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Orion Ranch Observatory

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#201 hm insulators

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:53 AM

The colorful spots you saw near the sun are called "sundogs." They're a result of sunlight reflecting off ice crystals in the clouds just right, as is the halo. I love sundogs! I think they're even prettier than rainbows.

#202 Baxstar

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:13 PM

Looks awesome! Keep up the good work!

Casper

#203 Peter9

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:18 PM

Wonderful job Beo. Hope everything continues to go well for you.

Many thanks for sharing it with us.

Regards. Peter.

#204 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:17 AM

Thanks Carol! I was worried I might be overdoing it a bit. I didn't want everyone feeling like they were being forced to watch the boring slide show of my vacation pictures or something! :lol: I'll keep them coming.

Beo

#205 Midnight Dan

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:23 AM

I think we're all enjoying the slide show! :bow:

-Dan

#206 dandabson

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:09 AM

More pics, more pics!

#207 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:07 PM

Another round of pics:

September 19th: ...


Ugh! Not sure what I was thinking the night I posted this! Obviously that was JANUARY, not September!

Beo

#208 Jeff Smith

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:10 AM

Looking good. You are going to love this setup. It looks very comfortable!

#209 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:14 PM

Thanks All! I've been on the road the past two weeks and haven't had much chance to get pictures posted. So here's the latest update.

Thursday, February 7th

Quite a few of the rafters and joists from Home Depot had mildew growth on them in the stack. I sprayed everything down with chlorine which helped get rid of most of it, but decided to pressure wash them to get the surface clean before decking. Unfortunately the remaining mildew is all embedded deep in the wood, so there was nothing else to come off. At any rate, hopefully I won't have problems due to this.

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Rather than having to wrestle each sheet up to the roof, I rigged a couple of palettes into a lifting platform for the roofing OSB. And I only almost killed myself with it once!
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Screwing some 2x4s temporarily to the edges to keep the sheets of OSB from sliding off and control the location to prevent any overlap.
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Lifting the first load of OSB with radiant barrier.
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First piece in place.
http://photos.orionr...0207-114037.jpg

First five sheets in place. Sliding the roof again to make installation easier.
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Finished the west side except for the last partial piece at the top.
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And the north side.
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Working late under spotlights to try to get the east side done.
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Saturday, February 9th
I had planned to get a lot done before the rains came, but instead it was a day of fog and drizzle which meant that I couldn't actually get dried in. I wasn't about to put any felt tar paper down over the wet wood!

The last triangle of daylight showing through the roof.
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Finished off roof sheathing in open position.
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The view from above.
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You can see the water pooling on the warm room ceiling. However I'll still have a decent amount of space to add an observing deck up there.

http://photos.orionr...0209-131820.jpg

And finally with the roof closed.

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An interior view with the roof closed. Lots of light reflecting off the radiant barrier from the soffits and the ridge vent.
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And finally a bit of a problem. The load on the end (and probably my weight going up and down it) has caused the beam across the end to bow into contact with the top of the end wall.

http://photos.orionr...0209-150651.jpg

And with that cliff-hanger, I guess I'll cut this one off and post the rest of the pictures from last weekend later.

Beo

#210 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:31 PM

Continuing on...

Saturday, February 16th:

Using a 16' 2x4 attached in the center and then lifting the edges to pull up the center point, most of the gap was recovered. Will likely add a 2x8 or 2x10 over top to finish the job.
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Putting up the first piece of fascia.
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Fascia done:
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First half of the 30# felt.
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Beo

#211 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:21 AM

Wow, I'm actually having trouble finding time to keep up with the progress, especially now that I'm back to traveling every week or two. I've still been able to make good progress on the weekends and get the pics up on the website regularly, but just not get things posted here. We'll see what I can do about that over the next few evenings in California!

Beo

Sunday, February 17th:

Finished installing the roofing felt (tar paper). A view from above.

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And giving you an idea of the area left above the warm room. There's about an extra foot that the roof could roll off once complete.
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Looking back into the observatory.
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The view from below. Note the temporary blocks are now hitting the fascia, so the roll-off won't go as far. I'm planning on some small pieces of angle iron that should clear the fascia but catch the roll-off frame -- I hope. :smirk: This should be the last time you see it rolled off until I have the drive system going up. The darn thing is getting HEAVY! :)

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http://photos.orionr...0217-143951.jpg

And then with the roof closed. Finally dried in!
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And a view from inside with all the nails poking through my pretty silver lining! :p

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Spent the rest of the afternoon doing finishing touches like the last piece of Quiet Brace over the door and making sure all the nails around the surface are flush. You can see the roll of house wrap on the ground in the foreground, which will be one of the next steps.

http://photos.orionr...0217-171414.jpg

And closed up for the night/week.

http://photos.orionr...0217-184029.jpg

#212 dmdouglass

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:59 PM

That is just a BIG BIG building !!!
You could hold a square dance in there, and never bother the scopes.

#213 Da Bear

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:45 PM

Great thread, great observatory.. I'm totally hooked at following your progress, like many others, I'm sure.

24' x 14' = 336 sqr.ft. So, do you have a rough estimate as to the final materials cost for the enitre project, less scopes, other astro gear and interior furnishing? I'm looking to find a cost/ sqr.ft number, a benchmark, for a large, top quality, high end ro/ro ob. Thanks for any info you wish to share.

Da Bear

#214 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:25 PM

That is just a BIG BIG building !!!
You could hold a square dance in there, and never bother the scopes.


Hey, I like my elbow room! Not to mention the wife likes to put out her lounge chair and watch for meteorites. Of course at this point I'm thinking I should have put in a third pier given some of the recent acquisitions. Of course as is I guess I have room for a 25" Obsession in the middle! :jump:

Beo

#215 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:45 PM

Great thread, great observatory.. I'm totally hooked at following your progress, like many others, I'm sure.

24' x 14' = 336 sqr.ft. So, do you have a rough estimate as to the final materials cost for the enitre project, less scopes, other astro gear and interior furnishing? I'm looking to find a cost/ sqr.ft number, a benchmark, for a large, top quality, high end ro/ro ob. Thanks for any info you wish to share.

Da Bear


Actually it's 26x16' for the observatory plus another 12x16' for the warm room, for a total of 38x16' = 608 SF. I really don't like to think about what I've put into it, but when all is said and done, excluding things like the land and gas to get there all the time, and all the tools that I used this as an excuse to buy, I'd say I'm into it for at least $15k, or a bit more if I include stuff like the long electrical run, etc. Now about $5.5k of that was just the slab, which would have been cheaper if I'd been willing to pour it myself, and another $2k will be the standing seam metal roof, for which there are considerably cheaper alternatives. Of course if I paid someone just to do that part, it'd be more like $6k! So paying someone else for labor will cost you. Basically on the roofing they're quoting material and labor costs as roughly the same with a ~30% profit margin for the contractor. I'm not sure how that runs for other trades, but seems about right for what I paid to have the slab poured too, vs. what I was quoted for materials. At any rate, that puts me in the $25/SF ballpark, which isn't too outrageous. Of course the sad thing is that since this time last year when I originally starting pricing materials and hoping to get started, the materials prices on most things have gone up 15-25%! So that's just depressing.

Of course when I start adding scopes, etc. that I can't seem to stop collecting... (Thus the need for a third pier!) And to think that all of this started from a little 50 mm Celestron piece of junk scope that we got on clearance for $10 at Fry's... UGH! :foreheadslap:

Beo

#216 Da Bear

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:25 PM

Of course when I start adding scopes, etc. that I can't seem to stop collecting...


Thanks Beo, and welcome to the madness of scope collecting...LOL. It's worse than coffee and tobacco. I have an entire garage full of astro gear....including three Cave reflectors.

$25 a sqr.ft makes a lot of sense, I may build my ob this summer, 1-2 years earlier than originally planned- as building supply costs are sky rocketing every month.

Da Bear

#217 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:26 PM

Saturday, February 23rd:

Home Depot finally got the replacement door in for the interior warm room/observatory wall.
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I had a friend come out and help me install the vented Hardie Soffit material. This stuff is too fragile to handle with only one person. I'd debated cutting it into 6' lengths so I could do each piece by myself, but that wouldn't have been as nice.

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Of course we screwed up installing one piece. See if you can tell what's wrong. For the life of me I can't figure out how it happened either! I haven't decided if it's worth the 12 bucks to rip this one out and put it in correctly. If it wasn't right past the door where I'd notice it all the time, I wouldn't worry about it. As is, I could be kicking myself for the next 20-30 years each time I see it! :p

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Cutting the openings for windows and air conditioning units.
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And finally starting the house wrap!
http://photos.orionr...0223-171958.jpg

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A bit closer so you can see all the staples...
http://photos.orionr...0223-172030.jpg

Interior of the observatory with the small opening for the AC and forced air vent.

http://photos.orionr...0223-181058.jpg

Continuing on down the west wall.
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And finishing up after dark again.
http://photos.orionr...0223-195405.jpg

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#218 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:37 PM

Of course when I start adding scopes, etc. that I can't seem to stop collecting...


Thanks Beo, and welcome to the madness of scope collecting...LOL. It's worse than coffee and tobacco. I have an entire garage full of astro gear....including three Cave reflectors.


Yeah, tell me about it. I've gotten in the habit of watching Craig's List for good local deals after getting my like new 11" NexStar GPS and JMI case for $1500 that way! What I tend to do now though is anytime I see a really nice starter scope that I can get for $50 or so, I'll grab it, clean it up and play with it for a bit, and then find some kid or family that shows an interest and give it to them with two rules: 1) You have to use it. 2) If you realize you aren't using it and it starts gathering dust, you have to give it away to someone else who will use it. Either that or give it back and I'll find someone else. You can't sell it!

$25 a sqr.ft makes a lot of sense, I may build my ob this summer, 1-2 years earlier than originally planned- as building supply costs are sky rocketing every month.

Da Bear


Best of luck on that.

Beo

#219 1965healy

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 12:51 AM

Beo, spend the 12 bucks and replace it, it'll drive you mad if you don't! Besides who knows what kind of weird vortex it'll create, you'll hear it whispering to you when it's dark and quiet.

#220 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:59 AM

Sunday, February 24th:

Installing the vent.
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And the first window.
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Interior and exterior views of the prep for the remaining windows and door.
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Last two windows installed.
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http://photos.orionr...0224-131207.jpg

Looking through the warm room to the other side.
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And finally a door!

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Cutting a hole in the warm room wall for the breaker box before calling it a night.
http://photos.orionr...0224-190809.jpg

http://photos.orionr...0224-190822.jpg

Beo

#221 Skip

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 12:50 PM

Beo, spend the 12 bucks and replace it, it'll drive you mad if you don't! Besides who knows what kind of weird vortex it'll create, you'll hear it whispering to you when it's dark and quiet.


:lol:

But I disagree, Beo. As long as it isn't causing a problem, leave it there. A little self deprecation is good for the soul. :D

#222 1965healy

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:54 PM

Is it just my iPad or are a lot of the recent photos not loading? I'm getting lots of little blue boxes w/ ?'s and no pix.

#223 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:57 PM

Is it just my iPad or are a lot of the recent photos not loading? I'm getting lots of little blue boxes w/ ?'s and no pix.


Hmm. Works for me, but then again... I post them all as linked images, so you may be experiencing a delay or other problem between CN and my web host, but who knows...

Beo

#224 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 11:59 PM

Wednesday, February 27th:

Went out to feed the animals and check for any damage from the major wind storm that hit Central Texas on Monday the 25th, with 70 MPH (hurricane force) wind gusts. It made a bit of a mess of my remaining covered piles of construction supplies:

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But I was thrilled to see that the only evidence of anything on the observatory was a bit of an upturn to the corners of the felt on the roof!

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Although the tarp and boards covering the 6' door opening was moved around quite a bit at the bottom, and the landscape was scoured of all loose mulch, etc., much of which ended up inside the observatory!

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Not only all the mulch, but also that black mat was outside the observatory on Sunday!
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I stayed late and worked on the electrical for a while, getting the main feed connected into the breaker box and mounting the box permanently. Not exactly easy with these big 4/0 aluminum cables!

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Beo

#225 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:08 AM

Ok, trying my new format for posting images. Clicking on the image will take you to the full side image, while clicking the link underneath will take you to the associated web page.

Friday, March 1st, 2013:

Took a day off to have a long weekend. Spent the morning getting those darn 4/0 cables connected to a big breaker that wasn't really designed for them.
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Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

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Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

Putting a conduit over the 6' door frame to allow routing power across. Meant to leave a gap in the header and forgot, but there's plenty of room above the door frame.
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Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

I started with roughly the same setup I used on the first door to help hold the door in place when I stand it up. Of course that didn't work because the door is an out-swing door and can't be installed without opening the door!
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Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

Of course the bigger problem turned out to be the clear opening! The standard requirement of door width + 2" didn't work here. The door frame exterior dimensions were the same 74" as the clear opening. :p Thus I had to knock out the jack stud on one side and replace it with a 1x4, moving the existing 2x4 to the other side, since a portion of the header still extends outside the frame.

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Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

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Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

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Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

I heard some rustling while I was working on the double doors and discovered a dove had decided it likes my observatory! I'm not sure if it came in before the double door was up, or thought the door knob opening was a nice place for a nest.
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Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

Finishing up the evening with the door partially installed, shimmed, and braced.
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Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

Note the small pieces of 2x4 used to hold things in place.
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Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.

Beo






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