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My Suburban Concrete Pier + cem120 + 12x12 Deck + Nexdome Build thread

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#26 spacemunkee

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 02:16 PM

I have some of that(pretty sure it's Wentop) tape light I bought a while back for something, and wasn't exactly impressed. Sitting in a box.. but just single color direct wire stuff.

But I guess it's ok for the price. Really wouldn't depend on the adhesive though. It's no 3M! :)

I had a kit I picked up at Home Depot(same setup, plug in, remote. But inside a rubber casing) which I installed up high tucked up under the edge of some trim I ran around interior. Lights well and keeps it from directly shining at you.
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#27 markm75c

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 09:36 AM

Concrete prep update (pouring tomorrow):

 

I took a combination of peoples ideas and ended up doing this rebar cage twice.  On rev 2 i went with an $8 roll of galvanized chicken wire from lowes to use to hold it together.

 

But, to also aid things, i initially pounded all 4 stakes into the ground inside a box so i could measure out the distances and set cross bars in addition.

 

Here is what that looked like:

rebarprep.jpg

 

I set the distance between the bars at around 4.5", this way I will be able to get a 2x4 down in there to mix up the concrete as its poured to prevent bubbles and air.

 

I ended up using both the rebar for holding it together and chickenwire:

rebarcage.jpg

 

I placed the 10" pvc frame that i made around the hole in the deck:

pvc1.jpg

pvcvertical.jpg

 

The bottom of the pvc pipe will be submerged 3/4" into the concrete footer.

 

I also added gravel to the bottom then used wire rebar holders and placed 2 rebar in the holders allowing for the center to come down the middle.

My concern here is that the horizontal ends of at least 1 or 2 of the end points are lightly touching the soil, which probably should be avoided, but maybe will be fine.

pierlowerrebar.jpg

 

I then moved the platform over the hole, centering it as best i can and lowered the rebar cage down in.

It works out to around 1.75" or more between the rebar and the sides of the pvc.  I have about 9" of jbolt that will be into the concrete which will end up just above the rebar cage.

cageintube.jpg

cageinhole.jpg

 

 

When they do the pour, i'm unsure if they can shoot the chute directly over the pvc and pour from there down, first filling the footer then on up, or maybe start at the edges of the tube into footer directly, get it level then move up to the pvc.

 

I did a test of the height over everything.  The floorboards sit 13" above the ground.  The pvc pipe was roughly 52.5 inches.  The mount combo of plates sits about 4.5" above the pvc and the ra/dec point is 9.40 above that, this works out to 52.9"  (the wall is 53, was the original target).  I actually wanted to drop this another 1", as now i've acquired a new celestron edge 11 scope (and hyperstar, though still researching a camera), so i wanted some insurance on distances.  I can adjust the bolts on the mounting plate to go lower by 1-2" if needed though.

 

Later I will use 220 grit sandpaper over the pvc, then an acetone wipe down, then Krylon Fusion Matte Black spray paint (2 coats) to paint it.

 

I'm unsure on when it would be safe to put the full mount and weight on the pvc pipe after the pour, but i think 2 weeks might be how long i will wait.


Edited by markm75c, 09 August 2019 - 09:39 AM.

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#28 markm75c

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 08:08 PM

The concrete pour went well yesterday.  I ended up only using 0.6 yards of concrete into the 43" deep (23" square) hole and up 49" or so into the PVC 10" pipe.  They charged $240 for this, which is quite reasonable.  They send sand and gravel up a conveyor belt and mix it on the fly.

 

I added supports that went directly to the joists on the deck.  I'll remove all of these after 3 days, including the ones around the pvc tube (tuesday night).  At that point ill start working on figuring out where wiring should end up and doing the 5/4 decking (and bug netting under).  I will wait two weeks or so before putting on the actual telescope mount and maybe testing the new celestron edge 11 on it.

 

I aligned with true north the mounting plate and since these photos were taken, about 1 hour after the pour, prettied up the footer base around the telescope pier (smoothed it out).

 

Here are some photos.

 

cement1.jpg

cement2.jpg

cement3.jpg

cement4.jpg

cement5.jpg

cement6.jpg


Edited by markm75c, 11 August 2019 - 08:09 PM.

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#29 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 03:07 PM

I hope you beat on the pipe during the pour to get potential "honeycomb" out.



#30 markm75c

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 03:41 PM

I hope you beat on the pipe during the pour to get potential "honeycomb" out.

We used a 2x4 down the middle tamping it at times.  I also took a hammer to the base.  My cousin (contractor) felt it was ok even without the 2x4 tamping, but i was a bit nervous and ocd about it.  Also, constant adjusting of the central rebar structure in the middle kept things moving around too.  Going to leave it sit until tomorrow night, then take the support boards/forms off of the pvc (but no mount/weight ontop until maybe 2 more weeks).


Edited by markm75c, 12 August 2019 - 03:41 PM.


#31 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 05:18 PM

In mid summer, three days is enough.  The warmer it is, the faster the initial cure.

 

Are you planning to put blocking between those joists?  Support them near the center?


Edited by John Fitzgerald, 12 August 2019 - 05:20 PM.


#32 markm75c

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 05:46 PM

In mid summer, three days is enough. The warmer it is, the faster the initial cure.

Are you planning to put blocking between those joists? Support them near the center?


You mean 3 days till supports can come off not full weight right?

Yea I'm going to box in the pier and there will be two nearby concreted posts for support. The boxing in will leave a gap of an inch or two around the pvc while floating above the concrete footer

#33 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 07:24 PM

No, full weight of a telescope, (which is not much).  Normally, forms are removed after about 24 hours in the summer.  They drive on it here after 3 days on new driveways.



#34 markm75c

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:09 AM

No, full weight of a telescope, (which is not much).  Normally, forms are removed after about 24 hours in the summer.  They drive on it here after 3 days on new driveways.

Wow, that seems really fast for putting say 120 lbs up on top.

 

Either way, once i put the mount at least, up there, i need to get a temporary poly tarp, maybe 10x10 from ace with bungee cords, to seal it off until the dome gets here, but i do need to test things before hand.  I dont think i would leave the 11 edge under the tarp though, just the mount.

 

Last nite i did a very rough survey of how wide things will be around the pier (86" inner wall total diameter) and its really tight, putting a rolling chair in there next to the pier ill probably have 5" on one side (maybe 35" on the sides of the pier).  I guess this is expected and there are some doing 14", but i'm trying to imagine having my kids coming out to do some visual, i guess its going to have to be two people in there at a time.  The other issue is the counter weight bar, when shooting lower angle targets it will stick out quite a bit, but again expected, ill just have to make sure when doing remote work nothing is in the way.

 

The black pegs in the pic represent the inner circle/wall of the dome (yellow was just to enhance as they are hard to see on a small screen), the reality is, the distance left to right is actually 3" too much, more like 89" in this shot.  The red squares, roughly where i think ill put the bays which are about 37" wide by 20" deep.  I'm also sending the data pipe to the corner of the bottom left "bay" near the wall or at least where i think it will be, it will then come up through the floor (5/4" board with a hole for the pvc 1.5 wide), same deal with wiring there.  I think ill put the subpanel in the bay somewhere, then run an outlet there and other outlets in the other bay and a line across to the pier for the mini pc ill attach to the pier or make a plywood extension around it (5" sticking out likely with a trap door/bay at the bottom for plugs/adapters).  Ultimately ill make openings in the floor for the wiring, but not until i have all the 5/4 boards in place.  Ill just remove a few to finish things (likely after i get the walls up on the deck from the dome in a month or so).  I will retrace using painters tape, the inner wall circle on the deck floor once done here in a week or so, to get a better idea on fit.  

 

I'm still debating if i need to put plywood down inside the dome portion, ontop of the 5/4 boards, or just seal between the cracks the 5/4 boards and put down the rubber 3/4" flooring i have coming (or both).

 

All this has me thinking its not too late to switch to a skyshed 10x12 (deck is 12x12 now), but i'm not sure how the cost in the materials for that plan which i have add up (if it were 2k in materials to finish it and 2k in hiring someone, might be worth it to switch it now).  Or the nexdome will end up being just fine in the end with 65% remote work, although my 6'6 frame needs to get around, which is mostly at the chair/pc screen and turn around to the mount i guess.  Advantage skyshed is that its roomier and maybe even fit a secondary tripod for dual imaging (remote).

 

testfit.jpg


Edited by markm75c, 13 August 2019 - 11:12 AM.


#35 markm75c

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 09:13 PM

Tonight i removed the supports and forms around the pier. I've decided to leave the 2x4s in the ground even though untreated wood. Shouldn't be an issue i dont think.

I probably will add cross beams since i can do a long ways board, shown by the yellow line in the one photo. Ill also probably add a trap door compartment to the right of the pier for power adapters. I still need to run a data pipe from the pier to the one bay for things like video.

Ill run the floorboard 5/4 boards straight up to the pier, leaving about a 1-2" gap near the pvc.
You can see the 1.5" data pvc pipe in the upper right of the deck in the first picture, this goes from the corner up to where the side of the one bay should be, ill run a 90 from it up through the floor into the bay. Ill also have the power uf-b run from the junction box to this area and put a small 1" pvc up through the floor for the wire to come into the bay, where ill put the sub panel.

formremoved1.jpg
formremoved2.jpg
pierboxed.jpg
pierboxed2.jpg

Edited by markm75c, 13 August 2019 - 09:16 PM.

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#36 markm75c

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 10:02 PM

Another update:

I added a long ways joist connecting the pier area to the sides of the deck.

Now every joist is at or very close to 16 on center.

I've not added any bridging or cross pieces at this point. I put 5 or 6 5/4 boards on and it feels very sturdy, not sure i need them, i may reeval tomorrow and add a few if need be.

I'm really doing a lot of guess work on the placement of the bays. I think its close (as shown again in this new photo), so i'm targetting the edges of each bay for electrical and data wires. However, instead of drilling holes in the 5/4 boards to have the pvc come up through now, before the dome walls are up, i may cut a shorter section overtop of the wiring area and either hinge it or use less screws so i can remove it later and cut a hole for the wiring pvc.

 

Ill use a 1.5" pipe for the power and also a string left inside, to maybe later pull 12v wires if need be (its been mentioned about running 12v, but i'm unsure how/where that would be used).

 

Ill probably still make a trap door to the right of the pier for ac adapters (facing north to the right), north being the bowling alley behind everything.

 deck22.jpg

wiring1.jpg

deck33.jpg


Edited by markm75c, 14 August 2019 - 10:04 PM.

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#37 mikerepp

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 09:05 AM

Better think about rodent control with all that Romex exposed.  Mice, squirrels are all going to love to gnaw on that stuff.

 

Build looks good.  All though I would be a bit concerned on leaving those untreated 2x4's as they will eventually rot.   Depends on what might be in contact with them.



#38 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 09:53 AM

Termites will invade any untreated wood in contact with the ground, and then migrate to the other untreated wood.   The wiring will get chewed up and destroyed by mice.  It's an outbuilding close to the ground.  The joists should all be treated wood.  If you plan to use an observatory more than a few years, it's best to cut losses now and replace all the untreated wood with treated wood and use armored cable or EMT or flexible conduit to protect the wiring.   The untreated wood that was already used can be repurposed to use in the above the floor part.  The entire lower frame and floor of my Exploradome is treated wood and treated plywood.  No insect damage after nearly 10 years.



#39 markm75c

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 10:03 AM

Termites will invade any untreated wood in contact with the ground, and then migrate to the other untreated wood. The wiring will get chewed up and destroyed by mice. It's an outbuilding close to the ground. The joists should all be treated wood. If you plan to use an observatory more than a few years, it's best to cut losses now and replace all the untreated wood with treated wood and use armored cable or EMT or flexible conduit to protect the wiring. The untreated wood that was already used can be repurposed to use in the above the floor part. The entire lower frame and floor of my Exploradome is treated wood and treated plywood. No insect damage after nearly 10 years.

The only untreated wood was the support form around the footer in ground which is real tough to remove. I figured if it degrades no big deal.

As far as the wiring, the wire on the 2x10 is ufb wire not romex and about 8 inches off the ground. Is there still potential to get chewed? If so I could maybe just use coiled tubing to cover it vs pvc everywhere

Edited by markm75c, 15 August 2019 - 10:04 AM.


#40 spacemunkee

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 10:31 AM

Yep, looks treated to me. I see some green on it. If worried about rodents throw it in some sealtight.

https://www.lowes.co...wE&gclsrc=aw.ds

#41 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 01:25 PM

The only untreated wood was the support form around the footer in ground which is real tough to remove. I figured if it degrades no big deal.

As far as the wiring, the wire on the 2x10 is ufb wire not romex and about 8 inches off the ground. Is there still potential to get chewed? If so I could maybe just use coiled tubing to cover it vs pvc everywhere

My bad.  It's a little hard to tell.  Better safe than sorry later.  Termites will probably eat the untreated wood and then go elsewhere.  Untreated wood in contact with the ground and concrete seems to be a termite magnet around here.  They will invade within a couple months sometimes.

 

If the plastic insulation is vegetable based, the rodents seem attracted to it.  They don't ordinarily eat into UF because it is buried two feet deep.  You can get the flexible metal conduit in rolls and put the UF in there.  It's not watertight at all, but will protect against any rodent damage.  It's not very expensive, and the UF is already watertight.


Edited by John Fitzgerald, 15 August 2019 - 01:30 PM.


#42 Tom K

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:05 PM

I agree with the rodent comment - those buggers will chew on anything they can.



#43 markm75c

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 10:12 AM

Some more updates.
 
I used some tubing to hide the bay to bay wiring to prevent animal chewing per everyone's suggestions, which makes sense.  I also decided to just use the pvc i had on hand to channel the ufb to the bays as well and to the pier.  One thing, i do have some of it off the ground, though much of it rests on the ground under the deck.  Its sealed or will be completely sealed so i dont think this is an issue at all, it was just easier than trying to do hole saw cuts through the joists and clips are next to impossible to attach being so close to the ground.

wiringfix.jpg

 

I took the boards pretty close to the pier, a few finger lengths distance, but not close enough that contact should ever occur.  Ill probably put some sort of foam in this gap, then over the whole dome floor area ill have bug netting then the 3/4 foam flooring.

gap.jpg
 
I also gave the pier a first coat of pain (fusion paint matte black), after sanding and using mineral spirits on the pvc first.  I'll need to do another coat because of the wavy initial pattern, though in a way i think its kinda cool that way.

paint.jpg
 
I need to remove the board i have next to the pier on the right so i can do the trap door for 12v adapters (with a hole for ventilation) and i need to custom fit a piece of wood directly next to the pier on the right around the data and electric pvc openings.
 
centerarea.jpg

 

 

Once i finish the deck and before the dome arrives which still could be a month away (unless i switch to a skyshed), i think ill go ahead and get the mount put on and test out the cem120/edge 11 a bit.  Ill wrap it in a 10x10 tarp with a bungee cord to keep the elements out, being shortish term i dont think it will be an issue (?) , but ill not leave the edge 11 out there (unless just overnight here and there wrapped up).  The mount would stay on for now.  If this drags on (for some unknown reason) past october i'd probably take the mount off until the observatory walls are up and running.


Edited by markm75c, 16 August 2019 - 11:53 AM.

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#44 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 05:45 PM

Get a heavy rubber mat and cut a circular hole in it just a tiny bit smaller than the pier. Slide it over the pier and let it rest against the floor. That is simple, neat, and will keep bugs out. I will post a pic of mine in a bit.

Your floor inside the dome needs to be a bit higher than the surrounding deck to keep water from running under and onto the floor. I would cut and screw down some 1/2 inch treated plywood.

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20190816_180130.jpg

Edited by John Fitzgerald, 16 August 2019 - 06:15 PM.

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#45 markm75c

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 06:12 PM

Get a heavy rubber mat and cut a circular hole in it just a tiny bit smaller than the pier. Slide it over the pier and let it rest against the floor. That is simple, neat, and will keep bugs out. I will post a pic of mine in a bit.

Your floor inside the dome needs to be a bit higher than the surrounding deck to keep water from running under and onto the floor. I would cut and screw dow some 1/2 inch treated plywood.

I'm planning on sealing it from the outside. I have 3/4" square Matt's I was going to use as the flooring (linked before). Any issues putting a Matt directly around the pier with vibrations though?

Edited by markm75c, 16 August 2019 - 06:12 PM.


#46 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 06:19 PM

I attached a pic above.  Sealing from the outside on the same level never works, but do what you feel best.  The floor should be raised slightly.   I have tried sealing from outside before and failed, as have other dome installations I know of.  You may get water under the rubber mats and it will be a mess if you do.

 

See my edit above for the rubber seal around the pier picture.  Soft rubber mats touching the pier should not cause any problems.


Edited by John Fitzgerald, 16 August 2019 - 06:41 PM.


#47 markm75c

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 07:05 PM

I attached a pic above. Sealing from the outside on the same level never works, but do what you feel best. The floor should be raised slightly. I have tried sealing from outside before and failed, as have other dome installations I know of. You may get water under the rubber mats and it will be a mess if you do.

See my edit above for the rubber seal around the pier picture. Soft rubber mats touching the pier should not cause any problems.

Someone on the nexdome group said loctite Pl max sealant was the only stuff that worked for them. I may try that first if fails I'll go. 5 inch plywood

I like the rubber Mat
idea. Is that just a runner Mat like in the home section of Walmart?

Edited by markm75c, 16 August 2019 - 08:16 PM.


#48 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 09:27 PM

Someone on the nexdome group said loctite Pl max sealant was the only stuff that worked for them. I may try that first if fails I'll go. 5 inch plywood

I like the rubber Mat
idea. Is that just a runner Mat like in the home section of Walmart?

You could almost buy the plywood for the amount that sealant will cost.

 

The rings are cut from a 1/4 inch thick solid "rubber" utility mat.  I doubled them up to make it tighter, as I cut the first one a fraction of an inch too wide.



#49 markm75c

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 09:25 PM

The deck is pretty much complete.
 
I'm not sure if the bay location(s) will need to change.  As you can see in the pics, i put the bays on the side where the counter weight shaft is located.  The back right bay with the most wiring, is the one i envisioned having the lcd and keyboard and chair in front of most of the time.  it might be ok but not ideal.  If i have to move the bay this will cause a wiring issue since the wiring is already in place (though i could probably use some sort of tubing along the dome wall to avoid tearing up 5/4 boards on the deck).  Also, the two data pvc openings i have on that bay might be too far back, if they are i will just go under the deck with the wires in a tube and come up through a single hole.
 
I tried the rubber mat from lowes.  I cut a hole and slid it over but as i was doing this it rather disintegrated for some reason (a weird rubber i think) .  Ill just stuff foam in the sides and then put the 3/4" flooring right up against it.
 
I've seen some peoples decks painted from the start, not sure how they did this as i think you are supposed to wait a year on PT wood.
 
I thought about putting a tarp over the mount and leaving it up, but i've decided against it.  So after testing the mount (just in motion testing) I brought it back in.
 
Now i guess would be the time to decide if i want to switch to a 12x12 skyshed with tons of space instead, though the mount height is wrong, probably requiring fold down walls (cant add 20" of extension that easily).  Drawback to the skyshed is that light pollution would be more of an issue than with the slotted dome (i think).  Still leaning towards sticking with the dome.
 
deckwithmount1.jpg
 
counterweightchair.jpg
 

 
counterweightchair3dan.jpg
heightofmount.jpg
 
deckwithmount3.jpg
 
mountplatefinal.jpg
closerwiringbay.jpg
 
finalmountcloser.jpg
finalmounttop.jpg
 
 
 
 
 
deckprogress3.jpg

Edited by markm75c, 18 August 2019 - 09:26 PM.

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#50 Tom K

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 11:51 PM

Ha - I like the look on the face of your model that shows the space constraints!    I have a son about that age and it is like pulling teeth to get him to help me on these sorts of endeavors - I hope you have better luck than I!




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