Wow, last post in April...it's been too long!
So a couple of weeks ago I decided that the dome would be completed before this project was 1 year old! And looking at my photo stream on flickr the project turned 1 year old today. So "Happy Birthday Dome" you've taken entirely too long to build! I'm not completely done yet...but I'm darn close.
Somewhere in this thread I had mentioned contemplating making the dome a "walk in" dome but decided to leave well enough along and just have the tiny door. That has changed.
The walk through is probably one of the better decisions I've made with this dome. It's held in place by a couple of latches (commonly used to secure windows). The majority of the force is taken by a couple of oak blocks attached to the uprights.
After I had cut the dome and flange that took me so long to build I started priming them both. You can see that the flange has been primed in the background as well.
After the dome and flange were primed I started on the building. I had actually built the building once before but since it sat outside for so long with no structure, and the frame was not pressure treated, it began to rot. So I removed all the non-pressure treated wood and started anew.
And yes, that's the door that I was planning on crawling through. I'm very glad I made this "walk in".
Finally with the building done and the flange in place it was time to paint the flange and dome (the building is painted in the picture above). As we were discussing the logistics of carrying the dome out it began to rain. We quickly covered the flange and waited about 15 minutes for it to pass then we carried out the dome and painted the flange and dome. After which we moved the dome onto the structure.
Here's a shot with the walk through open. There are 3 pieces which must be removed, plus the door opened and shutter retracted. If you click through the pieces are annotated.
In normal operation this is what the dome will look like. The lower shutter will be installed unless I need to get below 35 degrees.
And for a sense of scale here's a bad shot of me and my son standing in the opening. Needless to say this is an imaging only dome :-)
At this point I think the dome is about 99% done. The rotation and shutter work well. I need to make a couple of minor improvements to the shutter limit switches and fix an area where the dome skirt rubs on the flange. But other than that it's pretty much done.
I'm hoping to get first light this coming weekend. Where I'm sure I'll find some other issues about dome slaving or something.
This has been a pretty fun project and it's a real sense of pride knowing that I made 100% of the dome as well as the motor controllers and everything that runs it! I can't wait to get some use out of it!