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Put Up/Take Down - Observatory 51

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#1 PirateMike

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 10:59 PM

Hello All,

 

I am just starting construction on my so called "Put Up/Take Down" imaging observatory. It will be named Observatory 51. smile.gif

 

 

 

I have already run a little test by building a smaller version of my final design and have confirmed that it will accomplish all the main objectives that I require. Those objectives are...

 

 

1. Put Up/Take Down - I wanted that the construction method and materials used would end up being light enough for me to be able to set up and take down the structure all by myself. I'll be using PVC Board and aluminum square tubing to construct the observatory as both are lighter than 2x4's and plywood. They are also termite proof which can be an issue with wooden structures here in the tropics.

 

2. Wind Resistant - There are strong winds here nearly on a daily basis year round. The test observatory handles all daily winds without issue. To handle the winds of a hurricane, like in 2017 when Hurricane Maria passed directly overhead, I will utilize the "Take Down" aspect of the design and store the disassembled structure in my cement garage.

 

3. Light Block - There are street and building lights that hit the observatory. Having the walls 6' tall prevents these lights from shining directly into the telescope. I can image from 30* above the horizon and keep the telescopse within the shadows created by the walls. No stray light going down my tubes!

 

4. Low Cost - No bells and whistles here, just a basic design that will do the required job of protecting my equipment from the elements and provide a dedicated place to do AP. My "control room" is 25' away in the closed in half of my garage and I can "Team View" into the controls from inside my house. I will do all the construction myself and maybe/hopefully get a little help from my friends and family.

 

 

 

Measuring Up and Breaking Ground

 

Day 1 P1 1250px.jpg

 

 

 

Wish me luck and feel free to follow along, waytogo.gif

 

Miguel   8-)

 

 

.


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#2 bridgman

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 11:25 PM

Looks promising. New observatories are always great fun to watch - thanks for posting.

 

Any chance you have a picture of your "smaller version of the final design" kicking around ?


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#3 PirateMike

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 11:35 PM

Looks promising. New observatories are always great fun to watch - thanks for posting.

 

Any chance you have a picture of your "smaller version of the final design" kicking around?

Sorry bridgman, but I don't have any photos of the smaller version.

 

I wish I could tell you that this Obs will look wonderful, but it will most likely look like a big painted box with a roof on it with some flowers planted around it. Maybe I'll put a fake window or two on it at some time to dress it up.

 

It's current goal is strictly utilitarian.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 16 April 2019 - 11:36 PM.


#4 bridgman

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 12:34 AM

Sounds good. I am thinking about a similar big painted box with a roof on it, but I hadn't thought about flowers. Maybe time for version 2 :)

 

Hope the build goes well. As long as it keeps the weather out, it's going to be beautiful :D


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#5 PirateMike

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 12:49 AM

I wish you luck if you decide to make your own big painted box.

 

Just keep an eye on this build to see how I do it. It is a simple construction project that can easily be done by one person who has a power saw, drill, screwdriver, wrench, pencil, a means to measure and a few other common tools.

 

My estimate is to complete the build to at least usable status in two or three weeks. That counts the days needed for my bad leg to recover from the workout it will surely get! 

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


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#6 OldManSky

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 10:01 AM

Can't wait to see the rest of the progress, Miguel :)


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#7 SteveGR

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:44 AM

Interesting idea.  I'm eager to see how it turns out.  Will it be panels that you just disconnect from each other? 


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#8 PirateMike

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 03:04 PM

Yes, it will end up being a cement pad with four walls that are bolted together and a roof. Nutin' fancy!

 

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.



#9 PirateMike

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 07:02 AM

Before the Easter weekend I went out to purchase a few materials for the Observatory. I was told that there was no 1x1 aluminum tubes available and that there wouldn't be any for at least 3 weeks! What a bummer.

 

It seems that construction materials have been flying off the shelf since Hurricane Maria in 2017. We are still trying to recover from that storm.

 

Anyways, I'll be working on the base this week and start getting ready to build the walls.

 

Please stay tuned as some progress photos should be coming soon.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

 

.



#10 PirateMike

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 09:41 AM

So now I have one side of the cement base installed. It has taken me longer that I expected because I am not very good at working with heavy things. Mixing and moving cement is "heavy lifting" for me.

 

I will struggle on with the foundation sides, but I can see that I will certainly need help in pouring the floor!

 

I'm still conflicted as to whether I should install a cement or steel pier (buried into the ground) or use a tripod inside the obs. A pier would be less expensive!

 

 

I hope you like the images of my little bit of progress.

 

side 1-asmall.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 26 April 2019 - 10:08 AM.

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#11 PirateMike

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 10:16 AM

Here it show that the blocks and the cement fillers between them are secured to the ground. I pounded rebar into the ground to a depth of about 24" below the surface and filled the holes to about half way. I will drill the blocks so that I can insert the rebar for the floor into them, I'll secure rebar to the cement fillers too. Later everything will be filled to the top when the floor is poured. This should be good enough to tie everything together.

 

side 1-fsmall.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

 

 

 



#12 PirateMike

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 10:18 AM

Nice and straight, level too!

 

One down, three more to go.  crazy.gif

 

side 1-dsmall.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 26 April 2019 - 10:19 AM.


#13 PirateMike

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 03:02 PM

The second side to the base is installed...

 

side 2asmall.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


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#14 PirateMike

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 03:14 PM

Here is another view of the second side of the base.

 

You can see one side of my first version, it's smaller and the bottom PVC panel is not there but it does show what the final version will look like, minus the paint. Actually all four sides are leaning up on my garage, one behind the other.

 

I know that my cement work is not "professional grade", but I know that it will hold up for quite a few years. I made 3 raised garden beds this way and they show no sign of giving up the ghost even after 8 or 9 years of service. The base doesn't need to hold up tons of wood as each side can be easily picked up. I will have to weigh them to see how heavy they are when they are completed. Anyways, what I am doing is easier (for me) and also less expensive. laugh.gif

 

If anyone is watching, I hope you like my funky work so far!

 

 

 

side 2bsmall.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 02 May 2019 - 03:17 PM.

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#15 OldManSky

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 09:02 PM

Miguel -- we're watching :) 

Love seeing the updates!



#16 PirateMike

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 12:15 AM

Miguel -- we're watching smile.gif

Love seeing the updates!

Well thank you OldManSky.

 

It's nice to know that my little construction project is attracting some attention. Hopefully I will be done with the basic structure in a few weeks.

 

Now I must get back to lifting those buckets of cement! lol.gif

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.



#17 OldManSky

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 02:10 PM

I check in every couple of days to see what your progress is.

Can't wait to see it done.

Keep up the good work!

And don't hurt your back lifting those buckets of cement!


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#18 PirateMike

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 10:28 AM

For all those following along... smile.gif

 

 

Yesterday I set the blocks for the third side and cemented them in place. The cement is mostly cured now, at least cured enough for the next step.

 

 

 

Side 3a small.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)


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#19 PirateMike

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 10:29 AM

The next step is to fill in the spaces between the blocks. I will finish this step later today when the work area is in the shade!

 

Tomorrow I will put in the blocks for the last side and then fill in the spaces the next day.

 

I will be glad when this phase is done. smile.gif

 

 

You like?

 

 

Side 3b small.jpg

 

 

 

Miguel   8-)


Edited by PirateMike, 08 May 2019 - 09:36 PM.

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#20 SteveGR

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 01:09 PM

So now I have one side of the cement base installed. It has taken me longer that I expected because I am not very good at working with heavy things. Mixing and moving cement is "heavy lifting" for me.

 

I will struggle on with the foundation sides, but I can see that I will certainly need help in pouring the floor!

 

I'm still conflicted as to whether I should install a cement or steel pier (buried into the ground) or use a tripod inside the obs. A pier would be less expensive!

 

 

I hope you like the images of my little bit of progress.

 

attachicon.gif side 1-asmall.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

I would go with a pier.  A well made pier will be much more stable than a tripod.


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#21 SteveGR

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 01:11 PM

Here it show that the blocks and the cement fillers between them are secured to the ground. I pounded rebar into the ground to a depth of about 24" below the surface and filled the holes to about half way. I will drill the blocks so that I can insert the rebar for the floor into them, I'll secure rebar to the cement fillers too. Later everything will be filled to the top when the floor is poured. This should be good enough to tie everything together.

 

attachicon.gif side 1-fsmall.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

Hmm, is the rebar going directly into the ground?  That might not be so great, you could have corrosion problems, but on side pieces like that it may not matter as much.  If you do go with a pier, I would make sure there was concrete encasing the rebar.


Edited by SteveGR, 08 May 2019 - 01:13 PM.

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#22 PirateMike

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 09:30 PM

Hmm, is the rebar going directly into the ground?  That might not be so great, you could have corrosion problems, but on side pieces like that it may not matter as much.  If you do go with a pier, I would make sure there was concrete encasing the rebar.

You are exactly right, the rebar shouldn't go directly into the soil, but this is not meant to be a permanent installation as it will be removed some time in the future.

 

If I do put in a pier, the rebar will be completely encased in concrete. I would not "skimp" on the pier as a bad pier would have a direct impact on my images, the walls of the obs... not so much.

 

Anyways, thanks for the comment.

 

 

Miguel   8-)



#23 SteveGR

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 10:48 AM

You are exactly right, the rebar shouldn't go directly into the soil, but this is not meant to be a permanent installation as it will be removed some time in the future.

 

If I do put in a pier, the rebar will be completely encased in concrete. I would not "skimp" on the pier as a bad pier would have a direct impact on my images, the walls of the obs... not so much.

 

Anyways, thanks for the comment.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

Which tripod(s) do you currently use? 


Edited by SteveGR, 09 May 2019 - 02:13 PM.

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#24 PirateMike

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 12:16 PM

Which tripod(s) do you use currently use? 

I have the stock 2" tripod that comes with the Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G with a few modifications and it is much more stable than when I got it.

 

I do plan on getting an Astro-Physics mount in the not to distant future.

 

I was thinking of just leaving the center of the obs cement free for now until I make up my mind. That way I will be able to keep both options open for now.

 

What do you think?

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.



#25 SteveGR

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 02:13 PM

I have the stock 2" tripod that comes with the Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G with a few modifications and it is much more stable than when I got it.

 

I do plan on getting an Astro-Physics mount in the not to distant future.

 

I was thinking of just leaving the center of the obs cement free for now until I make up my mind. That way I will be able to keep both options open for now.

 

What do you think?

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

Well, I looked at your Astrobin images and you are doing something right. smile.gif  I was going to suggest that if you hadn't added one already, a spreader would add a lot of stability.  I know it did for me when I improvised one to test with, so I am currently planning a more refined version.  Is that one of your modifications?  In theory a pier is always better but if you have modified your tripod and added rigidity, there would be less of a difference. 

 

Given the fact that you are making this with the purpose of being taken down easily, I like your idea of leaving it free for now.  You could test with the tripod and if the results are nice enough, you're all set.  But if not, your design would make it pretty easy to add the pier later.


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