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"STAR DOME" - On To The Prototype Stage

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#1 Rick Needham

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 07:15 PM

Thanks Mark for locking the Star Dome thread, so this new one can begin. :bow: The initial design can still be discussed here, but this thread will contain information pertaining to the Star Dome prototype, soon to be molded. Hopefully before too long, I will also be able to post some pictures here of that first prototype, as soon as Dan at PolyDome can get them to me. Here's a quick rundown of the specifications for the Star Dome :


1. It will be 8' 4" in diameter (100") at it's base.

2. It will be molded of polyethylene plastic, through the rotomolding process. All component thicknesses are to be 1/4" thick.

3. It will have a two (2) door opening system. The lower hatch door will be hinged and will flip outwards to open. The sliding shutter door above it will overlap this lower door when closed. It will slide all the way to the back side of the dome when fully opened.

4. The shutter, or slot opening will be 30" in width.

5. This slot opening will extend 10" past zenith.

6. The dome will be roughly 48" (4') in height.

7. The dome's weight will be approx. 125lbs.

8. At the base of the dome will be a 4" wide "lip" which will encircle the dome. This will allow for rotation wheels of the buyers design for rotation of the dome, mounted underneath this lip.

9. A 6" in height skirt will extend straight downward from the 4" wide "lip".

10. The dome will be molded in "White" as the standard color.

11. The price I have been quoted is $289 + shipping costs. This could change. We'll have to wait and see. IF you are interested in possibly purchasing one of the Star Dome's, I would suggest you email Dan Johanneck at PolyDome, located in Litchfield, MN. Tell him you're a CN forum member. Here is his email address: Dan@PolyDome.com Tell him you'd like an estimate for one of the dome's w/ shipping closest to your location. He will get back to you soon, I'm sure.

Now the wait begins. PolyDome should be recieving the parts required to make the molds within the next 2-4 weeks, we hope. Then they will begin fabricating the molds. Then, by early March, maybe a bit sooner I hope, they will be molding the first protoptype. Stay tuned right here for more information as it becomes available to me!

Clear skies,

Rick
 

#2 MMICKELS

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 07:21 PM

Rick, I can't take the credit. Ron PM'd me with the suggestion of splitting the project into different threads. Way to go Mr. Boe! :bow:
 

#3 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 08:38 PM

Well Rick I just e-mailed Dan to ask about shipping charges as you suggested...

But to be truthful my real reason for sending him the
e-mail was to make sure he knows I am very interested in
opening my check book and buying the dome...

Bob
 

#4 Rick Needham

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 09:04 PM

Bob, That's great news. We can't go wrong, given it's price tag. Compare it's price to that which is available out there right now. Star Dome- "The affordable choice" :waytogo: :applause:
 

#5 NeoDinian

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 09:32 PM

A NEW THREAD!!! :)

Now the waiting... :(
 

#6 Richard B. Drumm

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 12:31 AM

What am I gonna -DO- with myself while I wait!!!
I'll play with the new Celestron 15x70s and help Vick with her new XT8...
See the "First Light" thread in reflectors which I started in her honor:
Happiness is a warm Dob.

I'll keep the voice of Dorri the fish in my head, "Just keep waiting, waiting, waiting...
Rich
 

#7 MMICKELS

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 12:41 AM

Let's all give a round of applause to Rick for making this thing possible! Thanks Rick!!! :applause: :applause: :applause:
 

#8 Rick Needham

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 09:50 AM

Mark and everyone, thank you :bow:, but please...enough already. I just happened to be the lucky one when I suggested they try and mold a dome. I know Tom Munroe had tried it in the past. Not sure if Merlin Raymond (aka: Magic Man) had ever tried to approach PolyDome on this suggestion in the past. I just "happened" to be the lucky one, that's all. In the lengthy Star Dome thread prior to this one, everyones ideas were pooled together and we came to agreement on certain key issues, such as the 30" wide slot opening. The 10" past zenith slot opening issue, etc. EVERYONE who has emailed Dan thus far has also had a major impact on getting this thing off the ground too! For these individuals, let ME applaud you. :applause: :applause: :applause: :waytogo: Letting Dan know there is great interest in an affordable dome really was something that helped in keeping this dream alive. Let me thank EVERYONE once again. :applause: :applause: :applause:. Yes....I've spent ALOT of time emailing Dan back & forth. Spent alittle time with him in a couple of lengthy phone calls thus far. I had suggested he mold "extra" into the door molds so strips could be cut away and then attached to the fins to act as a means of hold downs for the sliding door. He did agree to something along these lines. But I have fought to try and have them mold this dome so when purchased, there would be room for each to incorporate their own ideas and designs into the dome. I'm hoping we have come up with a good design here. I think we have. One thing this dome will have going for it that many of the other domes already out there don't have is it's "seamless" design. A one piece dome, other than the two shutter doors and polyethylene strips that get attached to make the track for the sliding door. All but one of the other domes out there have to be pieced together. And every one of those joints gets caulked, if I'm not mistaken. They have a greater chance of water leaks. This dome will be superior when it comes to these issues. Oh....and one other thing. It's price! It's price will not be beat!!!

I really don't know of any other way of saying this, but enough with the thanks already! THIS IS A TEAM EFFORT! And thank you CN for giving us the opportunity to have such a thread as this!!! :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause: :waytogo: Let's hope the wait is a short one and time will pass rather quickly as we await those first pictures of the Star Dome prototype :praying: :praying: :praying:

Rick
 

#9 Merlin J Raymond

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:23 AM

Yes both Tom and I had ask about making the dome but it takes a group like this to proove that there is a market. I just wish I had waited? Maybe not. Anyway you all have made this happen and I am sure you will all be happy with them in the end. Just have patence.
 

#10 CCD Hack

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:48 AM

Rick ... congrats you deserve it.

Features the competition should fear.....

1. Price
2. The ability to customize the install (weld the PE)
3. Durability...bullet PHREAK'n PROOF. Ever see a fiberglass dome after baseball sized hail?
4. Seamless
5. weight
6. Did I mention price?

The big boy dome guys should be worried. This is a REVOLUTION :).
 

#11 Ken603a

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 11:59 AM

I emailed Dan asking for a quote on the dome and shipping. :) Whoohoo!
 

#12 tacode

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 02:29 PM

After reading all 1212 posts about the design phase for the StarDome, I have to say congrats and thank you to Rick and the group to sticking with their convictions and seeing it through! Designing by commitee is never easy, especially via a forum on the internet. I think everyone who made this possible deserves a pat on the back - and a free dome! But seriously, it goes to show that CN'ers are a great bunch of folks, especially given the magnitude of this project. I can't wait to see the prototype - I just sent Dan an email, too!
 

#13 Rick Needham

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 04:51 PM

Yes both Tom and I had ask about making the dome but it takes a group like this to proove that there is a market. I just wish I had waited? Maybe not. Anyway you all have made this happen and I am sure you will all be happy with them in the end. Just have patence.


Magic Man, Thanks for joining in. I kind of thought you had approached PolyDome with the suggestion in the past, but wasn't 100% positive. Just looking back at that original email I had sent to Dan, I did mention I was a registered member of the Cloudy Nights Forums and I had then mentioned to him (back at that time) we were 7,000+ members strong. And that number has really grown since I've joined in. I told him I'd do what I could to get the word out there if they'd consider molding a dome. I guess Dan put 2 + 2 together and figured the time was right. But so many thanks go out to people like yourself, Tom Munroe and maybe others who were the first to put the bug in PolyDome's ear they should attempt something like this. We ALL have to thank you and Tom! :bow: :waytogo: :applause:. You know...you could order yourself up one of these babies too!
So glad to hear Ken603a, tacode & others are sending off their emails to Dan suggesting their interests in buying into one of these domes. This will really help send a strong & clear message we're waiting to see this baby get hatched!

Good thing come to those who wait ;) And strength really is in numbers.

Rick

*IMPORTANT* Please. If you're emailing Dan for a price quote for the dome with shipping, don't forget to mention you're a member of the CN Forums! Let's him know he's made the right choice for going forward with this endeavor. ;)
 

#14 Rick Needham

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 05:45 PM

Rick ... congrats you deserve it.

Features the competition should fear.....

1. Price
2. The ability to customize the install (weld the PE)
3. Durability...bullet PHREAK'n PROOF. Ever see a fiberglass dome after baseball sized hail?
4. Seamless
5. weight
6. Did I mention price?

The big boy dome guys should be worried. This is a REVOLUTION :).


The big boy dome guys don't know about the Star Dome "yet". But they will........... :jump: And wait until they see the price they have to compete with :shocked: :jawdrop: :nonono: :bangbangbang:
 

#15 SometimesKen

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:26 PM

Hey Rick,
I hope you don't mind, but I copied & pasted the specs. for the StarDome on another site, NJ Night Sky, along with the suggestion to email Dan if anyone is interested.

I remained a lurker during the previous thread because "to many cooks" ....... you know.

I hope everyone posts their ideas on how to mount the dome, or ideas for rollers.
The post with the bale feeders sparked an idea for me about how to mount the dome. I'm thinking of using a "captive rail roller system" Much like what you would see on a roller coaster, where the rail is captured between 2 fixed rollers. This would hold the dome to the base, as well as, provide easy rotation. I'll post a pic of what I have in mind shortly.

Thanks again!!
Ken :cool:

Almost forgot .... I know it's kinda early but ...... would any of you north/east fellas want to rent a U-Haul and drive out to pick up our domes? Might be cheaper than individual shipping charges? ... just a thought
 

#16 Rick Needham

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 09:00 PM

Hey Ken! Just went and visited the site. Very nice! ;)

Heck, I don't mind at all. If it's good for PolyDome's business in the near future and helps spread the good news, I'm all for it!

I'm still tossing around ideas on just how to mount the dome on rollers for rotation. But I'm sure when the time comes, I'll be posting pictures of how I did mine. I'm sure many others will too. I hope to see many different observatory construction threads here someday soon, all topped off with a Star Dome. This is a great site here with many talented individuals and I'm sure everyone will be more than happy to share photos of how they built their observatories. As far as renting a U-Haul, I'm still not sure just how close I'll be able to get my dome shipped. Have you emailed Dan? If so, where did he state for you as the closest pick-up location?
Glad to have you along Ken and don't be a stranger.

Clear skies,

Rick
 

#17 CSG

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 11:29 PM

You know, if this thing could be delivered to most locations for a total price under $500 and works well, it's going to change everything in the dome business for the amateur observatory. People who were thinking of a roll-off (like me) or some other less expensive solution (like a vinyl shed) or going to have an intriguing alternative.
 

#18 Merlin J Raymond

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 12:10 AM

Thanks for the kind words. Have you heard fro Tom lately? I have lost touch with him and his health has been failing.
I have been looking at it maybe. But I still have to buy a good mount like a CGE or a G11 with goto and baby they ain't cheap. For now I will keep watching and hoping a mount falls in my lap.
 

#19 Rick Needham

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 01:12 AM

Magic Man, I have not heard from Tom lately. Although he never mentioned it in the couple of brief emails we had exchanged, I had heard his health was failing him. I'll have to make it a point to send him an email soon and fill him in on things thus far. He did ask me to keep him filled in on it's progress. Been pretty busy. Hope a mount falls in your lap too ;)

Rick
 

#20 BCB

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 10:30 AM

It's funny Chris mentions vinyl, considering that what my observatorys made out of. I've been following both of these threads with great interest. I'm just waiting to see how things shake out, cost and shipping wise..
Also curious whats going to be done regarding dome rotation.

No funds to do it ATM. But so long as it comes in around the 5-600 mark shipped it'll DEFINETLY shake up the dome biz in a BIG way.
 

#21 NeoDinian

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 11:08 AM

Mark: So far, rotation is left up to the end user. Each person has their own ideas on how to do it... And I'm sure every idea will work. :)

And I'd LOVE for a CGE to fall into MY lap too! :)
 

#22 CSG

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 06:30 PM

BCB, every year Costco, Home Depot, and Lowes have these things for about $500. I've never been able to figure them out for anything other than a storage shed. Also, I live in a windy area and have some concerns about that (there are photos in this forum of a vinyl shed disaster).

I think the dome is going to change my thinking if it's priced right. I see a cinderblock wall system as being one possibility. As I don't image, I doubt I'd even do a permanent pier. I might just pour a pad and use the telescope on its tripod (though this could be an excuse for a big Dob; we'll have to see what could fit).
 

#23 BCB

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 08:46 PM

From what I could find out, Home Depot is the only place to get the rubbermaid BigMax sheds (7x7). and 500 seems to be the roundabout price.. Onlines a bit more (550) and different markets will have slightly different pricing.

There's a few other brands of vinyl sheds out there as well, but most don't include the floor as the BigMax does.

Click the link in my sig to see how it works.. I'm happy with it for now. :) Then again, this was done on the VERY cheap side. For those deciding to go the observatory route, the dome would be a better alternative, should the price fall in line with shipping.
 

#24 Rick Needham

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 12:10 AM

I plan on building an elevated wood floored base structure with wood walls approx. 4 1/2'-5' high. I'm thinking maybe building the floor section something like 10'x10' or 10 1/2'x10 1/2' and making the wall dimensions 9'x9'. This would give me 1-1 1/2' to be able to walk around the wall enclosure to brush off snow or ice during the winter months and possibly snug down some type of dome hold downs if I do something from the outside. Or the dome hold downs may be on the inside. Not quite sure yet. But in any case, having something to walk on around the wall perimeter would be nice during the winter months. Either at the same time or later on, I will build an adjoining "warm room" off to one side. It will be quite small...maybe 4'x6' or 5'x6'...but rather small. Just big enough for a small computer desk w/ chair for my laptop, a small electric portable heater, some maps and charts on the walls, and a coffee maker ( I gotta have my coffee!). I also plan on using stationary or solid mount caster wheels mounted on top of the wood walls for the dome's rotation. Most likely 6-8 will ride beneath the 4" lip of the dome. And most likely 4 stationary caster wheels mounted horizontally up to the 6" skirt of the dome to keep it centered. The biggest challenge will be some type of weatherstripping seal at the bottom of the 6" tall skirt to keep the water,wind & bugs out :thinking: But I'm certain I'll come up with something when the time comes.

I'm also quite positive this dome will stay around the $300 price range as Dan has quoted us. Shipping costs will vary depending on just where you live. These may seem a bit steep to some of us, but just think how when that dome arrives, there will be very little to assemble, since it's basically a one piece design. It should be very watertight and will withstand the elements very well. Maybe it should be named "Invinci-Dome" , because it will be basically invincible :lol: I kinda like that one.

Rick
 

#25 NeoDinian

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 01:03 AM

I was thinking (when I get a house to do this, of course) to build a 10x16... The dome would be in the 10x10 area with a seperate 10x6 "Work-room" that I could keep heated if I need.
 


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