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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Keith Howlett]
      #5480586 - 10/20/12 03:24 PM Attachment (146 downloads)

Quote:

Hi Tom,

That's looking great. how are you joining the edges of the gores prior to fibreglassing?

Cheers,

Keith




The plywood is held on with lots of staples and nails. The edges are not perfect, so they are caulked before the fiberglass goes on.


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Keith Howlett
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/06/07

Loc: Northumberland, UK
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5480690 - 10/20/12 04:52 PM

Thanks Tom, I'm looking forward to the next report.

Keith


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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Keith Howlett]
      #5487474 - 10/24/12 06:46 PM Attachment (160 downloads)

No fancy report - just this photo. The dome sheeting is now 3/4 finished. Would have already finished, but the wind is holding things up a bit.

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Keith Howlett
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/06/07

Loc: Northumberland, UK
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5489771 - 10/26/12 07:06 AM

That really puts the size in perspective. I would need a bigger garden!

Keith


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Mirzam
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/01/08

Loc: Lovettsville, VA
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Keith Howlett]
      #5489785 - 10/26/12 07:29 AM

The end stages of aperture fever....

JimC


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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Mirzam]
      #5490326 - 10/26/12 02:19 PM

Quote:

The end stages of aperture fever....

JimC




Not only that - but it is very contagious! Everyone who comes to visit and observes with us goes home with a serious case of it. No matter, it is worth all the headaches…


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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5501453 - 11/02/12 07:41 PM Attachment (139 downloads)

In my last dome I had five red lights mounted around the wall, near the top. Even though they had covers over them they still shined in your eyes when you sat down. I knew that I wanted a different kind of light in the new New Mexico dome.

What seemed like a good idea at the time was rope lights (on a dimmer switch) all around the dome, near floor level.
It's that time of the year, folks. when Wal Mart starts setting out their Xmas stuff early, they have lots of rope lights available. I bought four boxes of 18 footers to circle the new dome, but this type of indirect lighting would work well in any observatory - round or rectangle. You just need to make a simple shield so the lights only shine down.


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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5501463 - 11/02/12 07:47 PM Attachment (128 downloads)

My shield is 3/4" plywood band sawn 3/4" wide so it fits the curve of the walls. Then a piece of 1/4 plywood was sawn 2" wide and stapled to the 3/4" plywood strips. The lights can only shine on the walls (they are not up yet in this photo) and on the floor. The rope lights come with little plastic clips. I screwed them to the bottom of the plywood, and then just snapped the lights in place.

I have used these rope lights before, and you can dim them down to almost nothing. Since we are visual observers, we like it dark inside to keep our dark adaption as good as it can be. The new dome will have nearly perfect lighting, and it only sticks out 1" from the wall.

Yes, it is a little early to be adding the lights to this project, but now is the time of year when you can find them at very reasonable prices.

By the way, when the dome is fiberglassed and the steel walls are up, everything inside will be painted flat black. Inside the dome is far darker than outside - for dark adaption.

Edited by Tom Clark (11/02/12 07:53 PM)


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Wmacky
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/24/07

Loc: Florida
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5501875 - 11/03/12 12:55 AM

Quote:

My shield is 3/4" plywood band sawn 3/4" wide so it fits the curve of the walls. Then a piece of 1/4 plywood was sawn 2" wide and stapled to the 3/4" plywood strips. The lights can only shine on the walls (they are not up yet in this photo) and on the floor. The rope lights come with little plastic clips. I screwed them to the bottom of the plywood, and then just snapped the lights in place.

I have used these rope lights before, and you can dim them down to almost nothing. Since we are visual observers, we like it dark inside to keep our dark adaption as good as it can be. The new dome will have nearly perfect lighting, and it only sticks out 1" from the wall.

Yes, it is a little early to be adding the lights to this project, but now is the time of year when you can find them at very reasonable prices.

By the way, when the dome is fiberglassed and the steel walls are up, everything inside will be painted flat black. Inside the dome is far darker than outside - for dark adaption.




I'm going to Walmart tomorrow! Can you snap a pic of the box these came in?


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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Wmacky]
      #5502827 - 11/03/12 07:11 PM

Sorry, tossed the boxes. Just ask in the Christmas section.

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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5502961 - 11/03/12 08:48 PM

That's beautiful Tom.

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stmguy
sage


Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Western NH
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: EddWen]
      #5505209 - 11/05/12 10:32 AM

How are going to drive this beast ?

Norm


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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: stmguy]
      #5505766 - 11/05/12 06:08 PM Attachment (91 downloads)

Norm,

The Beast is not a new telescope. It was in use in Florida for 10 years before we decided to move to New Mexico for better skies. (See the first post of this thread.) The drive system is called a Sky Tracker - the same system used on Starmasters - and built by Vic McKiegan who builds the Sky Commander. It works great for visual use. Everything you enter ends up in the eyepiece after the slew is finished. Two tiny motors run the 1600 pound scope just fine.


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saga01
member
*****

Reged: 09/20/08

Loc: Kansas City, MO
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5506126 - 11/05/12 10:52 PM

I think he meant a beast of a dome. I'm curious about that also since it looks pretty heavy.

Mike


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stmguy
sage


Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Western NH
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: saga01]
      #5506358 - 11/06/12 06:06 AM

yes I meant the dome, sorry about that !

I ask because I need to come up with a drive system for my gable roof observatory which ended up a lot heavier than what I thought it was going to be.
Norm


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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: stmguy]
      #5506491 - 11/06/12 08:50 AM Attachment (87 downloads)


Sorry, honest mistake. The telescope was named The Beast when I was building it, simply because of it's shear size. Construction swallowed 18 sheets of plywood. Mike Zammit even made me a neat nameplate…


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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5506504 - 11/06/12 09:00 AM Attachment (96 downloads)

Now, funny you should ask about drive motors, as I finished mounting two of them yesterday. They work beautifully but still have a little finishing adjustments to be made.

The motors are small 1/6th horsepower gear motors from my MSC catalog. The drive wheels are 8" versions of the 6" wheels the dome rotates on. The bearings were removed from the center and solid hubs machined so they could be driven by the gear motor.

The wheels ride against the 4" wide flat aluminum plates the other 10 wheels ride on. The domes rotates very quietly, unlike the Florida version that had steel V-groove wheels riding on an angle iron track. The neighbors named the Chiefland dome "The Thunderdome" because rotations sounded like distant thunder from down the street. I'm sure the new neighbors will be far happier as we silently cruise the universe.

Edited by Tom Clark (11/06/12 03:46 PM)


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Baxstar
member


Reged: 09/15/12

Loc: The Netherland
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5506612 - 11/06/12 10:19 AM

Really like your project! Look very solid, keep us posted

Casper


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DeanS
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Baxstar]
      #5506757 - 11/06/12 11:51 AM

Hi Tom, are there any concerns about dust on the rubber drive wheel making it slip?

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Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: DeanS]
      #5507396 - 11/06/12 06:58 PM

Nope. That is why there are two drive wheels, not one. The dust would have to cling to the bottom of the aluminum plate, so while there will be dust it will not be thick. The drive wheels are hard polyurethane, not rubber.

The last dome had one drive wheel, and it occasionally would slip in certain spots, so you would have to reach up and give the dome a helping hand to rotate. Hope to eliminate that with two drive wheels.


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