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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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prefetch
sage


Reged: 04/24/13

my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new
      #6253567 - 12/14/13 10:33 PM

so i've started construction, and i thought this would be a good place to post pictures of the progress.

here's a view from the outside. this little roof on the dormer shed is what will be rolled off. it is the 'east' roof of the dormer shed.



here's a view of the first floor - i've already had the wall removed that used to cover the HVAC unit. that HVAC unit is going to have to move out of the way, because it's sitting where my pier footing is going to be. the concrete pier will have a 3x3 foot hole cut in the 4" slab that is there, and a 3x3x3 footer which will be independent of the current slab will be put in. a 14 foot, 18" diameter rebar reinforced pier will then go up to the second floor.



here's the second floor where the 14' pier will end. it'll be positioned where it's marked with blue tap on the floor. only the east side of the roof will be rolled off. the west side will remain as it is.



i'll have about 4 feet on each side of the pier, which should be enough for my telescope. i almost exclusively do photography, so i won't have to worry too much about squeezing between the wall and the scope for views. the whole things is a bit of a tight fit, and the walls are really high - but i'm working with what i have!

lots of work to do - but it's finally begun. hopefully i'll have first light in the next 90 days or so.


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Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: prefetch]
      #6253582 - 12/14/13 10:48 PM

Sounds rather unique. Can't wait to see the build!
-Dan


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MHamburg
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 06/21/06

Loc: Brooklyn, NY/Berkshires, MA
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #6254393 - 12/15/13 12:19 PM

Good luck and keep the photos coming. BTW, where are you located?
Michael


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*skyguy*
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 12/31/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: MHamburg]
      #6254431 - 12/15/13 12:45 PM

Nice project! Did you have any problems getting the approval and permit from the local building department? Also, can you post the architectural or engineering plans that show the construction details?

Good Luck with your observatory build ...

Jim


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prefetch
sage


Reged: 04/24/13

Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: *skyguy*]
      #6254960 - 12/15/13 06:12 PM

mhamburg - i'm located in utah in a red zone. :-( so the plan is to do a lot of solar, planetary and narrow band astrophotography - but i haven't given up on do some minor planetary work and deep as well. i currently have a C11 and i've been pretty happy with the results i've been able to achieve with the amount of light pollution in the area.

skyguy - i'm skipping the permit process on this one since it's a relatively small project. i'll be sure to post plans and pics as they develop.


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corpusse
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/11/10

Loc: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: prefetch]
      #6254975 - 12/15/13 06:18 PM

Looks like this is going to be an exciting project. Having the scope accessible from your house is going to be great!

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Raginar
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: corpusse]
      #6255016 - 12/15/13 06:41 PM

Prefetch, before you skip the permit, you might want to do some research on cutting holes in a roof with a snow load. It's not non-trivial. In addition, there was a thread a few years ago from a Canadian who almost started doing a similar project before getting cold feet. I'd make sure your plans are engineering sound before you move forward.

Sorry to be a wet blanket.


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tim57064
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: prefetch]
      #6255034 - 12/15/13 06:59 PM

I hope you are joking about not getting a permit. Hope that neighbors are your best friends because even a good neighbor might turn you in if no permit is seen.I know as one of mine called about my build even though I had a permit when building my stand alone OBS.
If you cut into roof trusses no mater the size,You will be changing the structural integrity.
Here,if you do not change anything with the structure you do not need a permit.
I am sure you are aware of this just hope you don't get into a bind because of some nosy neighbor.
Good luck.
Will be watching and enjoying your build process.
I do have to say that I like the idea of having the OBS as part of the house.
I could not have gotten away with that with my better half.
If I had built it on my shop,now that would have been another story entirely,yet more expensive.

Edited by tim57064 (12/15/13 09:05 PM)


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prefetch
sage


Reged: 04/24/13

Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: tim57064]
      #6255381 - 12/15/13 10:21 PM

i appreciate the concern about the permit - but that's independent to the important matter of structural integrity and proper engineering, which i am not skipping.

here's a picture of the ceiling of the loft before it was finished last year. the right side of the roof will be the ROR side. it will roll lengthwise to the south (north is top of picture.)



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tim57064
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: prefetch]
      #6255534 - 12/16/13 12:16 AM

prefetch,it does appear that you have everything well in hand then.I apologize if I sounded like a know it all as I am not.This will definitely be a fun build to watch.

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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: tim57064]
      #6255754 - 12/16/13 07:39 AM

Prefetch, fill us in . I'd love to know your plans. How are you dealing with the snow load requirements? That's one helluva a structure

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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: prefetch]
      #6255772 - 12/16/13 08:01 AM

Holy mackerel, prefetch! This seems one ambitious project!
An 18" multistory pier. The slab the house sits on modded with a finished floor already in place? The moving roof on the dormer seems almost trivial compared to getting the pier done.

Wasn't the time to do this while the house was being built? (It looks like a new home.)

Will not heat escaping from the house during winter pose a problem for image quality? Any plan to make provision for that by insulating the floor?

I would also wonder about putting a concrete pier above the floor of the dormer, if that is what you are planning. Seems to me that will have a very deleterious impact on the resale value of the home. Put concrete only to below the floor level and use a removable metal pier the rest of the way. That way the dorm room can be returned to a "normal" living space much more easily.

And the most important question . . .
Your wife actually allows you to do this stuff???

I'd love to see how this turns out.


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prefetch
sage


Reged: 04/24/13

Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6256039 - 12/16/13 10:53 AM

tim - no problem!

chris - the roof, as is, is up to code and already handles the snow load without any problems. the current plan is to create a setup of triangles using 2x2 steel tubing. here's a crude 'sketch' i just drew to illustrate:



the challenge here is that there will be additional load on the roof it is sliding onto, including snow load. one possible way to mitigate it is with snow melters on the sliding roof (which will create a challenge for a "movable" power source.)

terry - that portion of the house was just built about a year ago. we talked about building in an observatory, but at the time it'd been about 20 years since the last astrophoto i had taken, so i just wasn't confident about getting back into the hobby and so we skipped it.

i spent this last year getting reacquainted with the hobby, and i'm feeling good about where i am with it - so now we are in retrofit mode with the house!

not a problem though. the contractor i'm working with doesn't see any problems with the pier creation - relatively straight forward stuff. we just cut the existing slab (that'll be an afternoon of work) and then excavate (that'll take another afternoon of hand shoveling) and then construct a form and pour.

filling the sonotube won't be too hard - we've got windows in the loft that a pump hose can fit through.

i really appreciate the insights about insulation and the pier height only extending to the floor line. i hand't thought about insulating the floor - i'll have to look into retro-fitting insulation into it. there must be a way to cut small holes in the floor and fill it with loose insulation.

about the pier only going up to the floor - this is a great idea, but the ceilings are about 9 feet tall, and i'm not excited about having a six foot steel pier - seems like it might become a bit of a tuning fork. i like the idea, but i'm worried about it performing less than it could with the pier extending up from the floor 3' or and then having a steel pier take over for the next few feet. what do you think?

as far as value of the home goes and reselling etc. i've already done a lot of custom/personal things to the home and property - i'm way past considering resale value!


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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6256100 - 12/16/13 11:29 AM

I dont want to be a wet blanket either - especially since I love the courageous and creative DIY build projects. But another possible reason for a permit is if you think you might sell the home someday. A buyer's inspector may raise questions, and that buyer may then have trouble getting financing even if they really like the changes you make. On the other hand, you can't please everybody anyway.

I'm not an architect or engineer, but looks to me like you have a great plan and some points are (1) maintaining structural integrity of the framed floor. That probably will need some minor additional framing added from underneath - and then fire blocking (insulation or caulk) added around the pier. (2) pier footer and rebar sizing. Overdo it if you don't get formal calcs. I think it's typical to go beneath your local frost line. Then be sure to make the opening between pier and slab pest-proof. Maybe treat the soil with pesticide before you pour. Then fill the isolation space with foam or caulk. (3) roof loading. The horizontal stability of the dormer walls may be dependent on being tied to the roof trusses. If you remove the permanent connection to the roof you may lose some shear strength. Add it back somehow if it looks like an issue.

Good luck (looks awesome so far)!


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prefetch
sage


Reged: 04/24/13

Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: rlandsboro]
      #6256145 - 12/16/13 12:03 PM

james - thanks for your insights. also, i've been following your own project as well. awesome!

curious about the dimensions and how deep you made your footer for your pier. our current plan is to go 3x3x3' on the pier footer, and we should hit virgin soil at 3' below the current floor of this part of the home. all of that is below the frost line also (which will be less of an issue anyway b/c we are digging within the center of this wing of the home, which is warm.)


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: prefetch]
      #6256228 - 12/16/13 12:56 PM

You might want to check out John Crilly's observatory; it's similiar to what you are considering.

Link


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rlandsboro
super member


Reged: 02/23/12

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ. USA
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: prefetch]
      #6256797 - 12/16/13 06:53 PM

Quote:

(snip)
curious about the dimensions and how deep you made your footer for your pier. our current plan is to go 3x3x3' on the pier footer, and we should hit virgin soil at 3' below the current floor of this part of the home. all of that is below the frost line also (which will be less of an issue anyway b/c we are digging within the center of this wing of the home, which is warm.)




My pier footing is integrated into (and part of) the basement walls of the home. So in a sense the entire pour of basement walls can be said to be part of the footing. The concrete wall sections beneath the cylindrical pier make a "T" and one wall is 10' deep (with its own wall footer) and 18' wide, with a thickened section maybe about 36" x 36" thick directly under the pier. And the wall and pier rebar is tied together. The "T" wall is 10' deep and 12' wide and has a 6-8 2-6 door opening in it. It's a very unique application with a pier footer that takes advantage of a lot of concrete that needed to be there anyway.


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HunterofPhotons
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Loc: Rhode Island, USA
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins new [Re: prefetch]
      #6256814 - 12/16/13 07:04 PM

Prefetch,
Why are you skipping out on the permit?
A reputable contractor will usually walk away from a non-permitted project. It's not worth the trouble, hassle, and damage to their reputation. Add in the fact that you p$$$-off the building inspector. If you want to make a living as a contractor you want to stay on the building inspector's good side.
I have found that people who don't want inspections are usually the ones who would benefit the most from the inspection. In other words, they've made the most mistakes. <g>
I don't know where you live, but where I live the inspector can legally make you tear out any work that wasn't permitted.
It's one thing to skip on a permit for a back yard shed observatory, it's quite another when you're doing substantial structural work on a residence.

dan k.


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prefetch
sage


Reged: 04/24/13

Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins [Re: HunterofPhotons]
      #6257178 - 12/16/13 09:54 PM

today we moved the HVAC system over (to the right) so we can begin excavation for the pier footer:



the guy who did the work was not very happy because he did an incredible job installing it last year and he really didn't want to undo his work, but after i showed him some of my astrophotos and explained why we needed to move his HVAC system he was a little happier. he even picked out some of the objects in my photos "hey, is that M13? is that what they call that?" - i think he's a closet astronomer!


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Ronan87
member


Reged: 11/20/13

Loc: Montreal, QC
Re: my 2nd story dormer shed rolloff project begins [Re: prefetch]
      #6259354 - 12/18/13 01:48 AM

This is really cool!

I'm surprised about the whole no-permit thing... Iv lived here and in NY and both require permits for... Eveything. I'm surprised I don't need one to cut the lawn...

Edited by Ronan87 (12/18/13 01:48 AM)


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