Jump to content


Photo

Belt of Orion Observatory Final resting place.

  • Please log in to reply
42 replies to this topic

#1 Magellan

Magellan

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1362
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Enfield, NS Canada

Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:08 AM

So I have started the final resting place of my Skyshed POD. It will be on a 10x10 floating deck.

Here is an image before we started:

Posted Image
Start of the Dig by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Levelling the base of where the deck will go:

Posted Image
20130619_083900 by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Thank god for the excavator I hired! You can see the POD in the background.

Posted Image
20130619_084642 by AstroJeff, on Flickr

The giant hole for the footing. 4.5' deep. Frost line is 4'.

Posted Image
Hole for footing 4.5' below grade by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Footing in place, levelled:

Posted Image
Newer BigFoot footing system by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Backfilled:

Posted Image
Footing in place by AstroJeff, on Flickr

The trench begins. The guy working the machine loved the hard pack clay since he was used to digging in bedrock:

Posted Image
Trench is started for electrical and USB over Ethernet by AstroJeff, on Flickr

12/2 underground feeder, even though my electrician said it was direct burial I put it in conduit anyway. Conduit was $45 for 100' with pull string, which we didn't use and should have. Ethernet is Cat5e direct burial with silicon core. I didn't put this in conduit. I am using it for USB over Ethernet, because isn't it an imagers dream to control everything from inside the warmth of the house when its -50c?? Lazy, yes but you're cold and I am warm! Plus I get to watch Dr who reruns on Netflix WHILE I image!

Posted Image
Trench done from Skyshed POD deck the following: by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Power and Ethernet: The main pier form is no longer level. He told me that concrete auto levels but it can be adjusted when the add the extra 4' extension.

Posted Image
20130619_112953 by AstroJeff, on Flickr

The backfill:

Posted Image
20130619_115203 by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Backfill complete:

http://farm6.staticf...c30d4bf77_n.jpg
20130619_132700 by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Next isn't for the observatory but is the cause for 100% of my pain today:

http://farm8.staticf...2e5a4a0a4_n.jpg
Project 2, nearly complete by AstroJeff, on Flickr

My wife wanted stairs to the basement outside. She is 7months pregnant so I am not arguing, figure I get an observatory and she gets the stairs, she deserves the, plus the observatory serves as my "Dog House".

These were called Stair Stacker by Shaw Brick. You can fill them with whatever you want, I chose class A stone. We were not planning on doing the stairs but they do look nice. My back is dead!

Stay tuned for more. Deck goes in next week.

Thanks,

#2 csa/montana

csa/montana

    Den Mama

  • *****
  • Posts: 86521
  • Joined: 14 May 2005
  • Loc: montana

Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:31 AM

Congratulations on getting ready for your observatory! Looks like you have some great skies in which to enjoy the "final resting place". :)

Stair Stacker


Those are really neat; I've not heard of them before; but they certainly look extremely nice! :bow: Those that need some steps to their observatories should look into them!

#3 Magellan

Magellan

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1362
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Enfield, NS Canada

Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:35 AM

They don't make them anymore :( I bought the last ones ever made. Don't know why, they work really well. Thank god my observatory won't need steps lol. I don't want to ever work with these again haha.

#4 csa/montana

csa/montana

    Den Mama

  • *****
  • Posts: 86521
  • Joined: 14 May 2005
  • Loc: montana

Posted 20 June 2013 - 08:57 AM

No wonder I'd not heard of them! :grin:

#5 frolinmod

frolinmod

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1897
  • Joined: 06 Aug 2010
  • Loc: Southern California

Posted 20 June 2013 - 12:27 PM

Wow, so much green. Must rain cats and dogs there constantly. Everything here is brown.

#6 Midnight Dan

Midnight Dan

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11442
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortle 4.5)

Posted 20 June 2013 - 01:28 PM

Looks like a great start! What happened to the idea of conduit in the pier from your other thread?

-Dan

#7 Stargaz18

Stargaz18

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 316
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2011
  • Loc: Wichita Falls, TX

Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:15 PM

:roflmao:Floating deck?? Where's the water?

#8 Magellan

Magellan

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1362
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Enfield, NS Canada

Posted 21 June 2013 - 08:29 AM

We have had over 800mm of rain the last few months. It has rained more than anything here. Its the wettest spring I can remember.

I didn't put the power in the pier because the company I hired brought this new plastic modular system and is completely enclosed until concrete is poured. It ended up not being very level after digging the trench but I am sure it can be fixed when the other levels go on. I will also take a shot of the pier plate. I am using the Starizona CGEM pier plate. I didn't do a template I just used the bottom plate and keeping it raised 3" off the concrete to adjust for any levelling. I am using 10" L anchors with the L's pointed inward. Tightend with 1 nut on top, 1 washer and two nuts and 1 washer on the bottom. It will give me a little wiggle room for fine levelling adjustment.

I will be using the Compass app I downloaded for my Android phone. It has a true north function. As long as I get True north, close, the CGEM is very forgiving in azimuth but it would be nice to get it near perfect in case I upgrade the mount some day. If the boss.. err my wife lets me.

Stargaz18, yeah, floating deck. Kind of funny because of all of the rain. I should have named the Observatory, The Ark. You should see the inside where it is for now.. always wet. can't wait to get it on the deck.

#9 Magellan

Magellan

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1362
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Enfield, NS Canada

Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:17 AM

And we continue this episode today with the Deck and Pier going in!

Decking is starting to go together:

Posted Image
20130624_114738 by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Pier Adapter (Starizona CGEM) and the top of the footing is cut off:

Posted Image
Footing ready for pour by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Concrete has arrived. I had to get it by truck since I requested 4000psi. It was pretty thick:

Posted Image
Concrete has arrived by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Rebar Cage in place, was moved to center:

Posted Image
Part of the re-bar structure by AstroJeff, on Flickr

12" Sono Tube in place, was a bit nervous because the tube went around the hole of the footing. Both poured at the same time and rebar married between. Should be solid!

Posted Image
12" Sono Tube in place by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Shims put in place to get level close:

Posted Image
Pouring Concrete by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Brace added because even though the shims got it close to level, it wasn't perfect so a brace was added, bit nervous when I remove these today, hoping the pier doesn't want to topple over. Was told it wouldn't but I keep thinking about gravity:

Posted Image
Bracing added by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Pier Plate added and leveled:

Posted Image
Starizona Pier plate added by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Picture to show how level it is:

Posted Image
Showing its "levelness" by AstroJeff, on Flickr

As recommended by folks in this community I added screening to keep the bugs out:

Posted Image
Screening nearly done by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Screening stapled about the pier, so no bugs there either:

http://farm8.staticf...0d49c1480_n.jpg
Screening stapled to sono by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Deck is Completed:

http://farm4.staticf...2c1624e7e_n.jpg
Finished Deck by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Was my wife and my 7 year anniversary yesterday and when I got home I checked on the Pier and noticed that when they added the bag it was sealed and all sorts of condensation happened, I cut some holes to let the air out on the side, left the top as it was supposed to rain:

http://farm8.staticf...1c023646d_n.jpg
Supposed to get rain, it was wrapped to avoid this. by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Should I leave the bracing on for a few days? or is it safe to remove now? it was hard as rock last night, the workers said I can remove the sonotube and bracing today. they pour the piers for the massive signs you see at mcDonald's and such.

How long before I can seal and paint it?
How long before I can mount my scope to it (50lbs)?

Thanks everyone,

#10 Magellan

Magellan

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1362
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Enfield, NS Canada

Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:20 AM

I also used a compass app I download from the Play Store on my phone. It has a feature for true north and that is what I used to position the plate.

#11 Midnight Dan

Midnight Dan

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11442
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortle 4.5)

Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:59 AM

Hi Jeff:

My pier was completed recently but I hadn't given any thought to sealing and painting. What do you plan to seal it with?

-Dan

#12 Magellan

Magellan

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1362
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Enfield, NS Canada

Posted 25 June 2013 - 09:51 AM

Honestly, I don't know, sad as that sounds. Whatever the cheapest sealer I can find, then I will paint it white and spray the bottom and top with invisible glow in the dark spray paint. right now I just want to make sure the thing stays put. I will post more on that tonight.

#13 hm insulators

hm insulators

    Aurora

  • -----
  • Posts: 4874
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2007

Posted 25 June 2013 - 11:20 AM

Looks like you're off to a good start!

#14 jazle

jazle

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 137
  • Joined: 20 May 2010
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 26 June 2013 - 03:58 PM

I used the Kilz sealer. Bonds to concrete like glue! And then you can paint it with regular latex. I would wait a week after the pour to pull the sonotube, but I've pulled them within 48 hours as well. It leaves a better finish if you can wait a week though. You can take the bracing off after 24 hours. Once the tube is off, let it breath a day before sealing.

#15 Orion58

Orion58

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 914
  • Joined: 28 Oct 2011
  • Loc: Southern Wisconsin

Posted 26 June 2013 - 08:24 PM

Glad to see that your obs is moving along Jeff! Looking great so far :jump:

#16 Magellan

Magellan

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1362
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Enfield, NS Canada

Posted 29 June 2013 - 01:50 PM

A little more was done, and Mother nature has struck:


Pool of water
Posted Image
Water issues by AstroJeff, on Flickr

First day of rain
Posted Image
Pooling of water due to torrential rain by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Second day of Rain
Posted Image
2nd Day of rains. by AstroJeff, on Flickr

You can see on the left, the erosion, the water is coming down where the trench was dug.
Once it is seeded and grass is growing, I think it will be ok.

Posted Image
Rain is coming down the hill by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Small trench was dug
Posted Image
Trench made to release the pressure. by AstroJeff, on Flickr

As you know the footing was all one unit, open on the button. It extends 2' above the ground and is encased in its plastic form. The sono tube went around this tube and leveled and is 4.5' below the ground. Frost line is 4'.

With the water issues I was planning on filling in the hole as much as I can to avoid any more flooding. two of the floor posts are in dekblock and two are sitting on patio stones. The wood is pressure treated and cuts were resealed with the green paint. If the wood posts are buried in either Class A stone (the rock you see on the bed) or with earth would is cause any issues?

#17 tim57064

tim57064

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2012
  • Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA

Posted 30 June 2013 - 12:21 PM

I did not notice in your previous posts. Did you not put footings in where your corners are? You just have them sitting on top of the ground with concrete pads? I hope this is not the case.

#18 Magellan

Magellan

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1362
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Enfield, NS Canada

Posted 30 June 2013 - 01:13 PM

Nope, the company I hired to do the work told me sitting the deck on deckblock, packed class a and patio block will be fine.

If it moves then I guess it goes back to them

#19 tim57064

tim57064

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2012
  • Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA

Posted 30 June 2013 - 01:27 PM

Yes, yet with your setting the observatory on the deck,does that not take the chance for movement especially since you are so far north and freeze and thaw conditions? Can the Skyshed Pod handle the movement and still allow for rotating and proper sealing out the weather? I did not notice at the beginning of your post where you stated it was going to be a floating deck ,til' now.
I am just curious as this may be an option I may look into instead of a roll off roof in my limited size backyard. I just can't see how not having the footings even with a good base would keep it/the deck from moving.

#20 Magellan

Magellan

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1362
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Enfield, NS Canada

Posted 30 June 2013 - 05:04 PM

The Skyshed POD can handle uneveness rather well. Right now its sitting on a tarp on the ground over winter and part of summer. I do have issues leaking under the lip and where the secondary and primary dome meet but I have to replace the seals. This will be done one I move it :)

Winters here aren't that harsh, not as bad as some think, yes the frost line is 4' but the last 4 winters have been wet and mild (as winters are this far north) the ground does freeze for a few months but it isn't bad. If it snows it adds insulation :) My soil is primarily hard packed clay and when we excavated we built up a gradual incline to the pier.

I was working on it today. First day in a long time we had more than an hour between downpours. I started moving the scope and mount inside the house to prep the big dismantle and move. I decided I wanted to remove the forms, it was a week figured it was long enough. The concrete company told me to soak the sono down with water and the cardboard will just peel off. Yeah right, not sure what kind of water he used but it isn't that easy. I also put the mount on, just resting in place. It sits 67" to the top of Dec! Nearly as tall as me. The reason I did this is because I want to make sure my scope AND guidescope are above the wall (thinking about low objects in the east like morning comets) My scope is 27" long 18" wide (With guidescope) and 16" high (highest point, the focuser) I sure hope I did the math right. :|

Posted Image
Untitled by AstroJeff, on Flickr

Posted Image
Untitled by AstroJeff, on Flickr

As you can see still having issues getting the cardboard off. Anyone have suggestions?

#21 mikey cee

mikey cee

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8121
  • Joined: 18 Jan 2007
  • Loc: bellevue ne.

Posted 30 June 2013 - 05:31 PM

I would think that with that small of a footprint, frost heavage would be of little concern. It would "float" evenly at all four corners. Get a good nights sleep and don't worry about it. It's the pier that you don't want to move, however it would only move vertically up and down anyways. ;) Mike

#22 tim57064

tim57064

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1561
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2012
  • Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA

Posted 30 June 2013 - 07:43 PM

Well, I guess it is not like a roll off roof so the weight isn't there to affect it that much. I have a concrete pier in my backyard and was thinking about doing a small roll off,now I may consider a Skyshed Pod or the likes.

#23 Magellan

Magellan

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1362
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Enfield, NS Canada

Posted 30 June 2013 - 08:54 PM

The Skyshed POD is small but I am not a small guy either. I can move around in it rather comfortably given my size. When I am West of the meridian I have to mold myself into the walls sometimes but with the scope higher now I won't have to worry plus I ran ethernet for USB extension so I will go out just to uncover lol.

Lazy astronomer, I know.

#24 Midnight Dan

Midnight Dan

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11442
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortle 4.5)

Posted 01 July 2013 - 06:19 AM

Hi Jeff:

Just wondering if you used the POD simulator app on the skyshedpod website (on the More Info page). It allows you to put in parameters for your scope and mount, and see how everything fits as you "slew" the scope around inside the virtual POD. I used it when planning the height of my pier. Haven't gotten the POD yet so I'm not sure how well it worked.

-Dan

#25 Magellan

Magellan

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1362
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Enfield, NS Canada

Posted 01 July 2013 - 10:11 AM

Yes I used that tool. Works great. I just hope I got the mount portion correct. If the rain ever stops I might get to move it.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics