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#226 hm insulators

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 01:06 PM

Glad the windstorm didn't do too much damage to your new observatory!

We had some crazy weather Friday afternoon over in the eastern part of the greater Phoenix area. Many of the spring training ball games got stormed out.

#227 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 04:29 AM

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013:

Finishing up the door. Unfortunately with the out-swing design, the hinges are out past the framing structure of the building and it's very difficult to get the anchor screws into the meat of the building. The top also needed to be pulled up to the framing, but again is too far away for a screw to make it all the way through the spacer to the header. 'twas a bit of a pain! I've installed an old door knob temporarily. Once I get everything painted I'll install the permanent ones.

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Details of the top and bottom capture for the fixed door. Again, with the gap to the header, there's not much meat to hold the door, so the spacer had to be placed to attempt to address that. You can also see where I buggered up the gasket a bit on one of the screw holes that are hidden under the gasket.

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I had to chip a bit of the slab away to insert the bottom catch in the threshold. I'm going to have to figure out what I'm going to come back and do to fill in under the lips of the thresholds that hang off the edge of the slab. I note on my house they did that with bricks on the back porch, but of course my house is brick sided. I plan to pour porches on both entries, but didn't plan on it being level with the slab. I could presumably put the pressure treated expansion joint there and make it above the top of the porch, but that's not ideal. Suggestions welcome.

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There's a bit of a gap at the top, but the door frame is square. It appears that the door may actually a bit warped, since there's a bit of a gap at both top and bottom, but the temporary doorknob isn't very tight. The real one should pull up tighter.
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Marking off vertical and horizontal lines for stud locations and tops of siding.
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The first full piece of HardiePlank in place
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First few rows going up:
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Necessity's Child: In order to get this full 12' length piece in place under the window without breaking it, I had to rig a temporary support that would let me finish the cuts in place and then attach it. The Hardie material is just too weak to stand that much stress on a cut piece like this.
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Making pretty good progress as the sun goes down.
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http://photos.orionr...0302-175730.jpg
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Finished up around the rear vent. This looks pretty good as-is. Chances are I won't bother with any trim around it. Just caulk it well.

http://photos.orionr...0302-175744.jpg
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Working after dark. It's getting late, I'm getting hungry, but I'm SO CLOSE!
http://photos.orionr...0302-192412.jpg
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So, I kept working and managed to finish off the entire west wall!

http://photos.orionr...0302-212348.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0302-212406.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0302-212428.jpg
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Beo

#228 Midnight Dan

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 06:44 AM

Hi Beo:

What's the purpose of the 4-gang breaker at the top of the box? I thought a standard 220v service just used a 2-gang main breaker.

-Dan

#229 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:01 AM

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013:

Spent the morning cleaning up the used AC unit for the south wall of the observatory, inside and out. That took some work!
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My wife showed up about the time I was finishing mounting this unit in the wall, so I drafted her to help with putting up (most of) the south wall siding. Things went considerably quicker with a second pair of hands to hold an end in place while I nailed it.

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I actually quit early this day (it was still daylight) since I was at a good stopping point and had to be up at 4 AM to head to the airport the next morning!

Saturday, March 9th:

It was scheduled to rain all weekend, but of course it ended up with only a bit of drizzle and started clearing by about 5:00 and was pretty clear on Sunday. Unfortunately I was already pretty tired from my trip and had to head out of town again Sunday evening, so I was limited in what I could do.

My rack gear rails arrived while I was out of town.
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I bought two four-foot and four six-foot lengths I bought from Standard Steel Specialty Co. (great price compared to McMaster Carr or Grainger, but they don't take credit cards) to give 32 feet of total length. The racks are 12 pitch, 20 degree pressure angle, 1 inch wide.
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Detail on the 12 pitch, 20 degree PA, 28 tooth pinion drive gear I bought off Amazon to attach to my drive motor.
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http://photos.orionr...0309-091920.jpg
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And with the gear sitting on one of the racks:
http://photos.orionr...0309-091942.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0309-091957.jpg
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Drilled the first set of holes in one of the short racks. Making a 1/2" hole to provide some adjustment for a 3/8" bolt.
http://photos.orionr...0309-111045.jpg
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Here's the drill setup to control the position of the hole. I step drilled the first couple of holes, but decided that was actually less effective because I couldn't keep good oil on the larger bit as I drilled since it would go down the previous hole. Not to mention that switching back and forth between bits for each hole was a hassle and took considerably long. So I finally just went for the 1/2" bit all the way, stopping to add oil every mm or so.

http://photos.orionr...0309-111053.jpg
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A few hours later, all the racks are drilled with holes ~ every two feet.
http://photos.orionr...0309-131307.jpg
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Adding a pair of bearings to the motor drive box to capture the rack against the pinion. This motor drive is salvaged from a positioning product we manufacture at our company. I directed the design of it years ago and wrote the firmware for it, so I can pretty much turn it into whatever I want it to be. The rack will actually run an inch or so away from the motor box, unlike what's pictured here, but this was just for fit.
http://photos.orionr...0309-161859.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0309-161909.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0309-161921.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0309-161941.jpg
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The next step would be to start mounting things on the roof, which would require opening things up and moving stuff around. Given the (non-existent) threat of rain, and that I was tired after a week of travel and the prospect of my next trip, I didn't want to get into a potentially long process. Instead I spent a bit of time finishing fixing up the old used AC unit by repairing the condenser coils.

Before:

http://photos.orionr...0309-163649.jpg
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After:
http://photos.orionr...0309-165601.jpg
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Hey! I'm finally caught up on my posts! I'm looking forward to getting home and getting back to work. I probably won't get a lot done this weekend though, since I don't get back until after midnight Saturday night. :p

Beo

#230 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:07 AM

Hi Beo:

What's the purpose of the 4-gang breaker at the top of the box? I thought a standard 220v service just used a 2-gang main breaker.

-Dan


Hey Dan:

It's a 200 Amp drop, so apparently they use parallel 100A breakers to get the 200A rating. I'd think there'd be a problem with the potential of current hogging causing one breaker to dominate, but presumably the delta's small. Basically I oversized everything against possible future need (I will be running a workshop off of this one day), so I don't really expect to ever push this thing anywhere near a limit.

Beo

#231 snommisbor

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 09:17 AM

Beo,

You gonna have a star party christening when you get this thing done? It looks really nice.

You know I met you several years ago at the Austin Under the Stars and you were the one that told me to get a CGEM as the mount. Which I of course did along with the C-8 that came with it. Those are long gone now but I always have you to thank for putting me on the right path.

I enjoy visiting your site.

Rob

#232 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 10:38 AM

Beo,

You gonna have a star party christening when you get this thing done? It looks really nice.

You know I met you several years ago at the Austin Under the Stars and you were the one that told me to get a CGEM as the mount. Which I of course did along with the C-8 that came with it. Those are long gone now but I always have you to thank for putting me on the right path.

I enjoy visiting your site.

Rob


Thanks Rob,

With a Tak and a TEC what a path it's been! Congrats on the scope growth. What a hobby, huh?

I'll eventually have to have some sort of AAS get together, but who knows when. Even once I'm functional, it'll take some time to really be DONE! (And I know, I'll never really be done...)

Beo

#233 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 08:14 PM

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Got home from Germany about about 1:30 AM Sunday morning, but I couldn't let that prevent me from using a decent work day. Working on the north wall siding, I had to start with installing the new fancy AC unit that I bought for the warm room. It has both heat and cool modes and is designed for through wall installation. The shell is installed first.

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AC core installed in the frame.
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Spent the rest of the evening putting up siding. Stopped a bit early to try to look for comet PAN-STARRS at sunset.

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Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

I actually planned on doing some electrical on Wednesday evening after work when I went out to feed the animals, but discovered that the outlet boxes I'd bought were too deep for the wall thickness and paneling I'm using. It would have been ok for drywall, but not for the thinner wood paneling. So I installed the whole-house surge protector in the breaker box and then used the evening as an opportunity to take back all my extra materials and pick up a few other things.

Saturday morning was drizzly, so I used the opportunity for some interior work. I installed one outlet so I'd have power in the observatory separate from the warm room, allowing me to clear the extension cords out of the doorway.

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Adding the first of the insulation to some of the blind sections that won't be accessible from the inside.

http://photos.orionr...0323-104015.jpg Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

Finishing off the Quiet Brace insulation board.

http://photos.orionr...0323-110404.jpg
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Covering everything with house wrap.


http://photos.orionr...0323-133552.jpg
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Installing the final door. It's another exterior door that divides the observatory from the warm room. This is the door that was apparently replaced twice because the first one was damaged on arrival, the second was MIA, and now this one has a small dent at the base too! Not worth trying to get fixed though.

http://photos.orionr...0323-144608.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0323-144612.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0323-144640.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0323-144649.jpg
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Finishing the north wall siding. Quite a bit of flashing to add here. Hopefully it works!

http://photos.orionr...0323-194224.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0323-194246.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0323-194327.jpg
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Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Starting on the east wall siding. Stopping for a late lunch.

http://photos.orionr...0324-135637.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0324-135655.jpg
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Time to install the last piece!

http://photos.orionr...0324-183957.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0324-184041.jpg
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Finished the east siding a while before dark.

http://photos.orionr...0324-185036.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0324-185050.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0324-185123.jpg
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Adding the first corner trim. Amazing how much difference a bit of trim makes!

http://photos.orionr...0324-192612.jpg
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Finishing up the south wall trim in the dark. Sort of. Had a bit of a problem with the bottom piece of trim under the AC. Too dark to fix easily.

http://photos.orionr...0324-200919.jpg
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#234 rockethead26

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 06:41 AM

Most impressive. Wish I had the skills.

#235 csa/montana

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 08:37 AM

Unbelievable how much you've accomplished recently! That is a most impressive observatory; more like a home! :grin:

Can't go wrong when a Dove blesses it!

Thanks Beo, for sharing all the great pictures for all of us to follow along with you!

#236 Jeff Smith

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:58 AM

Love it! Very tidy.

#237 Starman27

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 10:38 PM

Outstanding build!

#238 hm insulators

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 11:36 AM

Now you can go grill yourself some steaks and pop a cold one! :grin:

#239 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 11:17 PM

Thanks all. Not quite time for the celebration yet, but I'm getting close!

Evening of Wednesday, March 27th, 2013:
Doing some electrical work, adding the outlet boxes in the warm room as well as the first external box.

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Saturday, March 30th:

Fixed the sagging end beam permanently with a 16' 2x10. The center is now the highest point, allowing for some loading.
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Cutting a keyway in the gearbox drive shaft.
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And with the drive gear installed.
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Here's a shot of the interior of the motor drive system, showing the gearbox, three-phase motor with encoder feedback, three-phase variable speed drive, DC power supply, and power filter.
http://photos.orionr...0330-133824.jpg
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Went ahead and braced the other end although it didn't really need it at the moment. Then finished up the drive rail down the middle.

http://photos.orionr...0330-183732.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0330-183713.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0330-183720.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0330-183845.jpg
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Installing the first 6' gear rack:
http://photos.orionr...0330-192554.jpg
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And installing a 240V circuit for the drive:
http://photos.orionr...0330-214524.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0330-215636.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0330-214454.jpg
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Test fitting the drive system:
http://photos.orionr...0330-214448.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0330-214500.jpg
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The drive floats on a couple of 8' 2x4's elevated so that the motor stays horizontal. It can move up and down several inches and only have a degree or two of tilt. Pillow blocks to either side will provide the lateral support when the drive is engaged.

http://photos.orionr...0330-214543.jpg
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Close up of the motor and drive control circuitry.
http://photos.orionr...0330-214533.jpg
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And finally, a special treat for those who've stuck with me this long in this post. Here's a video of the drive closing the roof using the 12' worth of rack I had time to put up.

http://photos.orionr...ll-Off Test.jpg

Enjoy!

Beo

#240 seryddwr

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 05:35 PM

WAHOO! I was just thinking of Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" during that. It is indeed getting close to celebration time!

#241 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 08:48 PM

Thanks again for all the comments. Here's another batch of photos.

Saturday, April 6th, 2013:

Spent the day finishing up the roll-off drive, installing all rack sections and then putting down felt under the drive on top of the warm room to protect against moisture infiltration, and re-installing all the drive components in their final position so I can service it with the roof open or closed. I still need to install the limit switches and complete the automation, but for the moment I can use an infrared remote hand control to manually open and close the roof. I also went ahead and completed the electrical to the second pier so that both piers have AC power now.

Here are details showing the completed rack and the alignment process. Using a 3/8" bolt in a 1/2" hole in the rack with three different nuts allows adjustment in all directions.
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Each rack had to be ground down to mate evenly with the neighboring part. A punch was used to mark each mating joint with a different pattern.
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Sunday, April 7th, 2013:

I added some temporary capture blocks to prevent the roof from lifting off, should a strong wind come along. Ugly, but functional.
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From here, it was time to clean up and try to get ready for first light and a star party later in the week. I used the concrete cap blocks I had there to add temporary porches at both entrances. I also went ahead and installed the door locks, although I'll have to pull them back off when I paint.

Posted Image
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I moved all of the tools and excess building materials into the warm room, cleaning up as I went.
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Here's the cleaned up observatory with the pier plates re-installed on the piers. I just wish they weren't so faded! Need to call Dan and see if there's anything to be done other than getting out the can of spray paint. Note the power outlets at the bottom of the piers. Each pier is protected by a GFCI outlet on the closest wall.
http://photos.orionr...0407-194437.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0407-194448.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0407-194458.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0407-194503.jpg
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Installing the telescopes:
http://photos.orionr...0407-194854.jpg
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The Culprit:
http://photos.orionr...0407-223830.jpg
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Ok, so a bit of explanation is in order here. So here’s the story. The wife and I were walking through Fry’s Electronics one day in 2006 or 2007 and they had a cheap little $50 Celestron refractor on clearance for $10. We picked it up and said if we ever actually used it, we’d buy a better one. The thing sat in our foyer for at least a year without ever having looked through it, before one summer evening in 2008 when we were out in the pool and looking up and my wife said, “I wonder what that bright star is.” My response, “I don’t know, but we have a telescope. I’ll get it and let’s find out.” So after fiddling with it for a while, I managed to get it lined up and lo and behold, there was Jupiter in all its glory. Of course by the time I got it lined up and my wife had a chance to look, it was moving out of the field of view. And with that spindly tripod, there was no easy movement of the scope to track it. So after a frustrating evening, she said, “That’s it! We’re getting a better scope!” Thus started a rather expensive hobby, first with a new Celestron 8se, and a bunch of stuff to try to soup it up and do astrophotography, then on and on, eventually buying some land about 30 miles from where we live to get away from the worst of the light pollution, and now finally building the observatory that’s nearing completion.

Of course in the process I’d also given that little scope away to the kids of a friend and in the meantime got in the habit of watching Craig’s List for good deals on used equipment. When I find a good starter scope at a good price, I’ll usually buy it, fix it up, and give it away to some youngsters to get them started in the hobby. Once we started the observatory I realized I needed to preserve that original telescope for posterity, so I traded a used go-to scope for it and plan to frame it up and hang it on the wall in the observatory at some point. Thus, the slight detour is the reason for the generally poor shape of that poor little scope!

At any rate, here’s the real scopes set up for first light.
http://photos.orionr...0407-223813.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0407-223901.jpg
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Man, if only I had THREE piers!

Here's everything covered up after the night of observing. I need to get some simple dust covers (e.g. sheets) for these rather than the weatherproof covers, but for now this will work. Once I'm fully automated they'll spend a lot of time uncovered anyway so I can kick off a night of photography remotely.
http://photos.orionr...0407-225427.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0407-225437.jpg
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And when people ask why I made it so over-sized, one thing it's easy to forget about are all the storage cases, etc. that have to go SOMEWHERE when the scope is in use. And not every OTA I have is in use all the time.
http://photos.orionr...0407-225444.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0407-225449.jpg
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BTW, that little white strip you can see hanging across the ladder. I'll come back to that sometime later!

And again, for those who stuck around for this, here's another video, now from the outside, showing the roof rolling on and off at full speed.
http://photos.orionr...of Roll-Off.jpg

Enjoy!

Beo

#242 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 05:06 PM

BTW, now that the observatory is more-or-less online, I decided it was finally time to get with Attila Danko and see about getting my own clear sky chart.

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Now it's a REAL observatory! :cool:

Beo

#243 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 11:39 PM

Saturday, April 13th:

I got rained out before the end of the day, but managed to get a bit of trim work done. I started with replacing the temporary capture blocks with full rails at the north end of the roof. The capture rail is a pressure treated 2x6 with a 1" wide (tall) lip added.
Posted Image
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Each piece has to be notched to clear the ends of the bolts for the roll-off wheels.
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Unfortunately the 1.5" wide strip made contact with the siding and didn't provide the required clearance.

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So I went back and trimmed it down to a 1x1" piece.
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Now it fits!
Posted Image
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Posted Image
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Looks pretty good too! This gives an idea of what the resulting roll-off will look like. Of course you have to imagine it painted!

Posted Image
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Trimming up the northeast corner and around the rail. Amazing what a bit of trim does!
Posted Image
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The trim has to clear the capture rail at this end.
Posted Image
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Here's the northwest corner. It kept raining on me as I tried to finish this, so I didn't get the last bit in place.
http://photos.orionr...0413-171747.jpg
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So the north wall looks much more complete, even though the windows and doors still need trim.
http://photos.orionr...0413-171800.jpg
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Beo

#244 hm insulators

hm insulators

    Aurora

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 11:37 AM

You can never have too much storage space! Just ask any model builder. :)

#245 seafury

seafury

    Vostok 1

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 01:43 AM

Hi from the UK, can't begin to say how impressive this build has been, although when I saw the photo of that small scope I thought it was a bit of overkill just for that one lol

Gordon

#246 Lord Beowulf

Lord Beowulf

    Apollo

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 09:48 PM

Thanks again! More pics to post.

Saturday, April 20th, 2013:

Trimmed the north door to the warm room.
Posted Image
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And the first window.
Posted Image
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Here's the whole wall trimmed out.
Posted Image
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Detail around the center brace.
Posted Image
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And the AC unit.
Posted Image
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The east doors.
Posted Image
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East and west window look much like the north one!
Posted Image
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Posted Image
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Not trimming the vent, just caulking.
Posted Image
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And the observatory AC unit on the south wall.
Posted Image
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And a walk around the whole observatory.
http://photos.orionr...0420-191616.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0420-194658.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0420-194745.jpg
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http://photos.orionr...0420-194811.jpg
Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

A few pictures of the electrical. There are more on the website. Here's the switch box for the door between the warm room and observatory. There will be a ceiling fan, light switch, and red LED light coming from this box.
http://photos.orionr...0420-200302.jpg
Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

And at the main door, there's the other end of the two-way for the ceiling fan/light, as well as the outdoor light. I'll probably change this to a 4 gang box and put a red light outside on the rails as well.
http://photos.orionr...0420-200337.jpg
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2-way runs and fan connection.
http://photos.orionr...0420-200350.jpg
Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

Outlet boxes for the lights outside the double doors and one of the exterior GFCI outlets.
http://photos.orionr...0421-203200.jpg
Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

Inside the observatory with interior, exterior, and interior red light switches.
http://photos.orionr...0421-203236.jpg
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I put a conduit in the framing above the door, and then managed to run a screw right through the middle of it! Luckily there's room at the front to be able to run the needed power lines.
http://photos.orionr...0421-203242.jpg
Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

And the two-way switch for the red and white lights at the warm room door.
http://photos.orionr...0421-203455.jpg
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Using expansion foam to glue the exterior boxes into the wall and seal them.
http://photos.orionr...0421-203412.jpg
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Light and outlet box on the north wall.
http://photos.orionr...0421-203645.jpg
Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

Here's a Photoshopped version of one of the previous pictures with the planned color scheme. If only it would be this easy to get the actual paint on there!
http://photos.orionr...0420-191628.jpg
Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

Wednesday, May 1st:
Adding an extension and bracing off the end of the roll-off rails.
http://photos.orionr...0501-194537.jpg
Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

http://photos.orionr...0501-194558.jpg
Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

And using that to mount my new wireless weather station! Not too bad for $120.
http://photos.orionr...0501-210757.jpg
Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

http://photos.orionr...0501-210820.jpg
Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

Here's the remote monitor. Eventually I'll get this connected to a PC and routed online to Weather Underground and then linked to my web page.

http://photos.orionr...0501-210259.jpg
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Beo

#247 1965healy

1965healy

    The Snarkster

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 09:54 PM

If there's one thing I hate it's shoddy workmanship!

You have done a beautiful job!

#248 hm insulators

hm insulators

    Aurora

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:06 AM

Cool, a weather station!

#249 csa/montana

csa/montana

    Den Mama

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 10:30 PM

Let us know how you like the weather station. I for one, would be interested, as I need a new one.

#250 Skip

Skip

    Starlifter Driver

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 05:07 PM

Almost time for the house warming party!!! :jump: :jump:






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