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Orion Ranch Observatory

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#176 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 10:50 PM

We've been doing this the last few years, mostly on remote observatories. It's pretty straight forward and works well. Lots of drilling in the 3/16 angle iron though. Larger buildings we'll add a third or fourth roller bracket. It's just 1 1/2 on the walls, 2" on the beams (because they are inside the plywood) and 2" for the roller brackets. Depending on the siding, somtimes we cut the brackets down to 1 1/2 x 2". It's all bolted with 5/16 lags.


I'd originally been thinking of using angle iron, but didn't really like the thought of the complications for mounting it. The orientations just aren't quite right. In this case I was trying to solve a few other issues by adding bracing to the long spans of the walls and capping the laminated rails to minimize water infiltration, and this just came out of the process.

Beo

#177 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:45 PM

A few more pictures. We had a 60% chance of rain on Christmas, and while there was no sign of a drop of rain, the wind storm that blew through played havoc, including flipping over my nice expensive sliding miter saw! The tarp acted like a parachute and that was that. Luckily the framing is no worse for wear.

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Finished the observatory west wall frame.
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And the east wall frame.
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Tomorrow should have the north observatory wall (mid wall) done and started on the warm room.

Beo

#178 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:59 AM

Well, I got a bit done yesterday before the 0% chance of rain that had been forecast turned into a light drizzle for the rest of the afternoon! Waiting on it to dry out a bit so I can get started this morning...

Beo

Had to heat up the PVC conduits to push them back into the wall.
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And then build a wall to straddle them...
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...and finally lift it from the lower floor into place. UGH! Just finished this when the drizzle started so took a quick picture and then covered everything up!
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#179 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:23 AM

As I sit here waiting on things to dry out again (and lose another work day) I figured I should update the images from last weekend.

So after the unexpected/unscheduled rain last Thursday, I had to get out and sweep all the water off the slab before I could start on Friday. At least the water proofing worked well!

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I then spent a good amount of time laying out the warm room to get things square and discovering that the lower slab is not completely square with the upper portion!

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That wouldn't be a big deal, except when I poured the roll-off piers, I used the lower portion of the slab to help me square them up. So the inch or so of error on the slab translates to three inches at the furthest point, moving the 6" posts halfway off the 12" footing! Look for the pencil marks in these pics to see the outside edge of the post. I'll now be drilling and adding wedge anchors at about 5-10x the cost of the anchors that were embedded there. :mad:

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By the end of the day I had one warm room wall almost framed up.
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On Saturday a friend and colleague came out to help and we got the two east/west warm room walls finished.
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Of course not only was the warm room slab not square, but it's also not level. If you look back you'll see that this was where they finished, so they didn't quite get enough concrete in when they were working the final level. Part of that may be due to the soup the guy had made resulting in more shrinkage on this side of the slab too! Whatever the cause, we had to shim the last few feet of the walls.

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On Sunday I managed to get the North wall finished and stood it up in the rain that started long before it was scheduled and ended about the time I got all the equipment put away!

http://photos.orionr...0121230-017.jpg

I have a bit of work to finish up the end wall, then get the doorway in the mid-wall. Then it's on to railing system and warm room ceiling!

Beo

#180 hm insulators

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:31 AM

Whether it's building a house, an observatory or even a simple model car, it wouldn't be a construction project without something goofing up somewhere!

You know what they say: "Work expands to fill the time available." :grin:

#181 Skip

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:52 PM

Looking good, Beo!

#182 jmasin

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:55 AM

Just WOW! Great job and progress.

I'm in the VERY early stages of looking for property in the Fredericksburg area, and an obs is in the plan...

Reading your thread has me giddy!

#183 csa/montana

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 02:42 PM

It's really coming along very nicely! You've overcome whatever problems you have come across, nicely! :bow:

#184 1965healy

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:39 AM

Great progress on what promises to be a beautiful observatory. Hats off to you for the hard work. For those of you unfamiliar with the Texas Hill Country. Just change the word "hill" to ROCK. Coming from California I was used to dirt. When I first moved to Texas I planted a 5 gallon Crepe Myrtle, after that I put my shovel in the shed and switched to potted plants!

Keep posting pix, they encourage and inspire!

#185 jmasin

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:48 AM

For those of you unfamiliar with the Texas Hill Country. Just change the word "hill" to ROCK. Coming from California I was used to dirt. When I first moved to Texas I planted a 5 gallon Crepe Myrtle, after that I put my shovel in the shed and switched to potted plants!


Not to side-track... but :lol: :lol: I know that well!

If it's not rock it's clay, which weighs more than depleted Uranium, has an attractive force to work implements stronger than the strong nuclear force, and is the number one reason you hear the F word echo through the neighborhood on a beautiful spring day :lol:

#186 hm insulators

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:58 PM

Great progress on what promises to be a beautiful observatory. Hats off to you for the hard work. For those of you unfamiliar with the Texas Hill Country. Just change the word "hill" to ROCK. Coming from California I was used to dirt. When I first moved to Texas I planted a 5 gallon Crepe Myrtle, after that I put my shovel in the shed and switched to potted plants!

Keep posting pix, they encourage and inspire!


Sounds like digging a hole in Hawaii! There, it's volcanic rock! :bangbangbang:

#187 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:17 PM

Thanks to all for the comments. I've been wanting to post an update for a while, but I've just been too busy burning vacation days and getting stuff built! I have been keeping my picture gallery up to date, so anyone following the links has probably seen more recent pics, but I'll fill in here!

Beo

January 6th: Finishing the door framing between the warm room and the observatory.
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Then drilling the new anchor bolts on the roll-off piers. After finishing the framing and re-aligning, they weren't QUITE as far off as I thought, but bad enough that the original bolts were useless.
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And just to give you an idea of the depth of the anchor bolt holes. Love that hammer drill! Went through this like butter.
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Then the anchor bolted down. Still well supported by the footing.
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The first two posts braced temporarily.
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First of three 2x12s for the laminated beam.
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Skipping ahead to the finished beam completed at sunset.
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With the support detail at the observatory...
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...and the tongue arrangement at the post.
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January 7th: Finished the second beam segment the next morning.
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Then added the second pair of posts. Note the temporary cross brace on the first posts in the background.
http://photos.orionr...0107-154156.jpg

And finishing a third beam by nightfall.
http://photos.orionr...0107-191538.jpg

January 10th: Breaking for a couple of days for work and rain, after another full day I have the last beam section and the two primary cross braces in place.
http://photos.orionr...0110-184809.jpg

Some detail on the corner bracing and additional outside tie piece.
http://photos.orionr...0110-184651.jpg

As well as the gussets at the ends.
http://photos.orionr...0110-153222.jpg

January 11th: Finished up the cross braces and cross braces for those, so that everything's braced on 8' centers.
http://photos.orionr...0111-142655.jpg

Deformities in the slab and other issues caused some high spots along the top of the wall frame. For the worst spots I hammered the nails in deeper and ran a planer across until the appropriate depth was reach. Low spots were then shimmed to raise the top plate and cap rail.

http://photos.orionr...0111-154527.jpg

And the first part of the top plate/rail. It's also pressure treated due to potential exposure (although I plan to paint it). A 2x6 was used to strengthen and straighten the long wall, since the roof won't actually brace it across. The overhang also serves as the capture mechanism for the roll-off roof.

http://photos.orionr...0111-173310.jpg

January 13th: After another rain break, a sortie of helicopters comes to check out the work!

http://photos.orionr...0113-074630.jpg

A shot down one of the completed cap rails. The portion over the roll-off rail beams is a 2x8 to prevent water infiltration into the beam.
http://photos.orionr...0113-131501.jpg

The finished length:
http://photos.orionr...0113-131610.jpg

And finishing up the day with the header and joist hangers for the warm room ceiling.
http://photos.orionr...0113-174537.jpg

http://photos.orionr...0113-183106.jpg

January 16th: After a couple more days of rain and going back to work... Finished up the ceiling framing in the morning.
http://photos.orionr...0116-102940.jpg

http://photos.orionr...0116-102949.jpg

Monumental step...The first piece of sheathing!
http://photos.orionr...0116-112644.jpg

Sheathed the west wall.
http://photos.orionr...0116-165517.jpg

And the north wall by dark.
http://photos.orionr...0116-194243.jpg

January 17th: Finishing the sheathing on the south wall...

http://photos.orionr...0117-155525.jpg

...the east wall...

http://photos.orionr...0117-185038.jpg

... and the interior/warm room wall.
http://photos.orionr...0117-185052.jpg

January 18th: Decking the top of the warm room.
http://photos.orionr...0118-103556.jpg

It's now really a room!
http://photos.orionr...0118-103756.jpg

Next I set up my rig for drilling the holes for the roll-off wheels. I didn't want my greasy old drill press on my nice clean observatory floor, so I set up a mobile flat platform (my trailer) near the work site. Note the two sides of the rail screwed together and the angle iron clamped to control spacing.
http://photos.orionr...0118-143102.jpg

After drilling all the sides, I put the first roller assembly together. I bought these darn wheels over a year ago wanting to get them before the price went up!

http://photos.orionr...0118-152215.jpg

http://photos.orionr...0118-152252.jpg

Ok, I think that's enough for one post. I'll come back and add more later!

Beo

#188 1965healy

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:32 PM

WOW! You have made incredible progress. Its a gonna be HUGE. Very impressive.

#189 csa/montana

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:42 PM

You've really put a lot of thought into this build, and the results are fantastic! :bow: You are really moving right along with it; what a beauty it's going to be!

Love the copters flying over! :grin:

#190 Scott Horstman

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:10 AM

Nice job Beo. Been a long time in the works. :bow:

#191 Skip

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

Beo,

Absolutely fantastic job!!! :bow:

On the pic after the helicopters, the caption started with "A shot down ..." For a moment there all I could think of was, "Oh no, why did you shoot them down? I think they were friendlies!" :lol:

Great job, Beo!

#192 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:38 PM

Thanks again to all. Special thanks to Scott for his guidance and suggestions that have helped me get to this point, as well as everyone else who's weighed in with suggestions.

Beo

#193 jerry10137

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:11 PM

Very nice I am jealous! I know that part of Texas pretty well and the sky is very nice out that way. How much of the Austin/Georgetown light pollution are you picking up?

#194 csa/montana

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:22 PM

Thanks again to all. Special thanks to Scott for his guidance and suggestions that have helped me get to this point, as well as everyone else who's weighed in with suggestions.

Beo


We're all anxious for you to get to be able to enjoy that beautiful observatory!

#195 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:34 PM

Another round of pics:

September 19th: My setup for drilling the 20' sections of angle iron. I used two 16' 2x6s to help support it at either end. I only did through holes at middle and ends minimize expansion issues (hopefully) with periodic notches to clamp it vertically.

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September 20th: I didn't take any interim shots because it was a relatively long and dirty process, but the angles are in place and I got the side roll-off segments in place and temporarily cross-braced to each other. Here's the assembly fully open, which should leave about 5' of exposed warm room roof. Once I decked the warm room ceiling, I realized I should have made the rails a bit longer so that I could roll the roof almost completely off the warm room. It'd be a neat place to climb up and lay on lounge chairs on those hot summer nights!
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And the frame fully closed.
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January 24th: Laminating the south 3x6" (actual size) end beam of the roll-off.
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End rail in place.
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Detail of the laminated plywood beam.
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Laminating a continuous beam to the east side of the roll-off, one piece at a time.
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Completed laminate beam on the east side, all bolted tight now.

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January 25th: Cool looking cloud formation as the next front moves in.
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West side laminated beam.
http://photos.orionr...0125-154315.jpg

North end beam with a 2x6/2x8 combo that provides the hard stop for the roll-off.
http://photos.orionr...0125-194928.jpg

January 26th: I set up a production line in the warm room (due to the weather) for cutting all of the full-length rafters. I had four different saws in play to make the various cuts without having to make a lot of adjustments.

http://photos.orionr...0126-130631.jpg

The stack of all the full length rafters.
http://photos.orionr...0126-170329.jpg

Monogramming the interior of the ridge rafter laminated beam.
http://photos.orionr...0126-162026.jpg

Completed 22' long 1.5"x10" ridge rafter beam.
http://photos.orionr...0126-170338.jpg

Detail of the north end cap for the roll-off frame.
http://photos.orionr...0126-180803.jpg

January 27th: Standing up the first A-frame for the roof.
http://photos.orionr...0127-113551.jpg

Second A-frame and ridge rafter in place with a temporary brace to keep it straight.
http://photos.orionr...0127-130957.jpg

http://photos.orionr...0127-131021.jpg

Halfway done with the framing of the ridge section.
http://photos.orionr...0127-154923.jpg

And finished center section.
http://photos.orionr...0127-174236.jpg

Probably overkill with the joists (more than I'd originally planned) but nonetheless, still room to crawl through them for anything I need to do up there.
http://photos.orionr...0127-174457.jpg

As the sun sets on another good day's work.
http://photos.orionr...0127-174542.jpg

Just about out of framing materials!
http://photos.orionr...0127-174340.jpg

Tarping things up to keep the warm room ceiling dry.
http://photos.orionr...0127-183438.jpg

Looking forward to getting out there this weekend to finish off the hip roof!

Beo

#196 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:37 PM

Very nice I am jealous! I know that part of Texas pretty well and the sky is very nice out that way. How much of the Austin/Georgetown light pollution are you picking up?


It's not bad overhead. The Milky Way is clearly visible, but there's light pollution visible on all sides (Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Liberty Hill, Bertram, Burnet, and Marble Falls!). It shows in a green area on the light pollution map.

Beo

#197 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:38 PM

After another three-day weekend...

Friday, February 1st:

So much for my brand new tarps! :p
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Cut the hip rafters.
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First two hips in place.
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Finished the south hip roof.
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Saturday, February 2nd:

Picked up the two exterior doors. The door between the observatory and warm room (also an exterior door) was damaged in shipping and Home Depot lost the replacement!

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North hip framed.
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Another stack of wood gone.
http://photos.orionr...0202-135713.jpg

Trimming out the east eaves.
http://photos.orionr...0202-173909.jpg

Storing the doors in the warm room.
http://photos.orionr...0202-195053.jpg

http://photos.orionr...0202-201447.jpg

Sunday, February 3rd:
Roof frame rolled off.
http://photos.orionr...0203-102524.jpg

http://photos.orionr...0203-102547.jpg

West eaves.
http://photos.orionr...0203-140927.jpg

Framing up the eaves for the south face.
http://photos.orionr...0203-145806.jpg

South eaves.
http://photos.orionr...0203-164956.jpg

I noticed this odd bright spot in the clouds with a weird rainbow effect around it.
http://photos.orionr...0203-165255.jpg

Initially I thought it was the sun shining through, then I noticed that the sun was off to the left. Then I noticed a similar spot to the left and realized there was a full ring visible. Cool!

http://photos.orionr...0203-165315.jpg

North eaves finished.
http://photos.orionr...0203-185437.jpg

So, the framing's done! Now I just need another dry day to get the decking down on the roof and covered with felt!

Beo

#198 Midnight Dan

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:29 AM

The place is coming together! Looks gorgeous!

Just wondernig, why did you use the sideways joists on the hip ends instead of the common peak-to-eave direction for the framing:

http://www.carpentry...-a-hip-roof.gif

-Dan

#199 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:13 AM

You can check out Scott's post here, but the idea is to keep the weight on the side rails. If I were to use a traditional framing there, the beam between the sides would have to have been HUGE to bear the load of that entire side and transfer it to the end points while avoiding bowing under the weight. The current design still has more weight there than I like, but I think things are braced well enough to minimize that impact.

Beo

#200 csa/montana

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:51 AM

Beo; we'd like to thank you for providing such great photos of your progress! I know I'm not the only one reading this thread, that is very excited to keep following it, right up to your first light!






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