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Planetariums for Outreach (Am I nuts or what?)

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#51 Ron Walker

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 06:02 PM

Excellent work! I'm curious about a few details.  How thick is that slab?  Five or six inches?  Did you cut strain relief grooves into it? Did you do anything to compact that sandy soil beneath it beyond what compaction you got from driving the heavy equipment on it?  What method did you use to measure level? Transit? Water level in tubes? Laser? 

 

That's an impressive project.  Nothing in half measures! 

The slab is five inches thick and is a mix with (I believe plastic fibers) that hold the material together.  A mix used in commercial buildings that have large seamless floors.  There were no relief grooves cut as the fibers were designed for that.  Some small cracks did form but there was no shifting of slab height from side to side.  Once the electrical conduit was in and that area leveled, the entire interior was watered down four times a day for two weeks.  As I remember, we had a couple of storms during that time as well.  Then pea gravel was put in and tamped with an electric tamper.  After another week the termite application was sprayed the day before the pour.  Level was checked with a laser level.  It came out very well as the slab was wet down several times a day for a week before plastic was overlaid to keep the concrete from drying too quickly.  As the dome was going up there were several storms and the only standing water I ever found were several areas with about 2 mm of water in them.  I knew that I could never do the finish work very well which is why I hired a fellow who knew what he was doing.

 

The thing I've found about doing any kind of project is to take the time to do it well and then you won't have to do it over or constantly fix it later.  There is enough work doing it the first time. 


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#52 Ron Walker

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 06:25 PM

This is amazing.  Very fascinating...  :)

 

ON A WHOLE DIFFERENT SCALE:

As you suggested, I fired up my toy Spitz today.  It's been sitting on it's box in my office at work where nobody else ever goes, just as a fun decorator object.  I plugged it in, turned up the brightness, and somewhat to my surprise, the bulb was still good and it lit up!  The Big Dipper, Leo, and Bootes appeared on the wall, and the Little Dipper and Cassiopeia showed up on the ceiling.  Yeah, the stars were fuzzy little disks, but that's what I expected, and I was very pleased.  It took me almost 60 years to flip the switch on one of these things.  :)

                                                                                                Marty

The thing that I really love about this projector is that it is designed to project over an entire 180 degrees.  Most of the new ones I've seen are designed to project only on the ceiling which destroys the viewing perspective.  It is designed to work on both the ceiling and the walls and works perfectly under a small dome.  Now that you flipped the switch you can do a lot of things.  A smaller filament bulb for sharper stars. You can drill more stars if you like.  Also you can make a dome.  I can walk you through any of this if you like.  Remember, you did flip the switch! :drool5:


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#53 bumm

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:01 PM

 

This is amazing.  Very fascinating...  :)

 

ON A WHOLE DIFFERENT SCALE:

As you suggested, I fired up my toy Spitz today.  It's been sitting on it's box in my office at work where nobody else ever goes, just as a fun decorator object.  I plugged it in, turned up the brightness, and somewhat to my surprise, the bulb was still good and it lit up!  The Big Dipper, Leo, and Bootes appeared on the wall, and the Little Dipper and Cassiopeia showed up on the ceiling.  Yeah, the stars were fuzzy little disks, but that's what I expected, and I was very pleased.  It took me almost 60 years to flip the switch on one of these things.  :)

                                                                                                Marty

The thing that I really love about this projector is that it is designed to project over an entire 180 degrees.  Most of the new ones I've seen are designed to project only on the ceiling which destroys the viewing perspective.  It is designed to work on both the ceiling and the walls and works perfectly under a small dome.  Now that you flipped the switch you can do a lot of things.  A smaller filament bulb for sharper stars. You can drill more stars if you like.  Also you can make a dome.  I can walk you through any of this if you like.  Remember, you did flip the switch! :drool5:

 

Flipping that switch felt a little profound for me, having wanted one so long ago.  Thanks for the nudge.  :)  I probably won't be doing much else with it for awhile, but I'm hoping to retire around March of next year.  Once the garage has a new roof and I've rebuilt some storm windows, etc, who knows what I'll get into?  Right now, the city is requiring me to replace the sidewalk in front of my house...  I thought it was kinda rustic looking...

                                                                                                         Marty


Edited by bumm, 11 August 2016 - 07:03 PM.

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#54 Ron Walker

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:25 PM

Tietex and Elastomeric coating.

 

 

about 1-3rd of bottom cu.JPG

 

it takes two 2.JPG

 

Vince with no fear far.JPG

 

second coat spring 2014 2.JPG

 

pulling tietex flat over base coat.JPG

 

1 final top coat 2.JPG

 

final spring 2013.JPG

 

Last exterior triangle.

 

 

last triangle 1.JPG

 

Electrical wiring and audio speaker runs.

 

 

wiring switches web.jpg

 

Insulation.

 

 

insulation first row 2.JPG

 

Dry wall.

 

 

Insulation 2nd row with drywall below.JPG

 

4th row finished.JPG

 

Last dry wall triangle.

 

 

drywall finished 6m last one in place.JPG

 

Another farmed out job.  To keep the dome as round as possible, had six coats of dry wall mud build up and rounded at every junction and division between triangles to keep the dome as round as possible.

 

final drywall 5.JPG

 

final drywall 2.JPG

 

mud and tape 1 sureal.JPG

 

Painting the dome flat white and flat black below the horizon line.

 

 

final paint 4.JPG

 

black paint 2.JPG

 

black paint 4.JPG

 

Two air conditioners placed 180 degrees apart and a nice inexpensive dark gray carpet finish out the construction.  The carpet was the perfect addition to kill off substantially the audio reverberation under the dome.  My dear wife Julie has found on sale the perfect chair for viewing the dome.

 

chairs.JPG

 

Two years have now passed in the construction of the dome.  It is January of 2014.  The next step is building up the control console and wiring the projector.  This project might actually get finished.


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#55 bumm

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:34 PM

I keep thinking, "Holy Cow..."

                                 Marty


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#56 Ron Walker

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:36 PM

 

 

This is amazing.  Very fascinating...  :)

 

ON A WHOLE DIFFERENT SCALE:

As you suggested, I fired up my toy Spitz today.  It's been sitting on it's box in my office at work where nobody else ever goes, just as a fun decorator object.  I plugged it in, turned up the brightness, and somewhat to my surprise, the bulb was still good and it lit up!  The Big Dipper, Leo, and Bootes appeared on the wall, and the Little Dipper and Cassiopeia showed up on the ceiling.  Yeah, the stars were fuzzy little disks, but that's what I expected, and I was very pleased.  It took me almost 60 years to flip the switch on one of these things.  :)

                                                                                                Marty

The thing that I really love about this projector is that it is designed to project over an entire 180 degrees.  Most of the new ones I've seen are designed to project only on the ceiling which destroys the viewing perspective.  It is designed to work on both the ceiling and the walls and works perfectly under a small dome.  Now that you flipped the switch you can do a lot of things.  A smaller filament bulb for sharper stars. You can drill more stars if you like.  Also you can make a dome.  I can walk you through any of this if you like.  Remember, you did flip the switch! :drool5:

 

Flipping that switch felt a little profound for me, having wanted one so long ago.  Thanks for the nudge.  :)  I probably won't be doing much else with it for awhile, but I'm hoping to retire around March of next year.  Once the garage has a new roof and I've rebuilt some storm windows, etc, who knows what I'll get into?  Right now, the city is requiring me to replace the sidewalk in front of my house...  I thought it was kinda rustic looking...

                                                                                                         Marty

 

The thing about retirement is that you will work harder then you did while working.  My business fell apart in 2008 with the crash of everything so I retired at 62.  It was meant to be as it allowed me to do what I've done.  I'm adding a new sidewalk from my parking area to the dome (only winter work, not summer) and I just do six feet at a time.  Turning 70 this year and I've found out I can't do as much as I could do just last year.  You will do more with your planetarium, I feel it.


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#57 Ron Walker

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:40 PM

I keep thinking, "Holy Cow..."

                                 Marty

Ah yes, Cow, a nice thick slice with a glass of Cabernet or two.


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#58 Ron Walker

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:42 PM

Having shows this weekend I will take a bit of a break.  Have no fear (not that I thought you would have) I will be back with more of this saga.



#59 bumm

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:46 PM

Having shows this weekend I will take a bit of a break.  Have no fear (not that I thought you would have) I will be back with more of this saga.

Understood.  :)  And I'm glad you eat cows too.

                                                       Marty


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#60 Ron Walker

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:48 PM

Just one picture to hopefully keep you interested.

 

full dome upload.jpg


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#61 jtsenghas

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 08:03 PM

Boy, you must have had a ton of irregular off-cuts of OSB, insulation, and drywall! The insulation probably could have been pieced together quite a bit to minimize waste, but you must have had to toss a lot of triangles of OSB and sheetrock!


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#62 Ron Walker

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 10:35 PM

Actually it was designed very well in that two to four triangles could be cut from the center of a 4X8 sheet of material and then the two end right triangles could be combined to make another usable triangle.  Twenty five sheets used the two ends to make a split triangle so making the whole triangles used about ten more sheets.  It was worth it for my piece of mind and a more solid structure.  I did not like the idea of the two ends making a split triangle so I went for using a few extra sheets.  The sheetrock ends were a loss as one would expect but the insulation was easily salvaged.  As far as the OSB, I used a bunch in building my observatory which is a whole new thread.  I have also been using the ends to make cases for other auxiliary projectors.  Two of the larger remnants were used to build this case for two auxiliary projectors. 

 

aux projector boxes.jpg

 

I still need to paint the box black, but once I get something operational I tend to forget it. :shocked:   I also used twelve to make two experimental solar ovens.  The wood is going slowly but surely and will all be used.  I even made some direction arrows to direct visitors for parking.


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#63 Ron Walker

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 01:46 PM

With the actual dome finished I could now turn my attention to getting the projector assembled and the electronics required for the control circuits.  When I removed the various components from Texas I found it interesting that there were sections of control electronics in different locations.  While they were all controlled at the main control console, they were supplied power from outlets near their remote locations.  Some were screwed to open studs in utility closets.  This is not safe at all in that even if you unplugged the main control console, lethal power could still be hot at the projector.  Not the safest working environment to say the least.  Much of the original electronics had been disconnected, some remained, some removed, and much had been replaced.  The problem was that there were no schematics or wiring diagrams for any of this replacement electronics.

 

An example is this picture of the back of the main control panel.  Can you see anything strange?

 

wiring behind control panel.JPG

 

Note the larger transformer to the right of the picture.  It is sitting on a Corning Ware dish.  The transformer was much to small (power wise) for the load that it got extremely hot to the point it was beginning to char the wood shelf it was on.  Note you can see the insulation (black goo) that has melted out of the transformer.  This was plugged directly into a wall socket without any fuse.  The transformer would need to draw over 20 amps before the circuit breaker would trip.  The only redeeming factor is that this circuit was only active during a show and the presenter standing at the control board would be handy when a fire started.  No, this wouldn't do at all.  Without schematics I would make all new electronics.


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#64 Ron Walker

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 11:11 PM

Had my 1,000 visitor at today's planetarium show.  Kind of a milestone.

 

Keeping with my 70's style star show, I'm doing a "Dark Side Of The Moon" laser show next week.

 

laser show post 2.jpg

 

blue laser 3.jpg

 

Got to have a little fun too!


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#65 bumm

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Posted 14 August 2016 - 07:50 AM

Draw the hippies in, and then get 'em interested in the night sky!

                                                                         Marty


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#66 Ron Walker

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Posted 14 August 2016 - 02:10 PM

I looked at the hippies and they is us!   :flowerred:


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#67 Ron Walker

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 06:50 PM

With the dome finished it was time to rebuild the projector and control system.  Also I was really itching for "first light" so to speak.  The beauty of a planetarium is there can be a blizzard outside and first light will always be as good as it can be.  The first thing was to pull a bunch of cable through one of my conduits.  This ranged from 20 or so 12 gauge wire capable of caring 20 amps at 120 volts to approximately 100 or so 20 gauge wires to carry individual power to both small low voltage bulbs, LED bulbs, as well as some 18 gauge wires for motors and Selsyn drive circuits.  In total, 142 wires in this single conduit.

 

142 wires in one pipe next to control.JPG

 

A second conduit is available for more wires should they become necessary.

 

Also the base ring for the planetarium is placed and leveled at the exact center of the dome.  This is not in any way connected to the floor as the shear weight of the machine (approximately 800 lbs.) should keep it in place.  (It hasn't moved yet.)

 

 

142 wires under projector.JPG

 

The small 3/4 inch conduit brings power for house work lights which will be mounted at the bottom of the projector.  They can be operated at either door and can be locked out (off) by a switch at the main control panel.  There are also three emergency battery operated  LED lights located about the room to give some basic light in case of a power failure.  I have since added 75 more wires through the second conduit.  That makes more then a mile of wire if every strand was laid end to end.

 


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#68 Ron Walker

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 03:25 PM

All of the wires from the planetarium are routed through conduit in the floor to the main control panel.  It is built on an old computer table frame.  A ¾ inch plywood base was cut in a “U” shape to provide control space on two sides as well as in front.  2X4’s cut at a 30 degree angle allow for easy access and yet do not project light up on the dome.  I provided substantial extra control space because I was planning for the addition of many extra special effect projectors.  As new shows are presented the new projectors would be permanent and remain available for any show at any time.  The original Minolta control panel is placed in front.  The various readouts are at the top and are Selsyn controlled from the projector.  I was originally thinking of removing this section but really liked the look of the panel and decided to incorporate it into my new design.  Since many of my new light controls would be for LED's I needed to find slider potentiometers with the proper values that would physically fit the existing space.

 

starting new control center.JPG

 

Under the top plate and to one side are placed the various main transformers that will drive the various sections of the machine.  These consist of a 20 amp isolation transformer basically for safety.  It is surprising that even with everything going “full blast” this machine only pulls about 15 amps total.  Under normal operation 12 amps is about it.  A second transformer provides 100 volts.  This is the normal voltage in Japan and all of the motors and Selsyn drives are designed for this.  There are also transformers that provide 24, 12, and 6 volts for various lamps throughout the projector.

 

Transformers mounted.JPG


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#69 Ron Walker

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 03:36 PM

Another panel that came along was originally intended to operate many slide projectors.  It had been abandoned in favor of a newer computer control system.  It is now the control for, among other things, the 29 constellation outline projectors that move with the main projector and are available for use at any time they are above the horizon.

 

new control panel for constilation outlines.JPG


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#70 bumm

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 04:13 PM

This is all so amazing.  I'm following and enjoying, but have very little to contribute.  Wish you weren't 1400 miles away...

                                                                                       Marty


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#71 Ron Walker

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 04:35 PM

As each circuit was to be wired I decided to complete and check before moving on to the next.  Thus the main projector needed to be completely installed before wiring began.  What I thought would take several days actually happened in one afternoon.  Perhaps it was because I had been going over and over each step in my mind for months before that this day went so fast.  I had placed the central core in the support structure when I first brought the projector home just to save space.  Moving it to the dome was easy with a dolly.

 

 

moving away from stage..JPG

 

Getting it on and off the dolly was easy using the engine hoist.

 

 

using eh to move cc.JPG

 

Placing in on the base again using the engine hoist.

 

 

cc on ped.JPG

 

Then putting the machine together while keeping things in fair balance.  Since everything had been cleaned and lubricated, it was just a matter of reassembly.  First one planet cage.

 

1 planet cage.JPG

 

Then the second.

 

 

2 planet cages.JPG

 

Then one star globe.

 

 

1 star ball.JPG

 

Then the second.

 

 

2 star balls.JPG


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#72 Ron Walker

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 04:42 PM

And yes, I had to do it, a temporary wiring to the star globes for "First Light" under the dome.

 

projector against sky lit.JPG

 

Yes, it had all been worth it, for me at least.


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#73 Ron Walker

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 04:54 PM

This is all so amazing.  I'm following and enjoying, but have very little to contribute.  Wish you weren't 1400 miles away...

                                                                                       Marty

Any comment is very much appreciated.  At least I know somebody is following along and finds my insanity interesting.  :scratchhead:  While the feeling of "why in the world am I doing this" has been going away since my basic opening, I still wonder if I'm the only nut interested in this kind of stuff.  Actually your the one 1400 miles away  :lol: but if your ever out this way and want a show and a tour, just say the word.

 

Again, thanks for the interest!


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#74 bumm

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 04:54 PM

I see SCORPIUS!  And DELPHINUS, and SAGITTA, and AQUILA, and...   :)

                                                                         Marty


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#75 bumm

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 04:56 PM

 

This is all so amazing.  I'm following and enjoying, but have very little to contribute.  Wish you weren't 1400 miles away...

                                                                                       Marty

Any comment is very much appreciated.  At least I know somebody is following along and finds my insanity interesting.  :scratchhead:  While the feeling of "why in the world am I doing this" has been going away since my basic opening, I still wonder if I'm the only nut interested in this kind of stuff.  Actually your the one 1400 miles away  :lol: but if your ever out this way and want a show and a tour, just say the word.

 

Again, thanks for the interest!

 

I'll DO that.  I have trouble getting away as far as Omaha or Des Moines though...

                                                                            Marty


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