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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Footbag
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
V-groove casters & inverted angle iron?
      #5916926 - 06/12/13 12:55 PM

I'm at the point where I need to acquire the angle iron and v-groove caster wheels.

I'll likely go with these. They are 4in ductile steel wheels. I'm just wondering if there would be a benefit to using another material, or to stick with the plan.

As for the angle iron, I don't know whether should have a local machine shop weld an inverted angle iron to some flat stock so I can easily mount it. Or whether I should just buy the angle iron drill it and invert it onto the top plate of my observatory. Also what size and thickness angle iron?

I'd love any insight from anyone who has done this. Also, what is the typical length of angle iron stock? Lowe's maxes out at 6'. I saw one online for 240" for $50. Even if that is without shipping it's pretty cheap.


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Galaxyhunter
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/02/06

Loc: Northern Illinois
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5917624 - 06/12/13 08:01 PM

Adam, Those casters will do just fine. If you went with some kind of plastic composite, It will increase the effort to roll the roof. I used 1.5 x 3/16 angle iron. I could of used 1/8" thick, but I have never been accused of building anything wimpy. I welded the angle iron to 3/16 x 3” flat stock. This aided in the ease of mounting. If you just use the iron on your top plate, your screws will be at an angle. I have found that this is a royal PITA to keep the iron straight. As a side benefit of using a flat plate is the this will stiffen up the top of the wall. The link below shows how I made the end of the iron. I put a stop at the end & put a capture rod on it so when the roof closes, it will automatically be locked down. No need for turn buckles or chains to hold the roof.

http://hawkeye-observatory.com/ob-2/retain.html


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Footbag
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: Galaxyhunter]
      #5917646 - 06/12/13 08:18 PM

You just gave me a whole lot more to think about. The capture rod is genius. But I don't think it will work with my roof design.

I should probably order the casters so I can bring them to the machine shop. Hmmm. Thinking.


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*skyguy*
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/31/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5917695 - 06/12/13 08:48 PM Attachment (47 downloads)

Hi Adam ... The v-groove casters look good ... very similar to the ones I used in my observatory. For my track ... I welded the inverted angle iron onto square steel tubing. Inside the observatory, mounting brackets were welded onto the tubing to attach the track to the wood top plate. Outside the observatory, the combined angle iron and square tubing created a track so strong that all I needed was a single welded support frame ... made from left-over angle iron ... to hold the very heavy ROR. I also welded small steel plate "wheel stops" at the end of both roof tracks. The system has worked great over the past 12 years with absolutely no problems and no repairs.

Jim


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LoveChina61
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 06/20/09

Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5917709 - 06/12/13 08:56 PM

I am using 6 steel wheels that I purchased from Grainger for about $30-$35 apiece. The wheels have bearings and it is a good thing too. My 1/2hp garage door opener could barely budge the roof till I squirted a bunch of grease in each wheel's grease hole. Then the roof slid along effortlessly. I just need to regrease the wheels one time each year and it is good to go.

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tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: LoveChina61]
      #5917785 - 06/12/13 09:38 PM

I wonder if something like a full extension drawer slide would work for a rolloff roof. Pier Tech does something almost like this with their rolloffs. My Hatch Observatory hatch cover uses 4.5 ft long industrial drawer slides that we had the contractor use when we were rebuilding the roof of our house after a fire in 2001. I looked them up several years ago, and found they make them up to 5 feet, but they cost $500 each. Ouch! Nice thing is that they're completely hidden when the roof is closed. Bad thing is that, to make a 10' wide rolloff, you'd need to split the roof in the middle and use 4 slides. Expensive!

But I wonder if a similar apparatus could be made using channel iron and wheels?



-Tim


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CharlesW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/02/12

Loc: Chula Vista & Indio, CA
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: tim53]
      #5917893 - 06/12/13 10:38 PM

I would imagine that you might find a steel supplier in Scranton that specializes in rolling-gate casters and angle. You could get a lot of ideas there.

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5918124 - 06/13/13 01:59 AM

I've been wondering about using garden railway track and wheels.

It would defeat the degree of freedom overconstraint problem two v tracks cause.

-Rich


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HenryB
member


Reged: 01/11/13

Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5918285 - 06/13/13 07:26 AM

I went with V-casters intended for an automatic fence. They have nice sealed roller bearings and make opening and closing a 12'x12' effortless. Another point is to provide capability for a small amount of lateral movement of the roller, since it is difficult to get the tracks perfectly straight and parallel. I was concerned about needing a motorized roof, but I can move my 12'x12' roof easily with one hand. For my 60+ year body, opening the roof is the least of my worries.

Bryan


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Footbag
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: HenryB]
      #5918395 - 06/13/13 09:15 AM

I have looked at both the fence track and angle iron. I like the fence track because it is simpler, but I didn't have much luck finding it locally.

I actually found someone to weld the angle iron for me and it's very reasonable. It seems like I'll get out for around $200 for two 20ft tracks.

Edited by Footbag (06/13/13 09:26 AM)


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Footbag
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5918424 - 06/13/13 09:36 AM

Is anyone actually using the rigid plates for the casters? Or have you fabricated the caster into your roof design. I'd love to see or hear about some solutions.

If I could mount the casters to the roofs top plate without using the plate, then I could keep the roof lower. Otherwise, the rigid plated have slightly under a 6" rise.


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DeanS
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5926210 - 06/17/13 07:39 PM Attachment (34 downloads)

I used cast iron V groove rollers from McMaster Carr. Angle iron was welded to 5" steel plate.

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DeanS
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: DeanS]
      #5926216 - 06/17/13 07:41 PM Attachment (35 downloads)

Here is a drawing with my roller details. A little hard to read but you can see what I did.

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Mirzam
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/01/08

Loc: Lovettsville, VA
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: DeanS]
      #5926988 - 06/18/13 08:20 AM

Nicely done.

How do you protect the exposed angle iron on the outside rails? The initial paint was rubbed off mine pretty quickly. I usually lather the rails with spray protectant every year or so. But there still is considerable rust formation.

JimC


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: Mirzam]
      #5927006 - 06/18/13 08:34 AM

The paint that BYO used on my rails has held up extremely well over the years! I've got to ask Scott what paint it is, for when I do touch up the rails.

You might try the Rustoleum paint.


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DeanS
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5927021 - 06/18/13 08:39 AM

The top of the angle iron is cleaned of rust each time it opens, but the welds are rusty now. This is on my summer project list, wire brush it well, and use some kind of rust inhibiting paint. But I doubt I will live long enough for the rust to ever be anything more than a cosmetic issue.

Dean


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Mirzam
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/01/08

Loc: Lovettsville, VA
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: DeanS]
      #5927146 - 06/18/13 09:59 AM

Seems like there is a Neil Young song along those lines...

Maybe I am too optimistic!

JimC


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mikey cee
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: DeanS]
      #5927187 - 06/18/13 10:32 AM

Light surface rust actually becomes a protective coating in and of itself. Mike

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Footbag
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: Mirzam]
      #5927269 - 06/18/13 11:05 AM

Quote:

Seems like there is a Neil Young song along those lines...

Maybe I am too optimistic!

JimC




Now thats funny! I can almost hear it in Neil Youngs voice.

Thanks for all the info. I got it all ordered, now I just hace to assemble it. I went with rigid casters, but may just remove them From the plates and mount them within the roofs top plate. I want that as rigid as possible, but with as low a rise as possible.

Edited by Footbag (06/18/13 01:29 PM)


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Lord Beowulf
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 10/13/08

Loc: Cedar Park, TX
Re: V-groove casters & inverted angle iron? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5928408 - 06/18/13 11:11 PM

Hi Adam,

The "usual" sources like McMaster Carr and Grainger are certainly viable for this sort of thing, but they aren't the most economical. I built my roll-off based on the concept used by Scott at Backyard Observatories. For that I bought these wheels by themselves off Amazon from SmallParts.com (now apparently Amazon Supply) and used half inch bolts from Home Depot for the axles. The wheels were under $11 each delivered and while they don't have these in stock, they have some 1.5" wide ones for $8.39. The nuts and bolts were a couple bucks each.

As for the angle iron, I bought seven 20' pieces of 1" angle for under $20 each (less than $1/foot) from a local pipe supplier. It just comes down to finding the right suppliers.

Beo


Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.


Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.


Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.


Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.


Visit the corresponding Orion Ranch Observatory web page.


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