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Copied by Many, but NEVER Duplicated
Light-years beyond all others!

Black Forest Fire Destroyed VSI's Digital Machine Shop

UPDATE #2

BEFORE (above) and AFTER (below)

First came the fire, then the floods/ What next?

This is the 2nd update in the continuing story of the fiery demise of VSI. It's been 3 months since the fire. Progress is being made every day. After 5 flash floods of nasty black water (see picture above), we now have a trench diverting the water away from the old Black Forest Observatory (BFO) building so it will not be deluged with black water from future floods. The old VSI machine shop is gone (up the hill to the right of BFO). The excavator has removed all debris and left the concrete pad intact. However, I am abandoning the old shop sight.

I have decided to rebuild my shop on a personal level (appropriately) in the old BFO building (pictured above with it's newer pitch roof that was added after BFO was sold about 10 plus years ago). This structure has been many things in the past - observatory, office, shipping and receiving, product and personal storage, etc. Now it will be my new personal shop. Emphasize personal, not production.

New machine tools (lathe, mill, bandsaws, etc.) have already been installed and the restoration of some of the tooling from the fire has begun in the structure pictured above and will continue until next summer, or beyond if warranted. About half of the tooling (spacers, rotary tables, indexing heads, lathe chucks, etc.) is not recoverable because of the fire rust and seizing of integral parts. Some will be replaced, most will not.

Many of the stock assembled VSI products were sold shortly after the news of the fire was released. However, I have a few of the last of the VSI products available. These assembled products were stored in the BFO building. Note that over 50 VSI products that were not assembled, and existed only as parts, were stored at the machine shop and melted in the extremely hot fire.

As of this writing (Friday the 13th, 2013), I have almost all product port rings and adapters available, because I always kept quantities of these accessory parts in stock. You can order any of the port rings or adapters listed at VSI's website until quantities are exhausted. Payment by credit card is no longer available (check, MO, etc.). Of course, returns can not be accepted. If you own VSI major products that accept port rings or adapters, I would suggest thinking about your future applications now, rather than later.

Of the major VSI products available, I have one Sidewinder (SOLD), one motorized Zerotator (SOLD), and a manual Zerotator. That's all folks! Oh, I also have a couple of "new" MasterGlide focusers available. Call me if you are interested in a very good deal on these old stock focusers, or have any questions. - PBVS


SLIDER 2 SKY & TELESCOPE Test Report (July 2002)

Paul's Rules of Operation and Personal Pledge to YOU

I will serve with integrity & honor - I do not have a dissatisfied client - I will not offer a dysfunctional product - I must expose lesser products to all - I accept responsibility for my actions - I do, or do not. I do not try - Reputation is everything, no exceptions - Undying devotion, till underverse come - Functionality beyond all others - Structural rigidity is a VSI standard - My most difficult to offer, simplicity - The Toad always handles your load - Humor is a difficult concept - My humor is misunderstood by some - VSI’s only competition, wrong purchase decisions - Copied by all, but never duplicated - Forever build-quality, Made in USA - Zero flexure, defects & tolerance - Lifetime unconditional warranty - Call or email, you’ll always find me - First and foremost, you are my friend - Over 25 years of service to all........and to all, a good night! - Paul B. Van Slyke


So you think VSI prices are too high?

To the handful of uninformed people who don't understand VSI's product philosophy and extreme build-quality, I offer the following. Some think that VSI products follow the mediocre menagerie of others, and that VSI prices should be commensurate. They incessantly "comment" about VSI prices without ever having examined a VSI product first-hand. "Why should I purchase your spider for $1000 when I can buy one for $39.95?" Would you expect a Maserati for the price of a scooter? Both are viable transportation vehicles. See my SPIDERS link, scroll to the bottom of the page to Spider Dinosaurs from the Distant Past for more examples of my product design philosophy.

Contrarily, VSI prices are always below wholesale at manufacturer's cost direct to you - no middlemen or dealers. VSI products are hand built to "space station" standards with "down-to-earth" prices. Many aerospace engineers, involved in purchasing, have said that VSI products are ridiculously underpriced, considering the intrinsic build-quality. OK! Most mass-produced, commercial telescopes and accessories are "cost built" to the least expensive standards possible creating a product that is marginally functional, becoming dysfunctional after a predetermined time. Need I say premature obsolescence? VSI's Unconditional Lifetime Warranty should say it all.

Someone else would design a telescope mount using cheap Teflon bearings, instead of expensive [loadable] tapered-race roller bearings combined with [yet] another set of large-diameter, lateral thrust needle bearings (see my USER INSTALLATIONS link, scroll to the bottom of the page to A Unique 10" Fork-Mounted RC Scope). I can only build the latter, or nothing at all. VSI does not build a "cheapest possible" model (and why would I want to?), then build a hi-end, no compromise model. Let the myriad of others pilfer my exclusive designs and contemplate building a cheaper product using ideas obtained from others. In fact, I try not to look at other people's products when designing a new VSI product because it blocks my flow of pure creativity. I always strive to go where no one has gone before. My most important secret, and the most difficult, is simplifying a product to its most basic function. Simplicity, functionality and rigidity have always been at the heart of all VSI design criteria. This build philosophy is the reason VSI products literally last forever! For more details on VSI design policies, click on the POLICIES bullet above. - PBVS

© 1986-2013: Slider, Sidewinder, Targetron, Hexagonal, Tri-Cell, AlphaToad, OmegaToad, Toad, Toadloader, Zerotator, Needleye, Quad-Lock, Zenith Lift System, Versa-Port, Mega-Port, Accu-Port, Epsilon, Omicron, Glider, Cycloid, Atlas, Spinners, Zero-Flex, Pack Rat Paul's List, Paul's List, Red Eye (patented and patents pending) are registered ® trademarks [TM] of Van Slyke Instruments. Any unauthorized duplication or use of the above, in any manner or form, is strictly forbidden by the trademark, copyright, and patent laws of the United States of America and the civilized world.

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