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#76 BYoesle

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:18 PM

Thank you Tim, John, Carol, and RC!

Steady progress continues. As noted in the Flooring???? post, instead of carpeting for the entry/observation area, I chose a click-lock laminate as being easier to keep clean and more resilient. Not only that, it was considerably cheaper than the carpeting I used in the warm room -- 67 cents/sq ft vs. $1.25/sq ft.

Here is the entry and view into the observing room and warm room (now has a door, and light fixtures installed), as well as the pre-primed battens attached to the outside wall:

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#77 BYoesle

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:21 PM

View of the observing room from the northwest looking southeast, showing unfinished electrical, and pier locations.

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#78 tim57064

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:31 PM

That floor looks familiar. Just like what I installed in our dining room a number of years ago. Before I decided to go with Bruce 3/4" solid oak Gunstock .
With the roof closed most of the time you should be okay for a time,just Make Sure,everyone that enters,Wipes Their Feet,otherwise scratches will occur. :( Excellent job,Love the look on all of it.

#79 Aquarist

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 03:35 AM

Yes, it is truly an excellent job. Looks great, should be highly functional. Are you planning all computer related stuff in the warm room?

#80 EricP

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 02:08 PM

That really is a beautiful, and well constructed observatory!

Love the curved walls. ;)

#81 jlpastro

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 05:25 PM

Observatory looks great. I am planning a smaller version and I was wondering how are you sealing the two halves of the roof, where they come together, from rain, wind ,snow, ice, etc.

#82 Raginar

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:40 PM

Looks really good!

#83 BYoesle

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:36 PM

Thanks everyone!

Steve: I think I will have most - if not all - the computer(s) in the warm room. I think a small insulated enclosure with a small heat source such as an incandescent light bulb would serve to keep this system from dropping below freezing in the winter, and it would not take too much time using the 220 V wall heater to get the entire room up to a normal operating temp. But I have yet to give this sufficient thought to give you a firm answer, other than yes, somewhere in the warm room.

John: Here’s the roof closure interface. It uses formed pieces of steel roofing which overlap to form a very efficient seal to prevent rain or snow from leaking through. We have had s bit of rain lately and there was no leakage, but I am also thinking of installing some traditional weather-stripping as an additional back up:

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#84 BYoesle

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:38 PM

The last few days have been spent working out the roof opener engineering and details.

As noted above, I chose to go with Sommer 1 HP garage door openers for each roof section. As the roof became heavier and heavier with the addition of the steel roofing and trim, each section's weight was pushing over 550 lbs (248 kg). I began to have doubts as to whether any traditional GDO would work. I contacted Sommer USA, and they referred me to a company – Propel Doors http://www.propeldoors.com/ – which uses the Sommer GDO for large barns and their heavier doors.

I then had the privilege of consulting with Mark at Propel, and he proved to be a tremendous help. He stated that the 1 HP version (Synoris 800) can open a door if it required less than 160 lbs (712 Newtons) of pushing/pulling force to move, but that 60 lbs (267 N) or less would be ideal. He gave me the idea to use a spring weighing device to determine what force it took me to open and close my roof. I used an old bathroom scale pressed against the rafters to get a ballpark figure of 40-50 lbs (178-222 N) for the maximum force required. Thus I could (sort of) breathe more easily - but the acid test would be how it actually worked.

I had further discussions with Mark regarding my ideas to implement the Sommer Direct Drive motor system in a completely different way in which it is designed to be used, but which has proven to be fantastic for the purpose of motorizing my roll off roof: I would separate the control head from the rail track, which feeds power to the motor via the rail track and drive chain, and instead wire the control head directly to the motor. In this way I could mount the rail track directly to the roof rafters, and mount the motor in a fixed position on the wall. So instead of the motor moving long the track and pushing and pulling the roof open and closed, the motor would move the rail track and the attached roof back and forth.

Here’s the Sommer Synoris 800: 1 HP motor carriage on the left, control head on the right, with the circuit board layouts, and revealing the 24 V DC blue and brown motor wires. The wires are attached to leaf-contact springs that make contact with the track rail and chain.

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#85 BYoesle

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:39 PM

I wired 6 foot (1.83 meter) extensions to the motor wires, and these exit the plastic motor enclosure and are terminated with female spade lugs to fit the male lugs at the control head:

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#86 BYoesle

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:40 PM

Here’s the test set up showing the temporary blocking, and the control head wired through the wall to the motor carriage. The track rail fits – with a minimal removal of material from wall top plate – between the top plate and roof rafters. The emergency disengagement cord feeds separately through the wall.

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#87 BYoesle

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:41 PM

Here’s the box containing and constraining the motor/carriage attached to the outer wall - with a passage through the roof fascia board, along with the (temporary) rail blocking on the outside of the roof (which is fully closed).

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#88 BYoesle

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:42 PM

Here’s the roof while opening (minus the fascia board) – success! In fact, the motor seems to have absolutely no problem moving such a heavy roof, and is unbelievably quiet. I was amazed how cool it was to see this roof move so effortlessly!

The final motor/rail engineering and electrical yet to be done.

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#89 BYoesle

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:42 PM

Here’s a view of the almost completed building with the west roof motor and roof rail completely protected under the roof gable. The motor itself is still completely enclosed its plastic carnage housing, and all I will add is some brush weather stripping to keep bugs and dust to a minimum and from getting inside the observatory proper.

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#90 BYoesle

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:43 PM

View of the east side, all the trim work has been completed.. The weather hopes to remain clear and relatively warm through the middle of next week, so exterior painting will hopefully commence this weekend...

Many thanks and gratitude to Ted and Jessie / HWH Construction for entertaining my suggestions and ideas, and helping make my dream a reality! :bow:

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#91 BYoesle

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 11:07 AM

Painting day has arrived! - moonset before sunrise.

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#92 tim53

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 11:43 AM

That's really looking nice!

#93 Starman27

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 12:37 PM

Thanks for the detailed motorization discussion.

#94 BYoesle

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 11:14 PM

Thank you Tim!

You are welcome Herman - and I will have more on the final motor implementation soon...

A long weekend of beautiful weather, painting, and climbing ladders is over. Now it’s time for a hot shower and some Advil!

I needed to buy another gallon of paint – 4 total, as the rough sawn plywood drinks the stuff up like a sponge! I used a roller, with a brush for the batten trim to apply the Behr “solid color waterproofing wood stain” – it looked and went on just like a thick paint. I may put off a second coat until spring..

The color scheme matches my home, and I’m trying to decide what to do with the rail support and cross-beams. Steel roof green? Siding grey-beige? Wood-stain brown? Natural with clear-coat/varnish? Suggestions gladly entertained. :)

And I’d also like to know what some of you have done or use to keep the exposed angle iron tracks from becoming rusted – paint, grease, other???? Or do you not worry about it? :question:

In the coming weeks I’ll be finalizing the motor & track/rail system, finishing the electrical, and putting the warm room furnishings together, along with a myriad of other small details. I’ll also be starting on the piers. I’ll hopefully put together a couple of Pier-Tech clones of sorts,...

Dusk has arrived and the paint is mostly dry:

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#95 tim57064

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:30 AM

Wow Bob,Glad you were able to get a coat of finish on the exterior siding and trim. It will be just fine as is 'till the spring. Second coat can be done then.
Personally I would leave the supports to weather without a finish unless they were cedar. They will turn grey with time.Cedar would grey with time yet I love the look of natural cedar when it is new. am sure what you have is treated so just let it turn grey.

I have a question about the cross support for the support posts.

Why did they make it an X instead of 2 2"x8" boards going horizontally from the upper portion of the pole on the left of image to the other and then install a couple of 4x4 angled supports from the pole to the cross bracing?

I love everything else on your build except for this. Your eye goes right to that X brace and is slightly distracting.
To me,it takes away from the design.
Just an observation,sorry.

#96 HunterofPhotons

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:28 AM

....I have a question about the cross support for the support posts.

Why did they make it an X instead of 2 2"x8" boards going horizontally from the upper portion of the pole on the left of image to the other and then install a couple of 4x4 angled supports from the pole to the cross bracing?...


I'm not sure I understand what you are proposing, but from a design point of view the X bracing is functionally strong and uses a minimum of material to accomplish that function.
A triangle, such as one finds in the X bracing, with two anchored points (the post bottoms), has an immovable third point (the top of the post).
A rectangle that has two adjacent anchored points will allow the other two points to move.
The X bracing is even stronger when the the crossing pieces at the middle of the X are joined.
It may not be pretty, but it is functionally excellent. <g>

dan k.

#97 tim57064

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:20 PM

dan k. ,I can see that the cross bracing support that was chosen would be a good way to keep the movement down.I was simply asking why they chose that way of doing it. If you look at raised decks on houses,you will notice the way the braces are supporting the posts. I didn't mean to raise a stink about it I was just curious.
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#98 tim57064

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 08:07 PM

Bob ,I forgot to mention that I had painted my angle iro after it was up with Rustoleum black spray paint. I am not sure how long it will last,yet I will keep an eye on it and touch up when needed.

#99 HunterofPhotons

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:18 AM

Hi Tim,
If you want to get one of the braces up and out of the way you could reposition the brace for the upper beam.
Since the top of the lower beam post is a stable point now that it is braced, you could use it as an anchoring point for a brace for the taller post.
In other words, reposition the brace for the upper beam post from the bottom of the lower beam post to the top of that post.
Another alternative would have been to use posts with a cross beam of sufficient sizes to resist bending with smaller braces:

Posted Image

The X braces do tend to be people-catchers, especially in the dark. <g>

dan k.

#100 BYoesle

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 05:05 PM

Hi Tim. Thanks for the Rustoleum suggestion.

Why did they make it an X instead of 2 2"x8" boards going horizontally from the upper portion of the pole on the left of image to the other and then install a couple of 4x4 angled supports from the pole to the cross bracing?

I love everything else on your build except for this. Your eye goes right to that X brace and is slightly distracting.


I believe this was done to give the best support and fixation for the rail support glulam beams. I was very emphatic with HWH that these beams needed to be both level and parallel to ensure the proper operation of the roof sections – as Dan notes:

The X bracing is even stronger when the crossing pieces at the middle of the X are joined. It may not be pretty, but it is functionally excellent.


But I also believe they are a bit distracting as well.

I have thought about replacing the current X brace with a brace that goes from the top of one post to the other, and using knee braces as shown in your picture Dan, or possibly a single knee brace going from the middle of the new cross brace to about the middle of the north post(s)... It would resemble a “Y” rotated 90 degrees clockwise. This too would likely prove to be less of a “people catcher:”

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