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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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David81
sage
*****

Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5357313 - 08/07/12 10:58 PM

Well, my first experience with concrete went quite well...I think. The local company that delivered the 4 yards was quite helpful and not at all condescending. By the time we were done with the 13 tubes and 2 pier bases I almost felt like I knew what I was doing.

Here's a few photos of the more recent progress.


One of the pier base holes after a night of solid rain. Notice how much is still dry.



Everything all lined up and ready to be filled...



Bolt templates made from some scrap lumber I had laying around.



Pier bases and a few tubes after all was said and done.



Now it's just a matter of waiting for the concrete to cure and the lumber to be delivered in a few days. I've even got a pair of helping hands flying in from NYC to start the actual build this weekend. Unfortunately, it's back to the office on Monday, so the progress may slow a bit after the initial spurt.

Anyone have suggestions for weather proofing (not that we've had much besides sun and heat lately...) during the build? If the walls are up but the trusses are in place yet, should I just created a bit of a peak in the middle and lay some tarps over the top?


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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5357360 - 08/07/12 11:34 PM

David,

Looking great so far!! You could put a tarp on it - but it's likely it'll sag and create a swimming pool somewhere.....or blow off if it gets windy......
or you could just let it get wet, which is
what happens to houses under construction. It'll dry!
Russ


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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: roscoe]
      #5357375 - 08/07/12 11:45 PM

Darn, I didn't see your question about how to anchor the floor beams to the piers till just now..... lacking anchor bolts in the piers to bolt angle brackets or post bases to, you'll need to drill holes in the pier tops and use moly-bolts (expanding concrete anchor bolts) to fasten them.

Drill your holes (set up a string to keep everything parralel and in straight lines) as soon as possible, before the concrete gets harder, blow or wash the dust out, and set the bolts in. Your local lumber yard will have an assortment of bracket thingies that you can use, which you'll want on hand to figure out your hole locations.

If you can borrow or rent a hammer drill, the work will go much faster.....
R


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David81
sage
*****

Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: roscoe]
      #5360272 - 08/09/12 04:49 PM

Russ,

I don't think I'll have an issue attaching the beams to the piers. My cordless hammer drill didn't bat an eye on the 3/4" holes I had to drill in our patio for the pergola I recently built. A few holes for Tapcons shouldn't slow it down

I had 4 1/2 tons of gravel delivered today and spread it out over some plastic beneath where the building will go. Tomorrow the lumber arrives (everything except the trusses) and I can start cutting everything to piece together on Saturday with a couple helping hands.

Thankfully we've had a break in the heat and it is only supposed to be in the mid-70s.


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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5360539 - 08/09/12 07:24 PM

David,
Truth is, if you have the tools on hand (and you do) it's way easier to snap a chalk line down the row of piers and drill the holes just where you want them than to mess around with j-bolts that likely as not are an inch from where they were supposed to be.....
The plastic-under-gravel method is the way to go! Keeps it nice and dry underneath.

Looking good!
R


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David81
sage
*****

Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: roscoe]
      #5360575 - 08/09/12 07:44 PM

Quote:

David,
Truth is, if you have the tools on hand (and you do) it's way easier to snap a chalk line down the row of piers and drill the holes just where you want them than to mess around with j-bolts that likely as not are an inch from where they were supposed to be.....





I plan on doing it nearly that way. I'll just build the floor beams and joists on the piers, get everything lined up just right and then drill and bolt it all down. Just one of many ideas I've picked up on here on the boards.

That two piece Dewalt kit sure is getting a workout this year (hammer drill and impact driver).

I can't wait to get things rolling. I might even had a deck to lay on to watch the Perseids if the weather clears up.


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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5360687 - 08/09/12 09:09 PM

Likely you already know about all this, but just in case, stretch a string along the sides, and measure the diagonals, to get it square and true before you deck it (or bolt it down....)

I always pull the strings real tight, then space them out away from the framing with blocks of equal-thickness wood at each corner, then measure in to the framing to align it.
You can put temporary diagonals here and there as needed to keep it organized, and pull them off as you deck it or bolt it down. Having your rim joists +/- 1/16 and diagonals +/- 1/8 will make life easier later..... same at top of walls..... and if you have access to a laser or optical level, having your deck within +/- 1/16 vertical will make your roll-off happy, too.
R


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David81
sage
*****

Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: roscoe]
      #5362507 - 08/10/12 09:36 PM

The diagonal trick is in heavy use so far. Thankfully, my dimensions allow for a "perfect" triangle to be used for half of the building (12 x 16 x 20). No messy fractions to deal with when measuring

The wall studs, beams and floor joisst all got cut today. Rigged up a little jig so that I could just lay two together, line them up and cut to ensure all are the perfect length. No chance of measuring or marking incorrectly that way. Sure makes cutting 79 studs and 40 joist go a lot faster too.

No access to a laser level, but I'll be checking level and plumb as often as possible to make the roof as easy as possible to roll.

Fingers crossed that the next pictures I post will include a few walls...


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Gastrol
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5362535 - 08/10/12 09:53 PM

If you need to establish level over a length of span water levels are quite accurate.

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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5362595 - 08/10/12 10:37 PM

Good suggestion, Gastrol!!
Water levels (google 'em for several ways to make one easily) are almost never used any more, with the advent of cheap/accurate laser and optical levels, but are about the best way out there to get different points to the same elevation. Helpful to have two people, though, for the simpler built ones....the garden hose and clear plastic tubing models....
R

PS I realized with a re-read that I was unclear above.....
Measuring both corner-to-corner diagonal dimensions of a square or rectangular wall or floor deck or whatever (parallel sides must be the same length and straight) and adjusting the not-fastened-down-yet frame for the same measurement for both directions of the 'x' makes a near-perfect rectangle, and the other 'diagonals' I mentioned are wood bracing, usually 2x4's or the like, temporarily nailed to the frame at an angle to the framing itself are to hold everything straight/square till the plywood arrives.
Russ


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David81
sage
*****

Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5365178 - 08/12/12 06:21 PM

So far so good. With the arrival of a couple spare hands, we got to building yesterday in surprisingly cold dreary weather.

First up was to laminate and set the beams in place.



Next the joists were all dropped in to place and everything was squared up.



By the time we had everything attached to the piers and had the decking cut, we'd lost our light, so the OSB had to wait until this morning. Luckily the weather cleared up nicely.



On to the walls (those things are HEAVY, even without full sheathing).



Twas about this time that my helping hands had to head out, so I was on my own for the 3 short walls. Up they went with a bit of help from my beautiful wife and that's where the story ends for the day. All is plump and square, but I just don't have it in me to finish all the sheathing today.



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David81
sage
*****

Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5389504 - 08/27/12 10:35 AM

Thanks to some helping hands from fellow club members, the roof support rails and angle iron were added on Saturday.



I'd hoped to have the roof started this weekend, but other plans interfered. The trusses are just waiting to get up there on the rails. This coming weekend we'll square up the rails, add bracing and get the roof rolling.

It's actually starting to look like an observatory now


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David81
sage
*****

Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5398829 - 09/01/12 10:24 PM

I have a roof!!! Or at least the trusses are up. We ran out of light as the last one was going up, so tomorrow the sheathing goes on. Of course, no photos since there was not much light left once we got it done. Those will come tomorrow.

And, just in case anyone is wondering, that roof is damn heavy. It still rolls, but I'll really be fighting it until I get it motorized.


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lunar
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/03/10

Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5398917 - 09/01/12 11:51 PM

It's looking good! I'm looking forward to seeing it all finished and the telescopes inside.

Brandon Doyle


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David81
sage
*****

Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: lunar]
      #5399836 - 09/02/12 03:54 PM

Thanks Brandon.

It's looking even better in the daylight today. The sheathing is going up very nicely so far. It sure does pay to double and triple check squareness and plumb of the trusses.

A few photos for proof







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David81
sage
*****

Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5400279 - 09/02/12 10:08 PM

Boy that OSB is heavy when you have to get it up on the roof..

Another day down and the roof is nearly fully sheathed. Top surface is done, just need to cut and hang the ends now.





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HunterofPhotons
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Loc: Rhode Island, USA
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5400907 - 09/03/12 11:29 AM

Hi David,
You might want to consider putting in a stabilizing element or two to keep the trusses in vertical alignment.
They would serve a function similar to a ridge beam. As it is now, there isn't much to stop the roof from sagging in places.

dan k.


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David81
sage
*****

Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: HunterofPhotons]
      #5401728 - 09/03/12 07:42 PM

I'll definitely be adding some additional truss bracing over the next couple of days. I had to get things up and in place while I had full days and helping hands, but I'll be going back in to add some extra bracing after work this week.

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Chucke
member


Reged: 03/12/10

Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5405299 - 09/05/12 05:27 PM

Hi David,

I have been following this thread with great interest since when I am ready to build my obs a few years from now I will probably use these same BYO plans. I am undecided whether to build a raised structure like you have done or put it on a slab.

Why did you decide to build a raised building instead of a slab? Was it mostly cost? Do you have any concerns with critters taking up residence underneath?

Chuck


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David81
sage
*****

Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: Chucke]
      #5405310 - 09/05/12 05:35 PM

My main reasons for the raised floor were:

1. I'm comfortable with building the floor myself. If I'd gone with a slab, I would have had to hire someone and that means more $$$

2. Seemed easier to isolate the piers.

3. I just prefer the feel of that style of floor.

No real worries about critters. There should be enough room for them to come and go as they please.

I will say that I used the BYO plans as a starting point and made a few changes along the way to suit my building style and needs, so it's not a straight-from-the-plans build.

Good luck with your build and be sure to ask lots of questions. I did and I'm better off for it.


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