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Starting In on Buiding a Dome!

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#1 Acer

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 01:12 PM

Hello everyone!

 

I am a photographer that is just getting started in Astrophotography. I've dabbled on and off in astronomy though the years, having bought a 10" dob many years ago.

 

A few weeks ago a bought a new camera, a Pentax K-1. It has a feature called Astrotracer, which moves the sensor at the same speed as the earth's rotation, so you don't need to use a tracker.

 

Well, buying that camera may have been a mistake ;). After seeing what I could get from that, I started to get interested in Astrophotography. A few weeks later and I now own a EQ6-R Pro and a Stellarvue SV80.

 

I've used this combo for a couple of weeks and I am HOOKED! To see the images take shape, on the back of the camera, and when editing them, is really something special.

 

I tend to go all in on hobbies, and I can already see that this one is going to be lasting.  Because of that, I am going to build my own dome for the backyard.  I was going to build a ROR, but then stumbled on some plans for building geodesic domes.  I already have all the foam cutting tools since I was in the business of hot wire cutting wing cores for many years, so this seems right up my alley.

 

I am going by these plans:  https://users.eoni.c...tzj/geodome.htm .  I scaled them down to an 8' dome though.  Today I'll be firing up the hotwire and cutting the triangles needed.  A great thing about this type of dome is that it can be built on the cheap.  I'm going to keep track of the expenses, but I think I can get away with building the whole observatory for under $1000.00.

 

More posts, with pictures to follow after I get some cutting done!


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#2 TOMDEY

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 02:19 PM

Intriguing! Keep us posted. I've done some domes, over the years... but never anything like that.    Tom



#3 Acer

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 07:41 PM

Well, I have about half the foam cut for the dome.  If I stayed on it, I could probably have the dome finished by Monday.

 

I am using 2" EPS foam and once constructed, it will be fiberglassed on both sides.  This will make a strong, light dome.  I don't know why more aren't made this way.  I'll only have ~$250.00 in the dome itself once I figure in epoxy and fiberglass, maybe a little more.

It is going to be an 8' Dome. 

 

I couldn't help myself and had to stick a few pieces together.  It is all made out of triangles, which are glued into hexagons and pentagons, which will then be glued together in a soccerball kind of pattern.

 

31566423817_2f84491028_c.jpgDome Construction by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr


Edited by Acer, 28 December 2018 - 07:41 PM.

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#4 TOMDEY

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 10:07 PM

I'll be especially interested in how smoothly the project goes. It seems ideal... the few domes I've done each had special challenges that increased cost, time, difficulty, or long-term serviceability. Please share all as you progress!    Thanks.    Tom



#5 gregj888

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 10:09 PM

If the dome is fixed, be a little careful with "light weight".  Domes make pretty good Airfoils, generating a lot of lift when the wind blows.  

 

There's a Yahoo group for geodesic dome observatories, might want to take a look there.  

 

I visited the author of the link you posted a few years ago.  The dome is quit nice.  We talked a bit about the stucco coating.  It is apparently easy to repair if needed.

 

If you haven't contacted Joe, please do, nice guy...



#6 PETER DREW

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Posted 29 December 2018 - 06:54 AM

I've built many domes, all aluminium and none geodesic, so following this thread with great interest!

#7 marsbase

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 10:39 AM

Hi,

Looking forward to your progress.

One thing to consider with the base walls is to have a square room. I have a 2 meter Observadome and I noticed that the 4 corners give me a good bit of extra room.


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#8 Acer

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 06:59 PM

I got about 3/4 of the dome cut and glued.  Should be done gluing it all up tomorrow.  I then have to cut the base ring out and glue that up, then cut the hole for the shutter and make the wood pieces for that.  It's going a little slower than I thought it would, that is a lot of cutting!

 

45634112055_191f90d8bd_o.jpgDone Construction by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr


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#9 KennFromTX

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 03:19 AM

Interesting!!!



#10 mikeyL

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 11:50 PM

Andrew,

 

Wow - you are awesome! Sounds like you will have a quite the set up in no time! I have been trying to find a site for an obsy myself for a while, as my property has just too many trees. You will absolutely take your imaging to the next level once you can start to put in many hours per target, which you can accomplish with a dedicated observatory and being able to keep your gear set up between sessions. Looking forward to hearing how this goes, and you should post this over in the FW astro forum too!

 

ML



#11 SteveGR

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 11:41 AM

Interesting.  What material are you going to use for the ring at the base? You mentioned gluing it, will you get a strong enough bond?



#12 Cfreerksen

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 01:18 PM

Howz it coming?

 

Chris



#13 Acer

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 09:42 PM

Sorry for the late reply, I haven't been building the dome much lately (too busy with work)

 

Building the dome is going a little slower than planned. There was A LOT of cutting to get the geodesic dome built. Here is the foam all finished and glued together, this is going to be an 8' diameter observatory dome.

 

IMG-20190118-153223-01.jpg

Yesterday I finished cutting and gluing the dome ring.  It is made from two layers of 3/4" sanded ply.  Here it is weighted down while the glue set.  I am using Gorilla brand polyurethane glue for this project.

 

IMG-20190131-094710-02.jpg

 

And a photo after the glue cured. 

 

IMG-20190131-104434-01-1.jpg

Today I glued the ring to the dome.  Monday I plan on cutting out the shutter slot and constructing the shutter slides.  Then on to fiberglassing the whole thing.


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#14 TxStars

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 03:52 AM

Make sure your shutter/s open 10-20" past the zenith to you can image overhead.



#15 Cfreerksen

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 11:56 AM

Sorry for the late reply, I haven't been building the dome much lately (too busy with work)

 

Building the dome is going a little slower than planned. There was A LOT of cutting to get the geodesic dome built. Here is the foam all finished and glued together, this is going to be an 8' diameter observatory dome.

 

IMG-20190118-153223-01.jpg

Yesterday I finished cutting and gluing the dome ring.  It is made from two layers of 3/4" sanded ply.  Here it is weighted down while the glue set.  I am using Gorilla brand polyurethane glue for this project.

 

IMG-20190131-094710-02.jpg

 

And a photo after the glue cured. 

 

IMG-20190131-104434-01-1.jpg

Today I glued the ring to the dome.  Monday I plan on cutting out the shutter slot and constructing the shutter slides.  Then on to fiberglassing the whole thing.

Work really gets in the way of having fun.

 

Chris



#16 Acer

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 06:37 PM

I glued the ring to the dome and today cut out the shutter opening
 
I should have the shutter opening and doors finished tomorrow, then on to fiberglassing.

It's slowly coming along.

 

IMG-20190204-161644-01.jpg


Edited by Acer, 04 February 2019 - 06:39 PM.

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#17 Cfreerksen

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 09:54 AM

My I place my order now?

 

Chris



#18 TxStars

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 11:39 AM

I have been looking for something to place in the back yard for my equipment, and have been trying to decide between a RoR or a Dome..

I could weld up a metal dome, but that could get me into a lot more money than a RoR due to the weight of a metal dome.

This on the other hand would not be as costly as a metal dome and would not take a lot of time to put together and it would be a lot easier to place on top of the walls.

Perhaps something like this with a welded metal ring as the base..


Edited by TxStars, 05 February 2019 - 11:40 AM.


#19 Acer

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 07:39 PM

Got the base made for the observatory. Still need to install the rollers, then install the paneling.  I made the sides tall enough so I don't have to bend over when I stand against the wall.  It ended up being just over 8'

 

The dome still needs a lot of work, but it is getting closer

 

IMG_20190210_151447-01_jpeg-841172.JPG

 

 

I am 6'4", here is a photo for size comparison

 

IMG_20190210_151810-01_jpeg-841174.JPG


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#20 dmdouglass

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 09:06 PM

Very Cool !!

Most Exciting to Watch...



#21 KennFromTX

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 08:30 AM

Awesome build, cant wait to see the finished product.waytogo.gif



#22 CCD-Freak

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 11:07 AM

I love your "Foam Dome".  I eagerly await seeing the finished dome.  Great work!

 

John Love

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#23 Cfreerksen

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 11:08 PM

I love your "Foam Dome".  I eagerly await seeing the finished dome.  Great work!

 

John Love

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And the phrase has been coined.

 

Chris


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#24 Geo31

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 08:09 PM

I am really intrigued by this.  I'm planning on building my outbuilding/observatory this year (but life being what it is, it may be a year from now to make the dome, although the building will probably be this year).  I'm following this carefully.  I'm rather amazed and considering this.  It also has me considering something else for a somewhat low mass dome (which is best for me because I cannot use a crane to install the dome).

 

So my big question is, have you done anything like this with foam before?  I'm just curious how beginner-friendly it is.



#25 TxStars

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 11:56 PM

Acer,

  How is the dome build going?




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