Currently I am working on electrophotography, birefringent nematic liquid crystals, easy screen printing, and a 12 volt 1 amp power supply. I am deciding whether to build from the ground up or buy a kit. But, in the meanwhile, I wanted to let you know about a really good resource from the "Amateur Scientist" published in Scientific American. The articles that have appeared from the 1920's until 1999 are available on a CD ROM. I bought a copy 4 or 5 years ago and it is a good investment. There are over 1000 projects in chemistry, physics, biology, weather, earth sciences, and a lot more. All of the experiments have a general cost estimate, difficulty level, and danger factor. The very early articles had quite a bit on telescopes and their fabrication. Some of the projects are obviously dated but become interesting history and the nucleus for new ideas. The CD runs on all operating systems and is generally about $25 dollars. There is also an included disk with some good software links.
I will include a link to Amazon so that you can read the reviews and a good overview. Here. Perhaps you can find the best price elsewhere. I will also include a link to the Society of Amateur Scientists, founded by Dr. Shawn Carlson who managed the Amateur Scientist for several years. Here. It is another really nice resource. I look forward to having a great 2012 and if you have ideas or projects to submit I will be happy to correspond with you. Just leave a comment. Thanks for all of you who follow the path of ideas...Ken
Added Link: The comment below was posted by Dr. Sheldon Greaves, who was a co-editor along with Dr. Carlson. He wanted us to know about a site that he founded called Citizen Scientists League. From the home page: "The Citizen Scientists League promotes responsible scientific observation, experimentation,
discovery, and invention. We encourage active participation, networking and publishing
by science enthusiasts at all levels of education and experience." I believe that all resources and places that present the opportunity to learn have value and this site deserves a good look. Here. Ken