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Has anyone converted a Keter 6x4 into an observatory?

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#1 Henry from NZ

Henry from NZ


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Posted 22 May 2020 - 03:04 PM



I currently have a wooden pier sunk into ground, but would like to put an enclosure around it for protection from the elements and security.


I would like something that is only semi-permanent, as there is a chance we might move house in a few years time.


What I am thinking of doing, is to flatten the ground (the pier is on a slope) around the pier, put some paving stones around it to an area of 6x6', and put one of these Keter brand resin sheds around the pier (and modify the roof so it is removable):




Has anyone done something similar?


If so, do you have any tips how to make the roof removable?


Do you know if this will be big enough to house the mount with a 5" refractor? Is 6x6 needed or is 6x4 enough (for cost consideration)? The refractor (which is the longest instrument I have) with the imaging gear measures 1.3 m long (just over 4' but it will be at an angle). The long axis (6') of the shed will likely be aligned with the long axis of the telescope when parked, but I am not sure if 4' is enough width wise 


I should note that I only image, so the observatory just needs to be big enough to allow free movement of the telescope. I do not need to be inside when it is operational


Thanks for any comment or suggestion


Clear skies

Edited by Henry from NZ, 22 May 2020 - 03:52 PM.

#2 ChrisWhite


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Posted 22 May 2020 - 03:44 PM

By the time you invest in converting it, you could probably have done it from the ground up for cheaper.  I built my 8x5 obsy for about $1100.  That included the heavy duty drawer slides which were expensive and the steel roof.  I made it big enough to house two scopes, but if you are looking to go smaller you could do it for pretty cheap.  The drawer slides were the key.  There are several threads in OBSY's for doing this kind of thing.


Even with mine there is nothing permanent.  It sits up on blocks and my mounts inside just sit on the platform on tripods.  Of course, I did use some ground anchors so it wouldnt tumble away in a big wind. 


Thread on my build is in my sig. 


PS-  I put a lot of time and thought into the idea of modifying a little structure.  I even went and looked at several in person. Problem is, they were mostly built like crap and would require a lot of hacking to make the mods.  Finally, I decided to build from scratch.  Now, one way you could do your idea without having to modify, is putting castors on the shed itself and rolling it away from your mount.  That would be much simpler than making the roof removable. 

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#3 Henry from NZ

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 03:55 PM

Thanks Chris for the tips, I will have a look at your build and see whether I can make something similar and estimate the local cost.


An advantage of these ready-made resin sheds is the time saving putting it up. I am not very handy so something that clicks together has a certain appeal to me...

#4 jfgout


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Posted 22 May 2020 - 07:22 PM

Have a look at the "outhouse observatory" designs (you'll find a few in this forum). I agree with Chris that it would probably be cheaper to build it from  scratch. Depending on how difficult the modification is, it might even be faster and easier.


I'm almost done building a 4 feet x 3 feet shed on wheels for a C11. I'll detail the construction in a long post here next week, but I can already tell you that (1) the total cost was around $500 (US) (2) it wasn't too difficult to do and (3) it was a lot of fun to design and build it myself.






EDIT: Went back to the description and realized the weight is only 50kg. That's really nice because it will be easy to move around, but make sure it is anchored in some way (turnbuckles connected to ground anchors or something) if you don't want it to be be blown away by the wind. My 4x3 shed weights about 3 times that...

Edited by jfgout, 22 May 2020 - 07:25 PM.

#5 gotak



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Posted 22 May 2020 - 09:05 PM

Build from scratch is better if you have the skills and time. I did it from scratch and endure the repeated complaints from the wife about spending too much time on it and then after it's done how much of an eye sore it is for her. I'd be first to admit if i do it again it would look better cause of the lessons learnt. Eventually she made peace with it now she's used to it. Pushing my luck again the next project is pilot license and potentially a plane!

On the flip side a resin shed with reinforcing bits likely would go up way faster than a scratch built. I wouldn't pick the Keter sheds. We did put one up as a normal shed and the quality was questionable.

If you do go from scratch it could be super nice in the end, but a functional one could look bad and still be light years better than hauling gear in and out. You'd be able to setup heavier payloads not having to worry about dropping a massive OTA or weights.

Edited by gotak, 22 May 2020 - 09:09 PM.

#6 Glennbloke


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Posted 18 October 2020 - 06:25 PM

Hi Henry


Did you eventually sort out a shed for your scope?


I came across your thread today and thought I would reply as I have not long finished a roll off roof project on a 6x6 Keter shed. It wasn't a difficult conversion at all and it works brilliantly. What I love about the Keter is it is completely water tight being plastic and you know that will never change. When I first converted it I was just lifting the roof on and off but I wanted roll on and off for speed and convenience. Future plans will be to automate the roof so I can leave the system imaging while I sleep. I do shiftwork so sometimes I have to go to bed and I don't get that many good clear nights so loathed to waste any.


Anyway if I can help at all let me know





#7 Henry from NZ

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Posted 19 October 2020 - 04:55 AM

I am forever stuck at the planning stage. The project unfortunately has been put in the “too hard” basket. One of the main problems is the location - my backyard is on a steep slope, so to put any structure on will require expert help which translates into added cost. Even if this is sorted I have to find a solution that would look nice, as it Will need to be in the middle of the backyard for least obstruction, but it means that it will be quite an eyesore if not done right.


I have a wooden pier installed many years ago. I probably will end up with some kind of scope cover rather than a full observatory per se for the aforementioned reasons

#8 kiwisailor



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Posted 19 October 2020 - 11:00 PM

Hi Henry


What about posting a picture of your proposed location in your back yard, is that where your existing pier is? Could you excavate high side of slope, build a low retaining wall on both high and low sides, if you keep height to 1metre or less, no council consent is required. Then build a shed on the now level shelf you've created round your pier. The shed could be a roll off roof, depending on the orientation of your site, or a flip top.




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