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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Plans have arrived....and so it begins
      #5276997 - 06/18/12 11:51 AM

Well, the plans for my new observatory (16x24 ROR) arrived this weekend (thanks BYO) and it's time to start pricing out materials and such.

I figure it should be pretty easy to get quotes from the local lumber yards on the wood and such, but I've never dealt with concrete before.

The built site will be about 200-250 feet from where my driveway ends and I don't have a really clear path for a truck to pull back to the site (nor would I want to if I can avoid it). Has anyone dealt with concrete being pumped a similar distance? Does it significantly increase the cost? I'm hoping I'll just need it for the piers (yes, more than one) as I'll be going the deck route and I can set the posts myself with a power auger and a bag of Quickcrete in the bottom of each.

The piers will each be at least a cubic yard, but I may go larger if there is a minimum order or something.

Thoughts?


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Lorence
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Reged: 09/15/08

Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5277160 - 06/18/12 01:49 PM

Quote:

The built site will be about 200-250 feet from where my driveway ends and I don't have a really clear path for a truck to pull back to the site (nor would I want to if I can avoid it). Has anyone dealt with concrete being pumped a similar distance?




(Image from another site removed by moderator; replaced with a link.)

Link

Edited by csa/montana (07/13/12 12:52 PM)


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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: Lorence]
      #5277168 - 06/18/12 01:52 PM

Ha ha.

I'm really not up for hauling and mixing the amount of concrete needed for my two pier bases though (at least 45 80# bags per pier)


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Starman27
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Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5277423 - 06/18/12 05:06 PM

Have fun! Keeps us posted.

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Shannon s
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Reged: 06/21/09

Loc: Bartow FL.
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: Starman27]
      #5277438 - 06/18/12 05:15 PM

Pictures, lots of Pictures..

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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: Shannon s]
      #5277512 - 06/18/12 06:08 PM

Some concrete companies have mini delivery trailers that you may be able to get back there.

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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: Mary B]
      #5277884 - 06/18/12 10:13 PM

I'm looking forward to the experience. Tomorrow will be spent looking for concrete suppliers that may have some creative ideas for getting the stuff where I need it. Perhaps a few calls to scrap yards for pier materials as well...

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thesungazer
Sungazer
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Reged: 05/06/03

Loc: Maryland
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5278349 - 06/19/12 07:29 AM

You're going to love it, David! Enjoy the process and post pictures along the way.

greg


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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: thesungazer]
      #5278911 - 06/19/12 01:39 PM

Ouch. First quote for excavation and concrete for the 2 pier bases (3' x 3' x 3' each) is $1200 - $1500. Does that sound right? At that rate I'll blow through my budget in no time

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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5279141 - 06/19/12 04:02 PM

I just got a quote for 1 yard delivered via truck not pumper @ $227

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David81
sage
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: Mary B]
      #5279235 - 06/19/12 05:05 PM

Thanks Mary. That's more in line with what I was thinking. He said even if I dug the holes myself it would still be over $1k.

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mikey cee
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Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5279406 - 06/19/12 06:50 PM

I was in residential construction for years. The customers who complained the loudest about prices were the weekend warrior types. I wouldn't even dream of pushing several cubic yards of concrete 200'-250' in a wheel barrow in my best days. They'll probably use power buggies to do it. I'd kiss every foot of earth getting back there just to find someone period that would do it for that price! I'd pay that in a heartbeat and get on with the next phase. Observatories aren't cheap at least the better ones. Mike

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rwiederrich
Goldfinger
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Reged: 11/17/05

Loc: Always Dark skies of Belfair W...
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5279451 - 06/19/12 07:13 PM

Quote:

Ouch. First quote for excavation and concrete for the 2 pier bases (3' x 3' x 3' each) is $1200 - $1500. Does that sound right? At that rate I'll blow through my budget in no time





Grab a shovel..or better yet pay some kids to dig the holes....they like digging for milk money.....

Rob


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rwiederrich
Goldfinger
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Loc: Always Dark skies of Belfair W...
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5279459 - 06/19/12 07:16 PM

Quote:

Thanks Mary. That's more in line with what I was thinking. He said even if I dug the holes myself it would still be over $1k.




Well, I and my daughters old boyfriend dug my 3.5x3.5x6ft hole and I payer $330 for 2.5 yards.

Keep looking.

Rob


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rwiederrich
Goldfinger
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Reged: 11/17/05

Loc: Always Dark skies of Belfair W...
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5279471 - 06/19/12 07:23 PM

Quote:

I was in residential construction for years. The customers who complained the loudest about prices were the weekend warrior types. I wouldn't even dream of pushing several cubic yards of concrete 200'-250' in a wheel barrow in my best days. They'll probably use power buggies to do it. I'd kiss every foot of earth getting back there just to find someone period that would do it for that price! I'd pay that in a heartbeat and get on with the next phase. Observatories aren't cheap at least the better ones. Mike




Like you said, his cost is most likely *delivery*...getting it to the site.

Are you saying my Observatory is a cheep, flimsy, shack cuz I saved loads of money and didn't ring up a big bill?

Is that what you are sayin....huh? Bro


Rob


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mikey cee
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Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: rwiederrich]
      #5279553 - 06/19/12 08:19 PM

When you say piers do you mean like 3'-4' above ground in sonotubes? If you do you've got to hand shovel either way the concrete up and into the tops. You don't push full wheel barrows several hundred feet and even if you did and dwaddled around your mix would start getting pretty stiff. Too much slump and you end up sloshing soup back there. Plus 90 bags of sackcrete....that would tax a mortar mixer or kill two men and still shovel it into the piers? Plus a concrete mason is going to mark up the concrete like any normal retailer would and paying a helper or two and his profit. Good luck. I've seen Rob's pics. He had easy access and plenty of slave labor. Mike

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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5279582 - 06/19/12 08:41 PM

I'm in agreement Mikey that this is not a DIY job. Especially for me. If it really comes down to it, I may do the digging, but 2 cubic yards of dense gray clay is not going to get out of the way easily.

The concrete will definitely be done by someone else. As you said. Moving and mixing 90+ bags of Quikrete is just not in my future.

I envisioned the piers being steel piers bolted to the tops of the bases. Perhaps a 3' cube of concrete topped by a 1.5' square 1' high to bring the top of the concrete near the level of the deck. The steel pier would then be bolted to the top of this and extend up through the flooring.

Sound about right?


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5280995 - 06/20/12 04:38 PM

Dug by hand 3x3x4 feet deep



Concrete poured, I am lucky and the truck could back up to my site



Pier is 6 feet of 8 inch 1/4 inch wall aluminum tube in compression



Pier mocked up in the house



Hope this gives you some ideas.


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CounterWeight
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: Mary B]
      #5281255 - 06/20/12 07:54 PM

One thing, i'd get several bids if possible, and I'd spec out every inch of it, dimensions and depths, rebar&tie, framing, floating and finishing, da woyks. If excavation / digging... where to put it? Condition of worksite after completion. That is a good sized slab, where I live it would require permitting and a lot of the details beforehand.

All in the details. You may find one contractor will pump (there is usually a minimum load for these follows), another might roll an electric mixer over. Access and labor wrt access can often be a significant contributor.

Locating on clay I'd want some sort of survey before starting - might need some sort of bedding and/or drainage - but a lot of that depends on your location and build site and if no permit required, you.


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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5281345 - 06/20/12 09:10 PM

Definitely getting multiple quotes.

I'm leaning toward doing the digging the holes myself now. Since I planned on renting a 12" auger for the structure posts I figure I can use that to remove a large portion of the earth from the pier area then remove the rest by hand.

There is no permitting required in the township where I live except from the zoning inspector. No building inspector to be seen.


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David81
sage
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5282154 - 06/21/12 11:48 AM

Ok. I think I've got this bit figured out now.

Dig the holes myself with help of the auger to remove a good portion of the earth. Cart it all away to the back corner of the lot.

$365 for delivery of 2.5 yards + $100 rental of concrete buggy to shuttle the stuff back to the site.

What do you guys recommend for the pier base shape? Just a square with the mounting bolts at ground level or should I raise up a portion at the center of the base to have the mounting point higher than the grade?


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PatHolland
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/11/09

Loc: Clever, Missouri
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5283659 - 06/22/12 11:16 AM

Hey David! I am about a month away from starting construction on my OBS. I am very interested in what you are doing. How large is your warm room? Why did you decide to go with a aluminum pier as opposed to just a concrete pier?

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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: PatHolland]
      #5283665 - 06/22/12 11:20 AM

Hi Pat,

Exciting times, eh?

The warm room will be about 8 x 16 (minus wall thickness), leaving about 16 x 16 for the scope area with 2 piers.

My reason for going with steel piers is the ability to change things up relatively easily if my needs change down the road. If I need to change pier height, it's much easier to do by altering the steel pier or just making a new one if need be. Having a couple metal workers in our astro club doesn't hurt either

What sort of obs are you planning?


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PatHolland
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/11/09

Loc: Clever, Missouri
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5283682 - 06/22/12 11:34 AM

I am planning a 16X20 dual pier ROR OBS. I am looking for ideas on the BEST way to accomplish this as well as ways to save money. I will be going slowly, as money and time allows. I hope to have it finished by November. Mine will be solar powered (for the most part) on my property here in Clever, MO. The warm room will most likely be 6X10 (cheaper to keep cool or warm). I already have the solar equipment (purchased last year when I started planning it). Will have approximately 60 AMPS @ 12V at peak solar efficiency charging 2-6volt 245AH batteries (almost 500 AH). I will also have regular 110V service in the OBS but will try to run as much as I can on the batteries. I am not as handy as most on CN, so have to contract out some of the work.
Exciting times to say the least, been planning for almost 2 years but looks like this is the summer work will begin. I just looked into steel pier pricing....OUCH! I definitely get your point on the aspect of changing things up as needed, with concrete piers, that would be VERY difficult. I'd like to keep in touch with you as you continue on with the project if you don't mind.


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David81
sage
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: PatHolland]
      #5283699 - 06/22/12 11:47 AM

Regarding the piers, if you have a scrap yard around and someone who can do some welding you should be able to get a nice pier made for around $100 or less from what I've seen.

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PatHolland
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/11/09

Loc: Clever, Missouri
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5283707 - 06/22/12 11:52 AM

I have had that advice given to me before but I really don't know how to accomplish that. I will be looking into that shortly. I priced 2 steel piers for $900.00 each (10 inch thick, 6 feet high) and shipping was almost $500.00. The only nice thing about them was that the pier head rotated...but for $2300...I think I am going to have to make a trip to the scrap yard...

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rwiederrich
Goldfinger
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Reged: 11/17/05

Loc: Always Dark skies of Belfair W...
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: PatHolland]
      #5283824 - 06/22/12 01:06 PM

Quote:

I have had that advice given to me before but I really don't know how to accomplish that. I will be looking into that shortly. I priced 2 steel piers for $900.00 each (10 inch thick, 6 feet high) and shipping was almost $500.00. The only nice thing about them was that the pier head rotated...but for $2300...I think I am going to have to make a trip to the scrap yard...




Pat..save money by checking in with your local underground pipe companies. There is one near by my place and they sell all kinds of well made pipe..3"~ 12"(the size you might need), with pre-welded flanges to connect themselves. These pipes come in all manner of legths and you can easily bolt them down to your concrete floor and then easily bolt your mount to it or have a particular plate made. I've even priced used ones for a $100. Way more inexpensive then those custom made ones for telescopes.

I'm telling you...they are perfect. Look em up.

Rob


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PatHolland
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/11/09

Loc: Clever, Missouri
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: rwiederrich]
      #5283857 - 06/22/12 01:22 PM

That's great advice Rob. I will look into this next week. Thanks!

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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: PatHolland]
      #5283960 - 06/22/12 02:19 PM

2 1/2 inch aluminum plates, 6 feet of 8 inch dia 1/4 inch wall aluminum tubing. 6 foot threaded rods and bolt couplers are what went into my pier.

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PatHolland
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/11/09

Loc: Clever, Missouri
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: Mary B]
      #5284074 - 06/22/12 03:51 PM

Hi Mary...I lived in Minnetonka for 24 years but have since moved out of state.. I see you are in Minnesota. Did you fill in your aluminum tube with sand or anything to prevent harmonics?

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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: PatHolland]
      #5285548 - 06/23/12 04:13 PM

Not yet but it is on my list

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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5292468 - 06/27/12 11:13 PM

I started making some headway on transitioning the plans to Google Sketchup so that I can make a few alterations (move a door, add a pier, etc.).

This is what I came up with for my floor joist layout. I started with the standard layout from the BYO plans and tweaked them a bit to add the two pier locations. Framing is 2x8 per the BYO plans. Total dimensions are 16' x 24'. 8 feet of the left side will be taken up by the warm room.

Thoughts?

*Image removed at request of mods and BYO.

*After speaking with Scott at BYO I'm going ahead with the joist layout I'd proposed.

If all goes well, I'll be clearing the area and marking the spots for my post holes and piers this weekend.

Edited by David81 (06/28/12 11:58 AM)


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Raginar
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5292647 - 06/28/12 02:02 AM

Uffta, that's a big shed

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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: Raginar]
      #5293587 - 06/28/12 05:00 PM

While I was playing around a bit, I thought of perhaps starting from scratch on my floor joist layout. 2x8s spanning nearly 16ft seems a bit of a stretch.

What about breaking it into 2 8x24 sections? 4x6 posts at the corners and mid points with a 3 double 2x8 beams running the length of building. I would then only be spanning 8 feet between the beams. I'd rather overbuild than under...


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David81
sage
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5294042 - 06/28/12 10:15 PM

New proposed floor joist layout. From scratch this time . The 3 beams (doubled 2x8s) would be supported by and attached to PT 4x4 posts sunk 3 feet into the ground with a concrete plug at the bottom and back filled with gravel (I learned that lesson building a pergola last week). The joists are all PT 2x8s. Max span for joists is now 7' 7.5" and the beams span a bit over 11'.

I'm sure I need to be doubling up some of the joists around the piers, but I'm not sure which ones. Any advice?



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Raginar
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5294563 - 06/29/12 09:48 AM

I like that design better. I think you'll have less sagging in the middle that way.

Chris


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David81
sage
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: Raginar]
      #5294567 - 06/29/12 09:49 AM

Thanks Chris. Do you see any need for doubling up the members around the piers?

I'm liking this one better too. Quite a bit less cutting and nailing needed.


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roscoe
curmudgeon
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Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5294728 - 06/29/12 11:42 AM

David,

I'd double up the full-length joists either side of the hole, also the headers that the short joists tie into.

Using an auger is a very good choice! You can always do the big hole by drilling side-by-side holes, and even if all the dirt falls back into the previous holes, at least it's all loose and comes out easily.

To cut way down on concrete prices, you could build most of the pier with concrete blocks mortared together, then pour the cores full of 'crete, with a piece of rebar stuck down each core void. That much mud, you could even mix right there.
36 blocks would yield you a 32" x 32" x 48" tall pier....

Trouble with renting a buggy, is unless you move at light speed, the crete will begin to set up in the truck, and the driver will get all nervous..... Talk to the supplier beforehand to make sure they don't put any accelerant in the mix to help avoid this.

Russ


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roscoe
curmudgeon
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Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: roscoe]
      #5294734 - 06/29/12 11:44 AM

PS I'd triple that center carrier beam......
R


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David81
sage
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: roscoe]
      #5294765 - 06/29/12 12:05 PM

Quote:

PS I'd triple that center carrier beam......
R




Even with a support post at the mid point?


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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]
      #5294784 - 06/29/12 12:19 PM

Quote:

....The 3 beams (doubled 2x8s) would be supported by and attached to PT 4x4 posts sunk 3 feet into the ground with a concrete plug at the bottom and back filled with gravel....




Wood rots, concrete doesn't.
The best construction practice for this case is to pour a concrete pier instead of sinking PT posts into the ground. While the concrete is still wet an anchor bolt for a metal beam pocket is inserted.
What Roscoe said about doubling the headers and adjacent floor joists is standard practice and good advice.

dan k.


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rwiederrich
Goldfinger
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Loc: Always Dark skies of Belfair W...
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5294839 - 06/29/12 12:55 PM

Quote:

While I was playing around a bit, I thought of perhaps starting from scratch on my floor joist layout. 2x8s spanning nearly 16ft seems a bit of a stretch.

What about breaking it into 2 8x24 sections? 4x6 posts at the corners and mid points with a 3 double 2x8 beams running the length of building. I would then only be spanning 8 feet between the beams. I'd rather overbuild than under...




You can never overbuild. I used 2x10's for my floor joists and then I supported them midspan. So they are supported at 9ft, making a pretty rigid floor. I wanted no floor droop or worse.... bounce.

Rob


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rwiederrich
Goldfinger
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Reged: 11/17/05

Loc: Always Dark skies of Belfair W...
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5294874 - 06/29/12 01:22 PM Attachment (44 downloads)

Quote:

Quote:

PS I'd triple that center carrier beam......
R




Even with a support post at the mid point?




David..you can easily support the midspan by using a preformed concrete footer with steal 4x4 post insert.

I was considering your approach with my 18x18 ROR...but counted the cost and the inevatable uselessness of pouring concrete. I simply leveled all the places I would place these concrete footers(I think I placed 8 exterior an 4 interior). I wanted my OB off the ground..plus the spot I selected had a slight hill in the middle..so I just dug and put the pier footer at the crest and the footers out from there. Even though you are using treated 4x4's they are still going to rot over time(they always do) So none of my OB is touching the ground for that very reason..and the shear weight of the building is keeping it stable and planted.

This picture shows the pier blocks. I used them for the roof supports as well. They work well IMV.

The OB has stood steady against 50~70 mph winds and heavy snow and rain torents of Biblical preportions.

Rob


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David81
sage
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: rwiederrich]
      #5294882 - 06/29/12 01:28 PM

I'd thought about that route Rob. My concern is the soil in the area where I'll be building. It's pretty much solid clay which tends to expand and contract a good bit (not to mention frost heaving in the winter here) so I was planning and getting whatever the pier base is down below the frost line to make sure it doesn't move.

But, of course, I also have to figure out a way to get the concrete back there without killing myself in the process


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rwiederrich
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5294916 - 06/29/12 01:50 PM

Quote:

I'd thought about that route Rob. My concern is the soil in the area where I'll be building. It's pretty much solid clay which tends to expand and contract a good bit (not to mention frost heaving in the winter here) so I was planning and getting whatever the pier base is down below the frost line to make sure it doesn't move.

But, of course, I also have to figure out a way to get the concrete back there without killing myself in the process




One thing to consider.....when you place an object *IN* clay it is very susceptible to movement...lateraly due to the clays expansion(as you noted), but if you place your weight directly on top of the ground..there is no lateral flex of structures. There may be slight marginaly noticable vertical expression if any. Typically any object placed in clay will be forced up and out or laterally due to those expansion and contraction issues...however, placing an object on top suffers little from this phenomenon.

I'm sure your building will not *walk* away..and being isolated from the telescope piers will be very beneficial.

Some thing to consider. Maybe get a hydraulics test done or at least get an opinion from a hydraulics expert on clay stability under certain conditions.

Rob(Just think of the concrete you Won't have to haul... )


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David81
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: rwiederrich]
      #5294927 - 06/29/12 01:55 PM

I'll definitely ask around about the stability issue. This weekend I'm heading over to the zoning inspector's office to get the zoning permit so perhaps they'll be able to help out. There isn't a building inspector out where we live, but I'm sure I can find someone to give a rough assessment.

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rwiederrich
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5294955 - 06/29/12 02:08 PM

Quote:

I'll definitely ask around about the stability issue. This weekend I'm heading over to the zoning inspector's office to get the zoning permit so perhaps they'll be able to help out. There isn't a building inspector out where we live, but I'm sure I can find someone to give a rough assessment.




I'm sure a quick google search on clay properties and stability issues can produce some information for you.

Study and doing your research can save you lots of time and most importantly..MONEY. Plus in many areas a building that is sitting on the ground requires different permitting then one *bolted* down. Sometimes no permit at all.

Good luck.


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David81
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: rwiederrich]
      #5294957 - 06/29/12 02:10 PM

Only permit required around here is a $55 zoning permit. They just need to see a rough sketch of the site plan and a cost estimate. Oh and I'm limited to 4,000 sq. ft. for my out building. Dang...

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rwiederrich
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5294969 - 06/29/12 02:19 PM

Quote:

Only permit required around here is a $55 zoning permit. They just need to see a rough sketch of the site plan and a cost estimate. Oh and I'm limited to 4,000 sq. ft. for my out building. Dang...




4000 sq ft.... OMG! Poor you.

324 sq ft is all my OB is currently..

Have fun. I built my entire Ob for roughly $1200...doing all the work myself(cept pouring the 2.5 tons of concrete).

You can do it inexpensively if you are willing to do it.

Good luck.

Rob


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David81
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: rwiederrich]
      #5294976 - 06/29/12 02:25 PM

That's my plan so far. The plans are with the lumber company get a quote on materials and I've taken the first two weeks of August off to begin work. The concrete work is the only thing that really causing me hassles due to the location of my site.

If I could guarantee that it would be as dry as it is now, I'd have no problem getting a truck back there. Unfortunately, when it gets really drenched there's no way a truck would make it.


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roscoe
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5295266 - 06/29/12 06:17 PM

Quote:

Quote:

PS I'd triple that center carrier beam......
R




Even with a support post at the mid point?




Yep

The sides don't have to be as strong, because your wall framing and sheathing, being nailed to them, will stiffen the edges right up, but with only doubles in the center, your floor will be bouncy.....


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David81
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5298608 - 07/01/12 10:08 PM

Alright, new (and hopefully final) floor joist layout.



The zoning inspector advises against deck blocks. Three foot deep concrete piers is the suggestion. Assuming I go that route, what brackets do you guys recommend for attaching the beams (2-2x and 3-2x) to the piers?

I also got the quote back from the first lumber yard. I'm in the process of going through it line by line since I just dropped of the blueprints and had them go to town. Is 24' lumber that hard to come by? They seem to have included 12' 2x8's for the beams when the blueprints call for 24' continuous beams. I'm sure I could make it work with 12', but I'm not sure what brackets I can use...


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Lord Beowulf
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5298778 - 07/02/12 12:37 AM

"...There's a hole in your mind..." Sorry, couldn't resist. That's what I always hear when someone starts out "And so it begins..." Babylon 5 reference for those who are less of a geek than I, BTW.

I'd go for more piers and less span myself, but trying to get a 24' 2xX is really just a waste of money for something like this. First off, it will be totally unmanageable, and probably nowhere near straight. When I built my wood deck years ago (a 16' wide L shape, about 36 feet on the long axis and 26 on the short) I made all my beams by laminating the most bowed pieces together, starting screwing at one end and pulling them straight as I went. Made for a really sturdy and straight beam. It's been 15 years, and it hasn't budged. However, the footings are on 8' centers.

Beo


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rwiederrich
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5299764 - 07/02/12 08:17 PM

Quote:

Alright, new (and hopefully final) floor joist layout.



The zoning inspector advises against deck blocks. Three foot deep concrete piers is the suggestion. Assuming I go that route, what brackets do you guys recommend for attaching the beams (2-2x and 3-2x) to the piers?

I also got the quote back from the first lumber yard. I'm in the process of going through it line by line since I just dropped of the blueprints and had them go to town. Is 24' lumber that hard to come by? They seem to have included 12' 2x8's for the beams when the blueprints call for 24' continuous beams. I'm sure I could make it work with 12', but I'm not sure what brackets I can use...




Inspectors will *always* advise against the route that saves you money but still does the job effectively. Since you will not be getting it *Inspected* a suggestion is merely that. Anyway..do what you think best. I did it and my building is roughly the same size you're attempting.

Good luck.

Rob


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Jim Curry
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5300260 - 07/03/12 08:08 AM

It's going to take time to shuttle the buggy back and forth and fill your forms. The concrete quote is for a fairly short period of time, you better check on that. There will be extra charges if he's sitting around for say an hour while you unload.

Jim


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David81
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: Jim Curry]
      #5300316 - 07/03/12 09:00 AM

I'll definitely ask about that Jim. The concrete guy was the one that suggested the buggy in the first place, after I described the job to him. Hopefully he took that into account.

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bluestar
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: rwiederrich]
      #5301879 - 07/04/12 08:43 AM

Quote:

I'm sure a quick google search on clay properties and stability issues can produce some information for you.





Wow Rob, you're giving me flashbacks to college Soils 101 days. Clay can be either a blessing or curse depending on the final applications but life tends to focus on the organic and manure corner of the soils triangle these days.


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rwiederrich
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: bluestar]
      #5302304 - 07/04/12 02:06 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I'm sure a quick google search on clay properties and stability issues can produce some information for you.





Wow Rob, you're giving me flashbacks to college Soils 101 days. Clay can be either a blessing or curse depending on the final applications but life tends to focus on the organic and manure corner of the soils triangle these days.




Oh so true bro. Building your home on sand sounds idiotic..till you find that the sand is going no were...then it becomes the best foundation...EVER. Same with clay. The moisture content and the compaction is the key. Clay can be very stable if the environment and situations are correct. Especially if the clay is undisturbed and you are building upon it...not *IN* it.

A telescope pier footer is in need of a secure foundation..so digging a nice deep hole is best..but resting a building on top of it is far less problematic given your special limitations , your funds...and design.

But who am I, and what do I know? I spend most of my time outside the box..so I can save money and still produce a quality item.

Blue PVC roofing for your Observatory...what a stupid idea.

Rob(If it can be done..it can be done many ways)


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MRNUTTY
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5307147 - 07/07/12 05:53 PM

Quote:

Well, the plans for my new observatory (16x24 ROR) arrived this weekend (thanks BYO) and it's time to start pricing out materials and such.






I got my BYO plans yesterday! I'll start in a couple of weeks. Nice!


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David81
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5332268 - 07/23/12 10:45 PM

Quick update: Tentative ground breaking is set for this coming Saturday.

I'll spend a bit of time the day before (my birthday) laying out the locations for the pier and support holes. Saturday should be spent with a fellow astro club member digging/augering and setting sonotubes/forms. If all goes well, the concrete should be delivered and poured on Monday.

After that it's up to me to get as much building as possible done in the 2 weeks I have off from work. The local 84 Lumber has been great to work with in getting the materials and I'll be having them do the trusses. $400-ish seems money well spent for 13 16ft trusses.

And before you ask, yes, there will be plenty of pictures


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David81
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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David81
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5461897 - 10/09/12 10:49 AM

It's been a while since my last update, but it's also been pretty slow going now that it is getting darker earlier and I can only work on the weekends.

Everything is mostly sealed up with house wrap and roof underlayment so no more worry about weather (thank goodness with all the rain we've had lately). I had planned on putting up the siding this weekend, but Mother Nature had other plans and gave us a couple days of rain. So some interior work was done instead.

The warm room now has a window to the outside world and a proper ceiling (framed, at least). I discovered two very interesting things while putting the ceiling in place.

First, an 8 ft x 16 ft ceiling framed with 2x4's is rather heavy and unwieldy. Especially when you are trying to hoist it into place alone Lots of bracing and levers were used.

Secondly, I had to move the roof for the first time since fully sheathing and bracing it. There is no motorization yet, so I just tied a rope to one of the trusses near the south end and pulled from inside. To my surprise, that monster of a roof moved without much trouble at all. I'm really loving those v-groove casters and angle iron now. Perhaps the 1300 lb hoist is just a bit overkill, eh?

If the weather holds up, siding will be done this weekend and I may even get to start on the roof metal.

More pics to come soon


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Starman27
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5462667 - 10/09/12 06:48 PM

Thanks for the update. Progress can be slow sometimes, but the result is well worth it. I use ropes too on my split roof ROR. The inverted V track and V groove wheels make it roll like it's sitting on glass. It's been working w/o maintenace (except replacing ropes) for over 27 years But as I age I may be giving up the exercise and motorize it.

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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5471155 - 10/15/12 09:39 AM

Another milestone nearly completed. An out of town friend stopped by to help me put up the cement board siding yesterday. Most of the building is now sided, but I still need to complete the gable ends of the roof. Darkness just comes too early these days. At least those pieces will be light enough to carry up the ladder by myself.

We may have finished the whole thing had Mother Nature not been conspiring against us. High winds and on and off heavy rain definitely slowed us down. Those big sheets of cement board sure due catch the wind nicely

I'm also please to say that the observatory survived the first wind advisory that we've had since all the sheathing was put in place. We fell asleep to the sound of the house shaking in the wind and everything was still in its proper place the next morning.

There was one amusing incident while I was showing off the motion of the roof where the wind kicked up and started to open up the roof. Quite glad I have those turnbuckles in place now

Next week is another "vacation" week, so I'm hoping to get the siding finished, roof on and electric run.

Sooooo close now....


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csa/montana
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5471222 - 10/15/12 10:27 AM

All the work will be well worth it, when you open that roof for your first night of observing!

I still get such a thrill, when the roof starts opening, and the beautiful night sky is exposed!


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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5484187 - 10/22/12 07:14 PM

Things are coming along nicely now. The siding is up and painted. Wednesday the roof metal should be going up and if the weather holds, Friday will see the trench trenched for the electrical and network cables.






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David81
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5527710 - 11/19/12 11:08 AM

Time for another quick update.

I HATE CLAY. Ok, now that that is out of my system...

The power and Cat6 are in the conduit and run out the observatory. Nothing is hooked up yet, but it should be this weekend. A good deal of the rough electrical is already done out in the obs in preparation for turning the power on.

I can't wait to get the roof motorized. I've been able to roll it about half of the way off by hand, but after a certain point, I just lose my leverage and can't go any further.

Filling in the trench is going to take far too long. After all the rain we've had, the clay has just turned to a sticky mess and just doesn't want to go back in the hole. It doesn't seem like it should take very long to put dirt back in a skinny trench, but when it glues itself to everything that touches it...

My piers will be delivered this evening (10" gas pipe welded up to my specs by a local welder) and I'm hoping to get a coat of paint on them in the next couple of days while we have a warm stretch.

Who knows, I may be up and running by Christmas


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5527722 - 11/19/12 11:16 AM

David, things will move quickly now; and hey, that's a nice Christmas present!

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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5527725 - 11/19/12 11:17 AM

I certainly hope so Carol. It seems so slow going since I can only work on the weekends now (no daylight after work) and those are now filled with holidays

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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5528959 - 11/19/12 10:15 PM

Woohoo! The piers have arrived.



They were made from a long section of 10" steel gas pipe that a friend in the astro club happened to stumble upon (he's in the gas business). $75 for the pipe that would end up as two piers was a great deal. I drew everything up in Sketchup and sent the drawings off to a couple folks with ads on craigslist.

Each is made from half of the original pipe (about 43" each) + 3/4" plate on each end (14" square). The bottom plate is solid and has slots to attach to the concrete bases with a little wiggle for alignment. The tops are similar but have a 4 inch hole in the middle to allow for filling with sand or something similar later on. The corner slots on the top plate will allow for 3/4" threaded rods to be used to attach one final 3/4" plate above with about 6" of space in between for leveling/aligning and room to attach my current CG5.

I even got a couple "spare" 14" plates that were cut incorrectly for the bottoms.

The guy that won the job actually seemed interested in what I was doing and had the right price + time line + equipment combo. If only he'd been able to do the painting for a reasonable cost (he wanted $100 per + I'd buy the paint cans). He's actually requested an invite to the "grand opening" when I get everything done. A little unintended outreach

Hopefully I can get a couple coats of paint on them before the really cold weather hits.


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MDB
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Reged: 06/06/12

Loc: Idaho
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5529042 - 11/19/12 10:50 PM

David,

Those things would sure look nice sand blasted and powder coated!

Mike


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David81
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Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: MDB]
      #5529554 - 11/20/12 08:09 AM

They sure would Mike. If only I could find someone that could do it locally for a reasonable cost....

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David81
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Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5532601 - 11/21/12 04:30 PM

Painting of the piers is almost done. I'm pretty pleased with the way they turned out. Sure, powder coating would have been ideal, but I don't think this paint job will be seeing much exposure to the elements.





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David81
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Re: Plans have arrived....and so it begins new [Re: David81]
      #5533971 - 11/22/12 01:34 PM

Took a couple hours this morning to get the electric hooked up before I completely filled in the trench. Just to be sure



Now it's time to relax and enjoy the company of family.


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