Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | (show all)
Jack Huerkamp
Vendor - Waning Moon


Reged: 10/13/05

Loc: Louisiana
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5517426 - 11/13/12 08:35 AM

Tom,

I just stumbled onto the Observatory form of CN and have been reading this thread. Having looked through your 42" in its old dome at CAV, I hope to one day get to your new location as I am sure the skies there are much better than the ones in Florida.

Jack Huerkamp


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ZRX-Steve
sage


Reged: 03/31/08

Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Jack Huerkamp]
      #5521621 - 11/15/12 05:41 PM

That gives new meaning to the term "mini"van. Wonderful work Tom. I'm in the Saguaro Astronomy club and hope to see your dome in person someday.

Steve


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: ZRX-Steve]
      #5522014 - 11/15/12 10:04 PM

Hi Jack,

Look forward to your visit. I have four RV hookups in the front yard for friends. Scope will be operational in a couple of months.

Steve, We will coordinate with Steve Coe and have your club over for observing before too long. Steve will be here in a month or so.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Jack Huerkamp
Vendor - Waning Moon


Reged: 10/13/05

Loc: Louisiana
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5522452 - 11/16/12 08:46 AM

Tom,

I look forward to doing so. I will be retiring next October and hope to travel more.

Jack


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5528977 - 11/19/12 10:25 PM Attachment (123 downloads)

We are now into 3.5 months of construction, and well into the hardest part of building a wooden dome - fiberglassing the dome. Of course you do not have to use fiberglass, but if you wish to build a dome that will last for many years, it is a good way to go. First we painted raw wood with polyester resin, and now are adding the glass cloth. A third coat of resin will be added when all the cloth is up. The final step will be painting with primer, and then a final color coat, so the walls and roof will match, and the whole observatory color will match house and barn. The tan color goes well with the desert surroundings.

The dimensions of the dome are 24' in diameter. The walls are 6' high, and the dome itself is 12'6" above the walls. A lot of time is spent on the scaffold and on a 24' extension ladder.

The last steps still to go are adding the sliding shutter, then the walls, and we will be nearly finished.

It's just my wife Jeannie and I doing the fiberglass, and we are working mainly when the wind is not too high and the weather is nice. With a big crew the work could be done much faster.

Edited by Tom Clark (11/20/12 07:53 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5529944 - 11/20/12 11:47 AM

I'm far from an expert with regard to fiberglass and resins, but do have friends who home-build experimental airplanes. They frequently debate whether they need a UV protectant between the primer and finish coat (vs added weight).

I don't know what altitude you are at, but it might be a consideration for a longer life of the dome.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tim Gilliland
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/28/09

Loc: Sand Springs Okla.
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: EddWen]
      #5530001 - 11/20/12 12:11 PM

I enjoy seeing this progress, It is so impressive! An Amature Astronomer's dream.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David Johns
sage


Reged: 03/26/07

Loc: Queensland, Australia
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tim Gilliland]
      #5535833 - 11/23/12 04:29 PM

Fantastic....

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Dr Morbius
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/06/07

Loc: ManorvilleNY-but not for long
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: David Johns]
      #5554267 - 12/04/12 04:50 PM

Any new updates?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Dr Morbius]
      #5554306 - 12/04/12 05:15 PM Attachment (96 downloads)

Well, I am only 66, but feel much older after Jeannie and I finished fiberglassing the dome. Well, actually, it is not all done. Next project is to close up the back and fiberglass it, then build the shutter. However, I started another thread looking for info on finding the long gear needed to open and close the shutter. I may have to look into using a chain drive…

Took a short trip over to the Arizona Sky Village to visit old friends Jack and Alice Newton, to see how Jack builds his shutters and motorizes them. A project this size requires as much brain work as manual labor!

Edited by Tom Clark (12/04/12 05:19 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5554759 - 12/04/12 10:19 PM

Terrific work, Tom! Gonna' be a masterpiece when completed.

David


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Baxstar
member


Reged: 09/15/12

Loc: The Netherland
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5555812 - 12/05/12 03:00 PM

It's already a masterpiece! Even unfinished!

Casper


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Norm Meyer
sage
*****

Reged: 02/08/09

Loc: Warren, ME 04864
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Baxstar]
      #5558012 - 12/06/12 06:10 PM

Hi Tom,
I just finished reading this thread on your 24' dome. It
is amazing, beautiful work. I envy your location and this
new observatory taking shape. I'm up here in Maine and our
climate conditions are a complete antithesis to NM.We probably have 4 or 5 days a year of very good seeing.
Good luck on finishing your project.
Completely covetous.
Norm


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Norm Meyer]
      #5558877 - 12/07/12 09:14 AM

Hey Everyone,

Don't just be envious, it would be a lot more fun to come join us and live the astronomy dream. There is room for another 50 or so astronomy families here at the New Mexico Astronomy Village. It's growing quickly.

You don't have to stay where you are. Jeannie and I ran away from Ohio and moved to Florida 40 years ago. This last move across the country to NM was a bit of work, but we are sure glad we have made it. While we read about star parties back east being clouded out, I almost hate to tell old friends that we have had two cloudy nights in the last 6 or 8 weeks.

See the first post in this thread for lots more information on the NMAV.

Dome progress? More photos to be posted soon. Now closing up the back and working on building the roll-back shutter, since I finally found the hardware I was looking for to motorize the shutter.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5561209 - 12/08/12 05:04 PM Attachment (93 downloads)

The last few days were spent closing in the back side of the dome, under where the shutter will roll back. It looks strange in this photo, but next it will be fiberglassed and primed.

The whole observatory will not be left white, but rather painted to match the shop and house. The tan color is well suited to the desert - it blends in rather than standing out like the stark white.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5561222 - 12/08/12 05:10 PM Attachment (79 downloads)

The whole inside of the observatory will be spray painted flat black. The last dome in Florida was black, and everyone always commented on how inside the dome was the darkest place they had ever been. The only lights are starlight and the dim red indirect lighting around the floor.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Retsub
super member
*****

Reged: 12/08/06

Loc: Houston,Tx.
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5563081 - 12/09/12 08:17 PM

Looking at your dome drive wheels, they look like they would be a harder urethane than maybe 80-85A hardness ? Bet not many of your neighbors in NM have a spare wheel from a brush hog to use if you needed one ! Thanks. *BW*

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome new [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5574304 - 12/16/12 03:04 PM Attachment (65 downloads)

The old bush hog tire worked just fine for 12 years, and is still working for the new owner. It did slip in one place when you wanted to go counter-clockwise, so that is why this time two wheels were used. No idea how hard the plastic is, but they have a capacity of 750 pounds each, so they seem pretty tough, and they work very well.

Still working even though winter is here. All the outside fiberglassing is finished. Building the shutter doors inside the shop, and will be putting up the steel walls and doing the final painting soon. The shutter will be fiberglassed inside the shop. By the way, most winter days here are in the 60s during the day, and 30 at night. However, the sun makes 60 feel very nice unless the wind happens to be blowing hard - and it does that now and then.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mirzam
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/01/08

Loc: Lovettsville, VA
Re: Building a 24' Dome [Re: Tom Clark]
      #5574575 - 12/16/12 06:06 PM

NOw that's a big shutter! Did you overlap smaller sections of plywood to make the larger arcs?

JimC


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom Clark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: North of Deming, NM
Re: Building a 24' Dome [Re: Mirzam]
      #5575423 - 12/17/12 09:26 AM Attachment (48 downloads)

Since plywood only comes in 8' sheets, the curved parts are band sawn and then laminated into the arcs with glue and a nail gun. All the curved parts for this 24' dome were sawn in about four days.

Total cost for the plywood ribs was around $1,000. . Even if you had to purchase a band saw first, the cost of building your own observatory is a tiny fraction of purchasing a commercial dome.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | (show all)


Extra information
1 registered and 7 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  Christopher Erickson 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 19006

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics