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The Bone Yard

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#1 Raginar

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:25 AM

Hey guys,

I've been lurking in the observatories forum for the last year or so. I decided to build a sky shed last year when I realized I would actually do AP. So, over the winter and after many setups and tear downs due to the weather, I decided it would be worth the effort to build a sky shed. It's still a work in progress with the finishing touches; trim, stain and landscaping. But, it survived a hail storm and doesn't seem to be leaking yet :).

Attached are some of the pictures. I hope you enjoy them! And thanks to everyone who has posted in the past; your pictures really helped me figure out what exactly needed to be done.

Chris

Posted Image
photo (5) by mads0100, on Flickr

#2 Raginar

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:26 AM

Here is a video of the roof rolling.

http://goo.gl/Sczci

#3 Raginar

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:27 AM

Here is a picture of it with the roof rolled/scope on the pier.
Posted Image
photo (4) by mads0100, on Flickr

You'll notice the overhang pinned to the gable. This was due to some high speed winds that were really bending the overhang before I could cut it off. I removed those sections shortly after this and need to put rake trim over it.

#4 Raginar

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:28 AM

Here is another picture of the walls prior to being installed. Being able to build most of the parts in the garage and carry them out was super-useful.

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image by mads0100, on Flickr

#5 Raginar

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:31 AM

Finally, here is the picture of the floor/pier before I put the walls on. It settled about 2" after I got the roof on... Take care with your foundation! The wood pier is just a 6' 6x6 of treated lumber. WHile it's not nearly as stable as a concrete pier, it dampens well and it handles the CGEM fine.

Posted Image
photo by mads0100, on Flickr

#6 Starman27

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:56 PM

Good work. Enjoy it! Did you mean the entire floor settled 2 inches with the weight of the walls and roof? Did it settle evenly?

#7 Raginar

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 04:20 PM

No, just the back corner. You can tell from the "other side" and especially if you look at it parallel with the tracks. However, it doesn't seem to effect the rolling. I'm not sure how 'easy' these things are supposed to be, but I'm not having any trouble rolling it off. What I've found is if I push it off from one side, it's shift slightly and bind up, but a sharp 'push' on the offending end puts it back on kilter and rolls just fine.

I've been too busy at work to really enjoy the end result but I have had the opportunity to practice rolling it on and off and setting up. Definitely easier than lugging the mount/tripod/scope/etc out. :)

Chris

#8 David Pavlich

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:13 PM

That's nice work, Chris! I always contend that if one can build an obs, it'll prove to be the best astrobucks you've spent.

David

#9 Raginar

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:31 AM

Dave, I completely agree. Tonight was the first night I was able to really get a good polar alignment with my scope. Having a safe, dry place for my mount to always be setup is really nice. Oh, and when I woke up and saw the clouds had moved in, I didn't worry about rain; just rolled the roof and started shooting darks :).

If you have the room and some time to build one, a shed really makes it easier.. and that's with one night under my belt!

Oh, and the wood pier is the other one. I was a little worried about doing the 'wood'. While it's not 'rock' solid, as you'd expect, it has no problem dampening out the movement of the scope and getting it ready prior to taking pictures with a fairly decent load on it. (35# or so).

Oh, and total cost was around $1500; not cheap by any means but definitely manageable. The most expensive parts were the sheathing, the roofing, and the darn track. I couldn't find anyone to give me a decent deal on track!! :) 40' of track and rollers cost me nearly 350 bucks... That was probably the biggest sticker shock. Other than that, 5/8" plywood for the walls isn't cheap either. However, it definitely makes for a nicely finished product in the end. The biggest thing I found was to buy wood as you needed. I was surprised to find a fairly significant difference in price of lumber depending on the when/where... For instance, lumber was cheaper at menards (2x4s, etc) but the sheathing was almost 20% cheaper at the local lumber center. I probably could've saved some money if I'd shopped around more.

The tool I didn't have and found I really needed was an electric shears. Cheap, bought one on Amazon for 36 bucks, and it cuts through metal roofing like butter. Otherwise, I only used a circular saw, a sawz-all, a miter saw, and an electric driver/drill. I used mostly 3" screws to put it all together too.

One thing I would've done differently with the roof is probably to properly sheath it with plywood decking. I don't think it would've weighed significantly more (just over 2 sheets of plywood of the thinnest stuff I could find if I did it) and it would've saved me a few bad punctures of the metal roofing. Oh, and I bought 1 5/8" roofing screws, when I should've just bought 2.5"... I only needed a few of the 2.5" but it was at the end of the day when I wanted to be done! And, with the metal roofing, you'll need to rent a larger shear tool to cut it evenly to the length of your roof. I think the electric shear could be used too, it just wouldn't be "as" clean.

Oh, and build the roof with pre-made materials. It cost 35 a piece from the local box store to have 4/12 pitch gable ends bought. There just isn't a reason not to make it simple :).

Finally, you're really gonna need a buddy to help you out with this. I needed help for about 3 days of construction; the foundation, actually throwing the walls up, and finally getting the steel roofing on. Mostly it was a weight thing; I could manage the parts by myself but it wasn't easy! :)

Well, time for bed since the clouds rolled in.

Thanks again, and CS!
Chris

#10 starbob1

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:45 AM

Good job.Very nice.Just make sure you protect your T-11 siding.I use and recommend a Good Solid color Acrylic Stain.

#11 Raginar

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:29 PM

That's next on the list now that it's complete. I think a good stain will be very tasteful versus painting.

The skyshed 'demo' picture is what I'd like to go for :).

Chris

#12 thesungazer

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:38 PM

Very nice, Chris! I'm sure you'll have many clear nights of enjoyable observing.

Maybe you should paint a Bone (B-1 for you non-Air Force types) on the side of it!

Greg
(8 years on the Buff)

#13 Raginar

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 10:40 PM

Good to meet you Greg, ever make it up to Ellsworth? That would be cool, I was thinking just a sign with a burned in B-1 :).

Your shed looks good too. What do you have in it?

#14 budman1961

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 12:37 PM

Nice build Chris! I know you will get a lot of use out of it, and certainly not having to drag everything in/out is a real joy!

Andy

#15 Raginar

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:38 PM

Ya, now if it would just stop with the cirrus clouds I'd be GTG! :)

#16 thesungazer

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:03 PM

I've not had the pleasure of visiting SD, Chris. I'd love to see the stars under your skies. Maybe one day...

The Rising Sun's primary instruments are a couple of solar scopes. I also have a C14 Edge.

Keep us updated on your progress!

Greg

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#17 Raginar

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:49 PM

Hey Greg,

That refractor is amazing! I'm thoroughly jealous :). Maybe a large SCT, but I can't imagine having something like that in my 'shed'. Oh, and I got it stained over the last few days. Just in time for some thunderstorms. Took some of my first pictures too; if they turn out I'll post them. So far I'm very happy with the polar alignment and just general ease of use. Best money I've spent on astronomy!

The neighbors were definitely interested in what I was doing. They had trouble grasping exactly how it was going to open up in order to let the telescope out. Apparently they had a tally on how many different ways it could work out :). Either way, they said it was, 'neat'.

What seat did you sit in buffs btw? I'm a back seater.

#18 Raginar

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 04:47 PM

Question for everyone, what do you do about rain on your tracks? I'm noticing just a small dribble making it into my obs due to settling of the tracks. I have the two holes drilled, but it seems to condense on the bottom of the track and slowly make it's way in. My immediate idea was to get a length of rope and do something like a wick to let the water run down.

Any ideas?

Chris

#19 Raginar

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 11:28 PM

Well, I never posted a semi-finished picture! Here is the inside and the outside. Still need to put some corner trim on and get a good sign but she's essentially done :).

Posted Image
The shed ready for business! by mads0100, on Flickr

#20 Raginar

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 11:29 PM

And here is the scope on the pier showing some of the cabling:

Posted Image
Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr

#21 Raginar

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 11:32 PM

And another angle of the scope on the pier.

Posted Image
Untitled by mads0100, on Flickr

I think the biggest thing I was surprised about is how effective wood is as a pier. The 6x6 has remained true and dampens out any vibrations quickly. It has some movement when you slew the mount around, but it's quickly removed and there isn't any issues during AP.

Here is my best example so far: my focus is a bit soft but there are round stars! The biggest change I've made hardware wise is a lode star guider... it made a HUGE difference between binning/better CCD chip.

Posted Image

#22 Hilmi

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:55 AM

Looking good :)

The color theme sure does pop out of the surrounding though!

#23 Starman27

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 06:46 AM

Very nice result.

#24 Raginar

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 09:46 AM

Thanks Himli/Herman!

The colors do pop out a bit :). Most people seem to match their house, but since my house is grey... I wanted something a little more interesting in the backyard.

How's your roof obs coming?

#25 Hilmi

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:07 AM

The roof obs is very fast, but after 5 years of waiting, I'm finding it hard to wait 1 week!






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