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Orion Ranch Observatory nears completion

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#26 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 05:05 PM

Quote:
I can't see the new photo's

Casper



Hmmm. Can you see the older ones? These are all linked to my website, so although the server isn't exactly fast, you should be able to see them unless there's something blacklisted from your country. I know I can't get to my site when I'm in China because they've blacklisted the shared IP I'm on.

Beo

#27 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 05:45 PM

Sunday, August 25th, 2013:

Finally filling the hole for the antennas after adjusting the orientation of the cellular antenna slightly to point to the new tower Sprint just enabled with 4G LTE!

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Finished caulking the last gaps in the roll-off rails as well as cracks in the posts, etc. More caulking here than on the building itself!

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Lost wasp -- one of two wasps that escaped the original spray who keep looking for their lost nest.

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Moved the wood pile of all the excess studs out of the way to allow painting the rest of the rails. It's amazing seeing that area clear after all this time, not to mention the nice new mulch under the tarps.

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I Added a couple of wood strips to try to minimize the bounce of the weather station post.

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After a lot of painting by hand, most of the rails are finally primed.

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Friday, August 30th.
Finally time to finish the roofing. Nothing like waiting for the hottest part of the summer to climb up on a roof and work in the hot sun!

Starting by adding the gutter on the north side.

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Then I installed the drip edge and continuous cleat that holds down the edge of the standing seam metal roofing material.

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Fitting the first piece of roofing material.

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A decent start by evening of the first day, with the first few pieces installed.

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More to follow.

Beo

#28 Baxstar

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 03:03 PM

Now i'm albe to see the photos! Probably a little bit slower internet that day! The Observatorium is coming along very very nice!

Casper

#29 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 11:33 PM

Ok, so much for getting a bunch of this stuff posted over the holidays, but given that I've just finished the warm room, I really need to get caught up here! So-o-o...

Saturday, August 31st, 2013:

Completed the first corner of the roof by lunch time.

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And the entire north hip by 5 P.M.

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Some shots showing the cutting and folding process that has to be done to every single piece to make a fold-over that captures the cleat on the drip edge.

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And the west side hip by about 8 P.M.
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Views of the north hip from above. You can clearly see the rosin paper installed for the metal to slide upon.

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A cool shot sighting along the cell tower antenna that just happens to be at eye level from the peak of the roof. The cell tower would likely be visible on the other side of the tree, but I'm not taking it down to find out!

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A shot of the rest of the material, including the other ends of each cut which will be used at the opposite hip. This is basically 1/6th of the entire amount installed.

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A view of the roofing with it closed. Nice how well the drip edge matches my trim!

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Beo

#30 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 07:18 PM

Woo Hoo!  New CN forum software means I MUST get back to work on posting pictures in my thread.  Not to mention that I'm pretty much DONE with the observatory!  Ok, ok, we all know it will never be done, and I still have various finishing touches here and there, but it feels like a finished building finally.    I'm really looking forward to seeing how the new forum software works and what it will let me do with my links, etc.
 
Beo


#31 DeanS

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 01:56 PM

Nice looking observatory, love the hip roof design
 
I worried about the rails twisting as time went on so I did metal supports and had my angle iron tack welded to a steel plate on top of the walls.  
 
Keep up the good work.
 
Dean
 


#32 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 08:18 PM

Thanks Dean.  Wait 'til you see the rest!

Time to test the HTML editor and see if I can get the format for my link icons that I couldn't manage with the BBCode.

Sunday, September 1, 2013:

Thought I'd share the process of preparing the folded end of the panel. It's quite a bit of work on each and every panel!

Step 1: Measure and mark one inch in from the edge on both sides.


 


Step 2: Cut along the seam back to the mark on each side.



Step 3: Notch the tongue side back at an angle to ensure clearance.


 
Step 4: Trim the outside edge of the clip side, leaving the inner edge in place.
 


Step 5: Fold over the end of the panel to make the lip.
 

 





 


Step 5b: After folding, the end isn't quite flat enough.


 


Step 6:  Fold the tab over to cap off the clip slot. Again, doesn't quite close cleanly.



 


Step 7:  Using a padded pair of pliers, tighten the bent tab square.




8:  I then flatten the folded end just moving back and forth squeezing by hand.



 


Step 9:  Remove the protective tape from the folded clip ridge.




After all that work, you end up with a very pretty finished end.




After a good day's work, 11 more panels are installed on each side (22 total). At this point I'm 5/9ths of the way through all of the panels.



 





 

 

 

 
So, after playing around with my HTML code to get the picture block the way I want it, there are some pros and cons to the new interface.  The biggest pro of course is the HTML interface that actually lets me do this.  That generally outweighs most everything else.  The biggest con is probably the editor size that gives a pretty tiny window to work in.  You can drag it taller, but not wider.  The other thing I miss is the message preview.  Here we pop straight from the editor to a post and if you don't like the result you have to edit the post.  Probably not a disaster, but I'd rather the post not go live until I'm completely satisfied with it!  I'll have to track down the comments section that I'm sure exists for the new forums and put these comments there.  There may be ways to tweak things for the latter issues.

Beo


#33 nicklane1

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:57 PM

Lord Beowulf, you built a mighty fine obs. 
Congrats and thanks for sharing.


#34 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 12:30 AM

Thanks Nick!

Saturday, September 7, 2013:

Finished the center ridge section of the side gables by lunch time.







Finished the east and west gables at dusk.



 


A view from the top showing the gables.



 


Sunday, September 8th:

Finished all the roofing panels right as it started to rain a bit. You can see the remainder of the rain cloud that collapsed right above me in the first picture. Closing up for the rest of the day to avoid any more problems!



 

 


I ended up with three full pieces of roofing left over plus all the ridge covers that go on next.




Beo


#35 Midnight Dan

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 09:44 AM

Great progress!  Looking good. 


#36 Starman27

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 10:12 AM

Thanks for the detailed build information. Can't wait for the next chapter.


#37 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 08:41 PM

Thanks Dan and Starman!  I've GOT to get caught up as things really look awesome now, and there are some cool features to show!  So...

Saturday, September 14, 2013:

Time to install the ridge caps.  The video I found on the internet showed popping a chalk line to mark the locations of the ridges, but those guys were standing flat on the ground and working on a small sample roof.  I quickly realized that lots of slippery chalk on a nice smooth metal surface is not a very good idea!


 


So instead, I just used a string line and tape to mark the location for the ridge cap.







 


Locating the first Zee closure.








Note the sealing tape underneath.



Drilling screw holes in the Zee.









And finished screwing down the first Zee.








And on to the next one, and so on, and so on.... and on and on and on!








One full row of Zees finished and caulked for the first ridge cap.








Installed the first ridge cap over the Zees.


Adding the small bits to close the other end.







Finished the ridge caps on the south hips. Took WAY longer than I'd hoped.






 

 

 

 

 


Tomorrow, the North side!

Beo


#38 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 12:52 AM

Sunday, September 15th, 2013:

Finished the ridge caps on the north hips.





 

 



Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013:

When I went to install the ridge caps for the top ridge, I discovered that due to all of the panels running an average of a half inch short, the Zees wouldn't have sealed properly.  Thus I had to have the manufacturer fix the problem by making me new wider ridge caps that would make up for their machine running short panels!  This resulted in several weeks delay to get the parts and then even longer for some dry weather to finish off the ridge.







Saturday, October 5th, 2013:

In the meantime I installed my security cameras around the exterior to allow remote monitoring and watch for critters!





 

 

 

 



Monday, October 7th, 2013:

Took the day off to finally finish off the roof with the main ridge cap and ridge vents.  Here are the ridge vent Zee closures.



 


First ridge cap in place.




Finished snapping on the ridge caps as the sun sets.  That second ridge cap was a bugger to get over the first one!



 

 


Adding a relay to remotely power one leg of the power on the pier. Will eventually embed this in the wall.





Beo


#39 Midnight Dan

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 06:38 AM

Wow! I've seen these metal roofs go up, but didn't realize what a pain in the neck those ridge caps are.  Lots of detail work.


#40 Project Galileo

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 06:19 PM

Great looking observatory!  Congrats!  Beautiful!


#41 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 09:33 PM

Thanks Galileo.  Yeah, Dan, they're a pretty good amount of work, but they sure look nice!  Having done it, I'm pretty glad I did it myself, given that it would have cost 3x the materials cost to have someone else do it!

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013:

Finished pop-riveting the caps and removing all of the protective plastic. Still have a bit of touch-up painting to do.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Saturday, October 19th, 2013:

Installing the porch lights outside the observatory doors.



 


And by the warm room door.



 
Wednesday, October 30th, 2013:

All lights at night.



 
BTW, this was the four year anniversary of the ground breaking for the observatory in 2009!

Beo


#42 snommisbor

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 10:13 PM

I have to laugh that you call it a warm room down here. We should call that a cool room. Except of course for this past winter, but 9-10 months out of the year that room needs to be cool. LOL


#43 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 11:24 PM

Originally Posted by snommisbor:I have to laugh that you call it a warm room down here. We should call that a cool room. Except of course for this past winter, but 9-10 months out of the year that room needs to be cool. LOL
No doubt this summer I'll be running that AC quite a bit!  However, it's been pretty nice this winter, especially once I got it insulated!  With the PC in there it stays relatively warn on its own, but there were times I had to run the AC in heat mode.
 
Beo


#44 Midnight Dan

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:19 AM

Beo:
 
Just wondering about those ridge caps.  I went and looked at the ones they installed on my barn last year.  Rather than the metal z-strips, they used a plastic mesh material, kind of like open-cell foam rubber, but stiffer.  It keeps the bugs, rain, and snow out, but lets air move through it to ventilate the roof.
 
It looks like they were a lot easier to install.  Were those not available in your area?  Or was there a reason you went with the solid z-strips?


#45 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:25 PM

Originally Posted by Midnight Dan:Beo:
 
Just wondering about those ridge caps.  I went and looked at the ones they installed on my barn last year.  Rather than the metal z-strips, they used a plastic mesh material, kind of like open-cell foam rubber, but stiffer.  It keeps the bugs, rain, and snow out, but lets air move through it to ventilate the roof.
 
It looks like they were a lot easier to install.  Were those not available in your area?  Or was there a reason you went with the solid z-strips?
 
Some of the guides I saw online put a foam piece behind the Zees for additional sealing, but I didn't see any that didn't use the Zees.  The cap is folded over on both sides, so it has to have something to hook onto.  So unless someone just glued everything down to the foam with caulking, that sounds rather unusual.  At any rate, this was what the local standing seam metal roofing supply makes and they didn't offer the foam piece. I think I caulked the edges of the Zees well enough that it shouldn't be a problem. 
 
Beo


#46 FOUNTAIN1

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:11 PM

Great looking observatory Beo! Your equipment list is impressive as well.
 
Glen


#47 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:35 PM

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013:

Is it November already?!!  Doing some site cleanup in preparation for finishing painting the roll-off rails.  Trimming all the tall grass and picking up the trash and scrap around the site.



 

 


Finished priming the rails, with a second coat on quite a bit of it.




Managed to get the top and outside of both rails painted with the first coat of brown before dark.



 


I also painted around the center brace so I could install the center light fixture that's tied to the porch light, finishing well AFTER dark.



 

 


Sunday, November 3rd, 2013:

Intalled the floodlight fixture at the end of the rails.  This is actually an old fixture I'd put out the back door of my house when I first had it built.  Nice to be reusing it.




Just about done painting, but almost out of paint and getting a bit of drizzle too.  You can see the combo of white and red spotlights (separately switched) on the end.



 

 


Detail of the red and white floodlights, white tied to the porch light, red on a separate circuit.




Warm room porch light and red light on.



 



Beo


#48 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:36 PM

Originally Posted by FOUNTAIN1:Great looking observatory Beo! Your equipment list is impressive as well.
 
Glen
Thanks Glen.  Yeah, I don't do anything halfway.  Bit dangerous though when something like this hobby bug bites you!
 
Beo


#49 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 11:18 PM

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013:

Building a poor man's "almost" all-sky camera from some leftover 2" conduit and couplings, a low lux camera with a wide angle lens, and a cheap plastic dome.  I imagine I'll have to cross-post this particular post over to one of the other equipment threads too.




Closeup of the low lux camera and wide angle lens, as well as the compact dome and camera mount, which is too small for the camera + lens as-is.




Creating a right angle assembly using two 45 degree conduit elbows leftover from the power feed to make the all-sky camera mount. These provide a wider sweep and potentially better rigidity vs. a single 90 degree elbow.




Gluing the modified dome base to a 2" PVC screw coupling to make a removable cap for the camera mount.



 


Thursday, November 7th, 2013:

This is the four year anniversary of pouring the first pier in 2009!

Combining the camera, mount, and a modified drain cap to mount the camera to the top of the 2" conduit.



 

 


Temporarily mounting the conduit adapter from the top of an electrical box as the mount for the 2" conduit used for the all-sky camera mount.




Decided to mount it off the west side of the warm room where it would clear the roof but not be visible from inside the observatory.




Assembling the conduit for the mount at the correct orientation.




Gluing the extension tube and threaded connector and test installing the assembled all-sky camera mount on the west side of the observatory.



 

 

 


View of the all-sky camera mount from the "front" of the observatory.  Would have liked to put it further down the side of the observatory so it wasn't visible from the approach to the observatory, but that would have put it in the FOV of the telescopes, so that's more important than the minor aesthetics issue.




Next, I took the camera mount down and screwed it to the plywood so I could easily prime and paint it, starting with two coats of primer.



 


While waiting on the primer to dry on the camera mount, I went back to painting the last section of the rails that needed to be painted.



 


First coat of brown paint completed all the way around.  They'll still need a second, despite the use of "paint and primer in one"! What a waste of money!



 

 


Moved the trailer and last of the junk out of the way.  Looks pretty awesome from afar!



 


Also finished the last bit of trim under the eaves of the roll-off.  You might notice the missing security camera that had to go back defective.




Two coats of brown paint finished on the camera mount.



 



Friday, November 8th, 2013:

Installing the all-sky camera at the top of the support.




Installing the clear dome on the dome assembly with what will eventually be clear caulk to seal it.



 


Finished dome installed on top of the camera.



 

 



And finally, installing all the GFCI outlets and covers around the outside (six total), essentially finishing the exterior.

 


You don't really want to see all six, right?  If you do, follow the link to the website and you can see the rest!

I went ahead and installed one interior light in the observatory. It will have to come back down when the wall paneling goes up.




After another cleanup of the observatory interior, I dropped one of my new custom door mats.




One of two inexpensive custom door mats. I'll probably have some high end ones done some day, but probably not until I pour both porches.





And finally, a view from the "almost" all sky camera!



Beo


#50 tim57064

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 09:17 AM

Beo,love the look of everything. You've been doing a great job. Would like to know where you got the almost all sky camera and dome so as I can build a similar one. 







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