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Moving exploradome intact?

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#1 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 06:18 AM

I am contemplating a 100 mile move. The exploradome is on the standard round building that is bolted to a round treated 1-1/2 inch plywood floor that is built on 2x6 joists. The whole thing rests on blocks. The steel pier is bolted to a concrete stub. Would it be feasible to attach the building to skids and move it intact on a low trailer? This move could be done avoiding divided highways entirely. Seems the building and dome would be less subject to damage if moved intact. Speed could be limited to 35-40 mph. Thoughts?

#2 Raginar

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 09:26 AM

I would contact a company that does this for living. It doesn't sound like something you do as a hobbyist :).

#3 CharlesW

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 09:41 AM

+1 on the building moving company. I just see this as a "Caught on Tape," moment as your dome implodes halfway onto the trailor. And once you get it to the new site they'll have the ability to square up the building so your dome rotates. Good luck.

#4 tadpoletoo

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 10:16 AM

Raise it up , a little at a time, back your trailer underneath. Secure it to the trailer , Take it where you want. Sounds good, but I disassembled mine and brought it home and it went together fine. If you have framing members that are nailed together sometimes it is best to leave them that way. Good Luck!

#5 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 07:47 PM

It is screwed together. It is also pretty light. The truck that brought it had the dome loaded onto a trailer similar to mine. I don't care if it takes 4 hours to get it there. If I have to remove the dome I can but it would be an extra bother and take up more space. Professional movers would not know the first thing about moving an observatory dome.

#6 tadpoletoo

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 08:44 PM

John, If you have the trailer and someone to help , it sounds doable. Mine is a sirius dome on a homemade base and i would not be afraid to move it. The manufactured base is probably better than the stuff I cobbled up. I dont plan on moving but I placed it on 8 4by4 posts and after removing the pole barn tin, it will unsrew from the posts. Another hint, I got a steel column at the junk yard that with a little effort made a nice pier.

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#7 Goodchild

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 08:44 PM

I'd remove the dome and put the bottom of the obs toward the front of the trailer. If you're patient, 3 1/2 hours at 30mph is a small price to pay to get it there intact.

#8 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 09:11 PM

Probably going to have to disassemble it somewhat. Maybe even down to floor, wall panels, and dome, but hopefully not that far. Guess I will figure it out in coming weeks. Might just take it out to my dark site (49 miles) but a refractor is not as useful there. I will post when something is accomplished on the move. The new place is not super light-polluted, but is fog prone. Dark site might actually be better for me if I can get up there often enough.

#9 tkobyrne

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 03:16 AM

I bought my used dome only, 60 miles away. Strapped it to a double wide snowmobile trailer and took the freeway home. No problems. I then built the base on the trailer and added the dome and HD leveling legs. I then drove the whole thing 15mi. to my dark site. I kept the speed down a little but it went smooth. No problems.
For safety sake you should have lockdowns on the dome to keep it from turning or blowing off in the wind when you are not using it anyway. It is amazing how much paper work and BS can be avoided just because the thing has wheels under it even though they are not touching the ground in use!!!
tom

#10 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 07:12 PM

We have had 60 MPH winds and the dome never turned. I suppose I could lock it down. It has the retaining ring screwed to it very well. I would think the building would have to collapse for the dome to come off, bit I could pin it to stop rotation. I will see in coming weeks if I need to disassemble. If I disassemble, I will number and mark match lines on all parts so they go back exactly the same. Permanent marker comes off very well with only rubbing alcohol. It will be a pain to disassemble though, since all the wall panels and door are caulked and stuck. They are bolted together with ss bolts and nylock nuts, so that part won't be a problem.

#11 tkobyrne

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 11:01 PM

With the dome bouncing up and down on the trailer, the dome will more than likely be easier to move then on the steady ground. It probably would not blow off but it is better to be safe then sorry. I put the lockdowns on with more then the move in mind. I wanted to make sure the dome, once in place, did not jiggle in the wind and damage or wear out my rotator motor, gears, and track. Besides it is nice to know that a couple of guys could not just flip the top off and bypass the locks. I suppose if anyone wanted in to a middle of nowhere observatory, nothing is going to stop them, but there is no sense making it easy for them.
tom

#12 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 07:28 PM

How did you lock it down? Mine came with a retaining ring held on with 25 stainless sheet metal screws around the perimeter. It locks the ring with the wheels onto the building top ring. I really think I will at least have to remove the dome. Haven't decided whether to take it 50 miles to my dark site or 93 miles to the new house.

#13 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 07:50 PM

Deal fell through on new house 93 miles away. Bid another one. Looks like it will close.
Turns out the new house will be only 16 miles away, all paved roads, no interstate. But, it is quite a bit darker, especially to the south and east. And, it is 16 miles closer to my gray zone site.
Hopefully, I can move it now in two pieces on a car hauler trailer. Dome is one piece and 8' round building attached to the ring and floor is the other. New concrete pier stub and block foundation will be required at the new place. There is only about 3 miles of open highway to traverse. The rest is speed zones of 25 to 45 mph.

#14 rodney

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:54 PM

John,

On the ExploraDome website there is a gentlemen that has the 8 foot dome on a 8 foot building he transports all over the place(pics there). Inside the structure itself you add 2 by 4 bracing and lay the entire structure on its side. It will transport that way. Note: dome facing tow vehicle, aero-dynamics. At the factory we have delivered complete observatories around the country and numerous times to the NEAF show. When in doubt, give Dan or Tony a call at the office. And they will guide you on how to transport it.

Clear skies,

#15 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 01:46 PM

I am getting ready to put in the pier at the new site. Have use of a small flatbed trailer with a 1500 pound capacity to move the dome. I talked to a guy who moves storage buildings for hire, and he thought the dome could be moved pretty easy with the little flatbed. His setup would be a huge over kill. Edit: Poured the new pier today. It is a little more massive than the old one, and it is in firmer soil.

#16 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 09:54 PM

On the trailer.
Edit 10/15: The move is complete except for placing on the pad over the pier. It is sitting on the trailer next to the pier now. It was a tedious 16 miles at 25 to 35 mph. Never shifted a bit.

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#17 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 05:42 PM

Here it is at the new site. No "caught on tape" clips to go viral.

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#18 tim57064

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 07:37 AM

Way to go John. How did you get it on the trailer,A few friend s with strong backs? :waytogo:

#19 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 12:30 AM

I jacked it up a little at a time with a house jack, gradually blocking it up as I went around. When I got it nearly high enough to clear the pier, I fastened a 16 foot 2x6 to each side of the lower frame. Angled the trailer under the building, put a come along into an eye bolt in the front of the lower frame which was attached to the front of the trailer tongue, then pushed down on the trailer tongue to raise one side of the building and pulled the building on with the come along as my helper lifted on the 16 foot levers from the back. Then tied eye bolts in the trailer to eye bolts in the bottom of the building frame with some large j bolts (picture attached). I had previously attached 8 foot 4x6 timbers along the sides of the trailer to act as slides, and to clear the fenders. I got the foundation set today and have some helpers coming Friday to help lower it over the pier and onto the foundation blocks, using the 16 foot boards as handles like carrying a litter.

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#20 tim57064

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:22 AM

Thanks for the explanation John. Excellent job. :waytogo:

#21 tim57064

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:24 AM

Here it is at the new site. No "caught on tape" clips to go viral.

I could just here people saying while watching this go by down the road,"That's an awfully small silo."

#22 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:53 PM

A neighbor at the new place already asked "what is that?". I explained and invited him for a look after I get it up and running again.

#23 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 06:46 PM

Here it is set up and leveled on its foundation blocks. Four of us set it over the pier with long boards attached to the sides of the wooden floor frame. Carried it like a stretcher.

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#24 tim57064

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 07:49 AM

Yeah,Way to go John! Hope now that you have it in place,that you get a lot of use out of it and if an imager,place plenty of shots on CN.

#25 tim57064

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 07:56 AM

John,I have a question for you. I see your location as Arkansas correct? If so,the frost level must be very high,only a few inches if at all? The reason I ask this is because I see that you have placed the Dome on floating piers/footings correct? I take it that is the way you had it set up at the other site? So there must not be any kind of movement to cause the Domes' rotation to be ,for lack of better words, messed up? Just curious. So,if this is the case,have you never had any problem with winds ,seeing it is not permanently secured to the ground/base?






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