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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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JoeT6571
member


Reged: 03/11/12

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: dw310]
      #5309343 - 07/09/12 07:16 AM Attachment (47 downloads)

Before setting the joists, I used concrete anchor bolts to attach the wooden posts to the concrete tubes. The wooden posts allow me to get the exterior and interior beams vertically level. The concrete anchor bolts allow me to square up the structure completely before permanently anchoring it down. The metal corners are cut to fit with a sawzall with a metal cutting blade. After squaring up my perimeter, I drilled holes into the concrete with a hammer drill, blow the dust out of the hole, hammer the anchor bolt down, and then tighten the nut on the anchor bolt. Tightening the nut expands the bolt in the concrete and anchors it completely.

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JoeT6571
member


Reged: 03/11/12

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: dw310]
      #5310446 - 07/09/12 08:35 PM Attachment (50 downloads)

I applied one coat of primer and a coat of paint to the underside of my 3/4 inch OSB tongue and groove decking prior to installation. Even though the deck is elevated off the ground, and there is a layer of plastic underneath, I felt the paint would help preserve the wood. The decking was glued and screwed on June 24. I made sure no 4 corners met by starting the second run with a half sheet.

I cut a hole in the decking for the pier leaving and extra inch. The pier is completely independent from the observatory.

Last summer we had a couple fairly strong windstorms. Each storm blew a couple of our mature aspen into our field. I had to clean them up because a local farmer cuts hay in our field every summer. Instead of continuing to "waste" this wood, I decided to cut 35 cords of aspen last winter from the perimeter of our field. Hayward has a large OSB plant and I had the wood delivered there. Since the decking (and the siding) I purchased from the lumber yard was made by this same company, I'm telling everyone some of the wood for the observatory came right from our property. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.


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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: JoeT6571]
      #5311123 - 07/10/12 09:54 AM

Beautiful!

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JoeT6571
member


Reged: 03/11/12

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: Raginar]
      #5311411 - 07/10/12 02:07 PM Attachment (44 downloads)

The north and east walls were pretty straightforward. I went with 2 x 4 construction because of cost. Everyone assured me that 2 x 6 lumber was totally unnecessary for the walls. Studs are 16 inches on center. I framed up the wall on the floor of the observatory, squared up the wall taking diagonal measurements, and attached a temporary diagonal 2 x 4 to the wall to keep it square.

My plan is to complete the observatory before beginning the attached garden shed. Sorry dear.

I'm looking a rather happy here because things are finally starting to go well.


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nytecam
Postmaster


Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: dw310]
      #5311663 - 07/10/12 04:46 PM

It will be fabulous - keep up the good work

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dw310
member


Reged: 08/10/10

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: nytecam]
      #5311924 - 07/10/12 08:19 PM

I'm really enjoying your progress. Thanks for sharing!

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JoeT6571
member


Reged: 03/11/12

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: dw310]
      #5312473 - 07/11/12 07:04 AM Attachment (45 downloads)

I installed a drop down wall to the south bringing the height down to 39 inches. You didn't think I was going to all this trouble and expense building a 12 x 16 foot observatory to house a 25 year old 8 inch SCT did you? Nooooooo! Someday I will add a larger dobsonian and I designed this observatory with this in mind. The west wall will also have a drop down section. The 39 inch figure was a guess, since I do not know the make, model, or size of this future scope.

So where is the second independent pier? Well I thought long and hard about digging a second pier for the dobsonian. After about 4 seconds I decided I wasn't going down that road again. The dob will be for visual observing only and 99% of the time I will be alone in observatory. There is a concrete tube directly under where the dob will be located and I do have a double beam in the foundation running down the center of the obs. The floor is very solid. If I ever host a group of friends or students and interior vibrations affect the observing to much, I can always construct a ramp in the future and run the dob outside to a gravel or brick pad.


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JoeT6571
member


Reged: 03/11/12

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: JoeT6571]
      #5312475 - 07/11/12 07:06 AM Attachment (39 downloads)

I used a router to recess three heavy duty hinges for the drop down wall. This allows the wall to lay flat in the up position.

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JoeT6571
member


Reged: 03/11/12

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: JoeT6571]
      #5313822 - 07/12/12 07:31 AM Attachment (39 downloads)

The west wall got a little busy. I have a 33 inch rough opening for the door, a 23 inch rough opening for a window, and an 8 foot fold down wall section. The headers for the door and window are constructed with 2 x 6 lumber with a half inch thick piece of OSB for a spacer.

I used diagonal measurements across the corners to insure the walls were square before permanently anchoring them down.

The west wall is not strong because of all the openings. I will need to brace this wall to keep it straight and to do this I'm thinking of building a short (two feet?) stub wall in between the fold down section and the window. I have the room to do this. Any comments to solve this problem would be appreciated.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: JoeT6571]
      #5314030 - 07/12/12 10:26 AM

That's very impressive building! Really looking great. Yes, the dropdowns are a must for the dob in your future. I think your wall heights with the dob in mind are perfect. Mine are around 3' high, with a dropdown on my East wall.

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GaryJCarter
sage
*****

Reged: 06/06/09

Loc: Fairview, Texas
Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: JoeT6571]
      #5314306 - 07/12/12 01:21 PM

Quote:


The west wall is not strong because of all the openings. I will need to brace this wall to keep it straight and to do this I'm thinking of building a short (two feet?) stub wall in between the fold down section and the window. I have the room to do this. Any comments to solve this problem would be appreciated.




Assuming you are sheathing the outside with 1/2" exterior grade plywood, strength should not be a problem once installed. If you are still concerned about it I would suggest a diagonal let-in across the span of the wall. This would brace it from shear.

I do see one potential problem. It appears you have an exposed porch(?) I am assuming that is an uncovered deck when the observatory is closed. The interior observatory "floor" is not offset from the exterior "deck". Two issues with this.

First is the exterior sheathing cannot be anchored to the floor joist in this arrangement. You lose a lot of strength here. The second is it will collect water at the deck-wall interface. Exposure to the elements means you will have a bad problem to deal with a few years down the road as that wall plate develops dry-rot. I suggest you cut the exterior deck from the interior floor and allow the wall sheath to extend all the way to the bottom of the floor joist. Water will shed to the ground avoiding the dry-rot problem.


Edited by GaryJCarter (07/12/12 03:01 PM)


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
*****

Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: GaryJCarter]
      #5314538 - 07/12/12 03:01 PM

He is adding a garden shed on that open end so no problems with water pooling.

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JoeT6571
member


Reged: 03/11/12

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: Mary B]
      #5315519 - 07/13/12 07:42 AM Attachment (39 downloads)

On to the gantry. The 3.5 x 5.5 posts support a 2 x 8 track joist which is mortised into the posts. This is capped with a double 2 x 6 track plate. The steel rail will be installed on top of the track plates. A 2 x 6 runs cross ways between the beams.

The first step was to determine the height of the posts. I did this by putting a full length post in place and making sure it was plumb. I used 2 x 4's with screws to temporarily lock everything down. Then I ran a string level from the top of the observatory wall (but below the top plates) out to the post to get the correct height.

The post then comes down and I cut it to length. Then I measured the width of my track joist and mortise the post. Not all 2 x 8's are 1.5 x 7.5 inches. Some of my lumber was 1.5 x 7.25 and I was glad I measured before I mortised the post. Then the finished post is set back in place and the whole plumbing and cribbing process takes place again.

This is definitely a two person day (actually two half days) and it requires a helper of patience while all this measuring and remeasuring, plumbing, assembling and reassembling is taking place. I'm not that fast and it was HOT. It just takes time to get everything plumb and square. Thanks John, I really appreciated the help.


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JoeT6571
member


Reged: 03/11/12

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: JoeT6571]
      #5315522 - 07/13/12 07:44 AM Attachment (33 downloads)

Our front porch overlooks our south field. The observatory sits off to the south and east from the house. During dinner on the porch my wife commented, "it's a little bigger than I anticipated."

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JoeT6571
member


Reged: 03/11/12

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: JoeT6571]
      #5317455 - 07/14/12 01:18 PM Attachment (28 downloads)

I ordered the rail fabrication from a welder friend. 3/16 steel plate three inches wide capped with angle iron. The angle iron is tack welded every foot and there are slots every two feet for 1/4 inch screws. I had him manufacture one piece to the exact length of my fold down wall section. He made each side in three sections for ease of transport and installation. Apparently I had a miscommunication with him. I thought I ordered steel, but when he gave me the bill, it looks like he charged me for gold instead. Holy *BLEEP*! This stuff is expensive. I can't wait for the bill for the steel pier.

I cannot complain about the work however. The angle iron is centered perfectly and the edges and clean and square.

I applied one coat of primer and two coats of rust preventing paint to the rails prior to installation.


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JoeT6571
member


Reged: 03/11/12

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: JoeT6571]
      #5317543 - 07/14/12 02:02 PM Attachment (28 downloads)

After finishing the gantry I decided to build the castor plate on top of the walls and install the castors. The top of the walls were straight and level and were a good work surface. Each castor plate is double 2 x 6's screwed together. I snapped a line for the groove center of the castors on the plate and was careful to keep the castors lined up and straight when I screwed them down.

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JoeT6571
member


Reged: 03/11/12

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: JoeT6571]
      #5317546 - 07/14/12 02:04 PM Attachment (27 downloads)

After finishing the gantry I decided to build the castor plate on top of the walls and install the castors. The top of the walls were straight and level After completing the plates and castor installation, I took them down and put the rails on the walls using only a few screws to each rail piece for temporary placement. We measured across the observatory with a steel tape every four feet to insure the rails were parallel.

Then we put the castor plates back up on the rails and used blocking to keep them from tipping over.


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JoeT6571
member


Reged: 03/11/12

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: JoeT6571]
      #5317550 - 07/14/12 02:06 PM Attachment (28 downloads)

I then tied the two sides together with 2 x 4's and used a couple of diagonal 2 x 4's to square up this temporary "roof." Now the big test - would it roll? I got lucky and it rolled like a charm. No need to tweak the rails.

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Gastrol
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: Pebble Hill Observatory new [Re: JoeT6571]
      #5317565 - 07/14/12 02:24 PM

Very nice! I found that there were just enough lateral wheel play within the castors themselves that they virtually self aligned themselves as they rolled.

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JoeT6571
member


Reged: 03/11/12

Re: Pebble Hill Observatory [Re: Gastrol]
      #5318491 - 07/15/12 07:24 AM Attachment (32 downloads)

I ordered the rafters weeks ago and when I finally had them delivered, I was very disappointed. They certainly are not fancy and I could have banged those things together in a morning and saved myself a chunk of change. Their only redeeming factor is that they are exactly alike and I guess that's worth something.

I screwed two vertical boards up at the end of the north wall high enough to support the first rafter. Since I didn't have the right kind of rafter ties for the end, I simply toenailed in the first rafter after clamping it to the vertical support boards. Then I set my rafter ties two feet on center down the castor plate. The rafters were light and the installation went quickly. I actually had two rafters set by myself before super wife got home and gave me a hand. I made sure each rafter was plumb before tying them together with a 1 x 4 on the inside peak. I also tied the rafter chords together with a 2 x 4 along the top center of the chords.

Roll of went smoothly, but it certainly takes more effort with the rafters installed. I imagine roll off will be a grunt after the roof is finished.

Since this is the first time I have ever attempted a roof, I have a big learning curve for the gable ends, soffits, facia, and metal roof installation.

I have a question for my cold weather friends. Will I have a condensation problem with a bare metal roof overhead? I do not want to install sheathing and roof felt below the metal because of weight.


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