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Morning Calm Observatory

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#26 Keith Howlett

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:03 PM

Hi Donovan,

That's a beautiful observatory, it looks right at home in your equally beautiful grounds. I really liked the idea of the rods to capture the castors at rail ends too. Congratulations. :bow:

Keith

#27 DGB

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:27 PM

Hi Donovan,

That's a beautiful observatory, it looks right at home in your equally beautiful grounds. I really liked the idea of the rods to capture the castors at rail ends too. Congratulations. :bow:

Keith


Thank you Keith,
Speaking of grounds, I thank your fellow countryman Sir Patrick Moore (RIP) for his creative ideas from his book! In the picture showing the house and observatory, look to the immediate left of the observatory and you will see alternating shrubs and evergreens which I hope will grow into a hedgerow of sorts. That will enclose a courtyard area where I will have a permanent fire pit and an additional area to set up other scopes I have available. We had a nice fire going there with chairs facing out during the Geminids. The fire certainly kept us toasty and comfortable that cold night!

#28 DGB

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 05:28 PM

For the observatory structure, I chose to use 2"x6"s for the exterior load bearing 8' tall walls. Possibly overkill, but not in my opinion with a one ton roof rolling around over your head! Building codes are a minimum, not a maximum.
For the roof movement function I decided on v-groove castors on angle iron rails. (I did read with interest about only using one "v" groove rail on one side and a flat plate/wheel on the other, but decided on two similar rails.) Working out the specifics called for some research and decisions. Considering code and roof load requirements, I opted for 20 ea 1,000 lb capacity "v" groove castors and for the rails I decided on 2" angle iron welded to 5/16"x4" wide steel plate (with mounting holes drilled every foot alternating on either side of each rail) to spread the roof load over double 2"x6" wall header plates. With the plate added, the roof weight will not 'compress' the header boards with the imprint of the inverted "v" angle iron, causing some alignment issues.
For my 20'x24' observatory, that's 42'x2ea for a total of 84 linear feet (with 4 each of my special welded end plates I designed). Each 42' section came in two equal length pieces (with staggered plate/"v" angle iron butt joints to spread the weld section which was welded on site after I mounted them on the structure). The entire metal rail effort; including materiel, welding, fabrication, priming, hole drilling, delivery and a one time on-site welding was contracted out to a local metal fabricator shop for $500.
All said and done, I can roll the roof off with just my body weight pulling a rope on the underside of the trusses (yes, they are reinforced)! Took my time and did it right, measure 5x, cut once. At some point though, I will probably research and install some form of motorized system.
In this picture, if you look down the rail, you will see an unpainted 2x4 section (placeholder) for one of the top plates of the interior non-load bearing wall. YES, those inspectors were THAT precise in critiquing my plans before I started! This was MY first observatory build and more importantly, THEIR first observatory also! There is an error in this picture that I came across as I continued the installation... Anyone see it?

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#29 HunterofPhotons

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:21 PM

For the observatory structure, I chose to use 2"x6"s for the exterior load bearing 8' tall walls. Possibly overkill, but not in my opinion with a one ton roof rolling around over your head! Building codes are a minimum, not a maximum.....


The compressive strength of a typical 2 x 4 is about 40,000 pounds. It takes some doing to build a roof that will stress a 2 x 4 wall. <g>
I went the other direction and built my observatory without studs, with just a top plate. That works, too.

dan k.

#30 Mary B

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 06:26 PM

One rafter bracket is reversed, or it is right and the rest are wrong...

#31 DGB

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 07:38 PM

For the observatory structure, I chose to use 2"x6"s for the exterior load bearing 8' tall walls. Possibly overkill, but not in my opinion with a one ton roof rolling around over your head! Building codes are a minimum, not a maximum.....


The compressive strength of a typical 2 x 4 is about 40,000 pounds. It takes some doing to build a roof that will stress a 2 x 4 wall. <g>
I went the other direction and built my observatory without studs, with just a top plate. That works, too.

dan k.


Interesting fact about vertical weight, but I just like the nice, solid feel of a rigid structure with a floor 2' to 8' in the air that doesn't move laterally in the wind! I also used 4 each 5' long 2"x10" braces diagonally connecting (as a triangle in each corner) the intersecting observatory wall corners on the underside of each top plate for added wall rigidity. Again, overkill? Probably so, but I do plan on passing the scope and observatory on to a few more generations!

#32 DGB

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 07:59 PM

One rafter bracket is reversed, or it is right and the rest are wrong...

Hi Mary,
Correct! Fortunately for me, only had to correct the one. :thewave:

#33 DGB

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 10:08 PM

Here is another picture from my wife's phone camera and also the five week water mark for my observatory. I used ground contact pressure treated 6"x6" posts notched precisely for height to attach double 2"x12" boards nailed, glued, butted on posts and bolted together for beams. 2"x10" joists were hung with hangars between the 4"x12" beams. 3/4" T&G plywood was glued and screwed to the joists. In the picture, note the 4 each 6x6 posts towards the center of the floor structure. As mentioned, they are independent of the observatory structure and would later get framed as a platform for the Obsession 30". The metal rails were just recently delivered at this point also. They are to the right of the structure. The floor was within 1/4" of level over the 20'x24' floor and the diagonals were also within 1/4" from 'square'. Oh, and don't forget to invest in a good pair of knee pads, you WON'T regret the investment!
Measured 5x, cut once. Beginning to sound like a broken record but it certainly is a process for me to follow!

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#34 RobVG

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:36 PM

Excellent Job.

Nothing more accurate than the water level.

#35 droid

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 06:16 AM

beautiful observatory ,well done :bow: :bow:

#36 csa/montana

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 10:55 AM

An amazing job! We really enjoy seeing photos of the builds!

#37 DGB

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:12 PM

This picture was from March 24th, a rainy day. As you can see, I painted the floor and 2"x6" wall studs black as I built them. The open roof/deck posts were carefully measured, cut in height, aligned with the load bearing walls and then set in place on their footings with more concrete. My design called for the deck to be one step down from the observatory floor level, giving that much more headroom between the finished deck level and the underside of the upper 6"x6" beam/rail for the rolling roof. The finished deck level was also to be about 1/2 step down to the ground level at the highest point of the sloping ground (closest point to the camera.)

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#38 DGB

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:26 PM

Here is three days later. The 6"x6" roof rail support beams were carefully lifted, aligned and attached.
I found that priming and painting the T-111 siding out in the open with a long handled roller saved me time and less aching for my back.

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#39 csa/montana

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:17 PM

Great idea painting everything as you go!

#40 Irene

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 06:46 PM

Hello, I am very interested in building an observatory similar to your's. Do you by any chance happen to have any drawings/plans for the building, the kind you have to submit for a building permit? Thanks so much!

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#41 TCW

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 07:44 PM

Excellent Job.

Nothing more accurate than the water level.


Actually if you are working around a corner of a house where part of the water tube is in the sun and the rest in shade it can be off by a considerable amount due to the delta in water density/temperature.

#42 Raginar

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 10:15 AM

Irene,

Take a look at SkySheds or BackyardObservatories. Both will give you plans that should be adequate enough for you to get a permit off of. Check your building codes, often one isn't required if you keep it below a certain size. I never found free plans when I was building my ROR.

Good luck,
Chris

#43 Irene

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 02:08 PM

I would very much appreciate receiving a copy of the drawings/plans made for this observatory, as I would like to create a similar roll-off roof observatory for my 14.5" Starmaster Dob. I thnk I could use the drawings/building plan as a template to begin creating my own observatory. Thanks so much!

#44 DGB

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 04:19 PM

Hello Irene,
PM me (don.brock@gmail.com) and I can send you scanned files of what was submitted with a Madison County Virginia Permit Application. My on-site hard copy was subsequently "red lined" with tweaks as I progressed and slightly modified my original plans. I always say that a plan is simply a point to deviate from! I will dig through my files and try to find that hard copy to scan for you.
Donovan,






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