new features!

The Free-Turn X marries classical elegance and high-tech efficiency with pure brawn.  At only 9.9 pounds (10.5 pounds with optional DSC), the Free-Turn X's optimized structure is designed to carry big loads without being a big load. It's the smallest and lightest mount that can solidly carry a TEC 140 or C-11.  It is well matched to some 6" refractors like the ES 152 CF triplet. And the versatile FTX is also perfect for 100 mm binoculars.  Note that the listed 9.9-pound weight of the FTX represents a ready-to-use mount -- not a bare head as some competing mounts advertise.

The Free-Turn X provides better manual "tracking" because it operates with low levels of friction. 
The secret is two-axis balancing without counterweights.  The FTX uses the weight of the scope itself to counter the off-axis load created by the star-diagonal, eyepiece, finder, etc.  Off-axis loading is responsible for "balance shifts" when aiming higher or lower with mounts lacking two-axis balancing.  Free from gravity-induced torque, the FTX optimizes precise movement.
More info on why friction does not solve balance!

Elevating the state-of-the-art, new lever-operated "On-Demand" slow-motion controls provide fine position adjustments when you need them -- but fold neatly out of the way when you don't.  Unlike fussy worm-drives, the clutchless, lever-operated design never needs adjustment or maintenance, and adds no drag or backlash.  Arc-minute accurate.  Pinky-finger light.  Simply a better idea! More info on this innovative control system.


Half Hitch Telescope
4301 West William Cannon
Suite B-150, #188
Austin, Texas 78749

(512) 632-9624
info@halfhitchtelescope.com

NOTE:  Prices subject to change without prior notice.  Checks and money orders accepted for mail-in orders.  Checks should be made to Half Hitch Telescope.  The listed shipping charges are valid for the contiguous 48 states.  Send a message to request a shipping quote elsewhere.

Return authorization required and must be initiated within ten days of receipt.  Returns must be in original packaging and fully insured.  Shipping charges and PayPal fees are not refundable.  Minimum 15% restocking fee applies -- plus repair/replacement charges for any parts not returned in original condition, or for any servicing required to restore the items to original condition.
Summary of FTX Features:
  • Weighs only 10.5 pounds ready-to-use including optional DSC.  Performs big.  Carries small.
  • CNC machined, cross-braced structure.  Rigid, lightweight, precise, and beautiful.
  • Virgin aircraft-grade alloys.  No castings.  Anodized finish.
  • Two-axis balancing without counterweights.  Balance remains constant with up & down rotations.
  • Cam-lever friction control.  Set the resistance you want without tools.
  • Lever-operated "On-Demand" slow-motion controls.  Fingertip control with arc-minute accuracy.
  • Retractable, CNC machined guide-handle.  Optional mounting plate for smart-phone.
  • 5,000-step encoders in machined aluminum housings.
  • Folding DSC bracket.  Accepts Sky Commander or Nexus DSC.
  • Built-in attachment ball for RAM smart-phone/mini-tablet bracket.
  • Preloaded roller bearings.  Low-friction smoothness.  Zero slop.  No maintenance -- ever.
  • Stainless steel fasteners.
  • Powerful dovetail plate clamping system accepts Nova-style plates.  Won't slip with heavy loads.
  • An adapter for Losmandy D-series plates is available from ADM.
  • Attaches to tripod via standard 3/8-16 screw.
  • Horizon stop and zenith stop to protect scopes from accidental bumps.
FTX Pricing and Internet Ordering
 
ITEM
PRICE
US SHIPPING
3% added
for PayPal

Reserve an FTX from the next production run and save.  A basic FTX consists of the mount with 5,000-step encoders, folding DSC tray, and guide-handle.  The basic package price is $2399 plus $85 for US shipping.  Preorders receive a Nova-style dovetail plate and finder-bracket as bonuses (with no additional shipping charge).  Save $144.
 
FTX Preorder
October Delivery
20% Deposit
$480
 
 
FTX Base Pkg. + $200 TQR
Save another $184

$520
Free Shipping
for TQR

9" Nova-style Dovetail Plate
$70
$7
Temporarily Sold Out
 
Finder Bracket
$60
$7
 
$359
$25
 
New Under-Saddle
Trim-Weight  Assembly
$159
$15
 
 
Folding Bracket for dew-control system & battery
$189
$15
 
 
Bino bracket for 100 mm APM & Miyauchi; Kowa 82 mm
$99
$10
 
         
Hitch Hiker:  The Little Multi-Purpose Mount that Could
Summary of Hitch Hiker Features:
  • Weighs only two pounds.  Folds compactly.
  • CNC machined.  Virgin aircraft-grade alloys.  Anodized finish.  Rigid; precise; and beautiful.
  • A true gimbal mount with two-axis balancing.
  • Generous fore/aft balance adjustment built into the payload platform.  No need to rely on shifting flimsy quick-plates.
  • Retractable guide-handle with angle adjustment.
  • Retractable payload platform holds a wide load when extended.
  • Cam-lever friction control.  Set the resistance you want without tools.
  • Preloaded roller bearings.  Fingertip motion control.  Zero slop.
  • Stainless steel hardware.
  • Attaches to tripod via standard 3/8-16 screw.
  • Can be configured to aim most equipment straight-up or straight-down.
  • Both 3/8 and 1/4 inch holes provided on payload platform for attaching quick-plate clamps.
At only 2.1 pounds, the Hitch Hiker is a compact, ultra-lightweight gimbal mount designed for birding, Nature-watching, telephotography, video, and astronomy.  The Hitch Hiker features the same silky-smooth motions made famous by the dedicated astronomy mounts.  Typical loads would include instruments that you would take on a hike:  Binoculars, spotting scopes, DSLR cameras with compact telephotos, small telescopes, and small video cameras.  The payload platform is wide enough to accommodate 70 mm and 80 mm binoculars.

Not only is the Hitch Hiker lighter and more compact than competing gimbal mounts, it provides an unusually large range of vertical rotation.  The retractable, adjustable-angle guide-handle is another unusual feature -- and is very important for convenient aiming of short instruments like spotting scopes, binoculars, telephoto lenses that aren't long enough to have a mounting foot, and small video cameras.  Lever operated friction controls allow independent adjustment of the altitude and azimuth axes to fit the situation.  The retractable payload platform will accommodate wide loads -- but will allow spotting scopes and telescopes to ride close the mount and tripod centerline for maximum stability.
Hitch Hiker: The Little Mount That Could
Coming Soon!


Renderings are of V.2 FTX.  Photos are of the structurally similar V.1 FTX.
A superior new type of slow-motion control highlights the advanced engineering of the V.2 FTX.
The advanced Free-Turn X provides no-tool, adjust-on-the-fly friction control.  Sometimes, a little friction is a good thing.  But the FTX does NOT force one to accept the worst-case friction level for all of your observing, as on older designs.  Forget using a wrench, removing covers, and making trial-and-error adjustments!  With the  FTX, add only the resistance you want for the moment by moving a lever.  The friction-control levers rotate and fold compactly alongside the mount for transport.
 
The Free-Turn X provides excellent zenith clearance as an integral feature. 
You don't need to buy a separate extension column that is essentially dead-weight with the sole purpose of solving clearance problems.  Save weight and bulk with the efficient FTX.  The optional Tripod Quick-Release adds 3.5 inches of clearance, but also adds a super-convenient quick-connect function that exceeds the firmness of a hand-tightened knob.  The FTX and TQR blend perfectly into a neatly integrated system.  Animation of the TQR in action.

The Free-Turn X keeps the load close to the tripod's centerline, improving load stability and reducing stress on the tripod.  The FTX performs well on tripods that would be considerably undersized for mount designs that swing the load to the side.  Save cost and weight on the tripod.  The FTX provides a more comfortable observing position, too -- that doesn't squeeze you close to the tripod legs and move you in a big circle.

The Free-Turn X points accurately. 
Its CNC machined geometry is perfect.  There's a large, high-precision square built right into the structure of the FTX.  You can't beat that for orthogonality!  Find anything quickly.  Without noise.  Without big batteries.  Without meridian reversals.  Without waiting on slow slews.  Without mechanical breakdowns.  The FTX is good to go for many years -- without hassles or failures.

The Free-Turn X is the EASY mount. 
Lightweight.  Compact.  Solid.  Intuitive operation.  Maintenance free.  Reliable.  Cutting edge.  Featureless mounts that lack controls aren't simple; they're just obsolete.

The two images above show the exact amount of control-lever displacement needed to rotate the saddle through a ten arc-minute angle.  Ten arc-minutes would be typical of a "tracking" step made at 250x while using an 82-degree AFOV eyepiece, with the goal of keeping an object within the middle half of the field of view.  Note the large displacement at the end of the control-lever -- meaning that the fingertip inputs from the user are quite forgiving.  What the images can't show is the light and smooth nature of these inputs.  The combination of light input force and large lever displacement makes the tracking action easy and precise.
The V.2 FTX retracted/folded for transport.  Click on image for larger view.
The new under-saddle Balance Trim System.  Click on image for larger view.