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DARC STAR Observatory Rises!

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#1 StarmanDan

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:19 PM

Years of planning and waiting are finally starting to pay off! I dug the hole for the footer last fall and poured it a couple of weeks ago. Today I dry stacked the cinder blocks to get a feel for how high I wanted the pier. I hope to mortar it up tomorrow.

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#2 1965healy

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:26 PM

And now the real fun begins! Keep us posted.

#3 nytecam

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 04:38 PM

Good luck with your project - a dome I presume like mine or maybe a RoR ;)

#4 csa/montana

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 06:04 PM

Dan, congratulations on your dream becoming a reality! Keep us posted on your progress!

#5 Starman27

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 08:38 AM

Good start. Can't wait to see more. Have fun.

#6 Raginar

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 10:15 AM

Nice pier! I wish I'd thought about bricks a little more.. looks like they're a little more solid than a 6x6 :D

#7 StarmanDan

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 07:46 PM

Spent a few hours mortaring up the pier. Not quite at the height I need but it sure does look good. I've never done mortar work before and watched many videos on the technique. However, I noticed the mortar was not sticking to the brick as the videos showed. Plus I took my time, not wanting to mess things up too bad, and the mortar mix kept drying out so I added a little water as needed to keep the consistency the videos recommended. We'll see tomorrow how things set up when I attempt to finish it off.

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#8 StarmanDan

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 08:53 PM

Made a little more progress and put down the deck and raised the pier height to account for the deck height.

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#9 StarmanDan

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 08:54 PM

Pic 2

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#10 StarmanDan

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 08:56 PM

Pic 3

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#11 StarmanDan

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 08:57 PM

4

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#12 StarmanDan

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 09:00 PM

Deck and pier all done!

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#13 Raginar

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 09:49 PM

I like the brick pier :)

#14 stmguy

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 05:19 AM

I'd get some bonding cement and coat the outside with that, it will make it much stronger then just mortar joints
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#15 StarmanDan

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 06:38 PM

Norm, that's exactly what I have planned. Put a little coloring in it and make it look nice rather than a bunch of bricks.

#16 sandybourne

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 12:01 AM

Nice set up.

Do you have any plans to stop critters from getting underneath ?

#17 StarmanDan

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 07:52 AM

I'll eventually put some sort of screen around the deck. But burrowing critters are rare around my place due to bedrock being only a few inches down.

#18 sandybourne

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 10:22 AM

Thanks,I am looking at a similar set up but I am up here in rural north Texas on sandy clay . I was thinking of some snake proof wire attached to sides of my base .

#19 StarmanDan

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:25 PM

Made a little progress working on the pier plates. Each plate is two 1/2"x 16" square plywood glued together. I was displeased with the "L" bolts the hardware store had for bolting things to concrete as the threads were not long enough so I used 1/2"x8" eyebolts instead. Here's a pic of the bottom plate making sure I put the eyebolts in the right spots to fit into the holes of the cinder blocks.

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#20 StarmanDan

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:26 PM

Here's a shot of the two plates with the wedge and scope bolted on to make sure I've got everything the way I want it.

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#21 StarmanDan

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:27 PM

No turning back now! Bottom plate setting in concrete. I still had the empty bags of concrete from the footer pour and mason work so I ripped them in large pieces and stuffed them in each void to just below the bottom of the top block and filled each void with concrete then leveled and set the bottom plate in place.

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#22 MHamburg

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 05:14 PM

Looks good and strong, Dan.
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#23 StarmanDan

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 05:49 PM

After over 8 hours of the concrete curing I couldn't take it any longer and took a chance and mounted the scope. I'm squealing like a little girl!

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#24 Raginar

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 06:28 PM

Dan! :)

That's awesome!!! Thanks for sharing.. I've been awaiting pictures anxiously. How sturdy is it? Give us a 'first light' if you would... I'd love to know as I think I could retro-fit something like this into my shed...

One quick question, how did you attach it to the ground?

#25 StarmanDan

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 08:00 PM

Chris, if ya look closely at the first image in this thread you can see the footer I poured for the pier. It's 2x2x2 feet deep then the cinder blocks are mortared to the footer as would be in standard brick and mortar construction. I left the footer a little shallow in the ground so that if I decided to move, it would be easy to demolish the pier and cover up the footer with soil. So far everything seems very solid!






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