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First semi-permanent observatory Rubbermaid Shed

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#1 coinboy1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:32 AM

Hello,

Spent a couple of days making a custom equatorial wedge for my Nexstar 11 GPS and trying to attach wheels to it to make it portable when I had the idea of converting the plastic Rubbermaid shed that I already had in my backyard into an observatory. I have seen others doing the same thing and had some metal heavy duty hinges laying around so I made this observatory in my backyard in one day. I can tell this is going to save A LOT of time with setup and polar aligning. Since setting up the observatory, I only spend 1-2 minutes setting up my laptop instead of a minimum 30 minute setup and tear down. That means more imaging time. I successfully autoguided my first 10 minute sub with this with an off-axis guider. It was amazing how easy and nice it is, without having to polar align it everytime. And it cuts down on wind A LOT! I am very happy and excited about this.

This is a fliptop type observatory. I use a fabricated rod to move the roof. It takes about 15 seconds.

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#2 coinboy1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:33 AM

Nice view of sky, unfortunately I had to place the shed in the middle of the backyard because I have a large OAK tree that blocks the eastern part of my sky. I hate to cut it down, but my astrophotography desires beg of it.

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#3 coinboy1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:35 AM

Nexstar 11 GPS clears the roof by 1-2 inches in the stowed position.

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#4 coinboy1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:36 AM

Fully closed up.

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#5 coinboy1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:38 AM

Used stellarium and my Telrad to find true north in my telescope to align my wedge. BTW the wedge is a strong steel junction box with a hinge and some 2x4s for bracing. Its actually sturdy! Although my tripod is probably the weakest link in the setup. However because the shed blocks most of the wind, I really don't have to worry about stability too much.

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#6 rlandsboro

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:40 AM

Nice!

I like trees, too - I hate it when I cut them down. I feel better if I plant 2 new for every 1 taken down. Then they can be placed in the areas you want or need them.

#7 coinboy1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:43 AM

First autoguided image in observatory. 10 minute sub. ISO 100 due to light pollution. Slightly out of focus. But stars are ROUND! :) I need to get filters...

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#8 csa/montana

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 11:17 AM

Congratulations on a great idea for an observatory! Looks like this setup will serve you very well! Thanks for sharing with us.

#9 DeanS

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:53 PM

Cool set up. Make sure you strap it down somehow. Warren Keller could tell you why from his past experience.

Dean

#10 lambermo

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 03:22 PM

how do you intend to keep moisture out ? (that setup would rust in my climate in a few weeks)

#11 shawnhar

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 05:11 PM

Sweet, I have something like this, except my shed slides away.
That looks like a tight fit!

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#12 LoveChina61

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:22 PM

...my shed slides away.


Shawn, I can't get a good feel for how your shed slides away. I would like to do something like this in the future. Can you share some pictures? I can't see any tracks or wheels that would enable you to slide it away conveniently and would be curious to learn how you hooked everything up and still kept it secure.

Mike

#13 Raginar

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 09:39 PM

There was another guy who bolted tracks to his concrete from Dallas. There are tons of options, Mike!

#14 shawnhar

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 11:17 PM

...my shed slides away.


Shawn, I can't get a good feel for how your shed slides away. I would like to do something like this in the future. Can you share some pictures? I can't see any tracks or wheels that would enable you to slide it away conveniently and would be curious to learn how you hooked everything up and still kept it secure.

Mike

Sure!
I cut a slot in the bottom of the shed floor, then cut a piece from that so I can replace it when I put the shed back, only the square for the pier remains as a gap in the floor.
I had planned to put wheels under it but I just open the doors and drag it backwards, slides pretty easy on the decking. It's made it through 60mph winds but I keep a 170 ah deep cycle battery on the floor, I take that out, slide the shed away, put back at end of night, you can't move it with the battery in there, lol.

With slot
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Piece replaced
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Slid away
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Upgrades!
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I still haven't replaced that stupid wooden pier plate, it was made from a scrap piece of PT 2x6 and has been on there for like 18 months, lol.
I do notice moisture issues, not from rain but in the winter frost forms on the underside of the roof and drips when the sun warms it up. I keep a heavy towel over the scope for that reason. Sometimes summer humidity can cause moisture as well but I haven't seen any rusting or corrosion issues. (knocks on wood)

#15 Starman27

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:50 AM

Well done. You may want to also brace the rear wall with a 2X4.

#16 LoveChina61

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:43 AM

Great! Thanks for sharing, Shawn. I will try to do something just like this in the future. Easier than building something from scratch yet very effective. Thanks!






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