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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Another Arrow Shed Observatory new
      #6226078 - 11/30/13 10:38 PM Attachment (149 downloads)

I took inspiration from previous posters here on CN who had constructed some fine looking observatories from Arrow metal sheds.

In this case (and rather late in the season for the Pacific Northwest), I happened to be at Home Depot and noticed a few 8X10 Arrow metal sheds on a clear-out for just a couple of hundred bucks.
On a whim, and with no prior planning to do so, I picked one up with the intention of turning it into an observatory similar to the ones I’d seen here on CN.

Now, over the years I’ve made about 500 different excuses to myself why I shouldn’t build an observatory in my back yard. Those excuses have ranged from the (true) fact that there’s too many trees blocking my Eastern and South Eastern view, that it rains too much here in the Pacific Northwest, that it would take up too much space in my yard (even though I don’t use the space for anything!), and a bunch of other excuses that, frankly, have prevented me from building an observatory since I moved into this house 12 years ago.

No longer. I had purchased the Arrow shed and was on my way.

Some parameters I’d established for myself ahead of time were:

1) I’d be working by myself, and couldn’t count on having a second pair of hands available.

2) I wanted the observatory to be practical, but also was painfully aware that I was definitely NOT an experienced carpenter.

3) I decided up front that I wasn’t going to play around endlessly with trying to waterproof the roll-off roof, so decided up front to put a secondary cover on it.

4) I also decided I wasn’t into concrete at all, and would build the platform for the shed from wood, and the pier from 4 pressure treated 4X4’s.

5) I realized that, because of how late in the fall it is, once I started I’d pretty much have to finish quickly if I wanted it to a “lock-up” stage before endless days and months of rain.

I'm writing this after the building is to “lock-up”, but before the telescope is mounted on the pier. There are many elements still to complete, and here in the Pacific Northwest, the endless rain of winter has definitely descended upon us. The bonus is that with my Mr. Heater in the observatory, I can continue to work inside in a warm and dry space.

I sunk the 8X8 pier in 7 bags of Post Haste concrete, let it set for a few days, and then began building a simple deck around the pier, on which would sit the Arrow shed.


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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226079 - 11/30/13 10:39 PM Attachment (100 downloads)

More pier, Arrow shed walls, sitting on deck with no roof.

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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226090 - 11/30/13 10:43 PM Attachment (74 downloads)

You'll notice that I "stick built" two 2X4 frames, one on top of the other, which I tagged temporarily together (in square) with a few screws.
I then built the roof framing on top of the pair of frames, but secured into the top on only.
The intent is to build the roof to completion, remove the tagging screws, and then lift and offset the roof slightly in order to attach the casters.


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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226094 - 11/30/13 10:47 PM Attachment (74 downloads)

The actual site in my back yard.

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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226096 - 11/30/13 10:48 PM Attachment (53 downloads)

a bit closer.

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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226105 - 11/30/13 10:51 PM Attachment (69 downloads)

Although the roof was unwieldy, it wasn't too heavy. Once I took the tagging screws out, it wasn't too difficult to offset the roof and attach the casters. I then (this was the unwieldily part) lifted the roof (with casters attached) back into place.

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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226114 - 11/30/13 10:57 PM Attachment (85 downloads)

I then built the roll-off assembly out of cedar 4X4's, with each post mounted on an adjustable jack for future trimming for level. Although the roll off assembly is attached to the building, it can be completely detached for a "from scratch" re-leveling if it should ever be required.

You'll note too that, as per my earlier post regarding an almost OCD concern with water ingress into the observatory, I also put a heavy tarp on the roof. It's been trimmed to fit, and attached on three sides.
I've built a few of these metal sheds before, and know up front that getting the standard roof watertight with sealants is almost impossible.

I've left the tarp loose at the back of the observatory, as this is the part that has to roll clear when the roof moves. The advantage is that the tarp (held in place with 4 bungee straps) completely waterproofs the most difficult area of any roll off roof observatory, the "back" opposite the roll-off rails. Some folks use hinged boards to execute a watertight seal, but I've chosen to bring the tarp right down over the entire opening created by the casters having raised the roof.
It poured today, and not a drop in the observatory.

However the major downside is that I've got to futz with the tarp when rolling the roof back into the closed position. This kind of ruins the dream of just rolling the roof closed and going to bed, but it really adds only 2 or 3 minutes to the process, and as I said..........gotta' be watertight or I worry about it endlessly.

A small price to pay in the Pacific Northwest, where we can get rain for weeks on end.


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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226119 - 11/30/13 10:59 PM Attachment (56 downloads)

Different angle.

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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226120 - 11/30/13 11:00 PM Attachment (38 downloads)

Another.

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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226123 - 11/30/13 11:03 PM Attachment (65 downloads)

I noted earlier that one of my never ending excuses as to why I shouldn't build an observatory was the tall trees around some compass points of my property.
My vista to the South isn't terribly bad though.

Edited by silverking (11/30/13 11:03 PM)


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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226125 - 11/30/13 11:04 PM Attachment (38 downloads)

West and North are OK too.

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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226132 - 11/30/13 11:08 PM Attachment (63 downloads)

I've decided I'm not going to go overboard with the interior finishing. I want it to be functional, but I'm not trying to make it look like the inside of my house.

Here's my desk, and the "service wall".
These Arrow sheds obviously can't have things screwed to their walls, so things like 12V power supply, dimmers, lights, etc will get attached to this chunk of plywood that's attached to the deck at the bottom, and the lower 2X4 roof frame at the top.

I hate messy cables, so note that this is just the very early stages of the interior construction. All cables and other "bits" will be tidied up completely prior to use.


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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226135 - 11/30/13 11:13 PM Attachment (57 downloads)

I headed out to my local (10 miles away) MetalMart today to pick up the plates to go on top of the pier - to which will attach my EQ-6 mount. Upon pulling up in the parking lot, I got quite excited as there were hardly any cars there. Normally it's an hour wait, and I myself would have to stand around while they ran the metal bandsaw through two 8" cuts for me.

This entire weekend was planned around getting the plates in place on the pier, and attaching the mount.

The reason there were no cars is because of the paper signs taped to all the windows and doors -----"CLOSED FOR INVENTORY-----.

Great.

So here are a couple of shots that I took when the sun came out briefly a day or so ago.

More later, when I get some more parts and pieces to keep things moving forward.


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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226137 - 11/30/13 11:14 PM Attachment (57 downloads)

Last pic for today.

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dandabson
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Reged: 10/15/08

Loc: Dover, DE
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: silverking]
      #6226138 - 11/30/13 11:14 PM

Cool project, I am planning something similar next spring.

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mikey cee
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Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: dandabson]
      #6226150 - 11/30/13 11:26 PM

Hi yo Silver....did your shed kit come with any metal floor "joists"? My Arrow garden shed did and because of snow loads I used them in the roof to narrow up those spaces betrween the three metal roof "beams". Also just curious but how can a person do this by themselves? I had to have my wife on the inside hold nuts in place for my screwed in bolts etc. Mike

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Galaxyhunter
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/02/06

Loc: Northern Illinois
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: mikey cee]
      #6226173 - 11/30/13 11:39 PM

Quote:

Now, over the years I’ve made about 500 different excuses to myself why I shouldn’t build an observatory in my back yard. Those excuses have ranged from the (true) fact that there’s too many trees blocking my Eastern and South Eastern view, that it rains too much here in the Pacific Northwest, that it would take up too much space in my yard (even though I don’t use the space for anything!), and a bunch of other excuses that, frankly, have prevented me from building an observatory since I moved into this house 12 years ago.




All the MORE reason to build an Observatory. You can be ready in a moments notice. Setup time is gone.

Nice job on your Observatory.


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Galaxyhunter
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/02/06

Loc: Northern Illinois
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: mikey cee]
      #6226175 - 11/30/13 11:40 PM

Double Post

Edited by Galaxyhunter (11/30/13 11:41 PM)


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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory new [Re: mikey cee]
      #6226177 - 11/30/13 11:40 PM

Hi Mikey, Yes, it came with the complete floor kit, but I didn't install it as it was built on the deck.

One advantage to endless rain in the PNW, is that we can go for years in a row with no snow. Snows not impossible, and we do get some now and then, but it's always gone again in a few days.

BUT, now that you've told me what you used yours for, I'm going to have a look tomorrow to see if I can somehow use them to assist me in my efforts to build a secondary frame to support the foam board used to insulate the inside of the roof!
That's some good thinkin' taking them up off the floor to use to reinforce the roof.
To date I was thinking mine were just going to wind up going out to the dump.
It gives me something to do tomorrow in place of the metal pier plates that I couldn't pick up.

You really want to know how I got those bolts in??

.......I built as much of the shed as I could in a slightly revised order from he instructions so I could access as many fasteners as possible from both sides, and for those fasteners that you had your wife assist with (and I DO know the ones you mean!), I put the machine screw in the hole, and gaffer-taped the head to the metal shed, I then went into the shed and gingerly twisted the nut onto the protruding machine screw. Very carefully of course, because if I pushed even slightly - the tape doesn't hold and the machine screw pops out into the grass never to be found again!
Multiplied by the 40 or 50 machine screws used in building one of these sheds, I will admit it was a somewhat "un-fun" part of the build.

Once I got a bit of bite on the fastener, I again very carefully tightened it right up.
Honestly, it probably wouldn't hurt to get my daughter out with me, she on the inside and me on the outside for a final torquing.......but she's 15 and when asked if she wants to help me with the observatory.........well (thus the initial plan to ensure I could actually complete it solo).

I'd not want to re-do the actual Arrow shed construction anytime soon (wood is much easier), and as with all Arrow metal sheds......blood was shed during that part of construction!


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silverking
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Reged: 03/11/08

Loc: Canada
Re: Another Arrow Shed Observatory [Re: silverking]
      #6226188 - 11/30/13 11:51 PM

You know how excuses go Carl, in this case the abundant rain manifested my excuse that I wouldn't get to open the roof often enough to warrant the cost and effort to build an observatory.

But of course, you're absolutely right!


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