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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Footbag
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing?
      #5615152 - 01/10/13 09:57 AM

I was browsing the BYO site and I see they have installed prices for their observatories. The prices seem very reasonable or at least less then a local builder would charge me.
Are there any other charges that aren't spelled out? It seems like a low amount for them to come from Ohio to build it and then return home. Unless of course the delivery charges bump the price up.
Has anyone used BYO? How quick was it? Tips?
I seems to remember them being at NEAF. I'm going to try and get all of my research done by then and get the ball going at NEAF.
Does anyone know of any builders who have built observatories in northeast PA?


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5615201 - 01/10/13 10:31 AM Attachment (84 downloads)

Adam, you cannot go wrong with Scott at BYO! I have one of his; a Dobservatory. He built it in one weekend! He's very meticulous about little details, and does absolutely quality craftsmanship! I'd suggest you get in touch with them to discuss any questions you may have. You will get either Scott or his lovely wife, Diane replying. They are the most cordial, helpful people you will ever meet. He has built around 175 observatories around the country, so he's not a beginner!

Check out the Vendor Forum here (down at the bottom of the page); he's got a new thread there.

Here's mine.


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1965healy
The Snarkster
*****

Reged: 06/23/07

Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5615230 - 01/10/13 10:49 AM

BYO built my Obs a few years back and I' totally satisfied with the price/process and Obs. I'll expand on that a bit.

The price: I think he can keep this well controlled and reasonable because he knows what to do/expect. He's built hundreds of them.
Mine was anything but a "standard" build and he still kept the price fair.

The process: we disussed the build on the phone, via e-mail and even a
bit here on the CN site in this forum. Again, mine was not a typical Obs,
the plan was to "punch a hole" in an existing structure and build a roof top ROR. Scott had been there and done that before. No problem.

Timing: he usually tries to schedule a series of builds that allow him to keep travel time and costs down. He built a couple more Obs here in TX on his trip. He's very up front about timing/scheduling. The build itself in spite of being a bit unusual took less than 3days.

In the end I'm very happy with the experience and the results. I would do it again in a heartbeat!


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Footbag
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5615323 - 01/10/13 11:30 AM

Do they need much info on the site? Do they get permits? About how long would the planning take?

I'll probably contact him, I was hoping to make one trip up to the site to take some photos and measurements.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5615385 - 01/10/13 12:02 PM

Again, they are just a phone call, or an e-mail away; to answer any questions you may have. Scott & Diane are also both members of CN.

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Footbag
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5615391 - 01/10/13 12:04 PM

I e-mailed them. Just looking for opinions on the process from the customers end.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5615404 - 01/10/13 12:12 PM

In my case; they knew nothing about the site, simply what was needed as far as observatory size. All lumber was purchased locally. In my area there were no building permits required.

It's difficult for us to answer questions that only Scott (BYO) should be answering, as I'm sure there are different circumstances for different builds that he has to take into consideration.


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Gargoyle
sage
*****

Reged: 03/13/08

Loc: Long Island, New York
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5615574 - 01/10/13 01:44 PM

Adam,

Scott and crew installed my observatory coming on two years now (No. 150!). These guys are consummate professionals. They arrive with a plan based on your design and their cumulative experience, and adjust if need be with barely a hiccup. All costs are documented up front and are exactly as quoted. Scott manages his costs by purchasing supplies local if he can and by routing his installs to regions.

Straight stuff Adam, the most positive influence on my viewing has been having that observatory built by (in my opinion) the best observatory builders you can hire today. Scott and the guys from BYO are just good guys who return 100% + value for your cost. Very trustworthy and solid people.

Give him a call or email him with your thoughts and plans. Why wait to NEAF?

Jerry


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Gargoyle]
      #5615789 - 01/10/13 03:59 PM

BYO built an observatory for me two months ago. In addition to the listed price, I was charged "mileage," which was split with another project they were doing in NM. Of course, all of this is agreed upon ahead of time. Scott & Don showed up on a Sunday afternoon, unloaded some materials, and they went to work the following morning. In 2-1/2 days my observatory was finished. A friend who knows construction looked at it, and he thinks BYO did a great job. However, you're on your own for permits. I intentionally kept my project smaller than 120 sq ft, so that it could be just a "storage shed." Also, since they are unlicensed in my state (Calif.), I would be potentially liable if one of them were injured on the job. Individual homeowners are usually protected if the contractor is licensed, at least in Calif. The situation may be different in your state.

Edited to add: I sent Scott photos of the concrete slab well before they came out. When the slab was installed, I got Scott on the phone with my cement guy to be sure there was a mutual understanding about what was needed.

Edited by Calypte (01/10/13 04:09 PM)


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Footbag
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5615825 - 01/10/13 04:20 PM

Quote:

BYO built an observatory for me two months ago. In addition to the listed price, I was charged "mileage," which was split with another project they were doing in NM. Of course, all of this is agreed upon ahead of time. Scott & Don showed up on a Sunday afternoon, unloaded some materials, and they went to work the following morning. In 2-1/2 days my observatory was finished. A friend who knows construction looked at it, and he thinks BYO did a great job. However, you're on your own for permits. I intentionally kept my project smaller than 120 sq ft, so that it could be just a "storage shed." Also, since they are unlicensed in my state (Calif.), I would be potentially liable if one of them were injured on the job. Individual homeowners are usually protected if the contractor is licensed, at least in Calif. The situation may be different in your state.

Edited to add: I sent Scott photos of the concrete slab well before they came out. When the slab was installed, I got Scott on the phone with my cement guy to be sure there was a mutual understanding about what was needed.




Thanks. That answered a lot of my questions. Did they suggest you pour the slab without them? I was wondering what they did while waiting for the concrete to set.


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5615890 - 01/10/13 04:59 PM

Our observatory slab was poured two months before BYO came out. We had the slab poured as an addendum to a patio & walkway project. I think BYO can build a deck, maybe a slab, but I'd check with them about that. I don't know what they would do if they had to wait for the concrete to set. They used locally-bought Quik-Crete for the telescope pier footing and outrigger footings. For my own benefit, I wanted to get the project underway, to get it out of the hypothetical category ("Someday, I'm going to build an observatory!"). Also, I wanted to be able to send photos of the finished slab to Scott to show that I was serious, that I wasn't just wasting everybody's time with queries about something that wasn't going to happen. That was my concern, not necessarily relevant to anyone else. I did check with another observatory vendor (not Sky Shed; they don't come to Calif.), and it would have cost something like $14k for a smaller, less-attractive building, and reports here about the unresponsiveness of that vendor also put him out of the running.

Some people have suggested that I could have done the whole thing on my own for a lot less money. Probably true. I looked at a lot of photos of other personal observatory projects. I saw any number of steps where I might lose enthusiasm for the project or perhaps "settle" for something substandard, because doing it right would be beyond my confidence level, and I'd have to puzzle over the next step. Also, I could see that dumping a load of lumber in my driveway would still leave me months or years from getting it done. I'm 69 now (68 when the obs. was built), and I don't have a lot of "somedays" remaining. I wanted it done. These guys have built a lot of them (mine is no. 173), and they know exactly what to do. There's no wasted motion.


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Footbag
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5615925 - 01/10/13 05:29 PM

I was considering building it myself. In fact, I was about to start digging a hole for the pier when my back went out. It was then that my contractor neighbor convinced me I didn't want to do it myself.

But I also know that If I pay someone to do it, it will get done quickly. If I do it myself, it could take forever.


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5616178 - 01/10/13 07:59 PM

Quote:

But I also know that If I pay someone to do it, it will get done quickly. If I do it myself, it could take forever.



Everybody has to judge their own ability and persistence for something like this. I see pix of lots of beautiful, completed, user-built observatories. I didn't see my own picture being among them. BTW, I thought they would pour the pier first. They did it last. My cement guy left a 16x16-inch aperture in the slab (per specification), and Scott dug it out after almost everything else was finished.


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BKBrown
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: Northern Virginia, USA
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5616207 - 01/10/13 08:20 PM Attachment (39 downloads)

BYO is a thoroughly professional outfit, and I encountered zero issues with "hidden costs"...everything was laid out and agreed upon up front. Scott and Don are first class craftsmen and knocked the whole thing out in three days, start to finish. IMO they are the gold standard for amateur observatories. Here is a link to my project, Beaglehaven Observatory BYO #168, it pretty well documents the entire process: http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5275087/page... Good luck!

Clear Skies,
Brian

Edited by BKBrown (01/10/13 08:22 PM)


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Footbag
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: BKBrown]
      #5616303 - 01/10/13 09:28 PM

I can see they do nice work. Along with their craftsmanship, I may need their advice as I have two potential sites each with their own set of challenges.

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Digital Don
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/20/04

Loc: Manteno, IL
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5616323 - 01/10/13 09:42 PM Attachment (44 downloads)

Hi Adam,

BYO addresses the delivery charges on their website: "The Observatory shipping/delivery charge is not included in the prices listed but will be included in your quote." The delivery price was reasonable and I imagine it varies with distance.

Mount Jennings Observatory was number 100 for BYO and it's been one of the best astronomy related purchase I've made!

The real 'bottom line' is that you'll observe much more with an observatory than without one. Period.

Don


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5616348 - 01/10/13 09:54 PM Attachment (60 downloads)

Anza Gap Observatory exterior:

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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5616349 - 01/10/13 09:54 PM Attachment (50 downloads)

Anza Gap Observatory interior:

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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5616352 - 01/10/13 09:55 PM Attachment (55 downloads)

Anza Gap Observatory open for business:

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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Backyard Observatories... Installed pricing? new [Re: Calypte]
      #5616362 - 01/10/13 10:00 PM Attachment (47 downloads)

Anza Gap Observatory slab:

Edited by Calypte (01/10/13 10:00 PM)


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