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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank
      #5633139 - 01/20/13 12:52 PM Attachment (299 downloads)

I've been searching for a fiberglass tank now for about 3 years, and finally found one. Should make for a perfect observatory. Inside diameter is 7'6", and overall length, minus the other domed end is 17'. The tank has nice 3" foam core reinforcement fiberglass that will make a perfect dome lip. I think I can incorporate some castors into a wooden block to get the dome rotating, without the use of some sort of steel hoop (hopefully).

Apparently the tank sat in this fellow's yard for almost 10 years as a storage container for odds and ends. I drove by this thing for close to 8 years now thinking that it would be a great observatory. When the leaves came off the treees this fall and I saw the hole in the end... Eurika!!!

Anyway. I've attached the "inside" photo in reference to the other end. I know domes are hard to come by, and originally I was going to cut the end off and toss it in the trash - if anyone wants this end for free, it's up for grabs. The hole is an odd shape - the guy I bought the tank from told me that they had to cut one of the ends out for transport, or it would still be considered a tank. It's almost the perfect size for a scope anyway. I think when a set of shutters would be made for the opening, any openings that fell outside the frame of the shutter could be patched up without too much work or difficulty. If interested, PM me here, and we can arrange for pick-up.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5633171 - 01/20/13 01:04 PM

We'd love to follow your build using this tank, for your observatory!

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1965healy
The Snarkster
*****

Reged: 06/23/07

Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5633507 - 01/20/13 04:24 PM

Great find! This should be an interesting build to follow. Keep us posted with pix, sketches etc. Give the other end to Scott H, he can patch the hole and make a domed gazebo for the observatory cluster.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5633575 - 01/20/13 05:08 PM

You bet... Should start cutting on this thing next weekend. I might keep the other end for a portable trailer OB if this all works out. I DO know of another fiberglass tank that's available though if anyone's interested.

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RogerRZ
Whatta you lookin' at?
*****

Reged: 01/09/06

Loc: West Collette, NB, Canada
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5633646 - 01/20/13 05:44 PM Attachment (147 downloads)

Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt!

Have fun on your build, and get ready to put in a bunch of time and effort. I'd guess I have well over 500 hours sunk into it...


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CharlesW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/02/12

Loc: Chula Vista & Indio, CA
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: RogerRZ]
      #5633846 - 01/20/13 07:49 PM

Obviously you know what this tank was used for before he dropped it in his yard? Some very nasty things get stored in fiberglass tanks. But, what a perfect solution for the dome.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5633906 - 01/20/13 08:37 PM

It sat in his yard for 10 years... It was a gasoline tank from a convienence store. He said that when the industry first started using fiberglass tanks, the sticks that were used to measure fuel levels daily, eventually would cause a leak from repeated dropping of the wooden stick into the tank (I for one remember using these sticks in my younger days in college and working at the local Penzoil station).

Anyway, he used to dig them out, crush them down, and toss them in the landfill. For some reason he kept this one.

I think I'll be introducing more harmful trace elements from the flat black paint I intend upon using inside (LOL), than will be eminated from it.

It's going to make a great observatory. The fiberglass was laid up in a mold, so I have a perfectly smooth exterior surface to work with. The manufacturer made two halves, then mated them together. The exteriorior ribs are a different story. Hopefully will be able to cover them with something easier on the eyes, but first, I've got to get into working order!


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dale67cameron
member
*****

Reged: 01/03/12

Loc: Midwest
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5634002 - 01/20/13 09:59 PM

Looks interesting. Keep us updated. I have been looking too for something similiar. I had no idea they used fiberglass tanks underground for fuel.

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RogerRZ
Whatta you lookin' at?
*****

Reged: 01/09/06

Loc: West Collette, NB, Canada
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: dale67cameron]
      #5634371 - 01/21/13 06:08 AM

I've had a lot of use out of mine, but the biggest problem I've had, is to have it rotate easily and freely. I've done this part over at least three times, with varying degrees of success. It still gives me a bit of a hard time, especially in Winter. Do you have plans on what kind of roller mechanism you're going to use?

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Goodchild
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 12/31/08

Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: RogerRZ]
      #5634472 - 01/21/13 08:21 AM

Do you have any idea how much this tank weighs? Just curious.

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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Goodchild]
      #5634618 - 01/21/13 10:02 AM

You are a lot more trusting than me. Given that gasoline definitely leaches into the fiberglass (Hydrolysis of Fiberglass) once exposed to open air it will most definitely outgas back into the surrounding environment. He said the tank sat empty and exposed to the open air for 10 years but I for one would not want to sit inside and encapsulated, surrounded by this. The cheapness of the raw material could be nothing compared to the potential risk. Obviously you are willing to take that risk. Better thee than me......

Edited by rimcrazy (01/21/13 10:03 AM)


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RogerRZ
Whatta you lookin' at?
*****

Reged: 01/09/06

Loc: West Collette, NB, Canada
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5634709 - 01/21/13 10:58 AM

Mine was from water treatment facility, so no issues there. IIRC, the dome part weighed six to seven hundred pounds.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: RogerRZ]
      #5635365 - 01/21/13 05:09 PM

At the moment I'm planning on cutting the good dome off, then severing a 6 foot chunk of the body off for placement in the yard. I'm building a fairly large garage this year, so I may incorporate the OB into the roof of the garage, in-which case I'll build the walls of it with 2X stock, and utilize only the dome.

That should work pretty good because it still enables me to observe from a temporary spot in the yard, then when the time comes, I can yank the dome off the yard OB, and place it on the roof.

I haven't come up with a design for a rotational assy yet. Been looking at commercial units, and I like the in-line skate wheel idea. Will also need lateral wheels. First things first is to find out how out-of-round the dome end is, then I can work from there. I would think that I can get it back in true with the use of a laminated ply ring, using gussets for reinforcement, and the entire ring screwed into the base of the dome - the bottom layer of ply, I would think with use of floor-grade ply could be used as a bearing surface for the vertical rollers, and the inside edge could be used for lateral rollers.

The tank weighs somewhere on the order of 1000#. WOW Roger - the entire fiberglass tank that I got hold of is only 3/8" thickness. I bet that this dome weight is no more than a couple of hundred pounds! You guys got me thinking... May have to get the sawzall out tonight!


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RogerRZ
Whatta you lookin' at?
*****

Reged: 01/09/06

Loc: West Collette, NB, Canada
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5635438 - 01/21/13 05:47 PM

In most spots, my dome is around 1/4" thick. I think you'll find inline skate wheels will make your dome hard to turn. I tried those, I tried small casters, I tried 6" ball bearings, and have finally wound up with a dome ring, as you mention, but with a 1" X 3/16" flat bar, used as a track and used v-pulleys with ball bearings as a track support.

I'll snap a few pics tomorrow, and it'll be easier to understand.


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RogerRZ
Whatta you lookin' at?
*****

Reged: 01/09/06

Loc: West Collette, NB, Canada
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: RogerRZ]
      #5636516 - 01/22/13 09:55 AM Attachment (131 downloads)

This is what I wound up with. It's still hard to turn in some spots, but this is the final revision (I will be building a ROR that will be completely shielded from local light pollution, and will be able to image for longer periods of time without having to worry about clear pictures of the inside of my dome :-) ).

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RogerRZ
Whatta you lookin' at?
*****

Reged: 01/09/06

Loc: West Collette, NB, Canada
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: RogerRZ]
      #5636517 - 01/22/13 09:56 AM Attachment (105 downloads)

And another...

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: RogerRZ]
      #5637788 - 01/22/13 09:17 PM

Roger. Thanks for posting the pics! I checked out your page and saw the original bearing against ply - guessing that didnt work well? Ill need to findcout how much my dome weighs at present to see where im at, how many tollers for load capacity/rating, etc. I'll know more after this weekend.

Those are fantastic photos you have taken! Hope to get there myself someday. Going to hopefully invest in a Gemini II system for my G11 mount this year, plus get this OB built.


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5640185 - 01/24/13 08:31 AM Attachment (111 downloads)

Cut the end off yesterday evening. Didn't take too long, and used a battery and a 1/2 with the sawzall. Weight is somewhere between 150 - 200 lbs, probably closer to 150# because I can get under it and carry it on my shoulders/upper back without too much difficulty.

I'll get it into the garage tonight and start looking at what I can do to lay out a rotational assy and a shutter. What dimensions would be optimal for a 12" SCT (allowing for upgrading to a 16" scope (light bucket)? Also, how far would I need to cut past zenith so as to not limit myself (would 20 degrees past zenith work)? I don't want to cut 180 degrees, horizon to horizon.


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1965healy
The Snarkster
*****

Reged: 06/23/07

Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5640717 - 01/24/13 01:39 PM

How'd you get it to hang from the ceiling like that?

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5641296 - 01/24/13 07:19 PM

What the heck? I rotated it... LOL. Guess the wrong 180 deg! Did some looking today for shutter dims and found a schematic for a 10'6" dome. Sucked it into CAD today and shrunk it down and underlaid it to the dimensions of this dome. The 10.5' dome had a 43" shutter, and shrinking down puts this one at 30" width. The schematic also had a profile view, and overlaying this view gave 25 degrees past zenith. Anyone want to give opinions on the shutter size (good to go, or too big/small)? Definately dont want to have to redo the hole at a later date, but at the same time I have a lot of stray light where I live, so Im guessing the smaller the shutter size, the better, in this reguard (obviously there are optical minimums).

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stmguy
sage


Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Western NH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5641972 - 01/25/13 06:11 AM

I have a 10x10 OBS with a 32" slot , 10" Newt on Equatorial Mnt and wish the slot was wider at times to visually find things
Norm


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RogerRZ
Whatta you lookin' at?
*****

Reged: 01/09/06

Loc: West Collette, NB, Canada
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: stmguy]
      #5642639 - 01/25/13 01:48 PM

Mine is 28", and when I image with the 70mm, it's not too bad, but with the C8, I find it a bit narrow. I suppose it wouldn't be too bad with a fork mounted alt-az, but an eq mount has you looking across the shutter in some weird positions. Thing is with a small dome, there's a limit on how wide you can go without it being too wide.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: RogerRZ]
      #5642894 - 01/25/13 04:10 PM Attachment (91 downloads)

Quote:

Mine is 28", and when I image with the 70mm, it's not too bad, but with the C8, I find it a bit narrow. I suppose it wouldn't be too bad with a fork mounted alt-az, but an eq mount has you looking across the shutter in some weird positions. Thing is with a small dome, there's a limit on how wide you can go without it being too wide.




That's what I figured too... The bigger the hole, the less function it has as what it was intended for in the first place (at least in my case for the stray light). I'm going to try cutting the 30 inches and past zenith at 25 degrees. I think this will work OK.

I did some measuring last night and found that it's only out of round by 1/4 inch, which is astounding considering how much fiberglass will shrink.

I'll cut my shutter out over the weekend, and get it cleaned up of all the lichens and moss growing on it, as well as all the oxidized epoxy resin and loose fiberglass chop. You can see this where I started wire brushing in the attached pic. There is also a form seam from the lay-up when the manufacturer built the tank. It's a perfect center line to measure from, so everything will be nice and symetrical with the dome.

I may also start on the inner ring that will be the bearing surface for wheels to run on. My thoughts on the bearing surface would be to keep it square in shape to minimize distortion of the ring. My thought is, is to counter sink wood screws through the dome and into the ring, along with polyurethane glue.


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Bob Griffiths
Getting Grouchy
*****

Reged: 10/10/05

Loc: Frederick Maryland
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5642973 - 01/25/13 04:58 PM

I believe ...but do not remember the exact measurements but my 8 foot Exploradome has a shutter 28 inches wide...(you should be able to get the exact size on the ED web site) ..

Never ever been a problem or even seem to be too small...BUT I DO NOT IMAGE ...

Bob G.


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Bob Griffiths]
      #5644514 - 01/26/13 02:35 PM

I figured out the problem with the photos... It's MAC IOS5 incompatibility with Windows7. They come in flipped in emails from my IPhone, so I rotated them. They look fine from my computer but are upside down on iPad or iPhone! I'll fix this Monday when back at the IBM machine (sorry for the poor graphics)!

Today, I square cut the bottom edge of the dome by building a jig to fit over the reinforcement. I scribed a line around the circumference of the dome, and used a jigsaw with a diamond blade to trim the edge off. Hopefully this'll be square enough that I won't have issues with rotation later.

I also wire brushed the entire dome surface to remove all of the dirt and loose glass chop. Did this prior to scribing and cutting so it would be easier and truer.

Also cut out the shutter. Went with 30" x 7'4" to arrive at the dimensions I mentioned before.

Working ahead, I'm going to try the skate wheel route even though it was mentioned this may not be the easiest turning assy. I thought about using holesaw cut plywood wheels for this, but would need the bearings, and at $3-5 apiece, I'd need a bunch at a fairly large expense! Looked all over the Internet, and finally found my wheels and bearings from toysRus in the form of 2 pairs of in-line skates. The 2 pair came to $30... They were on sale for $20/pair, but the second pair would also be marked down an additional 50%, so all in at $30 for 16 wheels and so-so bearings.

Ill post follow-up pics Monday.

Next up is the lay-out of the bearing surface and install.


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Madratter
Postmaster


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5644828 - 01/26/13 06:00 PM

Never say never, but I never intend to use anything with rubber wheels again on an observatory. They go out of round too easily and then everything becomes a mess.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Madratter]
      #5647641 - 01/28/13 09:22 AM Attachment (83 downloads)

Here's some pictures I took of the progress over the weekend...

Edited by berlinstar (01/28/13 09:23 AM)


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5647644 - 01/28/13 09:26 AM Attachment (74 downloads)

Here's the Dome with 3/4" birch ply bearing surface build and install...

Edited by berlinstar (01/28/13 09:26 AM)


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5647652 - 01/28/13 09:28 AM Attachment (75 downloads)

I got my skate wheel trial all worked up and installed as well, to the base. Base is 6' high. I used the same jig to ensure that the top that mated with the dome edge would be square, then cut it off.

Edited by berlinstar (01/28/13 09:29 AM)


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5647661 - 01/28/13 09:32 AM

The base in the pic above hasn't been cut yet on the bottom surface. I cut it flush with the bottom reinforcement ring. I have to cut in the entry door yet, and hopefully will get that completed this week through a couple of evenings. If the weather holds for this weekend, I'll get to try the dome out on the base. At present, my calculations are ~13# per wheel provided the dome is complete at 200# total.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5647687 - 01/28/13 09:42 AM

I also hope to have a design finalized for a shutter. My initial thought is two parts that will slide under each other and to the back out of the way, but at the same time be able to use them separately to block out the stray light. I'll build this out of the 3/4 ply stock and 1/8 lite ply, then glass it all.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5652768 - 01/30/13 04:58 PM Attachment (84 downloads)

Weeks are terrible to get anything done, especially through the winter. Just not enough daylight, which is usually welcomed, but there's too much cloud cover for viewing anyway.

In any case, I found some time to layout a cardboard template for the shutter frame. I needed about 2 3/4" to clear the curvature of the dome in the center. I made the template 4" high to accomodate the inner frame for the lower shutter, and I hope to fit an outer shutter over the entire frame then (at least that's the 2 minute plan).


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5652896 - 01/30/13 06:05 PM

That's looking really nice! It really cleaned up very well.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5653106 - 01/30/13 07:50 PM

Thanks! Like I said, if the weekend holds out on the weather, I hope to trial fit the dome to try out the rotation. Hopefully can get the shutter framing completed, and at least mounted onto the dome. I can see this isnt going to be easy because out of square is going to make for an unworkable sliding shutter.

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Bob Myler
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: St Louis, MO
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5654770 - 01/31/13 05:48 PM

Shame about that hole at the other end - would have made a perfect dome for a home planetarium!

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Bob Myler]
      #5656154 - 02/01/13 11:12 AM

Wow! Never thought of that one. I actually have the piece I cut out of the end I'm using. Trying to figure out if I should utilize the cut out for the shutter pieces, or build them out of lite ply. I need to get the framing in-place, then intend upon using the scrap fiberglass pieces cut from the tank body as bearing surfaces. From there I can assess whether I have enough space for using the cutout, or just build a lite ply set of shutters.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5660661 - 02/03/13 08:15 PM

Well, the weather did NOT cooperate this weekend at all. In the teens and 3-4 inches of snow. I planned on tugging the base back into the garage for cleaning up and cutting the door in, but found my tractor had a flat tire and it broke the bead off the rim, so no way to get it in the garage!

I did manage to get the shutter framing at least cut. I'll be working toward mounting these up hopefully this week.

It's another busy week. The Gemini II kit shows up this Thursday, so I'll be playing with that too!

Should have some new pics of progress sometime shortly.


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5667120 - 02/07/13 01:45 PM

Gemini II kit came today

This week, I've been working on mocking up the wood shutter framing with the dome. It sounds easy, but proving more difficult. Reason being is that I made a 30 degree radius cut on the inside cut of framing to accomodate the dome. Since I cut it with a scroll saw - it's uneven and left gaps between the dome and wood frame. Time to get the belt sander out and fit it as best I can, then check for squareness. Compounding this, is the fact that I have several pieces. Will need to get all pieces together, then fit them to the dome. Hopefully I can get this behind me this Sunday, as well as get the base drug back in the garage!

Now if only a good warm, clear night to try out the GII!


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5673980 - 02/11/13 12:33 PM

Can you say: Scroll saw gone wild??? . Lots of clean-up work with a rasp over the weekend on that framing! None the less, its fitted. Still have to box the ends in, but atleast the rails are screwed to the dome and fairly symetrical from initial observations. I have some time this week to do some more, so I'll post pictures then!

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5673983 - 02/11/13 12:35 PM

Oh... Did get the Gemini II installed on the G-11 this weekend too! Now for some clear skies!

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5686589 - 02/18/13 08:43 AM Attachment (72 downloads)

As some or most of you have probably known (me included), the work has just begun. It's easy to make a bunch of cuts (provided they're planned out). It's easy to clean up the shell too. But, making all of the hardware to go with it is the lengthy and difficult part! I got a couple of days in on the shutter this weekend.

I had the framing for the shutter cut and mounted on the dome over the past week, and as you can see it's still a mock-up until I have the shutter completed and am happy with the mechanism as a whole.


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5686604 - 02/18/13 08:50 AM Attachment (54 downloads)

The plan is to get all of the mating surface between the dome and framing filled with bondo once I'm satisfied with the movement of the shutter over the dome and framing. I discovered that I was about a half inch off in mounting the framing to the dome, after trial fitting the shutter over the framing. Ended up cutting some 2X spacers and unscrewed the framing so that everything would be squared.

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5686613 - 02/18/13 08:58 AM Attachment (51 downloads)

Went to Home Depot and picked up some cheap wheels for a trial of the shutter over framing. My intent is to utilize a 3/4" piece of the discarded tank body as a bearing surface for the wheels to run on. These little castors are very flimsy, but to my suprise they work like a charm. If I can find some skates for pennys again, I might go that route instead, just to have a little more robust sliding action.

I'm also reconsidering the telescope design of the shutter (one piece sliding into the other. It would be much less trouble to keep the upper half sliding, while the lower half hinges out (now I see why there are commercial designs like this).


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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5686644 - 02/18/13 09:22 AM Attachment (67 downloads)

I like the idea of a telescoping shutter though. I still may explore this option as I'm about to build the lower shutter this week.

Coming along pretty good!

I also looked at steel doorways... Looks like my most inexpensive option is a $116 steel door. It'd be 30 inches wide and I'll need to cut it down to fit the body. If anyone has a cheaper recommendation, please let me know.

At the moment costs are as follows:

Fiberglass tank: $200.00
Skates (wheel set): $40.00
3/4 inch Birch Ply: $90.00
1/4 inch ply (for shutter): $20.00
4 Casters (for shutter): $10.00


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MHamburg
scholastic sledgehammer
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5686914 - 02/18/13 12:29 PM

This is very impressive. I admire your inventiveness and persistence. Keep us posted!
Michael


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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: MHamburg]
      #5687537 - 02/18/13 06:50 PM

Thanks!

This is the last of the photos that are going to be taken with my iPhone!!! Time to break out the "old" technology (the digital camera). Both Google Chrome and MS Internet Explorer show my photos right-side-up, but iPad & iPhone are upside down... Many appologies...


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droid
rocketman
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5687933 - 02/18/13 10:12 PM

This awesome, I cant wait to see the final product.

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ahopp
sage


Reged: 05/24/12

Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: droid]
      #5688025 - 02/18/13 11:02 PM

One of my favorite threads.

Tony


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Jeff Smith
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5692538 - 02/21/13 11:11 AM

Great idea!

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bogg
sage


Reged: 11/17/09

Loc: Bruce County Ontario
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Jeff Smith]
      #5693459 - 02/21/13 08:08 PM

Interesting use of a fiberglass tank. Very ingenious. Your work is amazing.

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

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5693583 - 02/21/13 09:17 PM

This is an amazing transition into an observatory! Thanks for letting us share the build with you!

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5694167 - 02/22/13 08:23 AM

Thanks for all the great complements!!! It's a real challenge to work on something like this and get all the every day life things accomplished as well. I'm training for a marathon right now too, and just starting to hit the 10 - 12 mile mark for my long run, so that takes a lot of time up, mainly during the week though so spare time is at a premium. In a way that's good though, because I'm able to think about and work out the mechanics and design ideas of my project (I have a working photographic memory). So in a way, it's probably better to work on it part-time rather than cobble it together and end up with some sub-standard, leaky observatory!

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Raginar
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5694446 - 02/22/13 11:00 AM

This is my favorite thread. Keep sharing!

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Escher
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Raginar]
      #5695049 - 02/22/13 04:00 PM

Agreed - This is making me want a storage tank to try and build a dome..

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cloudmagnet
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Reged: 12/04/08

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Escher]
      #5695063 - 02/22/13 04:06 PM

Really cool idea!

Along another train of thought, there was (is?) a company in Plainfield, Illinois that used to advertise in Sky & Tel for their aluminum observatory domes - but they also made the tops for grain silos that looked amazingly like their domes- sans the shutter!!!


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ahopp
sage


Reged: 05/24/12

Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: cloudmagnet]
      #5695080 - 02/22/13 04:17 PM

ASH Domes?

Tony


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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: ahopp]
      #5695445 - 02/22/13 07:27 PM

Silos were my first idea for an observatory / OB dome. I never got around to making a deal with any number of farmers around here that have grown up farms. I thought it would be awesome to take a complete silo and convert it to an observatory, warm room underneath, spiral staircase and all!

That still may happen some day, it just needs to be in the right location, or take one down, and place on some dark sky ground somewhere in Potter County, PA!

I think I'll make the plunge on the door tomorrow. I havent posted a pic of the business end of the tank yet (this area would be where all the fittings are for vents, plumbing, etc). Thats the part that is going to be cut out for the door. Theres some really weird compound cuts to make through the reinforcement ribs, then there will be a radius cut to make on the frame of the door to fit the curvature of the tank body. Im hoping to find a scratch n dent door tomorrow (keeping my fingers crossed)!


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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5697172 - 02/23/13 07:41 PM Attachment (57 downloads)

Worked on the base opening / door today. Bought the door from Home Depot for $116 and a door handle for $30. More than what I wanted to spend, but at the same time, I'd rather have the door secure, and lasting. Lots of cutting and fitting. You gotta laugh when you drop a little money on a brand new door, then tear it completely apart! It's a solid 6 panel door, soon to be a 4 panel door, and I'll still have to take a couple of inches off the bottom. to fit within the base. I left the upper and lower reinforcement rings intact for just that. The door framing will fit within these rings.

I got the other half of the shutter built. Went ahead with the design that telescopes within the other half - wasn't as bad as I thought it might be, but, if you look closely in the photo, you'll notice that there is a gap between the upper shutter and shutter frame! I intend to minimize the gap by cutting the 2x4 framing down (thinning), so that the dolly wheel won't be as high a profile off the frame, and the mating shutter. Worse comes to worse, I'll just cut a new set of ply rails (thicker to accommodate the gap).


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berlinstar
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5697177 - 02/23/13 07:44 PM Attachment (49 downloads)

Business End of Tank

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berlinstar
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5697184 - 02/23/13 07:50 PM Attachment (58 downloads)

Entry opening... All that ugly stuff got cut out. Surprisingly, This removes about 120# of weight from the OB body. If you look closely at the last picture, you can see steel plates (~3/16" mild steel), sandwiched between the fiberglass. A little more trimming to go, then I'll cut the door down (definitely don't want to screw this up)

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ahopp
sage


Reged: 05/24/12

Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5697415 - 02/23/13 09:44 PM

Go! Go! Go!

Tony


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Bob Myler
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/18/06

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5700013 - 02/25/13 03:10 PM

Palomar II is taking shape nicely.

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Bob Myler]
      #5700603 - 02/25/13 09:25 PM

Solved the "gap" between the frame and upper shutter tonight. I moved the dolly wheel off the 2x stock and instead, drilled a hole in the bracket perpendicular to the original holes so that they would mount to the ply shutter sides rather than the 2x stock. This placement allowed me to put the dolly wheels up behind the 2x4 framing, against the 1/4 ply sheet. I gained exactly 1 1/2 inches on each shutter by moving the wheels, and, it also simplifies the shutters in that in their static position, i wont have to make ply ends to box in the shutters. I should be able to install felt seals to keep the weather out just fine. I"ll post pics tomorrow.

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berlinstar
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5703057 - 02/27/13 08:41 AM Attachment (77 downloads)

Here's the photos that go with the previous post. I'm considering installing a bolt as an axle through the ply frame, and doing away with the steel castor cage all together. The current configuration relies on a wood screw, and over time I would think that it'll work its way loose.

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5703063 - 02/27/13 08:44 AM Attachment (63 downloads)

Overall, the tighter fit looks a little better too.

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5710358 - 03/03/13 10:52 AM Attachment (61 downloads)

I didn't get too much done on the OB this weekend. Caught a cold and can't really afford to drop the marathon training, so work on the OB suffers instead. Plus, a sub 30 degree garage doesn't help either.

What I did manage yesterday was to cut the door down to fit the entry hole. As indicated a couple of days ago, the six panel door went to a four panel in a hurry. I don't know exactly how much I cut off the top, but overall the hole height wise is 67.5 inches. I sawed the top off right at the level of the top panels and wanted to make it look as symmetrical as possible, so I ended up taking a couple inches off the bottom as well. Of course, trimming both ends meant more work in fitting the frame, etc, but it was worth it.

After making my cuts, I recovered the top and bottom end plates that were in the door, roughed out the polystyrene foam in the core of the door, then glued them back in with some polyurethane glue. As you can see from the picture, it came out just as good as a factory door.

Hopefully I get over this cold this week and I'll be back in business.


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

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5711108 - 03/03/13 05:54 PM

Nice job on making the door uniform, when cut down!

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droid
rocketman
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Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5711653 - 03/03/13 10:33 PM

This just keeps getting better and better, cant wait to see the final product.

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Starman27
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Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: droid]
      #5712115 - 03/04/13 08:59 AM

Keep up the good work.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Starman27]
      #5722546 - 03/09/13 04:08 PM

Beautiful days bring beautiful things! Terrific weather here finally, so went and final fitted the door to the base. To mount it to the base, I built an outer frame out of 2x2 stock, then mounted the door to that, as in a traditional door hang in a stud wall. Came out really nice and is solid.

Then came the really exciting part. I grabbed a couple of 2x8's out of the basement and set them on the top edge of the base. Then I dragged the dome out of the garage and proceeded to ramp it up atop the base - yes I used my little Kubota with a front-end loader to push it up there, ever so slowly so as to not topple it or knock the dome off the boards! Successfully got it safely in-place!

The dome turns very freely! One thing that I did not consider, is that by mounting the wheels tight against the base like I did, and with a tapered skate wheel, that there is NO need for wheels to keep the dome centered on the base. The wheels are just as tight against the dome edge, so the taper of the wheel is doing this job.

I'll put up pics of the mock-up on Monday!

Lots of finish work to do, and, I still have to finish the shutters, and glass them.

So far, so good!


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droid
rocketman
*****

Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5722559 - 03/09/13 04:15 PM

How doyou keep a really astronmer in suspence, youll show us monday

Sorry Couldnt resist. I await your photos

Do you have a peir in the ground yet???


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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: droid]
      #5722583 - 03/09/13 04:20 PM

No pier yet. I have a couple of locations that I'm trying to decide on - the first would be just off the deck, where I could incorporate very nicely, the OB, and the second is just out in the yard.

Trouble by the house is limited view.


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droid
rocketman
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Reged: 08/29/04

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5722631 - 03/09/13 04:45 PM

well then it seems you already know where its gonna wind up/ do either have a good southern view?

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5722642 - 03/09/13 04:53 PM

Sorry about the pics... Meant to bring the laptop home, but didnt realize I'd get this far today!

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droid
rocketman
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Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5722652 - 03/09/13 04:57 PM

lol, its all good, no apolegy needed, Im just one bored astronomer.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: droid]
      #5725311 - 03/11/13 07:24 AM Attachment (51 downloads)

Here's some PICS!!!

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5725314 - 03/11/13 07:25 AM Attachment (45 downloads)

Going up...

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5725316 - 03/11/13 07:28 AM Attachment (50 downloads)

Mounted Dome atop the Base!

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5725321 - 03/11/13 07:35 AM Attachment (44 downloads)

Actually the pictures that I posted of the rigging to put the dome atop the base are in the opposite... I left the dome in-place for an evening with the wood shutter and frame covered with a tarp. It DID rain that night, but yesterday I pulled the dome back off (these are the pics that are shown). None the less, the dome rotates very nice I've got lots of finish work to do now, and hopefully this coming weekend I'll have some time to start glassing the frame and shutters. I've figured out that I can use a simple setup for locking the shutters from blowing off by use of a metal pin (probably 3/8" stainless bolt) and ply keeper, so when in not in use, the wind can't blow the shutters off.

Here's a shot of the door...


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5725323 - 03/11/13 07:40 AM Attachment (50 downloads)

I SO badly wanted to put the scope in there on Saturday or Sunday night and try her out... Friday night skies were amazing - but as Ohio likes to dish out, both Sat & Sun proved overcast the wrest of the weekend (bummer).

The project is coming along pretty good!


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5725325 - 03/11/13 07:46 AM Attachment (80 downloads)

One of the locations I'm considering... Sagittarius hangs just over those trees, which, in a few more years those trees will obscure more of my southern sky, and the reason for putting the dome atop a garage - which the garage will go in this location as well. It would be though that the observatory would sit a good 18 feet higher than this trial (10 ft garage height plus 8 feet of overhead storage within trusses).

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Starman27
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Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5725440 - 03/11/13 09:29 AM

Turned out really nice. Excellent craftsmanship and design to repurpose the storage tank.

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droid
rocketman
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Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5725812 - 03/11/13 01:02 PM

Chain saw time....yeah...lol

Looks super, thank god for power equipment.

Here in Conneaut, the sky was actually clear both nights , the atmosphere was nasty saturday but phenominal sunday night.


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

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5726165 - 03/11/13 03:47 PM

You've done such an amazing job turning the tank into a very workable, great observatory! Pretty slick how you got the dome on top also!

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Raginar
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5726739 - 03/11/13 08:04 PM

That is AWESOME .

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torsinadoc
sage


Reged: 02/04/13

Loc: Fayetteville AR
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Raginar]
      #5727476 - 03/12/13 05:23 AM

You are awesome. Just amazing!

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: torsinadoc]
      #5727512 - 03/12/13 06:19 AM

WOW!!! Thanks for all the great compliments!

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5728573 - 03/12/13 04:51 PM

I've noticed on several of the Observatory threads that the ply rotation ring will warp over time from the weight of the dome sitting static on the wheels. It has also been brought to my attention that the wheels will flat spot where they contact the ply.

I doubt I'll have a problem - I've secured the ply ring to the dome with 3" deck screws at intervals of 6" around the circumference of the dome. I DID have two screws that I did not have centered on the ply ring, and they broke out of the sheeting. I'll have to re-drill these with offset holes. Surprisingly enough, when I tested the rotation out, there are apparently enough wheels in the rotation that the bump from the screw break-out isn't even noticed.

Back to the original point of my post... For safe-guarding my ply ring from warping, and wheels flat spotting, I'm simply going to insert a wood shim between the body and dome when the observatory is not in use. The dome isn't heavy and I will need a method to park rotation anyway so 4 blocks would be very simple, lifting the ply ring off the wheels, then neither could become defective.


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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5729046 - 03/12/13 09:22 PM

You did a very nice job with this. Enjoy!

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #5749439 - 03/22/13 10:48 AM

Just to update you guys on the progress... I took the dome back into the garage for final fit of the shutters and to start glassing everything. I've got the mechanics of the shutters working very well, and have started fairing out the wood/fiberglass, prepping for one layer of glass over the wood.

I also have to clean up the base - it's been so cold here in the east that I haven't done a thing with it over the past week! Hopefully this weekend will be fruitful!


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

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5749486 - 03/22/13 11:22 AM

Looking forward to seeing the results!

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Carl N
sage
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Reged: 03/18/12

Loc: San Diego, CA
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5749597 - 03/22/13 12:33 PM

Now, where can I get me one of those tanks!

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TeleTex
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Reged: 01/27/08

Loc: Texas
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5755290 - 03/25/13 12:24 AM

Keep up the good work. It is coming out well.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: TeleTex]
      #5755827 - 03/25/13 10:29 AM

From the last picture I posted, the base looks pretty dirty. Again the weather here over the weekend proved nasty to say the least. In the 20's to 30's but none the less, I braved the elements and dragged the base in for a good scrubbing. Much to my surprise the base cleaned up just as good as the dome did (came out a yellow/white as in the dome pics).

Still have more fairing to do on the dome/shutter frame, but it's getting there. I only want to have to do this ONE time, so better to spend more time than not, plus, resin doesn't do so well in cold temps anyway!

Provided the weather holds out and I'm able to get the base dry - it's about ready for a coat of primer / paint on outside (Industrial gloss white - rustoleum). I figure one coat of primer and two top coats should do it.

Also trying to decide on whether to stick a small window in (12x16 inches) or so, for ventilation.

I was going to paint the interior of the base with flat black rustoleum as well, but now I'm thinking of afixing cotton or burlap fabric to the walls with some construction adhesive for eliminating sound echos. I went into the base over Friday night to see how well the OB blocked out stray light from the neighbors (works great, and dome is not on at the moment), and, realized just how echoey it is in there with the fiberglass walls (something I don't want to have to deal with - sounding like I'm in a pipe). Anyway, that's for later...


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TeleTex
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Reged: 01/27/08

Loc: Texas
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5755892 - 03/25/13 10:58 AM

You could use black roll on bed liner(durabark, herculiner etc...). It will sound deaden and also provide the color you want.

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droid
rocketman
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Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5763857 - 03/29/13 08:41 AM

Hopefully the weather will hold out this weekend and be warm enough for you to so some work on it.
As for the window...I dunno, got any neighbors with lighting they leave on all night?
Living in Conneaut, Ive actually passed through your town a time or two. Only an hour north of you.
Did you finally decide where to put the observatory?


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

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5764473 - 03/29/13 12:01 PM

Be sure that whatever you use for the interior, that it doesn't "outgas".

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berlinstar
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Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5764701 - 03/29/13 01:30 PM

It's been less than desirable weather - even for observing. When it was clear, the moon was out. I'd say the past 30 days, there were only 2 that were clear (major bummer).

I'm not positive on a location yet. I may wait till we get some leaves on the trees to really hone in on a specific site. For mobility in adjusting the location and in moving in and out of the garage for paint, trim, etc - I'm going to build the subfloor and mount the whole base on a set of skids. That way I can move the base around without having to bump it with the tractor front-end loader and scratch it all up once painted.

On the out-gassing... LOL! Yeah shouldn't have many issues there.

I'd like a window for the ventilation more than anything. Also - think I'd hang curtains (maybe the same material I might use for interior - black fabric), to cover the window while the OB is in use, and or prying eyes during the day.

Ya-all have a great Easter!!!

Mike


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Carl N
sage
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Reged: 03/18/12

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5765429 - 03/29/13 06:02 PM

You might consider a "bump out" a la the pods. A rectangular cut as you did for the door, and then build a box with shelves that frames into it on the lower half . use the upper box framing as the lower framing for a window installed inthe top half of the cutout.

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berlinstar
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Carl N]
      #5766278 - 03/30/13 08:08 AM

Since the base will be up off the ground by 18" or do, I figured I'd incorporate a storage box into the floor. Since the base is also 6 feet in height, I hope to incorporate shelving up high so it's out of the way and yet accessible.

For a window, a 2x6 cut to fit the radius of the base should work in providing a frame for the window, although since the window wouldn't be very big, even 2x4 stock should work.

Long run today - 18 miles. More than likely licking my wounds all day after that one!


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droid
rocketman
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Reged: 08/29/04

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5781985 - 04/06/13 02:29 PM

I see this thread ticked over to page two, so I thought Id pop in and see what was up.

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: droid]
      #5784171 - 04/07/13 04:02 PM

2 coats of rustoleum gloss white to the base this weekend. It was unbelievable how much paint this old fiberglass soaked up! I used 3/4 gallon on the base for the 2 coats.

Still have to do the glass work on the dome and shutters. Time is at a premium right now. Hopefully it stays warm over the next couple of weeks so I can get the dome finished!

Thanks for thinking of me!


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Raginar
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5784461 - 04/07/13 06:17 PM

Berlin, more pictures!!

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berlinstar
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Raginar]
      #5784512 - 04/07/13 06:43 PM

Yep... I'll have them up tomorrow. I also scuffed up the inside of the base with 60 grit for applying 2 coats flat black. There was also a bonding seam that I needed to cut out. I still have to fill what's left - sharp edges that I don't care to find in pitch black / minimal lighting while in there.

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5785372 - 04/08/13 07:44 AM

Here's the painted base!

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5785374 - 04/08/13 07:44 AM Attachment (60 downloads)

...

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5785377 - 04/08/13 07:45 AM

Somebody's happy about it!

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berlinstar
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5785385 - 04/08/13 07:50 AM Attachment (59 downloads)

Photo of base interior and tank seam - this seam is essentially where the two halves of the tank merged. The lower section of the base (the bottom of the four segments between reinforcement rings) was fused together with a fiberglass bond. It's the only part that isn't perfectly smooth on the outside. It isn't bad, just not mold smooth like the rest. As indicated yesterday, I cut the lip off from the bond (on the inside), and will fill the spot to make it smooth. I'm not too worried about the looks, as the wrest of the inside is uneven (smooth but uneven) - I'm shooting more for safety (no place to catch skin on). I'd still like to consider some type of fabric inside once the dome is on and everything is in-place for noise reduction.

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droid
rocketman
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Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5785388 - 04/08/13 07:53 AM

gorgeous, is that you? lol

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Raginar
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: droid]
      #5785481 - 04/08/13 09:16 AM

That thing is so cool

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Raginar]
      #5786758 - 04/08/13 08:16 PM

That's my son Jack. Great kid!!! Hopefully will turn an eye toward some form of science or engineering someday. He's certainly getting a back-yard education in them!

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5799980 - 04/15/13 08:01 AM Attachment (39 downloads)

I managed to get a little work done to the OB over the weekend, even with a 21 mile long run, and a 21 mile bike ride...

Got one coat of flat black to the interior of the base...


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berlinstar
super member


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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5799983 - 04/15/13 08:01 AM

Inside looking towards door...

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5799985 - 04/15/13 08:04 AM Attachment (38 downloads)

pic...

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5799987 - 04/15/13 08:05 AM

The line that isn't painted in the above photo is the seam that still needs to be ground/filled.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5799992 - 04/15/13 08:09 AM Attachment (37 downloads)

Here's the start of my fiberglass work... Glassing IS easy... And not. None the less, it's getting there. Need more resin and chop...

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5799995 - 04/15/13 08:12 AM Attachment (33 downloads)

Other view...

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5800009 - 04/15/13 08:27 AM Attachment (38 downloads)

These photos are perplexing... I've used corel photopaint to edit them down to a smaller file size and renamed them - when I did that, the photos seemed to lose a lot of detail. When I don't change the name, more detail... Go figure!

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rockethead26
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/21/09

Loc: Arizona, USA
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5800026 - 04/15/13 08:51 AM

If you are working with jpeg files, every time you save the file you lose detail, that's why renaming causes the problem.

The project is looking great!


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Midnight Dan
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: rockethead26]
      #5800041 - 04/15/13 09:05 AM

Looks to me like you're using some kind of low bit depth format for your images. You can see this in the banding that shows up in slowly changing colors. Look at the image with your son in it above and you can see the banding very distinctly on the fiberglass tank. This low bit depth will cause the images to lose detail in some of the areas.

Make sure you're using 8 bits per channel. This is sometimes referred to as 24-bit images, and sometimes 32-bit. Not sure what Corel Draw calls it. But if you use 8-bits per channel and then save it as a jpg file, you should be fine.

-Dan


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5801000 - 04/15/13 04:53 PM

Thanks for the advice on the photos. I'm going to keep plugging away at the glass work, and hopefully I'll have at least the dome framework finished up by next weekend (the initial glassing. Looks like I'm going to have a bit of "body" work to do also. I did save a few of the trimmings from cutting the dome from the body, so I might still consider screwing a 3/4 inch wide piece to the final product here to smooth out the top edge where the shutter dollies run, to avoid too much work, that or a piece of aluminum.

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5823836 - 04/26/13 09:03 AM

Been too cold to do any glassing work... Looks like the weekend will hold some "warmer" weather, and I can get this dome wrapped up.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5829019 - 04/28/13 08:10 PM

Picked up some more resin and chop over the weekend. Got 3/4 of the shutter frame glassed up. I plan on putting a layer of fiberglass over the upper part of the ply ring yet, then just resin over the bottom of the ring where the wheels run. Just trying to keep the ply from delaminating.

The first bit of resin I did was from West Marine (epoxy), which had a flash time of several hours. Great stuff, but messy and once rolled in, it is better to forget it than to fuss with it, as it as usually it ends up looking worse. Today, I walked into a auto parts store and picked up a gallon of polyester resin. Much easier to work with, but 1 quart of resin at a time is too much for working with at long stretches. Seems to roll in nicely though, and already sanding. Hopefully will get a chance this week to finish the dome glass work, and ready for painting! Not much to post for pics, and sorry for the fizzle out of the project, but it's still moving, and soon I'll have the shutters all glassed up before long too. Then all I gotta do is build a platform and a pier!

Pics to come as soon as I finish the shutter frame!


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droid
rocketman
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Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5854838 - 05/12/13 04:31 AM

weather , rain, bringing the project to a stop, lol

I know here in Conneaut, the weather has really been bad, had four nights, of hazy nights last week and right back to rain.


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: droid]
      #5855519 - 05/12/13 01:46 PM

Thanks for thinking of me and the project! I got the marathon out of the way and managed to tear a big toenail off in the process. Bettered my time by an hour from last year, so all the training paid off. Will be nursing the toe for a while so hope to work on the OB to completion.

I did manage to get the exterior framing glassed. Needs a little more work, and the rotation ring fiberglassed and some finish sanding and she'll be ready for paint.

I'm planning on setting the dome without doing the shutters so at least I'll be able to put the thing to use (with my tripod). Hope to update you guys next week with some pics!


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droid
rocketman
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Reged: 08/29/04

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5856864 - 05/13/13 05:33 AM

Owe that toes gonna smart for a while, might keep it clean and take it easy for a while.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: droid]
      #5857360 - 05/13/13 12:19 PM

Yep. I'm on a MED called Enbrel for psoriatic arthritis - knocks your immune system down to nothing, so, the marathon that I planned to run in 5 weeks is out. Can't risk an infection!

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droid
rocketman
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Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5868808 - 05/18/13 05:35 AM

Hoping your ok......start taking vitamins.
My doc tells me I need to take vitamins for "Seniors"
lol
Gosh I'm only 56
Be well......and keep posting photos, when your up to finishing it ,that is


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

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5869022 - 05/18/13 09:28 AM

Please take care of yourself; that comes first, observatory second!

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5890367 - 05/29/13 09:16 AM Attachment (52 downloads)

Good God... I need more than vitamins!!! More hours in the day, more days in the week, or just a clone! I DID manage to get the shutter framing glassed up and the ring sealed with a layer of resin. I still want to add some tabbing where the dome meets the ply ring for strength as well as to prevent sag of the ply ring.

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5890372 - 05/29/13 09:19 AM Attachment (53 downloads)

The overview picture that I posted - you can see my technique for getting a layer of glass over the ply - 4" wide strips of glass matt over resin, then rolled in with some overlap. Between the overlap and where the strips cross the edge of the framing, the glass came up a bit and will need to be sanded out - I can get the inner shutter on, but now it won't roll because it's catching on the glass (more work before paint!).

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5890380 - 05/29/13 09:27 AM Attachment (51 downloads)

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend! Very busy around the house and prepping another hobby . That's one of my problems... WAY too many (that's a 28' Donzi by the way)!

Was hoping to get the scope out over the weekend and try it out in the base (domeless), but no kidding, the afternoons were cloud free, but then the evenings and nights clouded up! Almost like the weather is pushing me to get this OB project completed (which I need to do anyway).

Once sanded and I get this framing where it will work well with the shutters, she'll be ready for paint!


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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5899143 - 06/03/13 08:09 AM Attachment (47 downloads)

Got some work done on the dome over the weekend... Ground out the fiberglass work, taking off the overlap and grinding down the seam that mated with the dome so that it would be blended. All that accomplished, I fitted the shutters back on the framing... Still catching! I may have to build a new set if these ones don't work out. Last resort - I'll try grinding out a little of the inside of the shutter sides for the clearance (got my fingers crossed).

I managed to get one coat of white on the exterior as well. There are a couple of places where the resin dripped on the dome that I'll have to grind off. Such a large field that I didn't notice it until a coat of paint was applied. Hopefully the dome will go up by this weekend!


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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5899144 - 06/03/13 08:10 AM Attachment (54 downloads)

View 2!

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Midnight Dan
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5899163 - 06/03/13 08:34 AM

Wow! The dome looks very professional with the white coat! Hope you can get the shutters working.

-Dan


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stmguy
sage


Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Western NH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5899257 - 06/03/13 09:39 AM

Looks great ! I had the same issue with clearance when I fiberglassed the hatch on my OBS and ended up grinding some of the glass back off plus I added a little bit of height to the "rails" and that helped the most
Norm


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: stmguy]
      #5904683 - 06/05/13 08:49 PM

2 coats of white on the outside, and a good coat of flat black on the inside. Set the dome tonight!!!

Pics to be posted tomorrow!


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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5907442 - 06/07/13 08:06 AM

Well here it is with the dome on. Day late on the pic. The dome turns with ease. Literally it's a one hand effort. I have some spare 3/8 nylon dock line for the boat that I plan on turning into some grab handles to bring the rotation down to about chest level. At present, it's a reach, and if my hand slips, I worry that I'm going to run my fingers over with the skate wheels, which would be very painful.

Hopefully going to get one of the two shutters completed (glassed) by the weekend!


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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5907443 - 06/07/13 08:07 AM Attachment (52 downloads)

Pic

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stmguy
sage


Reged: 10/11/12

Loc: Western NH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5907852 - 06/07/13 12:29 PM

Looks great, good job !

Norm


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: stmguy]
      #5908279 - 06/07/13 04:18 PM

Nice! You would never know that wasn't a commercial dome.

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Carl N
sage
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Reged: 03/18/12

Loc: San Diego, CA
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Mary B]
      #5908650 - 06/07/13 07:43 PM

Wish I knew where to find one in San Diego!

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MDB
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Reged: 06/06/12

Loc: Idaho
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: stmguy]
      #5908869 - 06/07/13 09:58 PM


Berlinstar

When you began this project I could not see an observatory in your fiberglass storage tank, thankfully your vison far surpassed mine. Much to my surprise there was a fine observatory there. Nicely done too, enjoy!

Mike


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ahopp
sage


Reged: 05/24/12

Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: MDB]
      #5909278 - 06/08/13 07:15 AM

Great Job.

Tony


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

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5909394 - 06/08/13 09:12 AM

That is outstanding!

What a beautiful observatory, made from literally out of nothing! The old saying "silk purse out of a sow's ear" certainly doesn't apply here!

You've done an absolutely amazing job, and we thank you for sharing your idea from start to finish with us! Ingenuity is alive and well!


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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5910063 - 06/08/13 04:34 PM

If you guys don't mind, I'm going to keep posting the progress. Lots to do yet - flooring, pier, and all of the extras that go with it.

I got my shutters glassed up today. They're still a tight fit, but one of the cool things about moving them about on the frame is the scoring in the paint where too tight. Will be getting the grinder out for this one, then reprinting. I also have to come up with a mechanism to make the shutter system easy to use, but for now it's all about keeping the weather out!


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Midnight Dan
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Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5910479 - 06/08/13 09:42 PM

Yes, please keep posting! I've really enjoyed this thread and would love to see more about how you outfit the observatory.

-Dan


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1965healy
The Snarkster
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Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5910750 - 06/09/13 01:31 AM

My Dad used to make rope handles by cutting a thick dowel to about 4" long then drill a hole in the middle, run a piece of rope thru it and tie a knot. He made jump ropes drilling thru the ends, or pull handles drilling thru the side.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5910978 - 06/09/13 08:33 AM

First light last night for the observatory and the Gemini II... Horrible night for seeing, and need to get the GII figured out for goto, none the less, LOVE the OB!

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tim57064
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5911059 - 06/09/13 09:50 AM

Quote:

If you guys don't mind, I'm going to keep posting the progress. Lots to do yet - flooring, pier, and all of the extras that go with it.

I got my shutters glassed up today. They're still a tight fit, but one of the cool things about moving them about on the frame is the scoring in the paint where too tight. Will be getting the grinder out for this one, then reprinting. I also have to come up with a mechanism to make the shutter system easy to use, but for now it's all about keeping the weather out!


Yes, Please keep posting pic's of your progress.I like to read posts here yet images are nice also.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5911684 - 06/09/13 05:23 PM

Quote:

If you guys don't mind, I'm going to keep posting the progress. Lots to do yet - flooring, pier, and all of the extras that go with it.




Mind? We would be very disappointed! We want to keep following your progress!


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TeleTex
member


Reged: 01/27/08

Loc: Texas
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5911705 - 06/09/13 05:37 PM

Simply Awesome. Keep the post coming!

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droid
rocketman
*****

Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: stmguy]
      #5923252 - 06/16/13 05:31 AM

Outstanding job. Looks beautiful

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: droid]
      #5925908 - 06/17/13 04:36 PM

What are you guys doing for dew/humidity control??? At the moment, the OB is sitting on bare ground with no ventilation - I've gone in there a couple of times in the morning hours and it's like walking into a rain forest, and the entire dome and walls are covered in condensate. I would think that by getting it up off the ground with 4x4 posts and a platform will alleviate most of this problem???

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zawijava
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 10/06/07

Loc: Wells, Maine 04090
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5926092 - 06/17/13 06:30 PM

and possibly a vapor barrier if not on a slab.

Quote:

What are you guys doing for dew/humidity control??? At the moment, the OB is sitting on bare ground with no ventilation - I've gone in there a couple of times in the morning hours and it's like walking into a rain forest, and the entire dome and walls are covered in condensate. I would think that by getting it up off the ground with 4x4 posts and a platform will alleviate most of this problem???




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Carl N
sage
*****

Reged: 03/18/12

Loc: San Diego, CA
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: zawijava]
      #5927276 - 06/18/13 11:10 AM

I would recommend looking at a product called schluter kerdi,

http://www.schluter.com/8_1_kerdi.aspx

It is a fabric from Germany I used in my shower. You can attach it to wallboard, concrete, wood, anything. It creates a water barrier that is virtually unmatched. If you make a base of concrete, or wood then a layer of Kerdi, with a top layer of concrete, tile, stone, wood, whatever you want your floor to be, you will have no moisture from below. Then add a cut out square or two in your walls and place a vent screen for keeping out criters, you will have solved the rain forest problem.

Edited by Carl N (06/18/13 11:13 AM)


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: Carl N]
      #5932943 - 06/21/13 12:48 PM

Excellent. I appreciate the recommendations.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5941009 - 06/26/13 08:13 AM

We got our first two MAJOR storms yesterday. I checked the inside for leaks/drips, and had no water intrusion through the dome & shutter. Good sheet rain with high winds. Shutters are holding tight, etc!

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lunar
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/03/10

Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5944854 - 06/28/13 02:00 PM Attachment (41 downloads)

Hey,

I was showing this post to my dad and he expressed a lot of interest given that we live in a farming community and it's likely that many probably have these laying around. I'm also highly interested in the idea as I've always wanted an observatory, and my parents have always told me they would allow it since that they're not very happy with the southeast corner of the lot (below image, and it's actually kind of convenient given that it's closest to the middle of the field and away from any trees nearby). As i was showing my dad your steps he thought it was pretty sweet, and the end result appears to be clean and admirable in appearance (much better than a pile of old dead limbs and odds and ends).

I was curious as to what you're going to coat the door with that you covered with wood which you bent over the top. He was as well, just to keep it weather-proofed.

Edited by lunar (06/28/13 02:01 PM)


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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: lunar]
      #5988369 - 07/24/13 07:49 PM

Hey! Thanks for your interest! Actually, what I did was use one of the reinforcement ribs as kind of a drip edge for the door. The corners stick out a little and for longevity, I really should either cut them back under the fiberglass, or put a layer or two of glass over them.

Hope you can locate a tank, and you're welcome to ask any questions - hopefully I can help.


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tim57064
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: Observatory from a Fiberglass Storage Tank new [Re: berlinstar]
      #6161961 - 10/28/13 07:46 AM

berlinstar,Just wondering if you have been able to get additional images for the interior of your dome build?
It appears that it has been quite a while since anything has been posted. Thanks


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