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Put Up/Take Down - Observatory 51

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#26 PirateMike

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 07:34 PM

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.

I did add a spreader from TPI.

 

I also fixed the inner legs that had crumbled a little from tightening them too much. First I had a machine shop cut the crumbled part off (about 4") and then I filled the rest of the tube with cement. This helped the tripod a lot it seems. It's heavier now but not by too much, it's still very portable and but now more bottom heavy.

 

I also had the mating surfaces of the tripod and the head machined, now the mating surfaces are just about perfect.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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Edited by PirateMike, 09 May 2019 - 07:36 PM.


#27 PirateMike

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 04:38 PM

I am little behind schedule with this project due to the unexpected arrival of Mothers Day and the preparation required for such a special occasion. There were also other pressing but unforeseen issues that needed my attention.

 

Alas, I was able to do a little more work since my last post.

 

I completed putting in the third side for the base and started filling it in with what I have available from around the yard. Now to pack it in to the correct height and set the rebar for the pouring of the cement floor. I still need to find a couple of paid hands to help me finish off the base.

 

Tomorrow I will go out to purchase the materials to build the wall and the roof. Hopefully I will be able to find the square aluminum tubing that I need.

 

 

Filling Dirtsmall.jpg

 

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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Edited by PirateMike, 15 May 2019 - 04:40 PM.


#28 ChrisWhite

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 07:21 AM

Miguel,

 

Is there a reason you didnt just use boards to build concrete forms for the pad?  Also, I would be hesitant to use anything other than stone as a base for the pad. Curious what your thoughts are here?



#29 PirateMike

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 09:12 AM

Hey Chris,

 

I know my build is a little unconventional. I could have just used boards and poured cement but I decided to do it this way for no other reason than I wanted the pad to be high above the ground due to rain. We can get a lot of rain in a short amount of time, two or three inches in an hour is not uncommon. My house is built the same as far as being built "high" above the ground.

 

I filled the base with soil but I will be adding a bunch of stone that I have sitting around. The soil is clay, when I add some water and let it dry out it will become very hard. I had to use a pick to dig this soil!

 

I wouldn't recommend doing this with soil that is like the type in New England! Anyways, the floor will be 3 to 4 inches thick and it should be able to stay up on it's own.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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Edited by PirateMike, 17 May 2019 - 11:02 AM.

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#30 PirateMike

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 11:58 AM

To celebrate the opening of my observatory and website (when they're done) I designed and ordered a few plastic business cards to give out to my friends, family and other "astro-peolpe".

 

I guess I just needed to spend a little money on something that is pretty much unnecessary.tongue2.gif

 

 

 

Plastic Cards.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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Edited by PirateMike, 17 May 2019 - 12:02 PM.

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#31 ChrisWhite

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 08:01 PM

Hey Chris,

 

I know my build is a little unconventional. I could have just used boards and poured cement but I decided to do it this way for no other reason than I wanted the pad to be high above the ground due to rain. We can get a lot of rain in a short amount of time, two or three inches in an hour is not uncommon. My house is built the same as far as being built "high" above the ground.

 

I filled the base with soil but I will be adding a bunch of stone that I have sitting around. The soil is clay, when I add some water and let it dry out it will become very hard. I had to use a pick to dig this soil!

 

I wouldn't recommend doing this with soil that is like the type in New England! Anyways, the floor will be 3 to 4 inches thick and it should be able to stay up on it's own.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

Miguel,

 

That all makes sense.  It's so rare that we get 2 to 3 inches of rain in a storm, forget about an hour...   I think your unconventional base will be pretty solid once the concrete mates with those blocks.  Have you decided to pour a pier, or at least drop a few feet of concrete down in the middle so you could bolt a steel pier on if you decided to? 


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#32 PirateMike

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 09:19 PM

My base construction is "pretty much" the way they build houses around here except for the "footings" aspect, but then again, there will be very limited weight that it needs to hold up. I have to assume that the base will be around long after I'm done with this world!

 

Right now I'm pretty well decided that I will be using a tripod. Things could change! wink.gif



#33 clearwaterdave

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 08:21 AM

I'm sorry to be late here with my 2cents.,I found mixing cement is much easier if you add the dry mix into the water rather than the water into the dry mix.,try it.,

  I'm wondering what plastic the walls are made from?.,


Edited by clearwaterdave, 19 May 2019 - 08:23 AM.

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#34 PirateMike

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 01:23 PM

Thanks for your 2cents Dave. Say hello to all my long lost Mainer friends! CSNY is the best!

 

I started off pouring the water onto the mix but I did change that, I got tired of trying to scrape the still dry mix from the bottom of the bucket!

 

After everything is mixed up nice I add the rocks which I have been buying by the bag full and then mix some more.

 

The plastic is a PVC sheet 4'x8'x0.5". It's shaped like plywood but made of PVC, smooth on both sides.

 

I'll post some pictures later.

 

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 19 May 2019 - 03:42 PM.

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#35 ChrisWhite

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 04:00 PM

Thanks for your 2cents Dave. Say hello to all my long lost Mainer friends! CSNY is the best!

I started off pouring the water onto the mix but I did change that, I got tired of trying to scrape the still dry mix from the bottom of the bucket!

After everything is mixed up nice I add the rocks which I have been buying by the bag full and then mix some more.

The plastic is a PVC sheet 4'x8'x0.5". It's shaped like plywood but made of PVC, smooth on both sides.

I'll post some pictures later.



Miguel 8-)

.

I used a sheet of pvc for my trim and just cut to width. Very nice stuff to work with. Mine has a faux wood grain texture on one side.

Edited by ChrisWhite, 19 May 2019 - 04:01 PM.

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#36 PirateMike

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 05:49 PM

Well today has not been sunny. The rain has been off and on all day, but I did get a chance to get some work done between the rain drops.

 

 

3 small.jpg

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.

 



#37 PirateMike

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 05:52 PM

Yesterday I did get the chance to fill in two corners. Two more to go for tomorrow.

 

 

5 small.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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#38 PirateMike

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 05:56 PM

And here is what I got done today. I put the forth and final side in place. Tomorrow I will fill in the spaces between the blocks and then start getting ready for pouring the floor.

 

 

 

4 small.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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Edited by PirateMike, 19 May 2019 - 06:03 PM.


#39 PirateMike

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 06:01 PM

This is the plastic sheets that I will use to make the walls. They are a little "foamy" inside so they are not too heavy but still very rigid. The printing is a peel off plastic which helps to keep the edges nice when they are cut.

 

 

1 small.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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#40 PirateMike

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 06:19 PM

Another photo just for kicks!

 

 

2 small.jpg

 

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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#41 PirateMike

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 06:58 PM

I used a sheet of pvc for my trim and just cut to width. Very nice stuff to work with. Mine has a faux wood grain texture on one side.

I would love to have that faux wood look, it is beautiful.

 

I have gotten the PVC panels right around the corner and they deliver for free, but I think I'll see if Home Depot has the faux wood available. Depending on the price.... I know Home Depot delivery will cost me $100. Not good, $100 delivery for a place only 7.5 miles away!

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 19 May 2019 - 07:03 PM.


#42 PirateMike

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 10:51 AM

Yesterday I smoothed out the filling in the base. I set it to 3" below the top of the blocks which will make the floor 4" thick as I will fill the base to 1" over the blocks. Everything was well watered down and the filling already seems to be quite hard.

 

I will be removing the fill around the blocks and pour concrete in to fully integrate the blocks to the rest of the structure.

 

The next step will be to put in the rebar and finally get things ready to pour the concrete.

 

It makes me happy to get to this point, it's starting to look like something! smile.gif

 

 

11small.jpg

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 21 May 2019 - 10:57 AM.


#43 PirateMike

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 10:56 AM

I decided not to fill the gaps between the blocks on the 4th side with cement. I didn't want a down pour to make a swimming pool out of my base. As you can see, I just put some pieces of PVC panel at these places to allow any excess water to drain, just in case! 

 

 

10small.jpg

 

 

Now to move on and hopefully pour the floor soon.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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#44 PirateMike

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 11:31 AM

As a side note I would like to let you know that I haven't been able to do any astrophotography for quite some time. We have been having electrical problems for months now causing the lights to flicker and shutting down my computers.

 

Yesterday the electric company disconnected the power for our road to make some kind of repair, and it now appears that they have fixed this particular problem.

 

So, I'll hopefully be back up and collecting photons soon. grin.gif

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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Edited by PirateMike, 21 May 2019 - 11:32 AM.


#45 PirateMike

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 05:48 PM

Finally a little more work was done today, mostly in the rain when it wasn't coming down too strong. I still need to put in more rebar but my plan is to pour the floor on Thursday.

 

I will be mixing what is called a "rich mix". One part cement, two parts sand and three parts gravel.

 

 

rebar1small.jpg

 

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

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Edited by PirateMike, 27 May 2019 - 09:08 PM.


#46 bigbinoman

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 01:27 PM

Why are you pouring a cement floor if it is going to be temporary? Around here, cement is considered permanent. I just put down concrete patio blocks for the floor in my backyard observatory. For now I use PVC pipes and tarps for the walls so it is truly a put up/take down structure for now. I am looking for ideas on making the walls out of something else due to the constant repairs needed. The sun here kills the tarps in a year and also the PVC pipe in a couple of years. The good thing is I can take it down or set it up in 20 minutes, which happens often due to weather.


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#47 PirateMike

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 04:43 PM

Why are you pouring a cement floor if it is going to be temporary? Around here, cement is considered permanent. I just put down concrete patio blocks for the floor in my backyard observatory. For now I use PVC pipes and tarps for the walls so it is truly a put up/take down structure for now. I am looking for ideas on making the walls out of something else due to the constant repairs needed. The sun here kills the tarps in a year and also the PVC pipe in a couple of years. The good thing is I can take it down or set it up in 20 minutes, which happens often due to weather.

I am pouring a cement floor because I wanted to. Temporary for me is from now until I'm gone, which isn't going to amount to many more decades. After seeing how beefy my pad has so far turned out to be, I'll probably leave the pad for the next owners to deal with.

 

I used concrete blocks too but I got tired of setting up my stuff every night, doing PA and all that stuff. Now I'll just open the roof and image from inside my closed in garage or my home.

 

This structure will be able to be put up and taken down in 20 minutes too but the sun doesn't seem to bother it as far as I can tell, and I'm sure the sun is stronger here than in Fla. It is completely light proof and it will have a roof. Weather doesn't bother it either, except for the occasional hurricane.

 

 

Just keep watching to see how I build my structure. You just might like it.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 28 May 2019 - 04:55 PM.


#48 ChrisWhite

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 04:52 PM

Nice progress Miguel!!  Last chance to sink a mounting plate for a permanent pier!  You never know, you might want to get a steel pier to bolt down... lol..


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#49 PirateMike

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 08:35 PM

Hey Chris,

 

Nice try lol.gif , but I'll stick with a tripod for now. If I do change my mind in the future I can just rent out a diamond saw and an operator!  

 

I have been watching a lot of youtube videos about mixing and finishing cement, Thursday will be my day of reckoning!

 

Today I bought a cement mixer and now I'm ready to pour. My brother will be helping me as much as he can.

 

It has been raining all day, I'm glad that I got the plastic down yesterday.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


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#50 PirateMike

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Posted 29 May 2019 - 12:41 PM

Today I got a big surprise. I have been trying to contact my friend and handyman Raul so he could help with pouring the floor. He worked in construction and has a lot of know how when it comes to cement. He mostly does yard work for me but hasn't been around for quite some time as you can see by the condition of my yard!

 

This morning as the truck was delivering the sand and rocks for the floor Raul drove up. We spent the morning together fixing up the front yard and then finishing the little bits left to be done for tomorrow.

 

He will be helping with the pour. What a relief for me.

 

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


Edited by PirateMike, 30 May 2019 - 06:30 AM.

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