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Designing an automated custom slide-off telescope enclosure

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#1 jgmoxness

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 12:22 AM

I'm getting tired of lugging my 30lb scope to my pier mount every night, so I am laying out a design to enclose the scope/mount with a custom laser-cut / welded enclosure that operates from within my observatory control system (SGP). 

 

This is an initial CAD design / layout - it will have a small garage-door belt-drive system to move the structure off the mount after opening the doors with a solenoid piston.

 

CAD design for an automated custom slide-off telescope enclosure
Laser cutting layout for an automated custom slide-off telescope enclosure

 

Trying to decide what metal (stainless or aluminum) and begin working with prototyping the control systems... fun fun.



#2 GaryShaw

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 10:21 AM

Hi

If your design was not already inspired by the Motel o Scope, you might want to check it out.

 

https://www.pierplates.com/motel.html

 

Gary


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#3 mark77

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 10:40 AM

Very nice looking design. 

 

Alum vs Stainless, I think a big decision point is how you are going to fasten them together.  If you are just using nuts and bolts, then I would go with aluminum because its lighter weight.

 

If you are going to have it welded, then I would probably go stainless because its easier to weld then aluminum.  Some stainless can be a pain to weld as well. Either way, the ability to get it welded would be a major consideration.

 

Looking closely at your design, I think you are probably NOT going to go with welding since you have an internal structure.

 

Keeping the weight down will lower a lot of your other costs such as the actuator pistons.



#4 GaryShaw

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 10:56 AM

Mark
This is not my design. Dan, of Dan’s Pier Plates, created this and  offers the components in a kit form. The main structure attaching to the pier is steel, the base panel is plywood, while the enclosure is 1” aluminum-faced foam which is reinforced with aluminum flashing at key points. The enclosure is light for ease of  removal and insulated to maintain internal temps within mount and scope specs.
Cheers

Gary

 

ps: are you at all concerned about creating an ‘oven effect’ with the metal enclosure?


Edited by GaryShaw, 15 September 2021 - 10:58 AM.


#5 jgmoxness

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 11:05 AM

If you are going to have it welded, then I would probably go stainless because its easier to weld then aluminum.  Some stainless can be a pain to weld as well. Either way, the ability to get it welded would be a major consideration.

 

Looking closely at your design, I think you are probably NOT going to go with welding since you have an internal structure.

 

Keeping the weight down will lower a lot of your other costs such as the actuator pistons.

Agreed. 

 

I have a friend who is the "go to" metal fabricator for local (and global) public and architectural art who says he will have no trouble with Aluminum (which I am leaning toward due to the weight issue). The CAD model is precise enough where the skin will fit precisely over the 1" square tubing framework. I want to try a local multi-axis laser cutter to cut that up (simply fold the joints and weld - no measuring beyond what I put in the model).

 

I think the 1/2 horsepower garage door opener will pull even the steel and a 12" door piston should handle the 12 gauge doors (but will have to test that theory). 


Edited by jgmoxness, 15 September 2021 - 11:06 AM.


#6 jgmoxness

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 11:14 AM

...

ps: are you at all concerned about creating an ‘oven effect’ with the metal enclosure?

My current enclosure was simply put together with stuff I had in my workshop:

My micro observatory interior

 

The current pier/mount setup is on a concrete bench:

New to me MN-190

 

So the Motel-O scope is a nice lightweight idea, but I am looking for more automated observatory control. Not because I need it, but want to try it.

 

Yes - I've been wondering about the Tucson heat in the summer months. The reflectivity of the metal (or painted) will help, but I will think on some ventilation/cooling options (ideas welcome).


Edited by jgmoxness, 15 September 2021 - 11:17 AM.


#7 mark77

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 02:45 PM

Mark
This is not my design. Dan, of Dan’s Pier Plates, created this and  offers the components in a kit form. The main structure attaching to the pier is steel, the base panel is plywood, while the enclosure is 1” aluminum-faced foam which is reinforced with aluminum flashing at key points. The enclosure is light for ease of  removal and insulated to maintain internal temps within mount and scope specs.
Cheers

Gary

 

ps: are you at all concerned about creating an ‘oven effect’ with the metal enclosure?

Gary, I was referring to the original post.  However, the Motel o Scope is pretty neat too.



#8 jgmoxness

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 09:49 AM

For simple thermal control, I think if I laid into the frame a 1" rigid foam board insulation and maybe a filtered muffin fan to draw-in ambient air from the bottom and force out excess heat under positive pressure (e.g. if the temp gets over 100).

 

Other ideas?


Edited by jgmoxness, 16 September 2021 - 10:14 AM.


#9 driven

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 11:25 PM

That's an interesting design!

 

For thermal control I would add another metal sheet to the top attached with standoffs, open on the sides, making an air space underneath. Basically a built in sun shade.  Make it a few inches wider than the top profile to provide some shade for the sides.  This will greatly reduce the solar heating.


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#10 jgmoxness

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 12:55 PM

For thermal control I would add another metal sheet to the top attached with standoffs, open on the sides, making an air space underneath. Basically a built in sun shade.  Make it a few inches wider than the top profile to provide some shade for the sides.  This will greatly reduce the solar heating.

Great idea. I've modeled that into the design, complete with pre-cut holes for easy assembly of the posts.

Observatory 7e shader crop

 

I also added flip-up doors in the open slot in front of the pier (they will be pulled up with the front door opening piston action. This way I have a complete seal for the enclosure.



#11 driven

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 02:36 PM

The doors for the slot are a good idea.  At least in my area it wouldn't be long before an open shelter would become an apartment for wasps and mud daubers.

 

I can't really tell from your drawing if a sun shade is there.  If so it looks like a very small gap between it and the enclosure.  I would give it at least a couple of inches to allow for airflow between the two, and more would be better.


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#12 jgmoxness

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 09:42 AM

... At least in my area it wouldn't be long before an open shelter would become an apartment for wasps and mud daubers.

 

...I would give it at least a couple of inches to allow for airflow between the two, and more would be better.

My issue would be mice / rats (along with wasps). 

 

I put 1" standoffs in the CAD model, but that is easy to change to 2-3" on assembly. I'm just costing out the metal, cutting, and fabrication now.


Edited by jgmoxness, 20 September 2021 - 09:44 AM.



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