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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Observatory Deck with Roll Away Shed
      #5172860 - 04/14/12 10:40 PM Attachment (185 downloads)

After a few months of painful prep I finally have something to show for my effort. I am building a low platform to surround my exciting pier. It will be 12 foot by 17 foot and support a 5.5 x 5.5 foot rollaway shed. I built the concrete pier 2 summers ago. Last spring I added a dedicated 20 amp GFI circuit when I rewired my house. I have been using the site with an outdoor carpet covering a decomposed granite pad. I used an Astrogizmo365 cover to protect my mount and telescope. In February I purchased an AstroPhysics 900GTO mount and wanted a bit more of a secure protective enclosure.

I ordered a shed in February but needed a platform to support it. Time commitments, weather, tree trunk and roots all slowed my project down. Last week I finally finished my concrete footers. Here's a picture holes I dug for the footers:


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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Observatory Deck with Roll Away Shed new [Re: JMW]
      #5172862 - 04/14/12 10:41 PM Attachment (88 downloads)

Last week I mixed 40 eighty pound bags of concrete to fill the holes for the deck footings.

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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Observatory Deck with Roll Away Shed new [Re: JMW]
      #5172864 - 04/14/12 10:45 PM Attachment (91 downloads)

My open bed trailer is only 5x8 foot and I needed a way to get home 12 foot long lumber and decking. Here is a lumber rack that I built on my trailer to haul home my load. When I went to Lowes they used the forklift and put an entire 40 piece skid of synthetic decking on the lumber rack. I drove home very slow and took corners even slower. Fortunately the rack held up to the load.

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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Observatory Deck with Roll Away Shed new [Re: JMW]
      #5172874 - 04/14/12 10:51 PM Attachment (121 downloads)

Today my son and I attached the pier support brackets to the bolts in the concrete footers and added three 4x6x12 foot beams to the piers. I stained all sides of the pressure treated lumber before attaching it to the deck. Once I add the synthetic deck boards I will not have access to stain the wood underneath.

I added the rim joist around the edge of the deck using 4 inch screws to secure the joists to the beams. I then square up the outside of the deck and tightened down the concrete pier bolts. I used joist hangers to attach the internal joists to the beams. I stained all the joist wood before permanently attaching it to the deck.

On Sunday I will install the synthetic deck boards. I will start at the difficult cuts around my pier and work my way to the edges. I used gray stain so the framing will match my deck boards. Next week I will install my roll away shed.


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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Observatory Deck with Roll Away Shed new [Re: JMW]
      #5172886 - 04/14/12 10:55 PM

I am looking for a good idea on how to fill the gap between my deck boards and my concrete pier. If something falls down the gap I will be out of luck regarding retrieving it. I was thinking about using some black closed cell foam.

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Starman27
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Observatory Deck with Roll Away Shed new [Re: JMW]
      #5172929 - 04/14/12 11:19 PM

I used strong dog proof window screening across the framing before the deck floor was built. It allows air through but stops insects and odds and ends from falling through.

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Goodchild
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 12/31/08

Re: Observatory Deck with Roll Away Shed new [Re: Starman27]
      #5173759 - 04/15/12 01:45 PM

Quote:

I used strong dog proof window screening across the framing before the deck floor was built. It allows air through but stops insects and odds and ends from falling through.





I can testify first hand that this is a very good suggestion. I wish I had thought of that before I built my observatory. BTW, I also built a rollaway shed observatory.


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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Observatory Deck with Roll Away Shed new [Re: Goodchild]
      #5173869 - 04/15/12 02:55 PM

My concern with the screening is that my deck is in the fallout zone of my neighbors 45-50 pine trees and I think the 1/4 inch manufacture's required spacing between the decks will just become loaded with pine needles over a couple of years. Without the screening I can just blow out the top of my deck periodically with my leaf blower. I have 3 outdoor buildings and insects have not been a problem. I think it is because of the dryness. The giant sequoias also block my western views unfortunately.

I think I will have to accept that I will occasionally lose a few items that are smaller than 1/4 inch.
I am doing the decking layout today. The sun is shinning which is better than yesterdays occasional light rain. It is getting a bit warm. I printed out a 12.25 inch circle template on my wide format printer. I am using template to layout the cut marks for the area around my pier.

I have all the deck boards laid out on the joists. It is quite solid. I went with 2x6 and 4x6 lumber to keep the deck low so my pier height is correct and I don't need railing for the low deck. I will use some of the extra decking boards to create a 6 inch high wide front step.


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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Observatory Deck with Roll Away Shed new [Re: JMW]
      #5174300 - 04/15/12 08:02 PM Attachment (127 downloads)

I started this morning at 8AM and finished at 4:30PM. I laid out the decking, used a jig saw to cut boards around the pier and started screwing in the boards. 680 screws later I have the top decking complete. My back, wrists and hands are worn out. The pier adapter plate ended up at 41 inches above the deck so I am happy I stayed with a low profile setup.

I still have to trim the edge and build a wide 6 inch high box step. I am going to spend a couple of weeknights assembling the shed and adapting it to work as a roll away. I will do the rest of the finish work after that. I want the shed up so I can take advantage of the new moon for imaging.


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Gastrol
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: Observatory Deck with Roll Away Shed new [Re: JMW]
      #5174307 - 04/15/12 08:06 PM

Wow....you did a beautiful job on that deck.

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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Observatory Deck with Roll Away Shed new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5174893 - 04/16/12 08:54 AM

Looks good!

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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Observatory Deck with Roll Away Shed new [Re: Raginar]
      #5177811 - 04/17/12 11:44 PM Attachment (112 downloads)

Yesterday I assembled the shed on my deck. Here is a picture of it over the mount. Looks like garden style shed.

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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Observatory Deck with Shed Installed new [Re: JMW]
      #5177814 - 04/17/12 11:49 PM Attachment (106 downloads)

Today I set up my scope and mount in reference park position 1. I cut out a portion of the floor so it would fit around the pier and allow my chair to sit fully on the deck when seated at the yet to be installed fold down desk for my imaging laptop.

The shed moves easily on the synthetic deck without making any scuff marks. I purchased 6 lockable castor wheels that will be installed later. I also bought some 2x6 and 2x4 wood that will support the wheels and add additional strength all the way from the base to the roof. I will screw fender washers through the outside shed wall into the additional wood supports inside. I will attach the fold down desk to the upright 2x4s. I also purchased some fold flat D rings that will be screwed into the deck trusses to provide lock down points for the shed to keep it from moving in high winds.


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Kenny2004
Vendor - Icodome


Reged: 08/17/04

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Observatory Deck with Shed Installed new [Re: JMW]
      #5178205 - 04/18/12 09:54 AM

What kind/brand of shed is it?

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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Observatory Deck with Shed Installed new [Re: Kenny2004]
      #5178310 - 04/18/12 11:19 AM

SunCast GS8000 resin shed purchased from Lowes. Home Depot, ACE and other places have it available online. I ordered it online for local store delivery. It took about 3 weeks to arrive. I chose it because of the square shape and decent high and wide openings of the double doors.

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zawijava
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 10/06/07

Loc: Wells, Maine 04090
Re: Observatory Deck with Shed Installed new [Re: JMW]
      #5178371 - 04/18/12 12:10 PM

Quote:

Today I set up my scope and mount in reference park position 1. I cut out a portion of the floor so it would fit around the pier and allow my chair to sit fully on the deck when seated at the yet to be installed fold down desk for my imaging laptop.




So, the idea is to roll the shed away from the scope and use it as your control room? -Tim


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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Observatory Deck with Shed Installed new [Re: zawijava]
      #5178508 - 04/18/12 01:21 PM

Yes. My laptop likes a warm space in the winter. I have been using a heating pad. It will be nice to have a little room out of the cold breeze when imaging in the winter. I bought the AP900GTO and thought it deserved a better home than a Astrogizmo 365 scope cover. I like to polar align once and just do a park at shutdown and resume the next night. Saves a lot of time not to tear down the gear each night. Less hassle means more imaging on weeknights when I have to work the next day. I have a decent 6 foot high fence on 3 sides that already slow down the breeze and help with the light blocking. My shed can be positioned to block the back porch light from my one uphill neighbor for the rare times they forget and leave the back light on. The neighbors actually notice when I am out using my scope and tend to not turn on the light when I am enjoying the skies. Not everyone has nice neighbors.

I built the deck large enough so I could get the shed away from the pier in an area that is already blocked star view wise with trees. Someday I may do a permanent building on the deck with a polydome type setup. My wife already likes the deck for non-astronomy daylight uses such as sitting outside and studying.

With the added internal 2x4 bracing and some heavier locking bar across the door opening I think I can make the shed reasonably wind and vandal secure. I already have 8 foot height locked wrought iron gates and an older neighborhood with a lot of retired stay at home eyeballs so I am pretty comfortable with the situation. My front yard has better overall views but it is harder to secure and sheds don't go over well in the front yard.


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Kenny2004
Vendor - Icodome


Reged: 08/17/04

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Observatory Deck with Shed Installed new [Re: JMW]
      #5178683 - 04/18/12 02:48 PM

Thanks for the model. Ok, so the objective isn't to use the shed to house the scope, but instead to be a control room. Or does it serve a dual purpose, which in that case how does the roof come off?

By the way, with the pier inside the shed, how do you roll the shed then?


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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Observatory Deck with Shed Installed new [Re: Kenny2004]
      #5178771 - 04/18/12 03:40 PM

The shed's primary purpose is a secure shelter for when the scope and mount is not in use. It's secondary purpose is as a imaging laptop control room.

Here is how I plan to use it.

1) Unlock and open doors, release corner lockdowns
2) Push shed back to edge of deck away from pier
3) Fold down desk and plug in laptop to USB and power connections.
4) Turn on power strip feeding scope, USB hub, etc...
5) Unpark mount and start imaging.

Total time is about 5 minutes from unlocking to use. About the same time at the end of the session to roll back, secure to deck D-rings and lock up. Carry laptop back to house go to bed.


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Starman27
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/29/06

Loc: Illinois, Iowa
Re: Observatory Deck with Shed Installed new [Re: JMW]
      #5178802 - 04/18/12 03:58 PM

Do you have much wind? How is the shed locked to the deck?

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