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Seeking Observatory Blueprints & Contractors

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23 replies to this topic

#1 Crustaceo

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Posted 23 July 2020 - 03:01 PM

Can someone please point me in the right direction on here to find a (current) list of observatory contractors and where to purchase blueprints?  I can only seem to find really old information on this topic. Like a decade ago.  I'm sure there is a more recent thread and I'm just missing it.  Please advise.  Cheers!

 

Crusty



#2 SeymoreStars

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Posted 23 July 2020 - 03:06 PM

Are you in the USA lower 48?

 

If so which state?


Edited by SeymoreStars, 23 July 2020 - 03:07 PM.


#3 Crustaceo

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Posted 23 July 2020 - 03:21 PM

Yes.  I am in Utah.



#4 SeymoreStars

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Posted 23 July 2020 - 03:35 PM

Yes.  I am in Utah.

I am in NY and had to have blue print drawn up for the local building inspector. Outer dimensions are 12 X 16 with 6" interior walls.

 

It's a ROR design.



#5 John Carlini

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Posted 23 July 2020 - 04:16 PM

I don't think I've ever seen one "single" source for observatory blueprints and support contractors. Usually, you have to decide what type of observatory you wish to build then select a manufacturer who will work with you on design specs and possibly provide recommended contractors. For example, Ash domes can provide a specialized crew to assemble their domes on your site. Other companies, such as PierTech, can provide you with blueprint specs so you can mate their ROR components to an existing structure using your own contractor. Some small firms can custom build an observatory but it's mostly dependent on where you live. In either case, unless it's a custom structure, you'll need to refine what type of observatory you want to build (dome, ROR, etc.) then contact the various vendors for more details. There are lots of online and publication resources that you can use for planning. Here is one such source for things to consider when building a dome:

 

https://www.dfmengin...ory_design.html

 

And there are books that provide helpful hints at building ROR structures:

 

https://www.amazon.c...3ZR4BQP5G4KJGM2


Edited by John Carlini, 23 July 2020 - 04:24 PM.


#6 The Planetman

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Posted 23 July 2020 - 06:00 PM

Backyard Observatories
http://www.backyardobservatories.com/



#7 SeymoreStars

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Posted 23 July 2020 - 06:05 PM

+plus one for BYO who constructed my observatory. They did an excellent job.

 

http://www.backyardo...om/gallery1.htm



#8 Crustaceo

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Posted 24 July 2020 - 12:24 AM

Great information, thank you gentlemen!  I just ordered the book linked above and will look forward to reading it.  I've decided on ROR design based on the fact I would like a control/warm room for the winter nights here in Utah.  I tried calling Backyard Observatories earlier today during normal business hours. Nobody answered and the answering machine (not voicemail) was full.  Are they still in business?  Their website hasn't been updated in over 10 years.  I was able to reach someone at Observatory Solutions and they were quite helpful.  I'll also reach out to the others provided above, thank you John.

 

*For the Admins here... maybe consider adding a kind of directory for this subject. I can see it broken down by country and state, Dome or ROR.  Just an idea... ;)



#9 jfgout

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Posted 24 July 2020 - 10:45 AM

Great information, thank you gentlemen!  I just ordered the book linked above and will look forward to reading it.  I've decided on ROR design based on the fact I would like a control/warm room for the winter nights here in Utah.  I tried calling Backyard Observatories earlier today during normal business hours. Nobody answered and the answering machine (not voicemail) was full.  Are they still in business?  Their website hasn't been updated in over 10 years.  I was able to reach someone at Observatory Solutions and they were quite helpful.  I'll also reach out to the others provided above, thank you John.

 

*For the Admins here... maybe consider adding a kind of directory for this subject. I can see it broken down by country and state, Dome or ROR.  Just an idea... wink.gif

 

They are often on the road, building observatories in areas with poor/no cell service. Email is usually a better way to get in touch with them. They responded to my emails fairly quickly when I contacted them last year. I ended up building my own mini rolling shed (I had in mind a design that is very different from what BYOB offers so I'll just wait to build my custom observatory latter and decided to build a mini roll-off shed while waiting to be ready for the big one) but if you do a quick search on this forum you'll see a lot of very satisfied BYOB clients. If I did not have this specific design in mind (roll-off building instead of roll-off roof) I would definitely have hired them. You might have to wait a few months before they start working on yours...

 

jf



#10 MJB87

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Posted 24 July 2020 - 11:20 AM

You can purchase the ROR designs from BYO and the special parts (rails, roof motor, pier, etc.) and then have a local contractor do the actual construction. That worked fine in my case. You can also alter the designs -- I added a foot to the wall height and put in a window and some air vents.

 

Don't get me wrong -- if you can have Scott and the gang do the actual construction that is no doubt the best approach. However, they are often backed up for many months.



#11 Crustaceo

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Posted 24 July 2020 - 11:53 AM

Thank you!  I will reach out to them via email.



#12 techmgr

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Posted 24 July 2020 - 03:45 PM

Another +1 for BYO - they've built two for me.  Very busy, but worth the wait, IMHO.



#13 outofdark

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Posted 24 July 2020 - 05:35 PM

What type of observatory are you wanting to build?

 

Can someone please point me in the right direction on here to find a (current) list of observatory contractors and where to purchase blueprints?  I can only seem to find really old information on this topic. Like a decade ago.  I'm sure there is a more recent thread and I'm just missing it.  Please advise.  Cheers!

 

Crusty



#14 parsec32

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Posted 24 July 2020 - 10:38 PM

Scott of Backyard Observatories built mine this year. It was done quickly and built well. He has built so many that he has the construction down pat. Difficult to contact sometimes because he is in remote locations much of the time. He and his wife are a pleasure to work with.

#15 mtnskies

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 09:32 PM

I live in the Salt Lake City area and I am currently building an observatory with an Ash Dome. I have also built several observatories with wooden dome. If you would like some information on those let me know.  

 

Curtis



#16 John Downing

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 09:38 AM

A word of caution about Back Yard Observatories:

I have attempted to do business with them in the past month or more. No response to emails requesting quotation and availability Then ordered the plans and paid via PayPal. No response to that as well. Have emailed again and tried to call. Their answering system was full a few days ago so couldn't leave a message. Tried again just now, memory full. So far, no plans have arrived. 

 

So perhaps they are too busy to respond, but they did take my money and haven't fulfilled the order or even acknowledged the receipt of funds. 

 

They have a great reputation so perhaps are just too busy and/or having a hard time but caveat emptor,

 

John



#17 Crustaceo

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 09:48 AM

Good morning,

 

I have had the same experience since July!  If you note my post, I also had tried to call and email them back then.  Crickets...    I did it again two days ago just to see.  They have added some content to their website since then but all my inquiries have been met with silence.  For all the good people have said about them, it does not make a good impression when you don't reply to potential customers.  I would cancel your payment.  I have found a local builder that I am working with.  I wish it was otherwise.  For all the good that has been said about them, Backyard Observatories doesn't seem to want my business.  Wish you all the best.  Cheers and clear skies!



#18 MJB87

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 10:38 AM

I share the recent frustration with BYO. Tried for 3 months to buy some stuff (Omega pier, etc.) from them and could never make contact or even get a response to the inquiries. Yes, they often go silent for weeks at a time but this absence seems unprecedented. I hope Scott et. al. are well.


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#19 SeymoreStars

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 04:24 PM

Perhaps BYO is busy for the same reasons telescopes are sold out and cameras are few and far between.



#20 MJB87

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 04:45 PM

I doubt they are too busy to simply change the message on their answering machine, to let people know they should not expect a response within a short time. Right now you just get a rude message that the mail box is full. I doubt they are too busy to put a notice on the website that they are not currently taking orders for piers and accessories so you should check back in a few months.



#21 John Downing

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 03:28 PM

Update on Back Yard Observatories:

I heard from them a few weeks ago. They were on their way home from two out of state builds. Last week I received the plans I had ordered with a very polite apology. They have been understaffed and away from their office. 



#22 outofdark

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 04:45 PM

Yes.  I am in Utah.

Where in Utah?



#23 kiwisailor

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 09:04 PM

Please see my post in this thread https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/740172-cant-thank-scott-horstman-enough/



#24 Travellingbears

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 10:10 AM

As background I built my observatory in 2020 and had originally considered options ranging from buying ‘reference’ blueprints and using services of local crew to ‘long waiting process’ and higher budget for availability of a premium astro shed builder. Due to COVID I flipped to ‘in-house’ resource (DIY approach) on build. With my ‘one-man crew’ it didn’t get done in 10-14 days and not at ‘pro standards’ level.

 

These are difficult times for all vendors and the ‘person’ on other end has their own ‘situation’ and ‘expectations’. We have ‘dependence’ on them and we appreciate their time to provide input/feedback. A significant value is placed on timely communication with a customer since it expedites decisions on an individual’s project and firms up implementation timelines. 

 

Dave
 




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