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Orion Ranch Observatory nears completion

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#1 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 09:52 PM

Since my original construction thread was archived here, I've been stalled on adding posts showing the progress. The last few posts didn't make it into the archive, so I'll try to recreate those and capture the gist of some of the comments before adding new material. However, to kick it off I thought I'd share some recent astrophotography now that the observatory's generally operational, if not complete.

So here's the Trifid Nebula (M20):
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And the Swan Nebula (M17):

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I also caught a neat wide-field of the Moon, Venus, and a thunderstorm on the horizon. This was taken from the roof deck of the observatory warm room as I was working on the metal roofing.

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Enjoy!

Beo

#2 thesungazer

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 07:23 AM

Wow Beo, your construction thread really set the bar on progress photos. I felt like I was building it myself.

Thanks for all the detail!

Greg

#3 wavecloud

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 04:45 PM

Nice trees you've got there. And nice images!

#4 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 12:15 AM

Thanks Greg and Wavecloud. Appreciate the comments. Given that many of the posts here are always, "So how would/did you do this?", I figure having plenty of detail and access to high resolution pictures will be helpful to someone! At a minimum, they'll help me remember when I need to cut into a wall or something!

So, kicking off the posts again, we're back at Friday, July 5th, 2013, which seems like a long time ago at this point.

Rolled the roof off to prime the top rail of the observatory.

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Here you can see how the clearance looks to the antenna mast and weather station.

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When I was rolling off the roof, I'd heard a bit of a clunk. After going outside I discovered that while the east rail still looked fine...

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... there was a gap along the edge of the west rail and the rollers had jumped the track!
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I'd known the middle post was bowing on me, but generally the rails still looked ok.

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However, I discovered that while the east rail was still nice and straight...

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... the west rail had become a nice S curve with a big dip across the entire length!

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The bowing is of course the result of that wet pressure treated wood from Home Depot. Of course the side-ways movement of the beam was also due to the cap rail I put on which had some bow that I'd straightened by putting everything under tension. Looks like as it dried, the top rail won!

This point led to some discussion on the need (or lack thereof) for pressure treated wood for exposed surfaces. I pointed out that there's a problem with wood boring bees in the old house out there, so I really want pressure treated wood!

I ran some more alarm wiring for the middle door and filled the gaps around both doors with some expansion foam to try to keep some of the AC in during the heat of the day.

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Saturday, July 6th, 2013:

So after a lot of shimming and moving of screws, the west rail is once again straight and level.

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Masking the gaps in the roll-off to keep paint overspray from getting inside. We'll see that this was a bit of a mistake later. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to guess why.

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Masking doors, windows, air conditioners, hinges, etc. for painting.

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I only had to re-mask the windows about four-five times each due to the rains between attempts to paint!

Applied the first coat of paint using my air sprayer late Saturday evening over about 1/3 of the observatory.

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Beo

#5 thesungazer

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 05:56 AM

You might consider staining the exposed wood, Beo.

I had the same issues with warping Home Depot wood. Also, the Maryland wood bees could care less that its pressure treated and made themselves at home. I finally coated the exposed wood with HD solid color weatherproofing wood stain.

It hasn't warped since and the bees don't like the taste!

Greg

#6 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 10:19 AM

Hi Greg,

All of the roll-off rails will be painted. You'll note that they've been partially primed in a couple of the pictures above. That should keep the insects out for the most part. One of my comments on the lost posts was that I'm a bit more worried about the exposed underside of the roll-off roof. It's not really practical to paint all of that, and none of it is treated. I'm hopeful to be able to prevent pest infiltration when it's closed, but it's going to spend a lot of time open!

Beo

#7 LoveChina61

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 07:24 PM

Wonderful job on the observatory. Thanks for sharing!

#8 wavecloud

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 12:34 PM

Boring bees?
Those must get annoying. Here we have giant carpentar ants...
Great Job!!!

#9 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 12:27 AM

Thanks again for the comments. Can't seem to find much time to be on here these days, but I'll post a few more pics.

Thursday, July 11th, 2013:

I picked up my trailer Wednesday night so I could go pick up my standing seam roofing materials and bring it out to the land. These will go up after I finish painting the exterior.

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66 10' panels, ridge caps, and gutters for the ends.

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Green panels and ridge caps.

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Brown gutters and drip edge cleat.

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And lots of screws, sealing tape, caulk, and other miscellaneous odds and ends.

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Saturday, July 13th:

Added a second coat of paint on three walls. Having a bit of a problem with overspray texturing due to rapid drying conditions and the slow rate of application with the air sprayer.

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The west wall and part of the north wall only have one coat, but the sun's going down.

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And just a cool long shot.

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Sunday, July 21st, 2013:

After trying my air sprayer (too thin and slow) and my old Wagner airless sprayer (worked ok for a while and then started splattering) I went and bought a REAL airless sprayer (but not before buying a defective higher end Wagner sprayer!). Finished things quickly, with prep taking far longer than the painting!

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Finished the primary paint color on all sides of the observatory in an hour or two!

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Hanging the doors for painting -- I took off all the doors and hung them to paint both sides simultaneously. Washing, prepping, etc.

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Applied the first coat of paint to all doors. Unfortunately there were a few flaws and now it's raining!

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Painting the first of the brown trim around the double doors. I also had to replace the doors since they aren't ready to be re-installed.

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After an increadibly violent freak thunderstorm that caused mulch to wash, etc. So much for painting.

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So much for all my masking. This is only about the fourth time I've had to put it up!

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Nice rainbow though!

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Thanks for looking!

Beo

#10 hm insulators

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 11:22 AM

Here's a way to get the rain to stop: Sell your telescope and convert the observatory to a garden shed!

#11 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 10:54 PM

Saturday, July 27th, 2013:

Making good progress on the brown trim painting. Starting to come together!

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Gave up on hanging the doors and went to painting them one side at a time. With the wind direction, the over spray would have covered the observatory!

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So a week after knocking down all the wasp nests and painting, there are dozens of starts and several full wasp nests! Amazing!

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Even more trim painting. Starting to look pretty darn good!

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Sunday, July 28th:

So the morning after painting the first side, the doors are COVERED with dead bugs! ARGH!

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Masking for the last wall of trim.

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Painted doors re-installed.

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Including the inner door, now all with doorknobs and locks!

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While I had the sprayer out and the wind was blowing away from the observatory, I primed as much as I could of hte roll-off rails to minimize the amount of painting by hand.

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And a final touch of trim paint on the door window before the end of the day.

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Beo

#12 Midnight Dan

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 07:30 AM

It's always amazing what a difference it makes when you paint the trim. The place looks awesome!

-Dan

#13 1965healy

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 09:41 PM

Paint the underside of the soffits light blue, it confuses the wasps and they don't build nests there because it looks like the sky. Seriously it works. I had a huge porch with a white bead board ceiling that was wasp nest central every year. My dad said to paint it light blue and they would stop nesting there. All those years growing up I thought he just liked blue.

#14 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:13 PM

Thanks Dan!

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013:

Finishing the trim paint around the roof fascia and capture rails.

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Also a good shot of the door after removing masking.

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Saturday, August 10th:

Adding a brush seal to the observatory walls to attempt to create a bug and weather barrier. It's not quite thick enough, so I'll have to add another trick to fully seal the gap. Still, it was a LOT cheaper than most of the other brush options.

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This is what's referred to as "storefront pile" and is used on sliding doors, etc.

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And over the south end:

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At the end of the day, a spider is mocking me about trying to keep bugs out as he inspects my work!

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Interesting problem going over the top of the railsl.

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View of the south end from the inside:

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Nice seal!

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Now it's time to finish the capture rails. Rather than painting in place, it'll be easier to pre-paint, so I'm priming the last pieces of wood for the trim that captures the roof to the rail.

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Saturday, August 17th:

Caulking the roll-off rails to fill the large gap between the adjusted top plate and the roll-off rail beams.

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Several more sections of capture trim installed.

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The last couple of sections ready for painting.

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A nice gibbous moon visible over the observatory.

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Beo

#15 Midnight Dan

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 07:18 AM

Quote:
Paint the underside of the soffits light blue, it confuses the wasps and they don't build nests there because it looks like the sky. Seriously it works. I had a huge porch with a white bead board ceiling that was wasp nest central every year. My dad said to paint it light blue and they would stop nesting there. All those years growing up I thought he just liked blue.



Interesting! Wish I'd known about this years ago. I'll have to give it a try next time I paint my barns.

-Dan

#16 Starman27

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:06 AM

Thanks for the brush seal idea. This is a really nice build.

#17 tim57064

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 09:34 AM

Quote:
Thanks for the brush seal idea. This is a really nice build.


I may also implement the brush seal yet that won't happen until spring as I have so many other finishing items that need to be done before winter really arrives.6 inches of snow earlier this week and now back into the mid to upper 40's and all the snow is gone.
Whats with this roller coaster ride of temps?
Thanks Beo

#18 Raginar

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 09:56 AM

Awesome build. I like it.

#19 astrodog73

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 04:23 AM

Fantastic stuff - I could put my obs in there, sideways, 4 or 5 times over!

#20 Mary B

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:13 PM

Wasps love fresh paint for some reason. I painted a house for my dad when I was 14 and he kept asking what the lumps were... I was swatting wasps with the brush then painting over them with the roller.

#21 JJK

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 05:25 PM

Beo,

What size is the observatory? The archive thread keeps crashing my iPad's browser.

Best,
John

#22 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 09:06 PM

Quote:
Quote:
Paint the underside of the soffits light blue, it confuses the wasps and they don't build nests there because it looks like the sky. Seriously it works. I had a huge porch with a white bead board ceiling that was wasp nest central every year. My dad said to paint it light blue and they would stop nesting there. All those years growing up I thought he just liked blue.



Interesting! Wish I'd known about this years ago. I'll have to give it a try next time I paint my barns.

-Dan



Yeah, neat idea, but blue just wouldn't go with my color scheme!

Beo

#23 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 09:13 PM

Thanks again to all. It'll be interesting to see how well the brush seal does long term, but it's not bad as is at the moment.

As far as the size, the main observatory is 16x26' OD, with a 16x12' warm room. John, try this link for the original thread. The previous link points to the "show all" version, which is probably what's choking your iPad. Shame I can't go back and put that link back on the first page.

Beo

#24 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 11:06 PM

Ok, so as I work on finishing up the warm room interior over the holiday, I guess I need to get some more pictures posted. I'm way behind on the updates here!

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013:

I decided to add a couple of 8' 2x6 braces to the end of the rails, hoping to prevent the rain gauge from shaking and mis-counting. It didn't knock down the potential for shaking as much as I might like, but there's no doubt it's more structural.

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Saturday, August 24th:

The yellow jackets keep building everywhere! This huge wasp nest was up in one of the gussets for the roll-off rails.

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Here's where the wasp nest was. These openings HAVE to GO!

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One of the casualties from spraying the nest.

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My first thought for filling the openings was to use expansion foam. Didn't work very well since there was no good way to close the top and after cutting, the surface is porous and would hold water.

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And yet another nest in the other sheltered area of the rails. This will be sealed with the light fixture eventually.

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Next to last two capture trim sections installed.

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Last two capture rail sections are ready to go up.

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Last two rail sections installed. Still need to paint one last bit of trim above the end wall.

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View with the fully captured roof rolled off.

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There are a couple of sections that rub a bit along the east side of the warm room. It would be nice if the roof rode center there, but not much I can do about it.

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Sealing up the gussets. I gave up on the expansion foam and capped everything off with wood instead.

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And caulked the other cap rail completely.

http://photos.orionr...0824-202952.jpg
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Thanks for looking!

Beo

#25 Baxstar

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 09:21 AM

I can't see the new photo's

Casper






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