Well, every journey starts with a first step
Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:32 AM
Kudo's to all of you that can dig your own but I know for a fact, for me, the Dr. bills for fixing my back after I attempt such an endeavor will far exceed any savings I would have made. The central pier will have about a full yard of concrete (2' cube in ground with a 16" dia sonotube riser, about 3000lbs) so it should be beefy enough to hold anything up to about a 16" to 18" telescope. I currently own a 10" Meade LX200 that is about 8 years old. Should work fine for now. One thing at a time as they say. Just want to get the building up (ROR) and the telescope in and secure and then we shall see where we go from there.
Here are the anchors for the telescope pier and the roof upright supports
Posted 07 April 2012 - 10:04 AM
Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:35 AM
Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:30 AM
Posted 13 April 2012 - 07:09 PM
The main pier and foundation. There is a conduit trench back to the house so I can put in a couple of conduits for power and ethernet. Yea.... I know... the pier is huge. Up here the standard sizes for sonotubes is 12" and 24". I was thinking of a 16" but they would have to special order and it would have been a week or two delay. I figure error on the high side. My son is going to make a custom metal pier that will be bolted to the base and we set the height so the concrete will be a few inches below the floor. This will give me room to run a conduit to the hole and I can figure out something to plug it up to keep the spiders down to a minimum.
Here you can see the two piers to hold the uprights for the roof.
Posted 13 April 2012 - 07:47 PM
Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:22 AM
Posted 14 April 2012 - 11:17 AM
Very nice! And arn't you glad You didn't do the digging.
Ah, yea you can say that again. Had I, I would currently be in emergency care on a morphine drip. ;-)
Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:57 AM
Those bricks look heavy
They are not bricks; rather cement blocks and they are hollow inside. Not that heavy.
Posted 15 April 2012 - 10:00 AM
Looking forward to more photos, as it progresses!
Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:16 PM
One thing about that pier; you will be able to upsize to almost any scope!
That is kind of what I figured. Rather error on the side of too much vs too little. Job was already quoted and paid so the cost was the same. I can easily adapt to what I need and go forward. My current scope is a Meade 10" LX200. Not a bad instrument but I've got some ideas on upgrading and there is enough room in the structure to go to at least a 16" without squeezing too bad and maybe even a tad larger.
I will post the progress as things move along.
Posted 13 February 2013 - 03:01 PM
Just getting it off the truck was a bit of a trick. It was packed very well but the box was so large it was too big for the tongs on the fork lift. With the cooperation of the delivery truck guy we jacked it down with the fork lift on one end and the lift gate on the truck on the other. The next excitement was the truck was so big it could not get around to the back of the building where the bay door was located. I took a floor jack out to the street and between the jack on one end and the fork lift on the other we were able to "walk" it slowly around to the back and into the bay. Like a kid at Christmas. Opened it up and checked things out.
As you can see it's packed very well.
Just a few Tab A's that go into Slot B's
I'm pre-assembling it in my son's shop. Nice 70 degrees here in Phoenix. Much nicer than trying to do that in 10 degrees up in Overgaard. Once we get it all in ship-shape I can shuttle it up on my trailer disassembled and put it together pretty quick at it's final home.
Posted 13 February 2013 - 04:50 PM
Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:14 PM
Curious as to why you switched to a dome. How did you redesign the roof to accommodate the dome? Nice job so far!
This started as just something I would use exclusively to an observatory that will be remotely controlled and possibly used by others. If all goes to plan, my 10" LX200 Meade will be replaced with a 20" Planewave. While you can put interlocks out the wazoo, it is still possible to hit your telescope with the roof if you have a ROR. Not likely but possible. That, and coupled to the fact that I'm just not a visual observer. This telescope will be use 99.99% for imaging and we get a fair amount of wind at times in Overgaard. With a dome, while other things bad can happen, I can guarantee I will not hit the telescope with the roof and I have significantly more wind protection with a dome vs a ROR. I'm not knocking ROR's they are great but for how I intend to use this facility and for where it's located, a dome is a much better option.
Redesign the roof was almost a non issue. I just squared it up so the HomeDome would fit. In happy coincidences my dimensions just happen to work out perfect for the 10' HD. What was a little painful was the pier design. What I had before was more than sufficient for a 4' - 5' pier that was supported by the concrete foundation. In going to a dome, the height of a 450lb to 500lb Planewave setup would put the telescope just under 10' in the air. What I had was just borderline ok, especially given like I said this is an imaging instrument only. I am fortunate in that my son has his own metal fabrication company so I can get nice custom metal things made for significantly less than someone else. I've got a pier design that should work well and not cause significant thermal issues and be very stable.
Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:36 PM
Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:19 PM
Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:34 AM
Posted 30 April 2013 - 01:34 PM
Here are a few pics of the process:
The pier is 10' high to go from the concrete floor (12,000 lbs) to proper placement in the dome. It's a strut design made from 1/2" plate steel and 1/4" wall 2x4 box steel. The plates were cut from a 4x8 sheet on a CNC plasma cutter.
Here are the main plates:
Here are the support 2x4's and gussets:
Here is my son welding up the tower:
Here is the finished pier ready to head to powder coat:
My truck loaded with the finished pier and parts of the dome. My son had the rest of the dome in his truck.
Arriving at the observatory building in Overgaard:
I hired a crane to lift the pier and place it in the building. Poor guy, took about 20mins to navigate through the trees on my property to get to the open area where the building is located. Once there it only took about 5 mins to lift it and put it in place.
Up and over the building:
Pier down on the concrete:
As you can see from the picture above there is a 2'x2' round concrete pier that comes up from the floor. Originally I was going to go with a ROR design. With that, the existing pier would have been fine. Changing to a dome I needed to expand the concrete to a 5x5x3 block to provide for sufficient space for the larger pier. The central riser actually ended up being a good engineering addition as we bolted both to the floor and to the central pier. The center bolts put stress on the pier structure to essentially load the steel uprights making things far more rigid. In 20-20 hindsight it probably would have helped to make the internal gussets a bit larger but I believe what we have should work.
My son has an industrial Hilti concrete drill. This bad boy makes a 4" deep 9/16" hole in 8 seconds. It laughs at concrete.
There are 20 1/2" bolts. 12 on the bottom and 8 on the mid plate. We used mechanical impact bolts and filled the holes with bolt epoxy. On this point, again in 20-20 hindsight, we probably could have just use full thread blots with epoxy. Banging the bolts down into epoxy filled holes was not fun. That being said,...... I can safely say they are not going anywhere.
Every project of this size needs professional supervision. Mine was no different. Here are my foremen (a.k.a. Grandsons Gavin and Jacob)
After getting the pier in and down it was time to assemble the dome. Finishing the skirt, fixing the gaps and putting the ring stemwall was next. I will refrain from public executions but if you are considering getting a TI dome write me a PM and I will fill you in on The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. In short, I was able to fix all of the shortcoming and so far I believe it should work fine. Here is a shot of the complete ring:
Here is the building with the dome and back shutter plate:
Here is the finished building:
This is a shot looking down at the top of the pier. There is a custom adapter plate that will be flat bolted to the top. That plate will have precision drilled/tapped holes to fit my current Meade Wedge mount and a hopefully future AP 1600 GTO mount.
Here is a shot looking up from the floor:
This is a view out the slot looking NW at level just above where the scope will be located.
Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:14 AM
That is an amazing pier! Great workmanship.
Absolutely nice !