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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build
      #4716237 - 07/27/11 06:24 PM Attachment (536 downloads)

Hi all. I wanted to share a project I started last week to build a low cost roll-off roof observatory.

It's based on several other designs I've seen that have used sheet metal sheds as a basis. Once I have all the bugs worked out, I'll try to draw up some detailed plans for others to use in their own builds.

Edited by tulit (07/27/11 07:00 PM)


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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4716241 - 07/27/11 06:25 PM Attachment (335 downloads)

The shed itself is a Arrow 8x6' Newport shed. It's a nice fit as the walls are pretty low, the gable short and it is low cost ($199).

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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4716247 - 07/27/11 06:27 PM Attachment (319 downloads)

The roof frame made out of 2x4's. There will be a total of three of these made. One will mount under the roof assembly and have a set of 8 castors to allow it to roll. A second will be mounted directly to the top of the walls of the shed. The third will be attached to the side of the shed and will be where the roof rolls when the observatory is open.

Total cost of lumber for this project was about $170.


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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4716251 - 07/27/11 06:28 PM Attachment (313 downloads)

The roof mocked up on the frame.

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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4716254 - 07/27/11 06:32 PM Attachment (328 downloads)

The base that I will mount the shed onto (made of 2x6's. I haven't decided what to do in the center yet [i.e. make a box for an eventual pier?]). For now (until the house deck/hottub in the picture is removed), I'll make use of a tripod instead of a pier. There will be holes drilled into the floor (5/8" ply) of the base that will allow the legs to reach the patterned concrete below.

I also decided to make the base 8x8' instead of 8x6' incase I decide to later increase the width of the shed.

Edited by tulit (07/27/11 06:41 PM)


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Starman27
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Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4716256 - 07/27/11 06:32 PM

Good thinking.

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Jimmy2K63
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Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Starman27]
      #4717289 - 07/28/11 09:21 AM

Looking forward to seeing this. Might even borrow your idea here.

James


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sleepy
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Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Jimmy2K63]
      #4717429 - 07/28/11 10:40 AM

Yes..Keep us posted, looks great so far.

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Starhawk
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Reged: 09/16/08

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Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: sleepy]
      #4717882 - 07/28/11 03:18 PM

Outstanding!

This looks like just the sort of observatory I could fit in my yard. I will be very interested in seeing how it comes together.

-Rich


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Footbag
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Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Starhawk]
      #4718073 - 07/28/11 05:22 PM

Very interesting! I am also want to see how this turns out.

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csa/montana
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Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4718303 - 07/28/11 07:13 PM

Looking forward to your build! This will give a lot of people ideas of how to go about the conversion.

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dobsoscope
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Reged: 05/24/06

Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: csa/montana]
      #4720715 - 07/30/11 08:50 AM

Great stuff!!
what are the inside dimensions of the observatory?


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Chris Schroeder
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Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: dobsoscope]
      #4720748 - 07/30/11 09:16 AM

Looks like a nice design and good planning

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EddWen
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Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Chris Schroeder]
      #4721010 - 07/30/11 12:18 PM

My SoCal observatory is 8' x 8' on the outside.

I suggest that if you are inside yours with your scope, you might want bigger than 8' x 6'. You could leave the roof as pre-fabbed to keep your cost down, but I don't think anyone has built a "too big" observatory.

Nice drawings. Put yourself in them....


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Starhawk
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Reged: 09/16/08

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Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Chris Schroeder]
      #4721019 - 07/30/11 12:21 PM

This is the 6'x8' size, but looking on Home Depot's site I saw they carry an 8'x10' size for $318. Here in AZ, I would be planning on styrofoam board panels on the inside to insulate it.

It is really neat to see this coming together.

-Rich


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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Starhawk]
      #4721030 - 07/30/11 12:30 PM

Hi guys.

Yes mine is 8x6. Home Depot has a cheap 8x10 version of this shed as well. Unfortunately, I just couldn't find any good places in my yard to fit a full 8x10. I do have room on my decking to stretch it to 8x8 if I decide to do that later.

I plan to have most of my setup controlled via computer in the house, so I don't intend on being in there a whole lot. But yes, it may be a bit cramped.

Edited by tulit (07/30/11 12:35 PM)


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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4721036 - 07/30/11 12:34 PM Attachment (271 downloads)

My work so far this morning.
The deck finished. I used a piece of 1x4x8 to fill the gap between the two pieces of ply 8x4x5/16" ply.


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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4721040 - 07/30/11 12:37 PM Attachment (256 downloads)

The main walls and structure are up. I just need to install the remaining wall panels and doors. It was a bit slow progress as I had to work by myself. It's definately do-able alone, but having a second set of hands would make it smoother.

Ive taken a break now until it cools off again outside.


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clchildress
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Re: My $500 Roll of Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4721234 - 07/30/11 02:45 PM

Simply fantastic. This is just the sort of thing I was looking for. Thanks for sharing with us.

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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4722428 - 07/31/11 09:37 AM Attachment (311 downloads)

Build Day #2--

I was able to convince my wife to help get the walls up last night before it got dark. This is definitely a part of the job where two people are helpful.

Most of it lined up okay. I found some errors in other parts of the assembly that I had to correct along the way. A lot of the parts seem to have two sets of holes and the instructions don't mention anywhere which to use.

Edited by tulit (07/31/11 09:41 AM)


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tulit
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Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4722432 - 07/31/11 09:40 AM Attachment (253 downloads)

The upper wood frame is screwed to the same L beams at the top of the shed walls that the roof normally attaches to.

I'm definitely going to need to make ample use of caulking between the top of the wall and the frame. With the warp of the wood and the panels of the shed not being perfect (as expected), there are points where there is a bit of a gap.

One thing I'm still debating is whether I need to reinforce the structure of the shed at all. It feels surprisingly sturdy the way it is already. I may add some 4x4's into all the corners to help support things a bit better, but I'll see how it goes first.


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4722437 - 07/31/11 09:45 AM Attachment (234 downloads)

And a top view of the shed so far. I've had to stop work for now as there is a storm coming through. I've quickly tried to anchor the shed down as best as I could

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Starhawk
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Reged: 09/16/08

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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4722494 - 07/31/11 10:22 AM

I suggest getting the top woodwork painted before continuing construction.

-Rich


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sleepy
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Starhawk]
      #4722563 - 07/31/11 10:55 AM

Looking good.!

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MikeCMP
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: sleepy]
      #4723440 - 07/31/11 07:40 PM

Having just assembled one of the 8X10 versions of this building a few weeks ago, I thought at first there was no way this would work - my building wobbled a bit, up until the roof was screwed down. Seeing your plan with the wood frames for the top changed my mind, what a clever idea.

You will not want to see a sheet metal screw for a while I bet.

I like it - gives me some ideas, definitely a good idea.


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Starhawk
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: MikeCMP]
      #4724359 - 08/01/11 10:09 AM

This is looking like it could be a major breakthrough in home observatory construction. The price is right, and the big open horizon it affords is ideal.

Steel won't be destroyed by sunlight very quickly- the main issue is installing internal insulation.

-Rich


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mikey cee
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: MikeCMP]
      #4724420 - 08/01/11 10:39 AM

Quote:

Having just assembled one of the 8X10 versions of this building a few weeks ago, I thought at first there was no way this would work - my building wobbled a bit, up until the roof was screwed down. Seeing your plan with the wood frames for the top changed my mind, what a clever idea.

You will not want to see a sheet metal screw for a while I bet.

I like it - gives me some ideas, definitely a good idea.


My wife and I built a 10x8 Arrow shed a couple of months ago for our lawn tractor etc. To this day if I ever see a sheet metal screw and plastic washer again it will be way too soon!! Mike

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Jimmy2K63
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 04/26/09

Loc: Alberta, Canada
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: mikey cee]
      #4724440 - 08/01/11 10:49 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Having just assembled one of the 8X10 versions of this building a few weeks ago, I thought at first there was no way this would work - my building wobbled a bit, up until the roof was screwed down. Seeing your plan with the wood frames for the top changed my mind, what a clever idea.

You will not want to see a sheet metal screw for a while I bet.

I like it - gives me some ideas, definitely a good idea.


My wife and I built a 10x8 Arrow shed a couple of months ago for our lawn tractor etc. To this day if I ever see a sheet metal screw and plastic washer again it will be way too soon!! Mike




Did one once and felt the same way. Even so I am still very intrigued by this idea. The roof design is very simple. Plus it would be very lightweight and would roll quite easy. One could always use a spray insulation and spray it black afterwards, we did that with our club's dome and it worked well. Plus it tightended up the whole structure and sound deadened it at the same time.

James


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Starhawk
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Reged: 09/16/08

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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Jimmy2K63]
      #4724931 - 08/01/11 03:09 PM

What brand foam did you use?

-Rich


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gapalp
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Starhawk]
      #4724995 - 08/01/11 03:37 PM

Quote:

This is looking like it could be a major breakthrough in home observatory construction. The price is right, and the big open horizon it affords is ideal.





Indeed! I have wondered with all the pre-fab sheds out there why there hasn't been a "standard" ROR made from one of these by the astro community with some detailed howto. With my imaging setup, I have wanted one of these but never could figure out adapting the roof.


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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: gapalp]
      #4725176 - 08/01/11 05:19 PM

haha. Yes the sheds are definitely more work than the resin/plastic counterparts.

All you need is a good electric driver and you'll be fine


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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4725192 - 08/01/11 05:26 PM Attachment (237 downloads)

Day 3--

Today was a semi-productive day. I was hoping to complete EVERYTHING but when I opened the second skid of 2x4's I received most of them were essentially garbage. Having straight boards is important for building the frame. They are coming tomorrow to replace them. I suppose this is the risk of getting lumber delivery -- you rely on them to pick the best pieces.

Anyways, with the few good pieces in the batch, I finished the roof frame itself. It's the same as the frame that was mounted on-top of the shed, but I made it 1/4" narrower to allow for some clearance as it rolls along the top of the shed and the rails.

I installed eight 1-1/4" castors along each side of the rail. I kept them small to minimize the gap between the roof and the top of the shed (which I'll have to weatherproof somehow still). The whole assembly rolls very nicely/easily.


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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4725195 - 08/01/11 05:28 PM Attachment (183 downloads)

Here you can see the frame as it would be resting along the top of the shed/rails. There will be guilds mounted all the way on the outside perimeter to keep the roof on the rails.

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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4725205 - 08/01/11 05:32 PM Attachment (200 downloads)

Last night under clear skies, I spent some time polar aligning my setup and measuring how high the scope should be. Once I had the position of the tripod figured out, I marked where the feet touched the wooden floor.

This afternoon, I then drilled some 2-1/2" holes in the floor to allow the tripod legs to pass through.

I've elected to use the 8" pier extension for the EQ6 as along with my C6 gets me to a good height to clear the roof and also get reasonably close to the visible horizon from my backyard in all directions. The extension is nice as you need to remember that longer you make the tripod legs, the more floor space they will consume.


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Jimmy2K63
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Starhawk]
      #4725208 - 08/01/11 05:34 PM

Quote:

What brand foam did you use?

-Rich




I have no idea. That was 25 years ago. But it swelled on impact if that helps you any. We had it commercially sprayed on the walls and the dome.

James


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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4725209 - 08/01/11 05:34 PM Attachment (199 downloads)

The holes could use a bit of cleaning up, but they match pretty close.

I want to get some VSPs on the ends of the tripod legs, but am not sure yet how I will position them properly It's a bit cumbersome getting the legs into the holes as it is.


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Shannon s
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Reged: 06/21/09

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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4725254 - 08/01/11 05:58 PM

Sweet. I love my little Observatory. Looks a little cramped with the tripod. Ever think about a pier?

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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Shannon s]
      #4725367 - 08/01/11 07:07 PM

Quote:

Sweet. I love my little Observatory. Looks a little cramped with the tripod. Ever think about a pier?




Yup. The tripod is temporary until I move the shed back about 8 feet (a hot tub is in the way right now).


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vsteblina
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Reged: 11/05/07

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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4725401 - 08/01/11 07:36 PM

Great observatory.

I built something similar. I had problems with water seeping between the floor and building. I did not think it was going to be an issue living in a desert. But those 8 inches of precip found their way into the observatory.


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ZeroID
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Reged: 04/21/10

Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4725452 - 08/01/11 08:04 PM

Nice project, I am already following a similar path with a 2.7 meter by 1.8 meter shed. I like your roof rail idea and the need to strengthen the frame to suuport the shed structure. My pier will be an 870mm high 280 mm diameter concrete sewer pipe ( Unused !! ) on end with a 1 meter length of M12 threaded rod secured to a masonry anchor on the concrete base and locked through a top plate. Should stay put.
I just wonder why no one has come up with this idea before either. Must all be traditionalists or something.


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MikeCMP
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Reged: 07/12/11

Loc: Chardon OH
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: vsteblina]
      #4725816 - 08/02/11 12:01 AM

Quote:

Great observatory.

I built something similar. I had problems with water seeping between the floor and building. I did not think it was going to be an issue living in a desert. But those 8 inches of precip found their way into the observatory.




I was going to mention this as well, water seeps under my walls on my shed too. I used pressure treated wood, if I had known it would be such a problem I would have put something under the walls to keep the water out.

Definitely going to keep this in mind, I bought my 8X10 for $250 bucks last year, just waited a year to put it up, they are super cheap structures and plenty sturdy.

Mike


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MikeCatfin
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: MikeCMP]
      #4726361 - 08/02/11 10:53 AM

Great project.. this may be the route I go when I'm ready.

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nytecam
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: MikeCMP]
      #4726373 - 08/02/11 11:00 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Great observatory.

I built something similar. I had problems with water seeping between the floor and building. I did not think it was going to be an issue living in a desert. But those 8 inches of precip found their way into the observatory.




I was going to mention this as well, water seeps under my walls on my shed too. I used pressure treated wood, if I had known it would be such a problem I would have put something under the walls to keep the water out.Mike


Yep - that was something that I was going to mention eg the base [or upstand] should match the size of the building WITHOUT overlap - need only to look at your own house

No amount of sealant will permanently keep rainwater at bay in these circumstances


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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: nytecam]
      #4726938 - 08/02/11 04:56 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Great observatory.

I built something similar. I had problems with water seeping between the floor and building. I did not think it was going to be an issue living in a desert. But those 8 inches of precip found their way into the observatory.




I was going to mention this as well, water seeps under my walls on my shed too. I used pressure treated wood, if I had known it would be such a problem I would have put something under the walls to keep the water out.Mike


Yep - that was something that I was going to mention eg the base [or upstand] should match the size of the building WITHOUT overlap - need only to look at your own house

No amount of sealant will permanently keep rainwater at bay in these circumstances




Good point about the drainage. Maybe some angled flashing around the perimeter is in order? I didn't want to cut the base to exactly the size of the base for future expansion...


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ZeroID
sage


Reged: 04/21/10

Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4729099 - 08/03/11 11:14 PM

Over here in NZ there are some roofing sealants based on bitumen that you can paint on, thick and gooey that will do the job. Mine will go with a good thick layer beneath the base frame and then a 'flashing' type application around the bottom edge after. I don't have a choice about my site, it's justa large 4 x 4 meter slab of concrete already down. The stuff is called Bitumastic, you may have something similar in your part of the world.
Alternatively silicon sealer should work in a similar fashion.


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Starhawk
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: ZeroID]
      #4731326 - 08/05/11 09:25 AM

Here it's called "Roofing tar" or sealer it's kind of a mess in the summers here since it melts down.

Some sort of flashing is probably the best answer in this case. I'm still concerned about the unpainted wood- the last two environments I have lived in (New Orleans and Tucson) just destroy unprotected wood in no time. Of course, this shed is far away.

-Rich


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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Starhawk]
      #4731491 - 08/05/11 11:10 AM

Quote:

Here it's called "Roofing tar" or sealer it's kind of a mess in the summers here since it melts down.

Some sort of flashing is probably the best answer in this case. I'm still concerned about the unpainted wood- the last two environments I have lived in (New Orleans and Tucson) just destroy unprotected wood in no time. Of course, this shed is far away.

-Rich




Hi Rich.

Agreed. I'll have to play with flashing a bit to see what works best.

All the wood is pressure treated so it has a bit of protection. The biggest problems here is usually boards splitting as they freeze/thaw. Something different I'm sure than what you would have had to deal with in your environments


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Starhawk
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4731937 - 08/05/11 03:18 PM

I expect if you get it right, this could last indefinitely.

Here there are radical swings in humidity from 4% and hot to soaking in water to split wood, and we actually do get freezes.

I'm thinking I'd probably want a metal version of the frame just because of the environment, here.

-Rich


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Shannon s
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Starhawk]
      #4732296 - 08/05/11 07:02 PM

MASTIC........fibrous mastic. It is sold at HVAC supply houses. I don't know if it is sold at hardware stores. It is white- I mixed in a little house paint to change the color to green but my observatory is all plywood. One thick coat of this stuff waterproofed the outside.

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Starhawk
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Shannon s]
      #4737479 - 08/08/11 07:05 PM

I want to know what happened next!

-Rich


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Starhawk]
      #4737713 - 08/08/11 09:01 PM

haha. sorry. It's been a busy week so haven't had much time to work on it the last few days. All the major components have been made now, so it will just be a matter of putting the frame portion onto the side of the shed plus putting the roof on.

I did pick up some adjustable deck supports that I will be using to support the frame portion of the structure and allow me to easily level it. They are similar to these:
http://www.rona.ca/shop/~adjustable-deck-support-spytek-226822_building-materials-accessories_shop

I really like the SkyShed versions, but can't justify the $200 price tag.

I also got lots of red rope light that I plan run around the perimeter on the interior of the shed.

Edited by tulit (08/08/11 09:03 PM)


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4739420 - 08/09/11 08:13 PM Attachment (213 downloads)

I had a few hours tonight to get things together.

Most is done now except

a) Attaching the roof and assembling it on top of its frame
b) Weather proofing the gap between the rails and the roof. I'm not quite sure what I'll use here yet. Garage door weather stripping might be appropriate.


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4739424 - 08/09/11 08:16 PM Attachment (173 downloads)

The adjustable supports are a definite plus. It would have been a pain to measure accurately especially with the grading of the ground. I've temporarily anchored them down with some interlock. I'm thinking of building a sandbox under here.

Total cost of these were only $20 for the pair. I think I'll come in at my $500 total project budget pretty closely.


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4739428 - 08/09/11 08:17 PM Attachment (170 downloads)

The support column. Still need some leveling/adjusting.

Edited by tulit (08/09/11 08:18 PM)


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4739433 - 08/09/11 08:20 PM Attachment (167 downloads)

The whole roof rolls pretty smoothly (easy with just a single hand). I was a little worried about clearance/being straight enough but it turned out pretty good.


I still need to add a few of the guides to the other half.


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4739435 - 08/09/11 08:21 PM Attachment (194 downloads)

Closed

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tjay
Carpal Tunnel
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4739496 - 08/09/11 08:53 PM

Quote:

haha. sorry. It's been a busy week so haven't had much time to work on it the last few days. All the major components have been made now, so it will just be a matter of putting the frame portion onto the side of the shed plus putting the roof on.

I did pick up some adjustable deck supports that I will be using to support the frame portion of the structure and allow me to easily level it. They are similar to these:
http://www.rona.ca/shop/~adjustable-deck-support-spytek-226822_building-materials-accessories_shop

I really like the SkyShed versions, but can't justify the $200 price tag.

I also got lots of red rope light that I plan run around the perimeter on the interior of the shed.




I just noticed your location! You are just the other side of the big TO from me.

I definitely would have went with those Rona deck levelers if I decided to build my own... Now I'm just waiting to get a more firm date than "Mid August" for my build.

I love your ingenious approach to building a ROR.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4739765 - 08/09/11 11:38 PM

It's coming along very nicely! Great job!

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buddyjesus
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: csa/montana]
      #4740367 - 08/10/11 12:19 PM

I was wondering, do the RORs need to be anchored in the case of high winds or storms? Carabiners and eye hooks are cheap anyways.

BTW, great job so far with the build.


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Starhawk
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: buddyjesus]
      #4740704 - 08/10/11 03:58 PM

One thing- your boards on the extension track are going to bow and droop with time in that orientation. You need to reinforce them with vertically oriented boards to keep them straight, also with the extension to the vertical braces.

-Rich


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BCB
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Starhawk]
      #4743732 - 08/12/11 08:00 AM

Have you considered using u shaped track, or 2x2x 1/8 L extruded aluminum for your wheels? You could mount it to the tops of your rails and eliminate those outer edge wood guides. Would clean it up visually, and definitely keep the roof from sliding/rolling off the edge.

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shawnhar
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: BCB]
      #4743826 - 08/12/11 09:39 AM

I agree 100% with what Rich said about the boards on the extension drooping in that orientation. It will happen very fast! You should be able to reinforce them with vertically oriented boards underneath.
Good Luck!


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Al8236
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: shawnhar]
      #4743949 - 08/12/11 10:46 AM

I agree with some form of track. Even something as simple as a 1x4 along side your rail just held up a bit.
I think you will find that pushing the roof perfectly straight to not catch the corners on the uprights will not be something you want to be fighting in the middle of the nite!
Al


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Al8236]
      #4746554 - 08/13/11 07:56 PM Attachment (233 downloads)

Today I set a goal of getting the shed "done". It started off with assembling the roof. The roof gables were screwed to the 2x4 frame with deck screws run through large washer to prevent tearing the metal.

Edited by tulit (08/13/11 07:58 PM)


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4746559 - 08/13/11 08:00 PM Attachment (197 downloads)

In retrospect, I should have assembled the roof on the ground rather than the top of the shed. I just didn't have anyone else handy at the moment to get the roof frame back down off the shed. A couple of the screws were a pain to get at, but I was able to get it all eventually.

As another note, don't do this step in full sun! The panels themselves got scorching hot. I don't understand why they painted them brown. I may repaint them white to keep the heat down.

Edited by tulit (08/13/11 08:01 PM)


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4746570 - 08/13/11 08:05 PM Attachment (209 downloads)

A flaw also developed with the little 2x4 uprights. I didn't account for the fact that the roof overhangs the gables so they interfere. No worries, I didn't like them (and no one else seemed to either).

Since I had a lot of 2x4's left, I decided to attach them to the perimeter of the rails to act as guides. This also acts as a solution to the drooping wood some people brought up concerns with.

However, this isn't ideal as it doesn't seal the joint as completely as it could. I should really be attaching something like 1x6's along the roof section itself. I may go back and change this later as I still need to come up with a weather sealing strategy for all sides of the roof.


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4746572 - 08/13/11 08:07 PM Attachment (208 downloads)

The whole assembly rolls incredibly smoothly and doesn't bind at all.
I can easily open and close the roof with a single hand.


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4746575 - 08/13/11 08:08 PM Attachment (162 downloads)

The telescope still needs the 8" pier extension to get to the proper height. The whole setup is pretty usable as it is already though.

Edited by tulit (08/13/11 08:08 PM)


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4746577 - 08/13/11 08:10 PM Attachment (208 downloads)

Getting ready to try it out tonight. Hopefully the sky clears up a bit more.

I need to pick up some turnbuckles as well tomorrow to allow the roof to be firmly attached to the frame when it is closed. I plan on just putting one in each corner.


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Starhawk
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4746673 - 08/13/11 09:28 PM

That is really cool. It seems to be just the right size. The rail supports will definitely help. You still need one across the end since the uprights aren't straight under the track.

The brown roof is a definite non-starter. You have the right idea with painting it white.

-Rich


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Starhawk]
      #4746682 - 08/13/11 09:32 PM

Quote:

You still need one across the end since the uprights aren't straight under the track.





Hi Rich. Not sure I follow?


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Starhawk
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4747027 - 08/14/11 02:05 AM

The side rails are supported by a sideways board between them and the uprights when you look at it end-on. The outside ends will droop and turn out over time. A reinforcement similar to what you did along the sides will stiffen it up.

-Rich


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4747317 - 08/14/11 10:03 AM

Your observatory has turned out really nice! This should encourage others to build their observatory based on yours. Many feel because of the pricing of observatories, that they are out of their reach; you just proved them wrong!

I would also guess that now, most places will discount their sheds, so as not to have to hold them over till next year; so even better pricing.


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GraySkies
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: csa/montana]
      #4747628 - 08/14/11 01:14 PM

That is an impressive and informative method for building an observatory. I hope to build a similar unit in the future. Thanks for sharing!

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RobVG
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: GraySkies]
      #4747643 - 08/14/11 01:24 PM

Good Idea and a very nice job.

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wormstar
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: RobVG]
      #4750061 - 08/15/11 08:06 PM

Definitely give the sealing some thought, the flat track boards combined with the 2x4 on edge sticking up will tend to funnel water into the obs.
I had water that tended to run down my wood supports into the obs, but because I had the typical angle iron track I was able to cut a groove sideways across the rail supports to stop the water( little gutters basically in the wood under the angle.

Enjoy the obs, you will get out lots more in conditions that you could never be bothered with before!


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Chris Boar
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: wormstar]
      #4830805 - 09/27/11 04:55 PM

An excellent option for a low cost observatory. After showing the 'CFO' this thead, I've now got business case sign off to build my own (shamelessly copying yours)

Do you have any issue with water getting in between the roof and the wooden frames?

Thanks,

Chris


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Chris Boar]
      #4832412 - 09/28/11 02:56 PM

Quote:

An excellent option for a low cost observatory. After showing the 'CFO' this thead, I've now got business case sign off to build my own (shamelessly copying yours)

Do you have any issue with water getting in between the roof and the wooden frames?

Thanks,

Chris




I've put up some strategic flashing around the perimeter of the roof to prevent water from getting in-between. Ill try to post a photo, but it is pretty simple.

We've had some pretty big storms and its remained dry throughout. I haven't seemed to have any problems with water seeping in through the floor either, so haven't had to do anything to tackle that.


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Mirzam
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4832652 - 09/28/11 05:15 PM

You could put some 3/4" quarter round on top of the rails to serve as a continuous guide for the wheels. When you push the roof it will be easier for the wheels to maintain alignment instead of "climbing up" the quarter round. This works well for a lightweight roof. Heavier roofs need steel wheels on steel angle.

Some steel angle (mounted underneath)would be a way to reinforce the rails to avoid sag.

JimC


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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Mirzam]
      #4832739 - 09/28/11 06:08 PM

Quote:

You could put some 3/4" quarter round on top of the rails to serve as a continuous guide for the wheels. When you push the roof it will be easier for the wheels to maintain alignment instead of "climbing up" the quarter round. This works well for a lightweight roof. Heavier roofs need steel wheels on steel angle.

Some steel angle (mounted underneath)would be a way to reinforce the rails to avoid sag.

JimC




Could, but it already easily rolls already with one hand.


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Aethyr
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4834213 - 09/29/11 01:18 PM

This is great! I have a metal shed very similar in my backyard, and have stared at it for uite a while trying to figure out how to modify it into a ROR. This gives me hope.

Now if i could just get rid of the trees in my yard so i could have more than 20% of the sky available...


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Chris Boar
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Aethyr]
      #4834243 - 09/29/11 01:31 PM

Silly question....I presume you can lock the door?

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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Chris Boar]
      #4837669 - 10/01/11 02:00 PM

Quote:

Silly question....I presume you can lock the door?




Yup, there are provisions on the stock door handles for a padlock.
I significantly beefed this up though.


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Taylor
scholastic sledgehammer
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4842040 - 10/03/11 06:45 PM

Thanks for sharing this.
I think I'm going to base my obs design off something like this when I graduate in Dec 2012 and buy a house.
Probably gonna build from scratch though, I love tinkering, got that trait from my dad.
This is a perfect low budget, well executed design.


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DanB
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4843884 - 10/04/11 05:01 PM

One last, somewhat experienced note. Be careful constructing these light sheds in windy areas. All sides must be anchored as you go and its almost impossible to handle these panels alone on a windy day.
I built a 500.00 version of one just like this (I believe it was also an Arrow) about 10 years ago, slightly larger and had it just about entirely constructed (3 days into it)when it lifted off the ground and was destroyed in a freak gust of wind. My daughter and ex were just pulling into the driveway and saw the whole thing unfold. The whole shed lifted off the ground 15 to 20 feet, twisted into a ball and slammed back to the ground in a heaping pile of scrap metal as if a small tornado picked it up (we dont have tornados). This 'freak wind' was only about 15 or 20 mph as far as we could tell, not exactly a tornado heheh... But it sure messed up my week pretty good.
Be warned:-) Be careful! And by the way, great job on this obs project, I may construct something similar.
Regards, Dan


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nytecam
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: GraySkies]
      #4844661 - 10/05/11 05:52 AM

Quote:

Your observatory has turned out really nice! This should encourage others to build their observatory based on yours. Many feel because of the pricing of observatories, that they are out of their reach; you just proved them wrong! I would also guess that now, most places will discount their sheds, so as not to have to hold them over till next year; so even better pricing.



Valid points Carol - obs don't need to *cost-the-earth* [unless you're 'bostin'] and buy that shed at autumn discount if you can

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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: DanB]
      #4844996 - 10/05/11 11:09 AM

Quote:

One last, somewhat experienced note. Be careful constructing these light sheds in windy areas. All sides must be anchored as you go and its almost impossible to handle these panels alone on a windy day.
I built a 500.00 version of one just like this (I believe it was also an Arrow) about 10 years ago, slightly larger and had it just about entirely constructed (3 days into it)when it lifted off the ground and was destroyed in a freak gust of wind. My daughter and ex were just pulling into the driveway and saw the whole thing unfold. The whole shed lifted off the ground 15 to 20 feet, twisted into a ball and slammed back to the ground in a heaping pile of scrap metal as if a small tornado picked it up (we dont have tornados). This 'freak wind' was only about 15 or 20 mph as far as we could tell, not exactly a tornado heheh... But it sure messed up my week pretty good.
Be warned:-) Be careful! And by the way, great job on this obs project, I may construct something similar.
Regards, Dan




Yes building it in the wind is a very bad idea. The structure is pretty flimsy/unstable until all the panels are in place. The manual even states that you should really finish building it in a single session and check the weather before hand


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Smittty692k4
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #4848911 - 10/07/11 12:35 PM

This thread is AWESOME!!! Congrats on the OBS!!

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groz
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Chris Boar]
      #4860149 - 10/14/11 12:26 AM

Quote:

An excellent option for a low cost observatory. After showing the 'CFO' this thead, I've now got business case sign off to build my own (shamelessly copying yours)





Where are you on the island ? I'd love to head over and take a peek if/when you get that built. Showing this thread to my CFO will get the response 'oh goodie, lets build two', cuz there is no way I'll be allowed to build one for my scope, and not build one for hers.


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Chris Boar
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: groz]
      #4861532 - 10/14/11 09:31 PM

I'm in Nanaimo, not too far from you! Took delivery of my 6x8 shed from Sears today actually. I'll start a separate thread on it's build, but you are welcome to come visit when it goes 'live'!

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dandabson
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Chris Boar]
      #5081750 - 02/20/12 10:37 AM

Just wondering how your observatory is holding up. I am thinking of something similar this summer.

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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Aethyr]
      #5082547 - 02/20/12 06:56 PM

Holding up pretty good.
Only maint this winter so far has been to sweep the snow off the roof and rails once and a while.

We've had some decent winds as well and things stood strong.


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Stargaz18
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #5086492 - 02/22/12 10:42 PM

Just checked the Home Depot website and found the Arrow 10x14 is only $499! That would allow for a 4' wide warm room and a 10x10 observatory. Your design and photos have inspired me and alot of others!! Thank you for being so creative! And for sharing it with us.

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BigC
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: DanB]
      #5088135 - 02/23/12 10:31 PM

Re:wind.

One fall day many years ago a sudden gust of wind from a clear blue sky unfolded the small pole framed and metal roofing sided calf shed on my father's farm,laying it out flat upon the ground. The posts were a foot or more into the earth BEFORE the wind gust.

I have one of those Arrow metal sheds still stored because it is just too much for one person to safely assemble. Wood frame and T-11 panels are easier to work with in my opinion(and sturdier).


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tulit
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: BigC]
      #5137751 - 03/23/12 07:53 PM

I think if a wind gust is strong enough to pull any post burried a foot down, no shed is going to survive... The steel building are lighter than wood and so need to be anchored/weighed down appropriately.

I think the 8x6' version of the shed is most definitely manageable with a single person building. Obviously its helpful to have a good helper


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frolinmod
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Stargaz18]
      #5137918 - 03/23/12 09:58 PM

Quote:

Just checked the Home Depot website and found the Arrow 10x14 is only $499!



Careful there! You probably do not want the plain metal one. It leaks like a sieve and corrodes just as quickly. Get the premium vinyl coated metal one.


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Starhawk
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Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5138752 - 03/24/12 11:42 AM

You know, we need a permanent resource area where an excerpt from a thread like this one can be placed. The metal shed observatory is clearly going to be one of the classic designs.

-Rich


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RobertED
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Reged: 07/11/03

Loc: Smithfield, RI
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5139724 - 03/24/12 11:14 PM

Congrats!!!....awesome job!!! I gotta get me one now!!!!

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dynamo15
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Reged: 02/14/12

Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: RobertED]
      #5151224 - 04/01/12 07:01 AM

Excellent, nothing like "home-made" to really appreciate the starry night skies!
Thanks for sharing, tulit!


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AB9MS
member


Reged: 10/19/12

Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: dynamo15]
      #5564025 - 12/10/12 11:52 AM

After looking at hundreds of designs I am going to build this one. The 10'x8' Arrow. This is the first one I've seen that meets all three requirements. Fits in budget. Fits in size (has to also store a garden tractor) and (according to my wife) doesn't look like something odd from the road. Its just a run of the mill garden shed....
By the fall of 2013 I WILL have this. Due to property line setbacks etc my roof will have to roll of the front of it instead. Other than that everything is good.
THANKS for posting all this info.
Lewis
AB9MS


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AB9MS
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Reged: 10/19/12

Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: AB9MS]
      #5564059 - 12/10/12 12:14 PM

4. Within my skill level.

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sslcm56
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Reged: 07/20/12

Loc: Montgomery, Al.
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #5574902 - 12/16/12 10:26 PM

If wind is such a concern while building the OBS what is going to hold the roof on the tracks in the wind?? Did I miss something?

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tulit
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Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: ON
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: sslcm56]
      #6512649 - 05/07/14 07:22 PM

Just wanted to follow up on this build. It's been nearly 3 years and it's still standing strong.

One recommendation, I wish I had done a better job of sealing/staining the exposed wood as it's beginning to show age, but is still functional.


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Lord Beowulf
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Reged: 10/13/08

Loc: Cedar Park, TX
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #6512694 - 05/07/14 07:48 PM

So is the total still $500?

Beo


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rjsc2000
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Reged: 09/21/06

Loc: Portugal
Re: My $500 Roll off Roof Observatory Build new [Re: tulit]
      #6552473 - 05/29/14 05:35 PM

Hi

I have done something similar but noticed that humidity appears and then it rains inside.

Have you insulated it somehow?

thanks

ricardo


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