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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5934863 - 06/22/13 03:54 PM Attachment (29 downloads)

An oops moment. The stud spacing that I rearranged on my own? Didn't properly account for the spacing of the adjoining wall. It was an easy fix, though. I just chopped a bit off of the first 4' panel and, since I was spanning a 10' wall with 4' panels, it wasn't an issue making-up the difference on the far end. I had actually drawn it wrong. So, I guess the good news is that I built it as it was drawn? Yay?

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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5934869 - 06/22/13 03:56 PM Attachment (25 downloads)

I also discovered that a gallon of paint, which claims to cover 400 sq. ft. of surface, doesn't quite cover ~200 sq. ft. of new wood.

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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5934870 - 06/22/13 03:59 PM Attachment (26 downloads)

Test fitting the roof panels reveals another problem. I'm not sure if I misunderstood ED's instructions, if the design of the roof panels has changed from when the instructions were (first?) written, or if something is just wrong. In any event, the roof panels didn't properly fit on that final 'rim' piece of wood. By quite a bit.

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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5934874 - 06/22/13 04:01 PM Attachment (28 downloads)

My solution - a series of cleats made from leftover 2x6.

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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5934878 - 06/22/13 04:02 PM Attachment (20 downloads)

Mark the locations of where the mounting screws should go before everything gets covered over.

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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5934883 - 06/22/13 04:04 PM Attachment (22 downloads)

Attaching the roof panels was accomplished by rigging a series of straps around the perimeter of the roof, using some 'C' clamps like belt loops, and then tightening the straps while pounding the sections into place with a dead blow hammer and a scrap of 2x4. Pound, pound, pound. Ratchet, ratchet, ratchet. Rinse and repeat.

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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5934907 - 06/22/13 04:18 PM Attachment (31 downloads)

Should have mentioned this earlier, but you might notice a difference in the number of rafters in my original drawing and in what was actually built. I realized part way through that if I used an even number of rafters (which is sometimes shown in the documentation), then the seams of the roof panels wouldn't be supported by anything. Using an odd number (which is sometimes shown in the documentation) puts the seam right on a rafter, so the mounting screws have something to screw into.

Speaking of mounting screws, ED included a -lot- of them. They are painted white and have a little rubber washer to help seal out the water. I like 'em. I had enough to put two into every cleat (coming up through the bottom portion of the roof panel to further reduce the likelihood of water getting in) and six into the lap between sections. That 104 total. There's still a bunch left over, too. I was not hurting for screws.

The edge of the roof doesn't quite fit against the building in all places. Mainly near the corners. The largest gap is about 1/4". Most of it is in contact with the building, though.

I also have a sizable gap (~1") between the 'top' surfaces of adjoining panels. The space is still covered, by a lot, by the 'tab' section of the 'bottom' section, so this isn't an issue for weather proofing. It just makes the joint a bit ugly. I'm assuming this is because I have my siding between the edge of the roof panels and the building. Building it this way, rather than placing the roof and then positioning the siding under it, made sense to me, though.

I ran a bead of silicon calking 'inboard' from where the joining screws were going to go and another on the external part of the seam. It has rained a couple of times since, and I haven't seen a single leak!


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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5934925 - 06/22/13 04:25 PM Attachment (31 downloads)

The dome... I was so worried about this, becoming more so as the building neared completion. About 5 minutes after the last of the caulking was done, I walked over to my next door neighbor's house. They were out in the yard and had previously offered to help. Suckers!!

The plan: Take their pick-up truck and drive it through the fence (about 2" clearance on both sides) and park the truck as close to the building as possible. The five of us would then move the 160 pound dome from my deck to the bed of their truck, resting the dome on the 'walls' of the truck's bed. Climb into the truck and use the bed as a raised platform. Lift the dome and place it on the ring, which is now about 4 feet up rather than the 7 feet it would have been from the ground. Job done in about 5 minutes. Sorry that I don't have photos of the process, but it went too quickly. And, while we had 5 people, we could have done it with 4. Possibly 3.


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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5934926 - 06/22/13 04:26 PM Attachment (21 downloads)

I was so worried about the dome that I didn't put any though into the door. Oh, well. A tarp will do for now.

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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5934930 - 06/22/13 04:27 PM Attachment (23 downloads)

The pieces of the retaining ring are ready for installation.

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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5934938 - 06/22/13 04:29 PM Attachment (26 downloads)

This is a blind job, so the little scrap of wood was shoved behind the ring so that I could get the retaining ring to a uniform height.

Edited by SFGagnon (06/22/13 05:35 PM)


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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5934942 - 06/22/13 04:31 PM Attachment (27 downloads)

Still waiting for the pier (and the door...), but it's enough that it can be used on a temporary basis. An C-11 on a CGEM will call this home, along with a couple of smaller siblings.

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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5934956 - 06/22/13 04:37 PM Attachment (39 downloads)

And that's where things sit now. I've already gotten 'lost' in the dome a couple of times. It's odd looking at the sky through a slit. I'm also happy to report that no dew has formed on the scope's corrector so far! It's also funny that it's roomy and crowded inside at the same time. Some of that will be fixed once the tripod goes away, but all that space that's under the roof but not the dome?? NICE... I'm already planning on building a desk that runs the length of one of the walls. What am I most excited about? I'll finally have someplace to put my glasses!

If you've made it this far, thanks for sticking with me. They'll be a few additional updates as the pier (and door...) make an appearance.

Clear skies to all and my apologies to my fellow astronomer in my part of the world. I'm afraid that my construction will be affecting the weather for months to come!


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sewhite
member


Reged: 05/29/12

Loc: 57 laps around a star
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5935029 - 06/22/13 05:21 PM

It's looking good! Thanks for sharing your build.
What pier are you planning on using?

Stan


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SFGagnon
super member


Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Carrollton, VA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: sewhite]
      #5935060 - 06/22/13 05:43 PM

Quote:

It's looking good! Thanks for sharing your build.
What pier are you planning on using?

Stan





Not a problem! I've learned so much from this forum that it was only appropriate that I gave something back.

The pier is being built by a local shop. Nothing fancy. It'll be about 4' worth of 10" schedule 5 pipe (if I can get it) welded to a couple of 1/2" steel plates.


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Goodchild
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 12/31/08

Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5935114 - 06/22/13 06:23 PM

For someone who's never done construction before you've done an impressive job. Better, I'm sure, than I would have done. I have been considering ED for some time now and this helps to confirm my plans. Thanks for sharing. Job well done.

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starquake
sage


Reged: 02/02/08

Loc: Nádasdladány
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: SFGagnon]
      #5935136 - 06/22/13 06:40 PM

I think that's the funniest building log I've ever read. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your observatory, it looks very pretty.

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CharlesW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/02/12

Loc: Chula Vista & Indio, CA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! [Re: starquake]
      #5936093 - 06/23/13 09:55 AM

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this. You did a very nice job on the obs. Congrats.

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MikeCatfin
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/12/04

Loc: NJ, USA
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: CharlesW]
      #5938171 - 06/24/13 02:47 PM

Great read, wonderful job on the ED.

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Starman27
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: PBG Observatory - My Exploradome Adventure! new [Re: MikeCatfin]
      #5940473 - 06/25/13 09:01 PM

Thanks for sharing.

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