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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
Well, every journey starts with a first step
      #5160483 - 04/07/12 10:32 AM

Got the stakes put in the ground and lines painted for the contractor. Should start this coming week to dig for the footings and piers. Hopefully you can see the lines from this shot. It will be a 10.5' x 13.5' structure with the central pier offset on the long dimension to allow for a little room for a corner desk, chair and some cabinets. Have to keep it under 144 sq ft so I don't need a permit. Going to have the contractor dig me a trench for a couple of conduits (power, ethernet) back to the main house.



Kudo's to all of you that can dig your own but I know for a fact, for me, the Dr. bills for fixing my back after I attempt such an endeavor will far exceed any savings I would have made. The central pier will have about a full yard of concrete (2' cube in ground with a 16" dia sonotube riser, about 3000lbs) so it should be beefy enough to hold anything up to about a 16" to 18" telescope. I currently own a 10" Meade LX200 that is about 8 years old. Should work fine for now. One thing at a time as they say. Just want to get the building up (ROR) and the telescope in and secure and then we shall see where we go from there.

Here are the anchors for the telescope pier and the roof upright supports



Edited by rimcrazy (04/07/12 02:48 PM)


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Well, every journey starts with a first step new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5160530 - 04/07/12 11:04 AM

Looks like you'll have a nice spot! And don't apologize for not digging your own footers. I dug the hole for my pier and filled it with concrete and I can tell you that I'll NEVER do that again!

David


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EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: Well, every journey starts with a first step new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5160706 - 04/07/12 12:35 PM

Good idea not doing the digging. Caliche' is down only 6" or so where my Solar Post is ;-)

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Bachus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/25/05

Loc: Nashville,TN.
Re: Well, every journey starts with a first step new [Re: EddWen]
      #5163169 - 04/09/12 07:30 AM

If you can rent a Post Hole Digger (6" for one person), that'll do the job. It took me four hours to do (7) holes for the footings (8" x 27") and the 3x3x3 hole for the pier. And congrads and good luck on the project.

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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
And now it's about ready to build new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5171081 - 04/13/12 08:09 PM

The contractor finished the foundation today. Looking sweet.



The main pier and foundation. There is a conduit trench back to the house so I can put in a couple of conduits for power and ethernet. Yea.... I know... the pier is huge. Up here the standard sizes for sonotubes is 12" and 24". I was thinking of a 16" but they would have to special order and it would have been a week or two delay. I figure error on the high side. My son is going to make a custom metal pier that will be bolted to the base and we set the height so the concrete will be a few inches below the floor. This will give me room to run a conduit to the hole and I can figure out something to plug it up to keep the spiders down to a minimum.



Here you can see the two piers to hold the uprights for the roof.


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powerstroke01
sage


Reged: 06/19/07

Loc: Western Sierra Nevada Foothill...
Re: And now it's about ready to build new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5171134 - 04/13/12 08:47 PM

Dang that pier is huge.. Congrats on starting your build.

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Gastrol
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: And now it's about ready to build new [Re: powerstroke01]
      #5171158 - 04/13/12 09:05 PM

Good job on that foundation and pier!

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rigel123
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/29/09

Loc: SW Ohio
Re: And now it's about ready to build new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5171753 - 04/14/12 10:38 AM

Looking great!

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Marc-Andre
sage
*****

Reged: 08/18/11

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: And now it's about ready to build new [Re: rigel123]
      #5171843 - 04/14/12 11:22 AM

Very nice! And arn't you glad You didn't do the digging.

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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
Re: And now it's about ready to build new [Re: Marc-Andre]
      #5171942 - 04/14/12 12:17 PM

Quote:

Very nice! And arn't you glad You didn't do the digging.




Ah, yea you can say that again. Had I, I would currently be in emergency care on a morphine drip. ;-)


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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: And now it's about ready to build new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5172425 - 04/14/12 05:45 PM

Those bricks look heavy

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Orion58
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 10/28/11

Loc: Southern Wisconsin
Re: Well, every journey starts with a first step new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5173253 - 04/15/12 08:32 AM

Congrats! Looking forward to regular updates...

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: And now it's about ready to build new [Re: Raginar]
      #5173483 - 04/15/12 10:57 AM

Quote:

Those bricks look heavy




They are not bricks; rather cement blocks and they are hollow inside. Not that heavy.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: And now it's about ready to build new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5173487 - 04/15/12 11:00 AM

Looking great! One thing about that pier; you will be able to upsize to almost any scope! Using the cement blocks should give you a nice temp inside that doesn't fluctuate too much.

Looking forward to more photos, as it progresses!


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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
Re: And now it's about ready to build new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5173802 - 04/15/12 02:16 PM

Quote:

One thing about that pier; you will be able to upsize to almost any scope!




That is kind of what I figured. Rather error on the side of too much vs too little. Job was already quoted and paid so the cost was the same. I can easily adapt to what I need and go forward. My current scope is a Meade 10" LX200. Not a bad instrument but I've got some ideas on upgrading and there is enough room in the structure to go to at least a 16" without squeezing too bad and maybe even a tad larger.

I will post the progress as things move along.


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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
Things are starting to come together new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5677828 - 02/13/13 03:01 PM

Not posted any pictures as progress has been on hold for parts. What started as a ROR design is now a dome. My 10' Home Dome from Technical Innovations arrived this morning.



Just getting it off the truck was a bit of a trick. It was packed very well but the box was so large it was too big for the tongs on the fork lift. With the cooperation of the delivery truck guy we jacked it down with the fork lift on one end and the lift gate on the truck on the other. The next excitement was the truck was so big it could not get around to the back of the building where the bay door was located. I took a floor jack out to the street and between the jack on one end and the fork lift on the other we were able to "walk" it slowly around to the back and into the bay. Like a kid at Christmas. Opened it up and checked things out.



As you can see it's packed very well.



Just a few Tab A's that go into Slot B's

I'm pre-assembling it in my son's shop. Nice 70 degrees here in Phoenix. Much nicer than trying to do that in 10 degrees up in Overgaard. Once we get it all in ship-shape I can shuttle it up on my trailer disassembled and put it together pretty quick at it's final home.



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MHamburg
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 06/21/06

Loc: Brooklyn, NY/Berkshires, MA
Re: Things are starting to come together new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5677995 - 02/13/13 04:50 PM

Curious as to why you switched to a dome. How did you redesign the roof to accommodate the dome? Nice job so far!
Michael


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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
Re: Things are starting to come together new [Re: MHamburg]
      #5678028 - 02/13/13 05:14 PM

Quote:

Curious as to why you switched to a dome. How did you redesign the roof to accommodate the dome? Nice job so far!
Michael




This started as just something I would use exclusively to an observatory that will be remotely controlled and possibly used by others. If all goes to plan, my 10" LX200 Meade will be replaced with a 20" Planewave. While you can put interlocks out the wazoo, it is still possible to hit your telescope with the roof if you have a ROR. Not likely but possible. That, and coupled to the fact that I'm just not a visual observer. This telescope will be use 99.99% for imaging and we get a fair amount of wind at times in Overgaard. With a dome, while other things bad can happen, I can guarantee I will not hit the telescope with the roof and I have significantly more wind protection with a dome vs a ROR. I'm not knocking ROR's they are great but for how I intend to use this facility and for where it's located, a dome is a much better option.

Redesign the roof was almost a non issue. I just squared it up so the HomeDome would fit. In happy coincidences my dimensions just happen to work out perfect for the 10' HD. What was a little painful was the pier design. What I had before was more than sufficient for a 4' - 5' pier that was supported by the concrete foundation. In going to a dome, the height of a 450lb to 500lb Planewave setup would put the telescope just under 10' in the air. What I had was just borderline ok, especially given like I said this is an imaging instrument only. I am fortunate in that my son has his own metal fabrication company so I can get nice custom metal things made for significantly less than someone else. I've got a pier design that should work well and not cause significant thermal issues and be very stable.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Things are starting to come together new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5678054 - 02/13/13 05:36 PM

Beautiful building! You are going to have a very nice observatory, soon!

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Aquarist
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Things are starting to come together new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5678290 - 02/13/13 08:19 PM

Looks great! My stuff starts shipping March 6 so it is nice to see your project going forward.

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Greyhaven
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 05/11/04

Loc: Greater downtown Maine
Re: Well, every journey starts with a first step new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5679128 - 02/14/13 10:34 AM

That's a mighty fine first step you have there. Nice location too! Honestly one of the best designed observatories I've seen in a while. Enjoy.
Be Well
Grey


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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
A Very busy 2 weeks new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5832481 - 04/30/13 02:34 PM

My son and I finished the pier and the preliminary assembly of the dome so we took it all up north to install it on the building.

Here are a few pics of the process:

The pier is 10' high to go from the concrete floor (12,000 lbs) to proper placement in the dome. It's a strut design made from 1/2" plate steel and 1/4" wall 2x4 box steel. The plates were cut from a 4x8 sheet on a CNC plasma cutter.

Here are the main plates:


Here are the support 2x4's and gussets:



Here is my son welding up the tower:



Here is the finished pier ready to head to powder coat:



My truck loaded with the finished pier and parts of the dome. My son had the rest of the dome in his truck.



Arriving at the observatory building in Overgaard:



I hired a crane to lift the pier and place it in the building. Poor guy, took about 20mins to navigate through the trees on my property to get to the open area where the building is located. Once there it only took about 5 mins to lift it and put it in place.



Up and over the building:



Pier down on the concrete:



As you can see from the picture above there is a 2'x2' round concrete pier that comes up from the floor. Originally I was going to go with a ROR design. With that, the existing pier would have been fine. Changing to a dome I needed to expand the concrete to a 5x5x3 block to provide for sufficient space for the larger pier. The central riser actually ended up being a good engineering addition as we bolted both to the floor and to the central pier. The center bolts put stress on the pier structure to essentially load the steel uprights making things far more rigid. In 20-20 hindsight it probably would have helped to make the internal gussets a bit larger but I believe what we have should work.

My son has an industrial Hilti concrete drill. This bad boy makes a 4" deep 9/16" hole in 8 seconds. It laughs at concrete.



There are 20 1/2" bolts. 12 on the bottom and 8 on the mid plate. We used mechanical impact bolts and filled the holes with bolt epoxy. On this point, again in 20-20 hindsight, we probably could have just use full thread blots with epoxy. Banging the bolts down into epoxy filled holes was not fun. That being said,...... I can safely say they are not going anywhere.



Every project of this size needs professional supervision. Mine was no different. Here are my foremen (a.k.a. Grandsons Gavin and Jacob)



After getting the pier in and down it was time to assemble the dome. Finishing the skirt, fixing the gaps and putting the ring stemwall was next. I will refrain from public executions but if you are considering getting a TI dome write me a PM and I will fill you in on The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. In short, I was able to fix all of the shortcoming and so far I believe it should work fine. Here is a shot of the complete ring:



Here is the building with the dome and back shutter plate:



Here is the finished building:



This is a shot looking down at the top of the pier. There is a custom adapter plate that will be flat bolted to the top. That plate will have precision drilled/tapped holes to fit my current Meade Wedge mount and a hopefully future AP 1600 GTO mount.



Here is a shot looking up from the floor:



This is a view out the slot looking NW at level just above where the scope will be located.



Edited by rimcrazy (04/30/13 03:19 PM)


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Starman27
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: A Very busy 2 weeks new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5833831 - 05/01/13 08:33 AM

That is an amazing pier! Great workmanship.

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Pollux556
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/14/08

Re: A Very busy 2 weeks new [Re: Starman27]
      #5833895 - 05/01/13 09:14 AM

Quote:

That is an amazing pier! Great workmanship.




Absolutely nice !


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MHamburg
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 06/21/06

Loc: Brooklyn, NY/Berkshires, MA
Re: A Very busy 2 weeks new [Re: Pollux556]
      #5833941 - 05/01/13 09:40 AM

Your son is your hero!
Michael


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stmguy
sage


Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Western NH
Re: A Very busy 2 weeks new [Re: MHamburg]
      #5834111 - 05/01/13 11:10 AM

A busy 2 weeks for sure, looks great!

Norm


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EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: A Very busy 2 weeks new [Re: stmguy]
      #5837663 - 05/03/13 05:06 AM

That is an impressive pier. I think it should have an A-P 3600 to cap it off. Then the possibilities are vast

Hope to see you soon. I feel I have a ball-and-chain on here in SoCal.


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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
Re: A Very busy 2 weeks new [Re: MHamburg]
      #5837704 - 05/03/13 07:00 AM

Quote:

Your son is your hero!
Michael




Yes he is. I'm quite proud of him. He was a challenge growing up but he's turned into a fine young man. This is our second "major" project we've done together. I'm a fused glass artist as well and a few years back we built a large kiln to support my art. It's quite the beast also and still in active use.

Edd, looking forward to seeing you when you get back. I will be bringing up my modest LX200 for the moment. Not quite an AP 3600. For the moment I'll have to worship from afar for toys like that.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: A Very busy 2 weeks new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5837971 - 05/03/13 10:10 AM

That's an amazing pier! Beautiful observatory that you will enjoy so much!

All the hard work is worthwhile to achieve this observatory!


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seryddwr
Innocent Bystander
*****

Reged: 02/19/10

Loc: La-la land.
Re: A Very busy 2 weeks new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5838535 - 05/03/13 02:51 PM

That is a epic pier. Sure puts my welding skill to same. Admittedly that's not hard, as I'm not terribly skilled, but he does wonders with a welder.

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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
Re: A Very busy 2 weeks new [Re: seryddwr]
      #5838830 - 05/03/13 05:56 PM

Quote:

That is a epic pier. Sure puts my welding skill to same. Admittedly that's not hard, as I'm not terribly skilled, but he does wonders with a welder.




Don't feel bad. He's a certified aircraft welder. Before he got his degree he worked at Honeywell (use to be Garrett) making APU engines. He's certified MIG, TIG and use to weld not only stainless but exotic metals such as inconel, hastelloy and magnesium. He was headed down a not so good path in life in his teen years. He found welding and honestly, speaking as a father, it saved him. He really excels at it.

But I digress from astronomy. I will pass on all of your kind words to him. I'm sure he will appreciate it as I certainly do. Thanks.


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Goodchild
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 12/31/08

Re: A Very busy 2 weeks new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5839138 - 05/03/13 09:48 PM

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

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rigel123
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/29/09

Loc: SW Ohio
Re: A Very busy 2 weeks new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5840429 - 05/04/13 04:56 PM

Well cuz, that is one impressive observatory! You should get that published somewhere when you get it totally completed!

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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
Re: A Very busy 2 weeks new [Re: rigel123]
      #5841569 - 05/05/13 12:25 PM

Quote:

Well cuz, that is one impressive observatory! You should get that published somewhere when you get it totally completed!




Actually there is a plan for that. Most likely by end of the summer. I'll keep you posted.


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