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Quick Texas Todmorden Pier

astrophotography DIY equipment imaging mount observatory
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#1 N1ghtSc0p3

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 02:09 PM

After reading up about the Todmorden piers, I decided that something like that would definitely make imaging a little easier, especially if I can leave the mount out full-time (covered, of course). So this past week I set about procuring the materials, and then spent this weekend putting it all together. I ended up putting half a cinder block in the footer, since I bought one in case I wanted the pier higher than ~32". I used about 125lbs of instant-set concrete, and a 16" square, 2" thick paver, with the base and two cinderblocks tied together via J-bolts and 1/2" stainless bolts.

 

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Footer hole dug, with 2" of gravel for drainage in the bottom.

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I used a transfer punch to mark the locations of the holes.

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#2 N1ghtSc0p3

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 02:10 PM

Here's the half-cinderblock:

IMG_7561.jpg

 

The anchor bolts being held in position for the concrete to cure.

IMG_7562.jpg


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#3 N1ghtSc0p3

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 02:12 PM

Anchor bolts in position

IMG_7564.jpg

 

Base plate (paver) leveled and in place

IMG_7565.jpg



#4 N1ghtSc0p3

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 02:14 PM

I forgot to take pics as I placed the cinder blocks in place with the construction adhesive and bolts, but the top of the top block ended up pretty level:

 

IMG_7566.jpg

 

And here's the result at the end of yesterday, after about 5 hours of work.

 

IMG_7567.jpg



#5 N1ghtSc0p3

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 02:18 PM

So one of the problems I ran into was the stainless bolts I bought to mount the plate did not have a consistent head circumference. The one that I tried at the store fit in the recessed hole in the plate, so I assumed they'd all fit. Not so much...2 of the 3 wouldn't drop down into the recess. Fortunately I have a lathe, and was able to turn down the bolt heads just a few thousandths to fit.

 

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Here's the general arrangement of the bolts, with the plate turned upside down. The fender washers will sandwich the top of the top cinderblock.

 

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Edited by N1ghtSc0p3, 27 September 2020 - 02:35 PM.


#6 N1ghtSc0p3

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 02:21 PM

Here's the leveling mechanism, with the top nuts in this picture securing the plate to the bolts, and the bottom nut/washer combo used to level the plate.

 

IMG_7577.jpg

 

Here's the underside of the cinderblock top, with the fender washer/washer/lock washer/nut combo.

 

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Here's the level in N-S:

 

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And the level in E-W:

 

IMG_7581.jpg

 



#7 N1ghtSc0p3

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 02:27 PM

And here's the completed pier with the plate mounted, leveled, and aligned. When I set up my MYT last weekend, I made note of the N-S orientation (354 degrees) and aligned the plate to the pier with the same measurement. That's why it looks a little off-kilter. The MYT has some azimuth adjustability, so I don't need to be spot on, and I think I'm within a degree of 354.

 

IMG_7573.jpg

 

I'm hoping to get out tonight, if the weather cooperates, and do a calibration run to polar align the mount. Then I plan on leaving the mount out and covered, so I only need to add the scope/camera, connect the computer, power up, and start imaging. I figure this will ease my setup time by ~80% over using the tripod.


Edited by N1ghtSc0p3, 27 September 2020 - 02:37 PM.

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#8 ldcarson

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 04:53 PM

Thanks for the pics and write up.  This is on my list of things to do when I get back home to Texas.



#9 N1ghtSc0p3

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 08:50 PM

Sure thing, stay safe down there!!




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