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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Backyard wood Pier
      #5527689 - 11/19/12 10:59 AM

I decided to build a wooden pier in my backyard for the times I don't want to drive out to my dark site. I live in the city but can look at the brighter objects. After seeing the posts about other wood piers I decided to copy the setup.
My goals was to build the pier for under $200, have it so that one person could build it and also give the future owners of my house the option to remove it without too much work.

I bought 4x 6x6 pressure treated wood from the local Home Depot. That and the hardware to bolt them together was less than $100. I also bought 2x 12x12 inch steel plates from the local metal shop for $20 each, much more than I expected but that is ok.

My first task was to cut the 8 foot 6x6 down to 6 foot and then glue and screw them together. I used glue to make sure there was no shifting of the wood. I bolted all four together using 12 inch bolts from Lowes.

Here is a photo of the finished 6 foot pier. It weighs in at 220 pounds!!!



I used my drillpress to drill the holes for the plate used to mount the G11. If you do this by hand make sure you mark each plate to make sure the holes line up later.



I painted each plate with two coats of paint, but expect some rusting in the future since the steel is not coated.

I then dug the 3 foot hole with the help of my nieghbor using a power digger. No, I am too old to try that with a post hole digger. The bottom of the hole was lined with gravel to help drain water and a large brick was placed there to sit the pier on.



I used a hand truck to move the pier to the hole and lowered it in. I aligned the axis of the pier to the north using a compass. Made sure that it was level and poured in the concrete. I only put enough in the hole to come up halfway, the rest filled with rock and dirt. Future owners can cut the pier below ground level or break the concrete if needed.



The bottom plate was next. I used 8 inch long bolts to connect the bottom plate to the pier, one for each section. I had cutout spots on the pier to leave room for the nuts that holds the top plate on.





The top plate went on next with the mount for the G11. I had to move the G11 controller a few degrees to clear the edge of the 12x12 plate.



I like the way everything came into place. Took just a few hours over the weekend to set this up. I next will stain the wood to match the house. I also need a clear night to do my drift alignment and then lock down everything. Now I will be able to come home from work and just attach a scope and image. By the way, the pier is solid!!!





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EdTheEdge
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/10/09

Loc: Lomita, CA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5527706 - 11/19/12 11:08 AM

Nice! Thanks for the pics and detailed info!

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EdTheEdge
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/10/09

Loc: Lomita, CA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5527707 - 11/19/12 11:08 AM

Nice! Thanks for the pics and detailed info!

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Ranger Tim
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 03/25/08

Loc: SE Idaho, USA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: EdTheEdge]
      #5527997 - 11/19/12 01:37 PM

What is your plan to combat condensation under the cover when it's in place? A waterproof/breathable cover? Virginia - the land of humidity.

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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: EdTheEdge]
      #5528001 - 11/19/12 01:38 PM

Beautiful Dwight, I really like my wood pier too. I didn't go quite as robust; mine is a single 6x6. She'll shake a bit when you move the mount; but once she's tracking I don't notice any issues. And, like you, I wanted something removable.

Great job documenting it! How was drilling through the steel plate?


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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Ranger Tim]
      #5528006 - 11/19/12 01:41 PM

I plan on storing the G11 in my trailer, away from the condensation. Once setup it will not be hard to just mount and shoot. If I had power at the pier I would have used a small watt bulb to keep the water away.

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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Raginar]
      #5528015 - 11/19/12 01:47 PM

Quote:

....How was drilling through the steel plate?



I expected that to be the hardest part but drilling the holes for the bolts was harder. I slowed the drill down to 800 rpm and use oil to keep the bit cooled.

Now cutting the bold holes through 12 inches of wood took forever. Don't try it with a battery powered drill. I had to buy an electric drill to do the job.


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Erik30
super member


Reged: 10/16/12

Loc: Cottage Grove, MN
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5528407 - 11/19/12 05:06 PM

This is a great idea, thank you for posting it.

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Wembley2000
sage
*****

Reged: 01/07/12

Loc: SW Ohio
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Erik30]
      #5528951 - 11/19/12 10:12 PM

Nice job, I have been kicking around the exact same pier design. How much concrete did you end up using and what is your hole diameter?

Brian


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shawnhar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/25/10

Loc: Knoxville, TN
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Wembley2000]
      #5529089 - 11/19/12 11:14 PM Attachment (102 downloads)

Nice!
I love my wood pier so much I built a deck around it with a slide away plastic shed, scope stays on it all the time now.


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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Wembley2000]
      #5529368 - 11/20/12 04:30 AM

Quote:

Nice job, I have been kicking around the exact same pier design. How much concrete did you end up using and what is your hole diameter?

Brian




The max size of the powered hole digger was 12 inches. I then had to use the post hole digger to expand it to around 18 inches. I used one 80 lb bag of concrete but realized that was not enough and had to use 1/2 of another.


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Wembley2000
sage
*****

Reged: 01/07/12

Loc: SW Ohio
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5530174 - 11/20/12 01:30 PM

Thanks for the info!

Brian


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Lorence
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/15/08

Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Wembley2000]
      #5530324 - 11/20/12 02:33 PM

Quote:

Nice job, I have been kicking around the exact same pier design. How much concrete did you end up using and what is your hole diameter?




I have a similar pier. Rather than digging it in I had it driven into the ground by an excavator. I sharpened one end like a big pencil. The excavator drove the pier over six feet into hard clay. No digging.

The excavator weighs over 30,000 lbs. The operator pushed the pier in as far as it would go then used the bucket like a hammer and drove it in another foot or so.

There has been a few threads about the possibility of the wood pier moving over time. I haven't noticed any movement in mine. If it did become a problem I would simply get the excavator back and pull the pier out of the ground. The existing hole would be the base for a concrete pier.


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John Miele
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/29/05

Loc: North Alabama
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Lorence]
      #5531033 - 11/20/12 08:58 PM

Boy this looks great Dwight ! As far as protecting the wood from moisture long term, I was wondering if drowning it in something like Thompsen's water seal or maybe several thick coats of spar varnish would keep the wood completely sealed? Or is the pressure treating enough on its own?

Oh almost forgot to ask, how thick were the two steel plates?

Thanks...John


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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: John Miele]
      #5532013 - 11/21/12 11:19 AM

Quote:

Boy this looks great Dwight ! As far as protecting the wood from moisture long term, I was wondering if drowning it in something like Thompsen's water seal or maybe several thick coats of spar varnish would keep the wood completely sealed? Or is the pressure treating enough on its own?

Oh almost forgot to ask, how thick were the two steel plates?

Thanks...John




Thanks. I thought about putting a water seal on it but was rushing the job and expect the pressure treatment to be good enough for now. 6x6 posts last a long time here and 4 of them should be stable for as long as I need them to be.

The steel plates were around 1/4 of an inch I think. I will have to measure when I get home. They were very heavy and had no flex.


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HunterofPhotons
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Loc: Rhode Island, USA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: John Miele]
      #5532365 - 11/21/12 02:18 PM

Quote:

.... As far as protecting the wood from moisture long term, I was wondering if drowning it in something like Thompsen's water seal or maybe several thick coats of spar varnish would keep the wood completely sealed? Or is the pressure treating enough on its own?.....




There's no practical way to completely seal wood. Dipping it into epoxy several times might get you close.
There are two types of pressure-treated (pt) wood. One is rated for ground contact, the other is for above ground uses.
The problem with pt wood is that it is made with junk wood, wood that is more susceptible to twist and warp than other woods. Not all finishes are compatible on pt wood. Check before applying.
Since wood absorbs moisture primarily through its end grain, don't skimp on those areas.

dan k.


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Pat at home
sage


Reged: 03/16/07

Loc: Campbellton, New Brunswick, Ca...
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: HunterofPhotons]
      #5532685 - 11/21/12 05:21 PM

Alternatives to pressure treated lumber are torified wood, and naturally resistant species like tamarack, cedar and white oak. These options are more expensive.

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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Pat at home]
      #5533718 - 11/22/12 10:46 AM

Had my first light with the mount last night. So much nicer than using a tripod! No legs to trip over, no shakes or wiggles. I did a quick polar align and my gotos were spot on.

As you can see in the photos I am surrounded by trees and I have a limited view of the sky. Betelgeuse is the southern most point I can see. So I will be limited in what I can image.

The light pollution is high enough that I am limited to 2 minute exposures using a Hutech IDAS-LPS. The new mount will allow me to make long Ha exposure. I wish this mount was in the middle of New Mexico.


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Phillip Easton
sage


Reged: 12/24/10

Loc: DFW
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5534976 - 11/23/12 08:02 AM

Quote:

H I wish this mount was in the middle of New Mexico.




You could always pull it up and move it
Seriously, thanks a lot for the information! Looking at options for doing a pier too so it is extremely helpful!

Cheers!
Phillip


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Jeff Smith
professor emeritus


Reged: 04/06/10

Loc: Chicago
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Phillip Easton]
      #5535312 - 11/23/12 11:38 AM

Looking good! The convience and lack of tripod legs is great.

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coopman
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/23/06

Loc: South Louisiana
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Jeff Smith]
      #5537115 - 11/24/12 11:46 AM

How much does that G11 mount weigh? Looks pretty heavy.

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Patrick
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5538078 - 11/25/12 12:00 AM

Nice job Dwight! My wood pier is still serving me well!

Patrick


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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Patrick]
      #5538139 - 11/25/12 01:12 AM

Quote:

Nice job Dwight! My wood pier is still serving me well!

Patrick




Thanks. Yours is the design I tried to copy, seemed logical and easy to build. Thanks


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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: coopman]
      #5538140 - 11/25/12 01:13 AM

Quote:

How much does that G11 mount weigh? Looks pretty heavy.


I don't know at the moment. I am not taking it down right now since I have it zeroed in.

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korborh
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 01/29/11

Loc: Arizona
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5539610 - 11/25/12 11:20 PM

Very nice work Dwight. 4x 6x6 wow!

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John Miele
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/29/05

Loc: North Alabama
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: korborh]
      #5541067 - 11/26/12 09:17 PM

Jeepers Dwight! I was at Lowes yesterday to buy some odds and ends and decided to take a look at the 6x6 posts while I was there. Man they are huge! And Heavy! I admit it...I was intimidated and I'm now having 2nd thoughts about handling these big pieces...John

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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: John Miele]
      #5541266 - 11/26/12 11:07 PM

John,

Trying just using 1 x 6x6 or doing 4 x 4x4. I think you'll find it works just fine.

I'm using a single 6x6 and while I can make it 'shake', it dampens almost immediately.


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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Raginar]
      #5541484 - 11/27/12 03:29 AM

I am 6'4" and had no problems moving the 8 foot sections of 6x6 around. I do wish they sold 6 foot sections instead. A pier made with 4x4 would work. I get no shake with the pier I made. See if you can fine a friend or someone from the club to help.

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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5541874 - 11/27/12 11:10 AM

Menards had 6' sections . I agree the 4 6x6 option has to be very sturdy.

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mlanglois
member


Reged: 12/04/09

Loc: Newton, MA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Raginar]
      #5541985 - 11/27/12 12:08 PM

Dwight,

How did you secure the mount to the top plate? And have you had any problems with keeping it perfectly level considering expansion/contraction or slippage of the bolts between the plates?

Michael


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hottr6
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/28/09

Loc: 7,500', Magdalena Mtns, NM
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5542027 - 11/27/12 12:30 PM

Why not use an old railway tie? A 9' tie costs $15, and no fuss with drilling holes. Only downside I see is that they are heavy and require 2 people to maneuver around.

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HunterofPhotons
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Loc: Rhode Island, USA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: hottr6]
      #5542188 - 11/27/12 01:54 PM

Quote:

Why not use an old railway tie? ..... Only downside I see is that they are heavy and require 2 people to maneuver around.




They're soaked with creosote.
Creosote is probably carcinogenic, is a well-known irritant, and it's sticky.
There are many wood species available at lumber yards that have no deleterious effects.

dan k.


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Lorence
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/15/08

Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: John Miele]
      #5542288 - 11/27/12 02:55 PM

Quote:

Jeepers Dwight! I was at Lowes yesterday to buy some odds and ends and decided to take a look at the 6x6 posts while I was there. Man they are huge! And Heavy! I admit it...I was intimidated and I'm now having 2nd thoughts about handling these big pieces...John




John my pier was made out of four twelve foot PT 6x6's bolted together. Yes the beams are heavy but I managed to move them around without much trouble. Roll, push, drag, whatever it takes to move them. Lift one end at a time and walk it to where you want it. The most important muscle required to do that sort of work is the one between your ears.

If you face a task with the attitude I can't do that, you probably won't. If you take the attitude there's got to be a way to do this, you will likely succeed.


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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: HunterofPhotons]
      #5542314 - 11/27/12 03:13 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Why not use an old railway tie? ..... Only downside I see is that they are heavy and require 2 people to maneuver around.




They're soaked with creosote.
Creosote is probably carcinogenic, is a well-known irritant, and it's sticky.
There are many wood species available at lumber yards that have no deleterious effects.

dan k.




I built this pier one afternoon and I was alone so I had to have pieces of wood that I could move on my own. Also I don't need the chemical issue around the scopes or mount.


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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: mlanglois]
      #5542324 - 11/27/12 03:21 PM

Quote:

Dwight,

How did you secure the mount to the top plate? And have you had any problems with keeping it perfectly level considering expansion/contraction or slippage of the bolts between the plates?

Michael




I used a FHD / Meade field tripod adapter connected on the top plate to hold the mount. You can get them from Losmandy. I used the one that I had on my G8 mount which I was not using. It has a 1/2 inch hole in the center to bolt down to the plate.

The bolts between the plates are 3/4 inch bolts that don't move at all. No movement of the plates or the pier yet but we have not had time to see what the weather does. I don't expect any movement and the design of the plates will let you adjust the level by adjusting the bolts a few turns.


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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5542567 - 11/27/12 06:07 PM

Dwight,
That's what I do too. Just adjust a bolt here and there to make sure she's level.

I love your pier.


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John Miele
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/29/05

Loc: North Alabama
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Lorence]
      #5542913 - 11/27/12 09:52 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Jeepers Dwight! I was at Lowes yesterday to buy some odds and ends and decided to take a look at the 6x6 posts while I was there. Man they are huge! And Heavy! I admit it...I was intimidated and I'm now having 2nd thoughts about handling these big pieces...John




John my pier was made out of four twelve foot PT 6x6's bolted together. Yes the beams are heavy but I managed to move them around without much trouble. Roll, push, drag, whatever it takes to move them. Lift one end at a time and walk it to where you want it. The most important muscle required to do that sort of work is the one between your ears.

If you face a task with the attitude I can't do that, you probably won't. If you take the attitude there's got to be a way to do this, you will likely succeed.




Yep! That muscle between my ears certainly needs to get to work!! Well, you all have inspired me. I'm going to go eat my wheaties, zip up my mansuit and get to it! I'll buy the posts this Sunday and I have a friend to help me run the hole digger.

Dwight...did you mix the concrete by hand in a wheelbarrow? Any troubles with that part?

Also, I could only find 1/2" bolts at Lowes in the 12" lenght. Where did you get your 3/4" bolts?

John


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Dan G
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/27/06

Loc: Minisink, NY, USA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: John Miele]
      #5542940 - 11/27/12 10:07 PM

Try this threaded rod.

Dan in NY


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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Dan G]
      #5542955 - 11/27/12 10:18 PM

1/2 inch rod will work too.

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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: John Miele]
      #5543330 - 11/28/12 06:52 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Jeepers Dwight! I was at Lowes yesterday to buy some odds and ends and decided to take a look at the 6x6 posts while I was there. Man they are huge! And Heavy! I admit it...I was intimidated and I'm now having 2nd thoughts about handling these big pieces...John




John my pier was made out of four twelve foot PT 6x6's bolted together. Yes the beams are heavy but I managed to move them around without much trouble. Roll, push, drag, whatever it takes to move them. Lift one end at a time and walk it to where you want it. The most important muscle required to do that sort of work is the one between your ears.

If you face a task with the attitude I can't do that, you probably won't. If you take the attitude there's got to be a way to do this, you will likely succeed.




Yep! That muscle between my ears certainly needs to get to work!! Well, you all have inspired me. I'm going to go eat my wheaties, zip up my mansuit and get to it! I'll buy the posts this Sunday and I have a friend to help me run the hole digger.

Dwight...did you mix the concrete by hand in a wheelbarrow? Any troubles with that part?

Also, I could only find 1/2" bolts at Lowes in the 12" lenght. Where did you get your 3/4" bolts?

John




I used 1/2 inch bolts to tie the 6x6 together. Lowes is the only one that sells the 12 inch length. Use a long 5/8 drill bit to drill the holes through the posts for the 1/2 inch bolts. Makes it easier to put them in. Don't let the 6x6 move around when drilling or the holes will not align for the 12 inch bolts. Even with new drill bits, it took a while to drill out the holes for the bolts. Had to use an electric drill since my battery powered drill ran out of power all the time. Make sure to glue the posts before you screw them together.

It will be heavy!!!! I used a hand truck to move it to the hole.

I used 3/4 threaded rods to tie the plates together. Home Depot sells 12 inch long 3/4 threaded rods. I cut them to 8 inchs long for my plate.

As for the hole digger, make sure you get the 12 inch bit. It will take two of you to hold the machine as it digs. I dug as deep as it could go and then finished up with a post hole digger. The hole was three feet deep. My poor back!!

No need to mix the concrete. Just pour the dry concrete into the hole to the level you want and then add water. That is how you set posts when building fences. Make sure your hole has enough clearance around the pier to give you room for the concrete.

I used 12 inch plates. That required me to move the Gemini off to the side, look at the photos to see how I had it attached.

Measure the height of your mount to determine the height above ground to make your pier. Make sure you add the height of the two plates and mount attachment. I used three feet for my G11 pier. Adjust as needed.


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mich_al
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/09

Loc: Rural central lower Michigan ...
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5543434 - 11/28/12 09:00 AM

Bolt source : http://www.fastenal.com Use a wood bit not a standard twist bit for drilling the holes. I assembled my pier, drilled the bolt holes then dis-assembled the pier so I could move each 6x6 individually then reassembled and bolted the pier together in place.

Al


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D_talley
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Richmond VA
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: mich_al]
      #5550743 - 12/02/12 05:43 PM Attachment (80 downloads)

Here is a shot of the pier with an AT12IN on it. The pier is very stable. I get .12 and .14 RMS results in PHD now.

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John Miele
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/29/05

Loc: North Alabama
Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5550847 - 12/02/12 07:07 PM Attachment (57 downloads)

Hey Dwight,

Sweet looking setup there!

Well I started my wood pier today. I am pretty much copying your design to the letter ! I hope you don't mind . I bought my 6x6 posts at Lowes. I thought maybe they could cut them to length for me in the store, but they cannot cut wood that thick. I got them home and used my circular saw to cut through as much as I could and finished off with a hand saw. I measured my current G11 tripod height and 36" above ground will be just about right. So with 36" in the ground, I went with 6 foot lenght too. I went to a local weld shop Friday and bought two 12 x12 x 1/4 inch steel plates. I had them drill the 3/4 inch corner holes for me since I don't have a bit that large. I can drill all the 1/2 holes myself. They charged my $30 for the steel and another $20 to do the cutting and drilling. $50 total. I am really excited now that this project is finally under way. Thanks for sharing what you did. It was the motivation I needed to finally get off the fence!

John


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John Miele
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: John Miele]
      #5550852 - 12/02/12 07:07 PM Attachment (62 downloads)

My steel plates in work!

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D_talley
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: John Miele]
      #5551031 - 12/02/12 08:59 PM

Great start to your pier!!! I am glad you got the steel plates cheaper than I did, with holes drilled. Now the big project digging the hole.

Before you dig the hole, make sure you call Miss Utility to check for any underground cables or gas lines.

Also make sure you can see Polaris from the pier hole location, it is just above my roof line.

Like your photo of the plates being drilled. It looks similar to my photo..


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D_talley
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5551036 - 12/02/12 09:00 PM

Forgot to mention. Put the ends you cut into the ground with the factory cut ends on top.. better to work with a true flat top.

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Ranger Tim
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5551221 - 12/02/12 10:54 PM

If you buy a bucket of driveway tar/sealer you can dip the ends into it and let them dry before they go into the ground. This keeps critters from eating any of the wood in the hole. Pressure treated is good stuff, but bugs have been known to eat it. Keeps the moisture rot problem minimized as well. pour the rest out on the driveway : )

Dwight, I guess I won't be hearing about you going out to remote locations anymore! Too easy to just walk out the back door, huh? Have fun this winter shooting pics - I'm listening to the wind howl and expecting 3 inches of white stuff. Although the weather has been unseasonably warm here the skies have been clouded out most of the last 3 weeks. I thought Idaho was supposed to be dry?!!!

Nice job on the piers guys!


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D_talley
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Ranger Tim]
      #5551616 - 12/03/12 07:47 AM

Sorry the clouds are from me. I needed to test my setup and sent them to you.

I will still need to go to a dark site since the mount is in a tree filled back yard. I am limited on what I can see from there. On Saturday I had time for one shot of M33 before the trees ate it.


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mich_al
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5551716 - 12/03/12 09:28 AM

Are those steel plates 'meaty' enough? It might just be the picture but it looks like there's an opportunity to flex.

Al


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D_talley
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: mich_al]
      #5551724 - 12/03/12 09:36 AM

If his plates are like mine, you can put several hundred pounds on them and there would be no flex. I was surprised how tough they are.

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dandabson
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5551778 - 12/03/12 10:24 AM

Quote:

If his plates are like mine, you can put several hundred pounds on them and there would be no flex. I was surprised how tough they are.




What is the thickness of steel used for the plates? I will probably doing something similar in the near future.


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D_talley
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: dandabson]
      #5552036 - 12/03/12 01:12 PM

He stated his were 1/4 inch. I think mine were the same.

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John Miele
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5552533 - 12/03/12 06:16 PM

Using a simple finite element model of the top plate, 90 lbs of load will flex the top plate downward by 0.0011 inch and the first natural frequency (up-down "bouncing" mode) is over 300 hz.(i.e., it's stiff). Should be pretty stable. If the entire system were modeled, the deflection would be a little higher and the frequency a little lower, but I don't think it would be enough to cause any issue. I guess if you want you could go with 3/8" thick plates, and I'll certainly change out mine if I find I need to, but it's more cost and harder to drill through...John

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Phillip Easton
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5552764 - 12/03/12 08:27 PM

Quote:

Here is a shot of the pier with an AT12IN on it. The pier is very stable. I get .12 and .14 RMS results in PHD now.




Very nice! I can see my Orion 190mm Mak-Newt on it. I will have to copy it too.

Cheers!
Phillip


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dandabson
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Jeff Smith]
      #5601193 - 01/02/13 12:43 PM

I am about to undertake a similar project. I will be mounting a cg5 on top. I am using 4 4x4s bolted and glued together. They are 6 feet long and I plan on setting them 3 feet in the ground with cement. My question is will a 8" auger suffice or will I need a 12" auger. The pier measures 7" square right now. Any idea of how much cement to buy? Thanks in advance.

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Raginar
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: dandabson]
      #5601376 - 01/02/13 02:46 PM

Dan, you can use an 8" auger and just make multiple holes if that makes sense. The 4 4x4s is a good idea; another option is just a single 6x6 for a light mount like that. I used a single 6x6 with my CGEM and it worked really well.

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D_talley
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: dandabson]
      #5601422 - 01/02/13 03:21 PM

Quote:

I am about to undertake a similar project. I will be mounting a cg5 on top. I am using 4 4x4s bolted and glued together. They are 6 feet long and I plan on setting them 3 feet in the ground with cement. My question is will a 8" auger suffice or will I need a 12" auger. The pier measures 7" square right now. Any idea of how much cement to buy? Thanks in advance.




I would just use an 8 inch auger to dig the hole. The 8 inch is easer to use than the 12 inch. Then follow up with a post hole digger to enlarge it just enough to make sure you have enough room for the concrete.

I only needed two bags of concrete for my pier. I wanted to be able to remove it later.


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dandabson
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5601424 - 01/02/13 03:22 PM

Will not mixing meathod work well on a project of this size?

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Raginar
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: dandabson]
      #5601514 - 01/02/13 04:12 PM

That's what I did on mine. Bought some fence post 'crete. Poured into the hole, balanced it out and leveled it, then dumped the water in.

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CharlesW
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Reged: 11/02/12

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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Raginar]
      #5601612 - 01/02/13 05:12 PM

You might find that using an auger drill bit with a screw tip will make boring through all that wood much easier.

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dandabson
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5606059 - 01/05/13 06:13 AM Attachment (74 downloads)

Thanks to everyone answering a lot of questions in this thread. My new wood pier is in the ground and the cement is setting up. I used 4 4X4s bolted and glued together. The entire pier is six feet long. Half of it is in the ground. That leaves me about the height of my CG5 tripod extending up from the ground. I was planning on letting it cure for at least 72 hours prior to use however, my clear sky alarm went off for tonight. I will check and see if it is ready for use. My oldest son is seen in this photo after the pier was set and leveled. I sure need to plan all of my projects before he moves to far away from home.

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D_talley
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: dandabson]
      #5606133 - 01/05/13 08:49 AM

Great job! I hope it is setup by tonight.

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ahopp
sage


Reged: 05/24/12

Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5606154 - 01/05/13 09:08 AM

Great job. I put in a pier as you did with 4 4x4s back in '03. It was for an observatory that I built my God Son. 10 years later and it is solid as a rock.

One note, make sure you put in a level of gravel for drainage. Also, I mounted large joist hangers to the bottom of each side of the peer to act as anchors into the cement.

Tony


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dandabson
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: ahopp]
      #5632913 - 01/20/13 10:31 AM Attachment (58 downloads)

An update. I was a little nervous. It has been rainy from the second day my new pier was in the ground and the mount attached. I was hoping my cover was keeping everything nice and dry.

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dandabson
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: dandabson]
      #5632916 - 01/20/13 10:32 AM Attachment (60 downloads)

Everything looks good to go. What a time saver. Powered it up and the polar alignment was spot on. Love it.

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D_talley
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: dandabson]
      #5634750 - 01/21/13 11:21 AM

Same here, ground is soaking but the mount is dry and alignment is still on target. I use three covers to cover the mount hardware and I see no evidence of moisture on it.

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CharlesW
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: D_talley]
      #5638123 - 01/23/13 12:46 AM

If you have any of the top plate plywood left over, chuck it up in a vise and install a piece of threaded rod in it just like the mount and torque the nuts down until the wood fibers start to crush. Then torque your pier nuts to the same setting. You'll know you will have the highest clamping force possible on your plates.

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Raginar
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5638475 - 01/23/13 09:13 AM

Charles, that is an excellent idea!

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turk123
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Raginar]
      #5639501 - 01/23/13 08:01 PM

Just a note for you "northern" folks: For areas that get freezing weather (It's 6 out right now in Ohio) the recommended depth is 35" -38" putting you below the frost line. Your milage may vary but you can look up this number. If you don't go the needed distance down, your pier will get pushed up by the frozen ground. Also, most fence companies use small amounts of concrete in the hole for a reason. The concrete should not be at the surface but in the hole. Setting a treated wooden post in solid concrete will cause the water to be held by the wood (it doesn't drain) and eventually destroy the wood. Ask me how I know!

I think I might build this project. I'm tired of hauling my losmandy out for a 2 hour setup!

Turk


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turk123
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: turk123]
      #5639509 - 01/23/13 08:09 PM

Dwight

Does the Losmandy Pier mount just have one bolt in the center? Is that a solid connection? Can it turn on you?

Turk


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D_talley
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: turk123]
      #5639520 - 01/23/13 08:20 PM

Quote:

Just a note for you "northern" folks: For areas that get freezing weather (It's 6 out right now in Ohio) the recommended depth is 35" -38" putting you below the frost line. Your milage may vary but you can look up this number. If you don't go the needed distance down, your pier will get pushed up by the frozen ground. Also, most fence companies use small amounts of concrete in the hole for a reason. The concrete should not be at the surface but in the hole. Setting a treated wooden post in solid concrete will cause the water to be held by the wood (it doesn't drain) and eventually destroy the wood. Ask me how I know!

I think I might build this project. I'm tired of hauling my losmandy out for a 2 hour setup!

Turk




I set my pier down three feet with gravel on the bottom to help drain the water. I am glad it does not get cold enough to worry about ground pushing it up. More worried about the rain. I set my concrete about 6 inches below the ground level, which will make it easier to remove the pier later.


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D_talley
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: turk123]
      #5639527 - 01/23/13 08:27 PM

Quote:

Dwight

Does the Losmandy Pier mount just have one bolt in the center? Is that a solid connection? Can it turn on you?

Turk




Only one hole in the middle. I worried about it moving and made sure I used lock washers to prevent it getting loose and moving. So far no problems with it moving. One way the mount could move is if you pushed the scope by hand and not use the motors.


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aa6ww
scholastic sledgehammer
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: dandabson]
      #5640967 - 01/24/13 03:57 PM

Quote:

Everything looks good to go. What a time saver. Powered it up and the polar alignment was spot on. Love it.




I like that idea allot Dan. I've been wanting to do this for a year at least, now you have me motivated. Id be using a C14 on a G11 so it sure would save on set up time!
One thing I thought of in putting one of these together was to make it just wide enough so I could put a 5 gallon bucket over it to keep the hardware clean and dry, and put a sun dial on top of it so you have something cool to look at in the day time. Something like this:

http://windchimedirect.com/pro1393848.html?gclid=CMSyptjvgbUCFSTZQgoda1kA1w

Great Job!!

....Ralph


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dandabson
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Reged: 10/15/08

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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: aa6ww]
      #5641963 - 01/25/13 05:53 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Everything looks good to go. What a time saver. Powered it up and the polar alignment was spot on. Love it.




I like that idea allot Dan. I've been wanting to do this for a year at least, now you have me motivated. Id be using a C14 on a G11 so it sure would save on set up time!
One thing I thought of in putting one of these together was to make it just wide enough so I could put a 5 gallon bucket over it to keep the hardware clean and dry, and put a sun dial on top of it so you have something cool to look at in the day time. Something like this:

http://windchimedirect.com/pro1393848.html?gclid=CMSyptjvgbUCFSTZQgoda1kA1w

Great Job!!

....Ralph





I can't imagine why I didn't do it sooner after I settled down. I am retired military and have set up to observe in a lot of different places from all the moving around. When the wife and I settled down and finally bought a house it was on my list of things to do. Finally, I just spent the 2 days of work on it and it has paid off.


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Raginar
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: dandabson]
      #5643678 - 01/26/13 01:18 AM

Dan,

Start looking at a ROR shed and you'll be in business permanently .

Congrat's on retiring!


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dandabson
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: Raginar]
      #5644601 - 01/26/13 03:25 PM

Quote:

Dan,

Start looking at a ROR shed and you'll be in business permanently .

Congrat's on retiring!




A ROR is on the list. Unfortunately the wife also has a long list. I did two years at Ellsworth AFB. I really like d Rapid City.


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CharlesW
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: dandabson]
      #5647821 - 01/28/13 11:03 AM

If I could make one more gentle suggestion, especially since you're using plywood top plates right now? Your bolts should be as short as possible and still provide the leveling feature that you want. At the length they are now, they are acting like four levers trying to twist and cut their way through your plywood. I know this is opening a heated debate with a lot of people but, it makes no mechanical sense to have longer bolts than you need.

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dandabson
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Re: Backyard wood Pier new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5648326 - 01/28/13 02:21 PM

I intentionally left them that, lenth to facilitate removing the mount. I did not want to have to remove.the upper plate if I take the mount to a starparty or dark site.

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