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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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PWP
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Observatory for under $500
      #5697636 - 02/24/13 12:21 AM Attachment (507 downloads)

Hello all. Perry here who broadcasts on NSN as DFW Star Party. After a year of shopping and doing research I finally decided on a observatory style and type that not only would do the job but fit the budget as well.

I didn't really like the roll off roof design as the walls appeared a bit too tall for anything less than 30 degrees and as far as the dome my wife didn't want an igloo in the back yard let alone the price of one.

I found this shed on Amazon.com which is a Keter Apex 4X6 with a price currently at $489.98. It is a roll off design which I like because it leaves the observatory out in the open sky and the shed once rolled off can then be an observatory and warm room. I operate everything remotely...the scope, focuser, filter wheel and camera.

Total all in with construction of roll away decking and concrete slab is around $850.00. The shed is easy to put together and although rather light once put together it becomes rather rigid and not a bad looking either. I tried to detail everything while in construction so if anyone wanted to copy it or perhaps you have better idea's I am posting on CN to show how I did it anyway.

I am a big guy and I am quite comfortable in the shed once rolled away. This shed has already stood up to some good rainstorms and I haven't witnessed any water inside yet. If anyone wishes to copy and wants to ask a question feel free to write me and I will answer. Here is the link for photos of my build.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.517407268290547.123019.100000638365...

Clear skies!

Perry


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skinnyonce
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Reged: 03/23/11

Loc: ohio
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5697813 - 02/24/13 05:49 AM

I like that people of questionable morals think its a tool shed, and doesnt house thousands of dollars worth of gear

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Jeff Smith
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Reged: 04/06/10

Loc: Chicago
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: skinnyonce]
      #5697882 - 02/24/13 08:33 AM

Quote:

I like that people of questionable morals think its a tool shed, and doesnt house thousands of dollars worth of gear




Me to.


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Midnight Dan
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Jeff Smith]
      #5697990 - 02/24/13 10:15 AM

Looks nice! Just curious - why did you bother with two separate concrete tracks at the rear instead of one chunk? For a couple of extra bags of concrete you would eliminate a spot for weeds to grow or critters to make a home.

-Dan


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PWP
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5698068 - 02/24/13 11:02 AM

Thank you Dan. In the planning stage I went back and forth on that. I know I wanted concrete in the front for a nice approach to the observatory and as well underneath because having it directly underneath also not only addresses the critter issue but it also serves as a continued concrete approach once the shed is rolled back. All that is really needed of course is two tracks the full length which would have saved a lot of extra digging and back braking concrete work. I guess in the end my thoughts were that sitting stored position (over the scope) it would have concrete under it most of the time which leaves the rear with the center area exposed unless observing. I didn't think critters would take refuge in an open piece of my lawn any more than they would the rest of my lawn.

I still have to fill dirt in around the concrete where the forms were and then install some sod which will include that patch in the rear. Since it is open with the observatory in the stored position it will be easy to keep it mowed/weeded. I guess in the end I just didn't see the need. Guess if it ever becomes an issue I can always fill that section in with concrete later since it is easily accessible sitting in the stored position.


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Smack
super member


Reged: 07/24/09

Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5698182 - 02/24/13 12:24 PM

Looks great Perry. I'm thinking about something similar for my very small back yard. You've given some great ideas.

Thanks,

Steve


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Canada_LX10
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Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, ...
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Smack]
      #5698195 - 02/24/13 12:35 PM

I know it was not what you wanted but for others that may be interested.

I am starting a 7' wooden dome observatory. The materials used are fairly reasonable and the construction methods seem fairly straight forward. I have the plans which I found on the net after lots of searching.

The original designer said about $500 in materials (back in 2003 in Canada which has higher costs). I am going to build this dome and will report back the actual costs.

Anyone wanting the dome plans...just PM me.


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Raginar
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Canada_LX10]
      #5698704 - 02/24/13 05:50 PM

Perry,

I was on chatting with you about this the other night. Looks like a fantastic build! Congratulations!


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PWP
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Raginar]
      #5698963 - 02/24/13 09:37 PM

Thanks Chris! Glad you got a chance to view it. Describing it and seeing are two different things.

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Raginar
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5698984 - 02/24/13 09:54 PM

Definitely! It's a wonderful shed. Now, you need to post one of your setup broadcasting.

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RobertED
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Raginar]
      #5706959 - 03/01/13 10:39 AM

Awesome project!!...Clear Skies!!

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LoveChina61
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Reged: 06/20/09

Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: RobertED]
      #5707896 - 03/01/13 10:17 PM

Now there we go. The best of all ideas combined. Good job!

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Starhawk
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: LoveChina61]
      #5712108 - 03/04/13 08:52 AM

Actually, if I may be so bold, it makes me think of disguising a telescope cover as an outhouse. Sure to limit break-in attempts.

-Rich


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Midnight Dan
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5712124 - 03/04/13 09:07 AM

Quote:

Actually, if I may be so bold, it makes me think of disguising a telescope cover as an outhouse. Sure to limit break-in attempts.

-Rich





... and a Crescent Moon emblem on the door would be appropriate for either use!
-Dan


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Starhawk
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5714037 - 03/05/13 09:30 AM

And I hate to say it, but a portapotty is the right size. Just saying.

-Rich


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droid
rocketman
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Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5714144 - 03/05/13 10:35 AM

I see two possible issues with the mini observatory....

The first is the concrete pad....that puppy will radiate heat for a while createing localized seeing issues, of course as soon it cools down itll be fine.Maybe spray it with cool water out of a hose to minimize this???

The second is it is taller than it is wide, making it inherently top heavy.I know you said the parts have been wind tested , but Id suggest some sort of tie downs ,when its in the stored position.Ive seen several observatorys with larger foot prints be destroyed by straight line winds.

Other wise I love the design and idea


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PWP
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: droid]
      #5714326 - 03/05/13 12:11 PM

There is no need for tie downs. Pictures in the link of my build show how I have addressed this by securing it to the ground with heavy duty steel C channel tracks anchored to the concrete and the steel dogs that extend out the side of the machine skates ride in the C channel on all sides. The shed itself is lag bolted to the base. I pray this should keep this shed on the ground in strong thunderstorms unless winds hit over 50+ mph, all should be good. To that thought I doubt any structure would survive unscaved in very high winds but for local thunderstorms I pray I am good. If not, I have insurance for detached structures. Be sure to disclose your use to your agent. Even a small increase in your yearly premium is worth your peace of mind.

As far as heat concerns go currently since it is winter there isn't any issue. For summer, I have sprinkler heads from my lawn sprinkler system on each side of the observatory and behind it. Simply setting the timer to come on at sundown should greatly reduce the heat build up by the time I am ready for my viewing session come nightfall.


Quote:

I see two possible issues with the mini observatory....

The first is the concrete pad....that puppy will radiate heat for a while createing localized seeing issues, of course as soon it cools down itll be fine.Maybe spray it with cool water out of a hose to minimize this???

The second is it is taller than it is wide, making it inherently top heavy.I know you said the parts have been wind tested , but Id suggest some sort of tie downs ,when its in the stored position.Ive seen several observatorys with larger foot prints be destroyed by straight line winds.

Other wise I love the design and idea




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Starhawk
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5714349 - 03/05/13 12:21 PM

So, all you really need to do is get busy on automation!

-Rich


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PWP
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5714362 - 03/05/13 12:30 PM

Although not neccessary, it would be nice to have it roll forwards and backwards without my assistance. Thought about a garage door opener but I am limited on room inside and really not enough underneath. I thought of mounting it at the rear at ground level in a weatherproof box. Probably pros and cons to that.

Quote:

So, all you really need to do is get busy on automation!

-Rich




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gastargazer01
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Reged: 12/21/12

Loc: Flowery Branch GA
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5714825 - 03/05/13 04:30 PM

Nice, I may do something similar shed wise with my deck OBS that I am planning.
http://bufordexchange.com/members/mikesastro/CameraOBSplacement.html
Do you lock it down when closed up any way to the foundation or is the shed heavy enough with it also tight on the pier?


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PWP
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5715034 - 03/05/13 06:18 PM

It is tight on the pier...I cut the U in the floor tight for that very reason and also to cut down on possiblity of wasp coming in from underneath and setting up shop while it is in the stored position. Of course having it tight (about 1/3 inch on each side) also means being careful when you roll it forward as you don't want to hit the pier as even though I have it on tracks there still is some play. Total weight I would guess to be around 500-600 lbs. You will also notice the U channel has vertical slots all along the length. It hasn't moved back on me yet since it is tight but I could always slide a long bolt or some kind of metal dowel rod in one of the slots just behind any of the machine skates and that should hold it steady and keep it from moving.

Quote:

Nice, I may do something similar shed wise with my deck OBS that I am planning.
http://bufordexchange.com/members/mikesastro/CameraOBSplacement.html
Do you lock it down when closed up any way to the foundation or is the shed heavy enough with it also tight on the pier?




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PWP
member
*****

Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5715483 - 03/05/13 10:12 PM

Got a chance to check out your scope setup. Looks like a C11 on CG5? Looks like you have plenty of room for your additional deck and shed. Post your build as you go. Would really like to see it take shape. Email me or post if you have questions if you want to mirror my build. I can tell you where I got the supplies etc.

Best regards,

Perry

Quote:

Nice, I may do something similar shed wise with my deck OBS that I am planning.
http://bufordexchange.com/members/mikesastro/CameraOBSplacement.html





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Patrick
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5777888 - 04/04/13 02:53 PM

Hi Perry,

I like your roll off shed idea and I'm thinking of ways I might incorporate it on my deck. I have a 10' x 14' deck with a wood pier in the middle of it.

I have a couple of questions...

1) Have you found the Keter 4x6 to be weather tight or have you needed to do additional sealing to make it so?

2) Did you order the Northern Machine Skates with the dogs or were those obtained somewhere else?

I think I know the answer to this, but the black flooring I see in your pictures looks like the floor that comes with the shed. Did you lay down an additional subfloor?

3) Did you block some of your horizon out because of the proximity of the shed to your mount?

4) What is the height of the door frame? I have a fairly tall mount and telescope setup and I'm wondering if it will clear the door when it's in home position.

My main concern with my possible implementation would be that I won't be able to move the 4x6 shed back far enough to amply clear the mount and telescope. In your research did you come across any sheds that were 4x4' and similar to the 4x6?

Thanks! I really like your setup!

Patrick


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PWP
member
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Reged: 07/24/11

Loc: Moscow Mills, Missouri
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5780666 - 04/05/13 09:47 PM

Quote:

Hi Perry,

I like your roll off shed idea and I'm thinking of ways I might incorporate it on my deck. I have a 10' x 14' deck with a wood pier in the middle of it.

I have a couple of questions...

1) Have you found the Keter 4x6 to be weather tight or have you needed to do additional sealing to make it so?

2) Did you order the Northern Machine Skates with the dogs or were those obtained somewhere else?

I think I know the answer to this, but the black flooring I see in your pictures looks like the floor that comes with the shed. Did you lay down an additional subfloor?

3) Did you block some of your horizon out because of the proximity of the shed to your mount?

4) What is the height of the door frame? I have a fairly tall mount and telescope setup and I'm wondering if it will clear the door when it's in home position.

My main concern with my possible implementation would be that I won't be able to move the 4x6 shed back far enough to amply clear the mount and telescope. In your research did you come across any sheds that were 4x4' and similar to the 4x6?

Thanks! I really like your setup!

Patrick




See my answers below:

Hi Perry,

I like your roll off shed idea and I'm thinking of ways I might incorporate it
on my deck. I have a 10' x 14' deck with a wood pier in the middle of it.

I have a couple of questions...

1) Have you found the Keter 4x6 to be weather tight or have you needed to do
additional sealing to make it so?

The shed is pretty straight forward to put together and honestly 1 person can put it together until you get to the roof which can be a little tricky only because it is awkward. Once finished, I got inside and did notice daylight near the front left side where the roof gutter met the A frame there was about a 1/8 in gap. It didn't appear to be at an angle that would leak, but it was a west facing wall so I was more worried about blown wet winds...so I went ahead and put some clear silicone in the gap. I think I didn't make sure the shed was completely square before I put on that section of gutter so I think the gap was my fault. I haven't had torrential rains yet but I have had decent rain and up to 45 mph winds and all remained dry so far.

2) Did you order the Northern Machine Skates with the dogs or were those obtained somewhere else?

The dogs you see on the side in my pictures are welded to the side of the machine skate although Northern Tool doesn't show this. The real use for them
is to join two machine skates together side by side in a slide and lock type setup. When I bought these it was because they were the cheapest thing I could find that would be low profile and support the weight of a building with me in it as I am a pretty big guy. I thought about casters but the ones that support any weight are way too tall and I didn't want the shed to be a skyscraper. The dogs welded to the side turned out to solve my main problem was how to keep the shed from tipping over in high winds. I didn't even know they were there until I went to northern tool to pick up the machine skates and saw
them sticking out on one side which gave me the idea to pick up some C channel and let them glide inside which would keep it on the ground. I was very
happy to solve that as it was gnawing at my mind.

Here is the link: http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200356891_200356891

You will also need the link to HEAVY DUTY C CHANNEL which is nothing more than industrial gauge track lighting rails they use for commercial use. I
found these at LOWES and I stumbled upon them. When I looked in the normal C and U channel section of hardware at LOWES I found nothing heavy
enough or large enough to use. These come in 10 foot length which is perfect and work very well. Make sure you keep these rails about a quarter inch away from the skates on each side and use lithium grease on them to help the skate slide easier...otherwise you will find way too much friction.

Remember, these are found in the Electrical isle, not the hardware Isle as one would think. I just stumbled on them while looking for 12/2 wire to run power to the observatory.
Here is that link: http://www.lowes.com/pd_43878-53911-ZA1200HS+10_4294722472__?productId=312875...


I think I know the answer to this, but the black flooring I see in your pictures
looks like the floor that comes with the shed. Did you lay down an additional
subfloor?

The black flooring does come with the shed and it is one piece. I do have subfloor under it as it is 3/4 weather treated plywood. Word to the wise though...since I have been using it I have a chair with rollers and I am a pretty big guy. The black floor is made to support weight of a foot...evenly distributed. I have noticed the rollers
of my chair while sitting in the observatory for some time now while I broadcast on NSN begin to put dents in the black flooring and the other day it finally broke
through on one point of contact because of my weight bearing down on one wheel when I shifted my weight. So...as to not have this issue continue to happen I
went ahead and put some 1/2 inch plywood on top of the black flooring just under my seating area to more evenly distribute my weight.




3) Did you block some of your horizon out because of the proximity of the shed
to your mount?

Yes....northern sky...but I have large trees that were in the way anyway so not a loss over what I was already dealing with when I was observing out in the driveway which is in the rear of our home.


4) What is the height of the door frame? I have a fairly tall mount and
telescope setup and I'm wondering if it will clear the door when it's in home
position.

Good question and that one was the most challenging for me. How tall do I make the darn pier? Too high, and I would have to park the scope in a horizontal home position to get it through the door instead of it sitting upright facing Polaris. Too low, and when I look through my polar scope won't see over the top of the shed which is directly in the path of sight to polar align with Polaris.

The height from my concrete pad is like this:
1. Skate = roughly 4 inches
2. 4x4 = roughly 3.75 inches
3. 3/4 inch plywood = 3/4 inches
4. Black floor that came with shed = 3/4 inches
TOTAL = 9.25 inches from ground to door bottom. Door on shed bottom to top = 72 inches. So from your deck floor to top of the door frame should be looking at about 81.25 inches.


My main concern with my possible implementation would be that I won't be able to move the 4x6 shed back far enough to amply clear the mount and telescope. In
your research did you come across any sheds that were 4x4' and similar to the
4x6?

Another great question and I think I know exactly what your talking about. I didn't research anything smaller than this shed. If you look at my pictures, I was faced with the same challenge. My pool is in the front of the shed and my fence for my property line was behind it. If I put the pier too close to the fence when I roll back the shed it would hit the fence and not give enough room for the door to open and close and remember not between the shed and the pier but between the shed and the front leading edge of the scope that is parked in the home position. If you allow 6 foot of travel from the back edge of the U that you cut in the floor you should have enough room
for it to roll back and the door still open and close.


**IMPORTANT** I cut the U in the floor by counting back 4 squares on the bottom side of the black flooring which is about 2.5 foot. It was enough for my scope to clear but I have an 8 inch Celestron SCT. This is also important as you obviously want your door to close and lock once you have the shed rolled over it but not waste room on the back part of the shed where you would want to set up your computer and you don't want to crowd yourself with a U cut in the floor more than you need. If you have a refractor scope...you will need a deeper U cut in the floor. My suggestion is when your measuring, measure from the front of your pier to the back of your scope eyepiece and that should tell you how deep to cut your U without cutting too much or too little.

Also, with your limited room you will face the same thing I did...is the polar scope high enough once the shed is rolled back for me to still look through it and see Polaris or will I be looking at the A section of my shed
roof? In my case, I couldn't see Polaris in the polar scope but I can see it in my main scope so I simply polar alight that way even though as long as your current pier and plate/scope is set up pretty much north now
you can simply align and use the hibernate feature on Nexremote like I do and when you wake it up and my gps pulls down current data it is still aligned with the sky even though it may be a week or two later. That is
the main reason I moved to an observatory. I got tired of aligning every time I wanted to use my scope not to mention rolling everything out of my garage and then back in again. That got old really quick.

Hope this helps you.

Would love to see pictures of your build as you do it. Feel free to post them on this thread.

Clear skies!

Perry


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Patrick
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5781022 - 04/06/13 01:51 AM

Hi Perry,

Thanks for all the great information~

Right now I'm focusing on the 6x3 version of the shed. That's all the room I need and the double doors would be perfect with the scope and mount horizontal. I'm pretty sure my setup is too tall for me to use a 6x4 with a single door.

I will be spending some time looking at my deck with measuring tape in hand. I'll let you know what I decide to do.

Thanks again!

Patrick


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RGWOOD
member


Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: Lake Jackson, Tx
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5781395 - 04/06/13 10:08 AM

Perry, how do you plan on dealing with heat build up on those hot DFW summer days? I live south of Houston and would like to do something similar but the heat and humidity is a worry for me. Humidity can wreck havoc with the electronics.

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Patrick
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: RGWOOD]
      #5783313 - 04/07/13 08:38 AM

I'm not Perry, so he can reply for himself.

However, I'd try a Telegizmo 365 cover, or similar, with an ample supply of desiccant material placed inside (the cover).

Patrick


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Raginar
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5783329 - 04/07/13 08:57 AM

They make heat lamps to 'cook' the humidity out. They seem fairly popular with people dealing with that particular problem.

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

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Raginar]
      #5783448 - 04/07/13 10:02 AM

I'd also suggest the TeleGizmos 365 cover with this from ScopeStuff, for the humidity:

Heat rod

For heat buildup; would it be possible to install one of those "whirly" fans on top of the shed? Along with a vent down low, this might suck enough heat out.


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Raginar
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5784460 - 04/07/13 06:17 PM

Carol,

You totally could. That's a really good idea


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obin robinson
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/25/12

Loc: League City, TX
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5792141 - 04/11/13 11:16 AM

Neat idea! For what it's worth I have a workshop behind our house in Virginia. Because I have expensive equipment back there I put a motion sensor alarm in it that is tied into our home alarm. I would seriously consider an alarm for your observatory shed. All you would need is a simple motion sensor. We have never had a problem with any false alarms either.

obin


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rigelsys
Vendor (Rigel Systems)


Reged: 08/22/06

Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: RGWOOD]
      #5792689 - 04/11/13 04:08 PM

There are small 12V DC de-humidifiers, under $100 that might help with the humidity.

http://www.google.com/search?q=dc+de-humidifier&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&a...,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.45107431,d.cGE&fp=f4d8adb0047aa78e&biw=1638&bih=911

On my roll-out observatory I've stretched a white outdoors tarp over the roof to reduce insolation (considered it an easier and non-destructive solution vs painting the roof white) and added a muffin-fan - theromostat combination to pull air through. This combination works well at keeping the temperature inside the shed not too much higher than outside during the heat of the day.

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5769908/page...




Quote:

Perry, how do you plan on dealing with heat build up on those hot DFW summer days? I live south of Houston and would like to do something similar but the heat and humidity is a worry for me. Humidity can wreck havoc with the electronics.




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PWP
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: RGWOOD]
      #5795774 - 04/13/13 02:11 AM

Quote:

Perry, how do you plan on dealing with heat build up on those hot DFW summer days? I live south of Houston and would like to do something similar but the heat and humidity is a worry for me. Humidity can wreck havoc with the electronics.




Interesting you should ask that. I am already using a telegizmo cover...which I used for the last two years when the scope was in my garage and have had no problems and this Texas heat can really heat up my garage. To address the ventilation, I already have plans for it. Notice the two built in gable vents in the pictures..one front..one back. My plan to install a thermostatically controlled crawl space fan across the face of the back gable vent. I will most likely install a plug to the unit in instead of hard wire. This will keep the air moving sufficently by kicking on when it gets to hot in the shed and I won't have to cut holes in the shed anywhere which would only invite leaks. One fan handles a 20x20x4 area...plenty.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200327479_200327479?cm_mmc=Goo...


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snowcrow
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5798835 - 04/14/13 04:48 PM

Great job, and it gives me a few ideas of my own.

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yonkrz
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5799494 - 04/14/13 09:38 PM

Thats pretty sweet,Perry.Not real big but big enough to do the job.

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PWP
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: yonkrz]
      #5805519 - 04/17/13 09:19 PM

Thanks all. Updated link on the crawl space fan to keep air moving on hot or moist days. I posted the wrong link before. This one has the built-in dehumidistat
and thermostat along with pigtail installed.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200327483_200327483


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Patrick
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5824418 - 04/26/13 01:23 PM

Well, I picked up the 6x3 model at Sears today. They had one for $379 and it looks nearly dentical to the Keter units. We will see how it goes!

Patrick


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rigelsys
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: gastargazer01]
      #5824617 - 04/26/13 03:04 PM

I believe I have the 6 x 5 version of that. Here's my commentary on it. Note, doors will probably be bowed, slightly.

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5769908/page...


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PWP
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5825976 - 04/27/13 10:15 AM

Quote:

Well, I picked up the 6x3 model at Sears today. They had one for $379 and it looks nearly dentical to the Keter units. We will see how it goes!

Patrick




Sounds good Patrick. Feel free to post your progress on this thread since it will be a roll away and it was under $500 so this thread makes a good fit for your posts if you want. Would love to see it in progress.

Perry


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Patrick
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5828277 - 04/28/13 12:49 PM

Hi Perry,

I'm looking for alternatives to the Northern Machinery Skates. Although it looks like they'd get the job done, $220 for 4 seems a little pricey. Are there any less expensive options out there? BTW, I will not be doing mine with rails because I will need to walk around the area and I don't want to be tripping over rails in the dark.

Patrick


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Bart
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5828645 - 04/28/13 03:44 PM

Great job, give inspiration to us all....

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gmartin02
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5830930 - 04/29/13 07:09 PM

Quote:

Thanks all. Updated link on the crawl space fan to keep air moving on hot or moist days. I posted the wrong link before. This one has the built-in dehumidistat
and thermostat along with pigtail installed.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200327483_200327483




That's pretty nice, but it looks like you can only control the fan operation based on humidity, not temperature. The description say that there is a freeze protection thermostat, but doesn't mention a "full featured" (adjustable) thermostat.


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PWP
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: gmartin02]
      #5832095 - 04/30/13 11:55 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Thanks all. Updated link on the crawl space fan to keep air moving on hot or moist days. I posted the wrong link before. This one has the built-in dehumidistat
and thermostat along with pigtail installed.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200327483_200327483




That's pretty nice, but it looks like you can only control the fan operation based on humidity, not temperature. The description say that there is a freeze protection thermostat, but doesn't mention a "full featured" (adjustable) thermostat.




I had the same concerns since it said a range of what appears to be up to 50 degrees but after purchasing it and running it set a 30% humidity, it does trigger to come on in the heat of the day. As we know, heat is usually accompanied by building humidity which is why there are afternoon thunderstorms. After all, it is really the humidity that is the concern for the electronics and I do have a telegizmo heat reflective cover which I keep on the scope even in a stored position. If anyone is that worried about airflow.. does have an option to set it to "ON"..to run continuously. If you want to do that, I would think a simple timer is in order for the evening to go off unless you want it running day and night. Then again, if it rains overnight you don't want the power to be off when the humidity is up. It appears to be well built...perhaps running it 24/7 at least in the summer is not a bad idea.


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PWP
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5832151 - 04/30/13 12:20 PM

Quote:

Hi Perry,

I'm looking for alternatives to the Northern Machinery Skates. Although it looks like they'd get the job done, $220 for 4 seems a little pricey. Are there any less expensive options out there? BTW, I will not be doing mine with rails because I will need to walk around the area and I don't want to be tripping over rails in the dark.

Patrick




Patrick,

I got lucky and when I purchased mine they were on sale for half off...around $28 a piece I think. However, if your not worried about keeping them on a track...you can use the link below for some a great alternative and much cheaper. They have a 1000lb capacity and you would probably only need 4 but at that price why not use 6? Even if you plan to climb in as I do to use the shed as a warm room once rolled off 4 or more of these will hold you plenty! Hope this helps.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_40246_40246

P.S. Excellent point about tripping over the rails in the dark once the shed is rolled back as I have done that twice now. Thinking of painting them with glow in the dark paint which should give them just enough luminance without causing any light polution.


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Patrick
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5832254 - 04/30/13 12:51 PM Attachment (28 downloads)

Quote:

I got lucky and when I purchased mine they were on sale for half off...around $28 a piece I think. However, if your not worried about keeping them on a track...you can use the link below for some a great alternative and much cheaper. They have a 1000lb capacity and you would probably only need 4 but at that price why not use 6? Even if you plan to climb in as I do to use the shed as a warm room once rolled off 4 or more of these will hold you plenty! Hope this helps.




Thanks for the link. I found a set from Grizzly with brakes on them, HERE. I'm not sure how I'm going to engage the brake part yet, but it would be nice for the shed to be locked down when either not in use or when standing to the side.

I have an advantage in that I will not be using the shed as a warm room or be sitting in it. My deck is right outside of my morning room which I have set up as a control/warm room. I just need the shed to cover the scope and lock it up when not in use.

Regards,

Patrick

Edited by Patrick (04/30/13 04:38 PM)


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PWP
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5833464 - 04/30/13 11:35 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I got lucky and when I purchased mine they were on sale for half off...around $28 a piece I think. However, if your not worried about keeping them on a track...you can use the link below for some a great alternative and much cheaper. They have a 1000lb capacity and you would probably only need 4 but at that price why not use 6? Even if you plan to climb in as I do to use the shed as a warm room once rolled off 4 or more of these will hold you plenty! Hope this helps.




Thanks for the link. I found a set from Grizzly with brakes on them, HERE. I'm not sure how I'm going to engage the brake part yet, but it would be nice for the shed to be locked down when either not in use or when standing to the side.

I have an advantage in that I will not be using the shed as a warm room or be sitting in it. My deck is right outside of my morning room which I have set up as a control/warm room. I just need the shed to cover the scope and lock it up when not in use.

Regards,

Patrick




That will work fine since you have no plans to use it as a warm room. Nice choice with the 3 inch as that will keep it as low to the deck as possible. Since the wheels don't swivel once you have them bolted to the 4x4's and have the floor lag bolted to the 4x4's I would simply drill about a 1/3 inch hole or so directly through the floor and the 4x4 directly lined up with the brake pedal. You may need to invest in a 8 inch plus wood drill bit but harborfreight.com usually have them cheap. You could then install a metal dowel rod and afix it to the brake. You could then bend the top end to make a handle which you would want running close to the wall on the inside of the shed. You could simply push it down to lock it and pull it up to unlock. You probably only need it on the front casters on each side of your doors so they are easy to lock and unlock from the outside by simply reaching in. Just a thought.

Nice HD BTW!


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Patrick
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5834279 - 05/01/13 12:31 PM

They're actually 4" wheels, but the same concept. I didn't want to go too small due to the gaps in the deck floorboards.

I like your suggestion for the brake actuator arm. I'll probably need to weld or bolt something on to push/pull on it from above.

Thanks!

Patrick


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Patrick
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5834283 - 05/01/13 12:34 PM

Did your Keter model come with a window or did you add it in?

Edited by Patrick (05/01/13 11:07 PM)


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PWP
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: Patrick]
      #5835423 - 05/01/13 11:25 PM

Quote:

Did your Keter model come with a window or did you add it in?




The Apex model I bought did come with the window. It looks nice from the outside but I ended up taping some white posterboard to the inside to reflect the sun and provide shade. The window side faces west and I noticed late in the afternoon when the sun shines through it it tends to add a lot of uneccesary heat to the interior. May be just as well if you don't have one. I would invest in the ventilation fan I posted a few threads up. I have found these sheds do tend to be 20 degrees hotter than the outside temp. With temps up to 107 or so here in the heart of the summer...I will keep mine on 24/7. I have had the scope in our garage for the past 2 years and it has been fine and it gets pretty hot in there as well. Honestly I am more concerned about moisture than I am the heat. I have a remote temp/humidity sensor in the shed and keep an eye on it from inside the house and it seems to be doing fine.


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audioaficionado
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/24/12

Loc: Medford, Orygun, USA
Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #5875037 - 05/21/13 12:24 AM

Would foil covered rigid insulation panels attached to the interior surfaces help with the heat issues?

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scopefreak
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #5877598 - 05/22/13 09:20 AM

Perry,

Looks really nice!! I finished my ROR 2 years ago after thinking a lot about the roll off shed design. For me, I had enough space to build a ROR connected to a storage shed that has a total foot print of 30' X 16'. The OBS is 16' X 10' with a 5' X 10' warm room. Kinda cozy but enough for one person.

I really like how well you have everything organized in the shed to allow for use as a warm room and still cover the scope when not in use.

I do have one question for you. Is the pier isolated from the rest of the concrete pad? In the pictures it looks as though the pad connects with the pier. If this is the case, have you noticed any vibration being transmitted to the telescope when people walk around the pad area? Just wondering.

I think you will really enjoy what you have built!! And it looks GREAT!!!

Kevin


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PWP
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #5880188 - 05/23/13 12:56 PM

Quote:

Would foil covered rigid insulation panels attached to the interior surfaces help with the heat issues?




Hi Steve,

Haven't had to worry much about that yet but if I see temps exceeding 105 I will most certainly give that a whirl although I would rather not if at all possible. Scopes are made for temp swings that can be expected in observatories. Main issue is humidity..with moisture and electronics ...not a good mix. So far, I have found no leaks (have had some pretty strong spring storms) and dew doesn't seem to be a problem. Keeping my fingers crossed I don't encounter issues. Once I get a full year of seasons under my belt with this observatory it will tell the tale if any further alterations need to be done.

Perry


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PWP
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: scopefreak]
      #5880236 - 05/23/13 01:29 PM

Quote:

Perry,

Looks really nice!! I finished my ROR 2 years ago after thinking a lot about the roll off shed design. For me, I had enough space to build a ROR connected to a storage shed that has a total foot print of 30' X 16'. The OBS is 16' X 10' with a 5' X 10' warm room. Kinda cozy but enough for one person.

I really like how well you have everything organized in the shed to allow for use as a warm room and still cover the scope when not in use.

I do have one question for you. Is the pier isolated from the rest of the concrete pad? In the pictures it looks as though the pad connects with the pier. If this is the case, have you noticed any vibration being transmitted to the telescope when people walk around the pad area? Just wondering.

I think you will really enjoy what you have built!! And it looks GREAT!!!

Kevin




Thanks Kevin,


The concrete pier was poured seperate but to your point once I added the pad I did fuse the two together. I haven't had any issues with vibration but then again I don't have anyone walking about while I am viewing/broadcasting on NSN. I use a Mallincam VSS+ mostly so very long exposures aren't neccessary like they are with a DSLR. So far so good for my first observatory but undoubtably I will most likely start uncovering design flaws at some point.

If I ever build another, I do have a few ideas that I would do differently...mainly with shed choice. While the Keter Apex shed does the job it is a little more light weight than I would prefer. It has held together well and not leaked but I think the walls could have been constructed with a little heavier material. All four corners are a decent thickness of plastic/resin but the sides are made of the same material but put together like thick cardboard..waffle/baffle design. Not a big fan of that but with that provides added dead air space which probably aids in the dissipation of heat. As a result, pushing on the walls from the inside makes them feel a bit too flimsy which isn't a big deal but I am a big guy and if I ever trip inside the shed I am wondering if I would take out a wall or if it would flex and rebound me. Let's hope I never have to find out. The other concern is hail. I live in Texas where you can get large hail. I feel confident it will do ok unless it gets larger than quarter size. Again, let's hope that doesn't happen.

I researched a ton of sheds prior to this build and honestly there just isn't that many out there that have this appeal (most look like a shipping storage container)and very few have a single door design which I wanted. I am very surprise that shed manufacturers have not offered a shed with a side back roof design much like the Rubbermaid model that stores your riding lawn mower but a larger/taller model to serve as an observatory. Seems they could pick up added revenue even if they made it a special order item. But until such time the shed I chose hasn't failed me yet and has held together well and no compaints on moisture of any kind or excessive heat build up..so until something else pops up on the market all in all I am pretty happy with it especially for the price.

Perry


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PWP
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #6304966 - 01/10/14 08:35 PM

Made a narrative video of the build for any that couldn't access the links to the pictures above. Here is the link:

http://youtu.be/2yYseL0Q1bo


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nicklane1
sage
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Reged: 03/04/08

Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #6305201 - 01/10/14 11:20 PM

Great narrative. Beautiful and well thought out rollaway obs.
Did you say in the video that this was built in TX? Yet your sig says MO. Do you have two?


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PWP
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: nicklane1]
      #6317931 - 01/17/14 06:15 AM

Quote:

Great narrative. Beautiful and well thought out rollaway obs.
Did you say in the video that this was built in TX? Yet your sig says MO. Do you have two?




Thanks Nick,

No, I do not have two observatories. Sadly, I built this observatory in January through March 2013 while we lived there. I was part of an unexpected layoff in September so we relocated back to Missouri which is home. The new homeowners wanted the shed part to used for pool supply storage and keep it in the rolled back position and I think they were going to use the pier as a powered bird bath or fountain of some sort. Had I known a layoff was coming of course, I would have probably not built it but we can't live our lives as if the Sword of Damocles is hanging over our heads. The only thing I left was some concrete and the shed itself...so no huge investment loss.

It is nice to be home again (after 6 years) but the weather this winter makes me wish we were back in a more temperate climate. I am back to wheeling in out of the garage on a wheelie bar again but hope to build another observatory again soon. The nice part about that is I will do a few things different this next go round than I did on this build...a version two if you will.

I posted this narrative as some were having problems viewing the build on my Facebook link and I think it is good to share to give others ideas they may have not thought of.


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munchmeister
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #6318717 - 01/17/14 01:48 PM

Very, very nice observatory shed and very, very well done video. Very helpful. Too bad you had to leave it, though.

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nicklane1
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: PWP]
      #6319435 - 01/17/14 08:59 PM

Hopefully that bit of misfortune is just like a few cloudy nights and will clear up soon.

You have given the rest of us a great blueprint. I particularly like that your obs is unobtrusive yet so very functional.


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PWP
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Re: Observatory for under $500 new [Re: nicklane1]
      #6319906 - 01/18/14 05:51 AM

Quote:

Very, very nice observatory shed and very, very well done video. Very helpful. Too bad you had to leave it, though.




Quote:

Hopefully that bit of misfortune is just like a few cloudy nights and will clear up soon.

You have given the rest of us a great blueprint. I particularly like that your obs is unobtrusive yet so very functional.




Thank you both for the kind words!


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