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My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build

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#1 tulit

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 05:24 PM

Hi all. I wanted to share a project I started last week to build a low cost roll-off roof observatory.

It's based on several other designs I've seen that have used sheet metal sheds as a basis. Once I have all the bugs worked out, I'll try to draw up some detailed plans for others to use in their own builds.

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#2 tulit

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 05:25 PM

The shed itself is a Arrow 8x6' Newport shed. It's a nice fit as the walls are pretty low, the gable short and it is low cost ($199).

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#3 tulit

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 05:27 PM

The roof frame made out of 2x4's. There will be a total of three of these made. One will mount under the roof assembly and have a set of 8 castors to allow it to roll. A second will be mounted directly to the top of the walls of the shed. The third will be attached to the side of the shed and will be where the roof rolls when the observatory is open.

Total cost of lumber for this project was about $170.

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#4 tulit

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 05:28 PM

The roof mocked up on the frame.

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#5 tulit

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 05:32 PM

The base that I will mount the shed onto (made of 2x6's. I haven't decided what to do in the center yet [i.e. make a box for an eventual pier?]). For now (until the house deck/hottub in the picture is removed), I'll make use of a tripod instead of a pier. There will be holes drilled into the floor (5/8" ply) of the base that will allow the legs to reach the patterned concrete below.

I also decided to make the base 8x8' instead of 8x6' incase I decide to later increase the width of the shed.

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#6 Starman27

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 05:32 PM

Good thinking.

#7 Jimmy2K63

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 08:21 AM

Looking forward to seeing this. Might even borrow your idea here.

James

#8 sleepy

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 09:40 AM

Yes..Keep us posted, looks great so far.

#9 Starhawk

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 02:18 PM

Outstanding!

This looks like just the sort of observatory I could fit in my yard. I will be very interested in seeing how it comes together.

-Rich

#10 Footbag

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 04:22 PM

Very interesting! I am also want to see how this turns out.

#11 csa/montana

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 06:13 PM

Looking forward to your build! This will give a lot of people ideas of how to go about the conversion.

#12 dobsoscope

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 07:50 AM

Great stuff!!
what are the inside dimensions of the observatory?

#13 Chris Schroeder

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 08:16 AM

Looks like a nice design and good planning :waytogo:

#14 EddWen

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 11:18 AM

My SoCal observatory is 8' x 8' on the outside.

I suggest that if you are inside yours with your scope, you might want bigger than 8' x 6'. You could leave the roof as pre-fabbed to keep your cost down, but I don't think anyone has built a "too big" observatory.

Nice drawings. Put yourself in them....

#15 Starhawk

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 11:21 AM

This is the 6'x8' size, but looking on Home Depot's site I saw they carry an 8'x10' size for $318. Here in AZ, I would be planning on styrofoam board panels on the inside to insulate it.

It is really neat to see this coming together.

-Rich

#16 tulit

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 11:30 AM

Hi guys.

Yes mine is 8x6. Home Depot has a cheap 8x10 version of this shed as well. Unfortunately, I just couldn't find any good places in my yard to fit a full 8x10. I do have room on my decking to stretch it to 8x8 if I decide to do that later.

I plan to have most of my setup controlled via computer in the house, so I don't intend on being in there a whole lot. But yes, it may be a bit cramped.

#17 tulit

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 11:34 AM

My work so far this morning.
The deck finished. I used a piece of 1x4x8 to fill the gap between the two pieces of ply 8x4x5/16" ply.

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#18 tulit

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 11:37 AM

The main walls and structure are up. I just need to install the remaining wall panels and doors. It was a bit slow progress as I had to work by myself. It's definately do-able alone, but having a second set of hands would make it smoother.

Ive taken a break now until it cools off again outside.

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#19 clchildress

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 01:45 PM

Simply fantastic. This is just the sort of thing I was looking for. Thanks for sharing with us.

#20 tulit

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 08:37 AM

Build Day #2--

I was able to convince my wife to help get the walls up last night before it got dark. This is definitely a part of the job where two people are helpful.

Most of it lined up okay. I found some errors in other parts of the assembly that I had to correct along the way. A lot of the parts seem to have two sets of holes and the instructions don't mention anywhere which to use.

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#21 tulit

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 08:40 AM

The upper wood frame is screwed to the same L beams at the top of the shed walls that the roof normally attaches to.

I'm definitely going to need to make ample use of caulking between the top of the wall and the frame. With the warp of the wood and the panels of the shed not being perfect (as expected), there are points where there is a bit of a gap.

One thing I'm still debating is whether I need to reinforce the structure of the shed at all. It feels surprisingly sturdy the way it is already. I may add some 4x4's into all the corners to help support things a bit better, but I'll see how it goes first.

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#22 tulit

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 08:45 AM

And a top view of the shed so far. I've had to stop work for now as there is a storm coming through. I've quickly tried to anchor the shed down as best as I could :)

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#23 Starhawk

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 09:22 AM

I suggest getting the top woodwork painted before continuing construction.

-Rich

#24 sleepy

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 09:55 AM

Looking good.!

#25 MikeCMP

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 06:40 PM

Having just assembled one of the 8X10 versions of this building a few weeks ago, I thought at first there was no way this would work - my building wobbled a bit, up until the roof was screwed down. Seeing your plan with the wood frames for the top changed my mind, what a clever idea.

You will not want to see a sheet metal screw for a while I bet.

I like it - gives me some ideas, definitely a good idea.






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