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Observatory - Tripod on floor, no pier

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#1 RGM


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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:03 PM

I am planning on building an observatory to house 2 scopes. One is my 10" Dob, and the other is a refractor on a G11 EQ mount.

My initial thought was to biuld a pier for the G11 and a ground mounted pier for the Dob. In both cases this would isolate the scopes from the floor of the observatory.

The observatory will be wood framed with an elevated (corner supported) wood frame floor covered in plywood. Both scopes are just for viual and 98% of the time I will be alone.

My question is - has anyone just put their tripods (G11) or Dobs directly on the floor? I could use vibration pads on the G11, or build plywood/foam sandwich platforms to help isolate the scopes for the floor.

I do not want to go to the expense and time to build piers if just putting the scopes on the floor will work reasonably well.

Any thoughts or first hand experience will be greatly appreciated.

#2 1965healy


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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:40 PM

My CG5-GT tripod sits on my Obs floor. The floor has those interlocking foam tiles on it. Works great for refractors/newts. My CPC8 is on a pier/wedge.

#3 Mirzam



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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:47 PM

I have a large dobsonian telescope in a dome that has a wood floor. At no point is the floor more than a few inches above the ground surface. The floor also is reinforced in the center with 4 additional posts, so that the area beneath the scope has very little span between those joists. The floor surface is heavy 3/4" plywood--not individual boards. This arrangement has worked well for visual usage and even for multiple observers as long as folks don't move around too much.

For astrophotography you have a whole different situation assuming you would like to take longer exposures (i.e deep sky images rather than planets). Then you need a concrete floor or a pier because every time you twitch a body part, the exposure is likely to be ruined.


#4 Greyhaven



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Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:37 PM

My 8'X10' foot observatory houses a 12" dob, 90mm F11 refra,on a GEM tripod or my nexstar 5i on a tripod only 1 of these scopes can be set up in the observatory. The floor framing is all 4"X4" PT This is covered with 1" rough cut pine planks plus a layer of 3/4" OSB Making the floor quite stable I can sit at my desk and work on or keep track of my capture program without bothering my 30sec. x 20 exposure runs.And see no issues with visual observing as long as my 7 year old grand daughter's not helping. I'd rather have her company at the scope than perfect skies any way. I do have plenty of deck space outside the observatory to allow at least four other scopes or Binos set up on a tripod so not having a pier has not hurt my views.

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#5 Greyhaven



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Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:44 PM

With 1st layer of flooring

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#6 csa/montana


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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:21 PM

Wow, now that's a sturdy floor! :bow:

#7 jazle


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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:32 PM

For visual you should be fine. And if you decide to do photography in the future, it's not impossible to cut out a hole, get a bucket and shovel, and dig a hole to pour a pier afterwards.

I contemplated putting two permanent piers in my tiny roll-off and decided instead to put in one large permanent pier and then build the floor strong enough to hold a tripod setup sturdy enough for most AP work if folks aren't practicing for Riverdance. So, I have 2x10's with 8' spans placed on 12" centers and then covered with 1 1/8" plywood.

#8 RGM


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Posted 01 February 2013 - 01:20 PM

Thanks for all the input. Jason, you are correct. I can always convert to a pier at a later date if necessary.

I think I will try without piers.

#9 avarakin


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Posted 15 February 2013 - 10:33 PM

I have one scope on a pier and another on a tripod which has legs going to ground through the floor. I saw many folks doing this.


#10 Unknownastron


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Posted 16 February 2013 - 01:11 AM

If going through the efforts to build an observatory I would go ahead and put in piers isolated from the floor. That's what I did 20 years ago and have often been glad to only have to do it once!
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