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#1 HenryV1598

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 09:09 AM

I'm currently in the early planning stages of building my next observatory (probably 2-3 yrs out, but nice to plan ahead).  My current is a roll-off-roof, but I'm considering a dome for the next one.  

 

Other than SkyShed, Exploradome, and Observa-dome, who else out there makes domes for small observatories, preferably that don't cost an arm and a leg (and a kidney and lung)?


Edited by HenryV1598, 15 October 2021 - 09:10 AM.


#2 TOMDEY

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 09:18 AM

At 2-3 years out... Have you considered building your own? There is some good literature on doing that, and you wind up with a bigger and probably better dome at a fraction of the cost.    Tom



#3 Couder

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 09:46 AM

I worked at Shell Oil for 30 years. For a big part of that time I did layout work. I made the pieces for domes on tanks, vessels, towers, etc. (The pieces are called gores). I'd be happy to share the instructions. However: I will say that not everybody has the skill, ability, or whatever it is to even put them together correctly after they are custom made for the job.


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#4 Omeganon

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 02:13 PM

+Nexdome



#5 HenryV1598

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 02:45 PM

At 2-3 years out... Have you considered building your own? There is some good literature on doing that, and you wind up with a bigger and probably better dome at a fraction of the cost.    Tom

I have... but I'm not sure my skillset is up to the task.  Otherwise I might very well do so.



#6 HenryV1598

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 02:46 PM

I worked at Shell Oil for 30 years. For a big part of that time I did layout work. I made the pieces for domes on tanks, vessels, towers, etc. (The pieces are called gores). I'd be happy to share the instructions. However: I will say that not everybody has the skill, ability, or whatever it is to even put them together correctly after they are custom made for the job.

I don't know that my skillset is up to the task, but I'd be interested in the instructions you referred to.  If nothing else, someone else might find it useful. For me, it's at least worth taking a look at.



#7 HenryV1598

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 02:52 PM

The reason I'm 2-3 years out is that I won't have a place to put it right away. I built a RoR from an Arrow steel shed at my current home, but my wife and I are moving to New Hampshire next week and the condo we're moving into isn't going to work for an observatory.  We intend to live in that condo for about 2-3 years, then buy or build a house that fits our overall wants and needs.  At that time, I intend to build a permanent structure for an observatory. Instead of a platform on blocks, it will be a concrete foundation.  I may well go with another RoR, but I like the idea of a dome, so I'm considering my options.  I have time to design and plan, so I intend to do so.



#8 Jeff_Richards

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Posted 17 October 2021 - 07:51 PM

Hey in about 4 years my wife and I will be leaving NH...you can buy my house with the 10x16 ROR out back. lol.gif


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#9 mark77

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Posted 18 October 2021 - 07:52 AM

I have... but I'm not sure my skillset is up to the task.  Otherwise I might very well do so.

Take a look at my dome build, basic wood working skills, and parts/tools from Home Depot

 

http://skychariot.co...nstruction.html

 

Now, I must warn you, it took me 2 1/2 years working 30 hours a week to build it.

 

There are only a couple of things I would have done different, I would have added 4 more ribs to the entire thing to make the gores narrower for better contouring, and I would have used MORE CAULK on the seams.  I thought I used too much, and it still wasn't enough in a couple of places.


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#10 HenryV1598

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Posted 18 October 2021 - 10:34 AM

Take a look at my dome build, basic wood working skills, and parts/tools from Home Depot

 

http://skychariot.co...nstruction.html

 

Now, I must warn you, it took me 2 1/2 years working 30 hours a week to build it.

 

There are only a couple of things I would have done different, I would have added 4 more ribs to the entire thing to make the gores narrower for better contouring, and I would have used MORE CAULK on the seams.  I thought I used too much, and it still wasn't enough in a couple of places.

Wow, very nice.  Quite a bit bigger than I'm going for... but I might have to consider it.  Where did you get the plans for the dome?  Scaled down a bit, it might be worth me looking into.

 

Thanks for sharing!



#11 mark77

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 05:00 AM

Wow, very nice.  Quite a bit bigger than I'm going for... but I might have to consider it.  Where did you get the plans for the dome?  Scaled down a bit, it might be worth me looking into.

 

Thanks for sharing!

I did all the design myself.  I got the idea of the wood ribs from a web site that is no longer up. then I just figured it out.

 

There is one tricky calculation.  The 2 main ribs that make up door track are NOT the same radius as everything else. These arcs do not pass thru the center and therefore are smaller (by about 2 1/2 inches ) in radius.  Simple trig in a spread sheet will give you the numbers.  For these main beams, I sandwiched 3 layers of plywood.  The 2 outside layers are the slightly smaller radius, but the middle one is 6 inches larger radius for the door guide.

 

If you decide to go this route I would be happy to give you a lot more help in getting the design going and sharing with you a lot of the things I learned.

 

Mark



#12 Rydeen 98

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 10:48 AM

There's Nexdome and Technical Innovations.  I have a Technical Innovations 6 foot dome.  It's definitely high quality.  They probably fall into the medium expensive category.  I found mine used for a great price but that was pure luck as they seem to rarely be found used.  The TI automation package is a bit expensive though and mine didn't have it when I bought it used.  I opted to get the manual dome drive and then now about a year later I've modded it to run on the LesveDome driver which is a very inexpensive automation system but requires serious DIY work.  If I was starting from scratch I would say check out Nexdome.  They are very popular and are definitely a step above a SkyShed POD.

 

PXL 20211001 213624361

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#13 AstroApprentice

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 03:24 PM

Despite the loss of some molds and equipment in last summer’s bushfires, Sirius Domes is back operating in Australia.

https://siriusdomes.com

http://astrodomes.com

 

 


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#14 archer1960

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 06:22 PM

To answer the original question, 30 min or so of searching turned up:

 

Exploradome                explora-dome.com
NexDome                     nexdome.com
Sirius Observatories    siriusdomes.com
SkyShed                      skyshedpod.com
Observa Dome           observa-dome.com
Home-Dome               homedome.com
Pier-tech                     piertechinc.com
Ash Dome                   ashdome.com
Astrodomes                astrodomes.com
Aphelion domes         apheliondomes.com
Baader planetarium   bader-planetarium.com
AstroHaven                astrohaven.com

 

Adding:

Backyard Observatories (ROR, not dome)      backyardobservatories.com


Edited by archer1960, 21 October 2021 - 10:16 AM.

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#15 HenryV1598

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 12:06 AM

To answer the original question, 30 min or so of searching turned up:

 

Exploradome                explora-dome.com
NexDome                     nexdome.com
Sirius Observatories    siriusdomes.com
SkyShed                      skyshedpod.com
Observa Dome           observa-dome.com
Home-Dome               homedome.com
Pier-tech                     piertechinc.com
Ash Dome                   ashdome.com
Astrodomes                astrodomes.com
Aphelion domes         apheliondomes.com
Baader planetarium   bader-planetarium.com
AstroHaven                astrohaven.com

This was exactly what I was looking for.  When I did a search, I didn't find most of those.  Thanks very much.


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#16 Topographic

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Posted 24 October 2021 - 10:22 AM

https://www.pulsarastro.com/

https://www.scopedome.com/



#17 archer1960

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Posted 18 November 2021 - 07:16 PM

To answer the original question, 30 min or so of searching turned up:

 

Exploradome                explora-dome.com
NexDome                     nexdome.com
Sirius Observatories    siriusdomes.com
SkyShed                      skyshedpod.com
Observa Dome           observa-dome.com
Home-Dome               homedome.com
Pier-tech                     piertechinc.com
Ash Dome                   ashdome.com
Astrodomes                astrodomes.com
Aphelion domes         apheliondomes.com
Baader planetarium   bader-planetarium.com
AstroHaven                astrohaven.com

 

Adding:

Backyard Observatories (ROR, not dome)      backyardobservatories.com

Adding one from another post::

Stoltzfus Structures (RORs, not domes)        https://www.mysheds....tar-gazer-sheds



#18 EmeraldHills

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Posted 19 November 2021 - 08:04 AM

Wow. That's a good list.

Question: Since I haven't paid anything into Exploradome, is there an Exploradome-like structure that anyone here would recommend that's BETTER than Exploradome and not as expensive? : ) I need full automation for my application.



#19 rimcrazy

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Posted 19 November 2021 - 08:32 AM

Wow. That's a good list.

Question: Since I haven't paid anything into Exploradome, is there an Exploradome-like structure that anyone here would recommend that's BETTER than Exploradome and not as expensive? : ) I need full automation for my application.

DIY is probably your only solution to cheaper.  I have a 10' Home Dome myself.  Having researched domes a lot before I bought and seen all of the numerous posts over time, on the mid to lower end of the domes price wise I can pretty much say all of them have issues.  Some greater than others.  Having a dome is wonderful and a major PITA.  My HD committed suicide about a month ago.  I've been planning a retrofit for some time now and now it has moved from "like to do this" to "I must do this".  I have access to a metal shop and am pretty handy so with the help of my son I can fix mine, all be it is going to take some time.  If you research this site and search for home made domes I believe you will find some very impressive works that others have done.  Some are quite amazing and honestly, fairly low-tech in terms of the required shop tools needed.  Most are made from wood/fiberglass and I have to say are works of art in many cases.  I've ranted enough on this forum about HD and I'm just tired of going there.  On the high end, Ash Dome and Observa Dome are wonderful but are quite pricy.  You can perhaps find a used one for sale but shipping and assembly can be a challenge and in the end may not save you much money.  If you are not handy or don't have the tools for a DIY, then it is going to be difficult for you to do much other than get a used dome and refurbish it.  Like I said, domes are a blessing and a bane.  I'd also ask yourself if you really need a dome or would a ROR be better?  My observatory is in a location with lots of high wind and remote operation was/is high on my list of needs.  That pretty much dictated a dome for me but your requirements may be different.  On ROR's, again, this site is loaded with many, many fantastic builds others have done and often for quite reasonable investments.

 

Best of luck.



#20 sheepofblue

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Posted 19 November 2021 - 11:54 AM

This added might be useful as shipping can get pricey:

Exploradome                explora-dome.com USA MN with dealers listed
NexDome                     nexdome.com USA FL order direct USA dealers otherwise
Sirius Observatories    siriusdomes.com Austrailia Queensland distributors listed
SkyShed                      skyshedpod.com Canada Ontario direct
Observa Dome           observa-dome.com USA MS direct
Home-Dome               homedome.com USA FL direct
Pier-tech                     piertechinc.com ?
Ash Dome                   ashdome.com USA IL ?
Astrodomes                astrodomes.com Austrailia Queensland ?
Aphelion domes         apheliondomes.com Canada BC direct
Baader planetarium   bader-planetarium.com unable to reach site
AstroHaven                astrohaven.com USA CA ?


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#21 archer1960

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Posted 19 November 2021 - 01:37 PM

This added might be useful as shipping can get pricey:

Exploradome                explora-dome.com USA MN with dealers listed
NexDome                     nexdome.com USA FL order direct USA dealers otherwise
Sirius Observatories    siriusdomes.com Austrailia Queensland distributors listed
SkyShed                      skyshedpod.com Canada Ontario direct
Observa Dome           observa-dome.com USA MS direct
Home-Dome               homedome.com USA FL direct
Pier-tech                     piertechinc.com ?
Ash Dome                   ashdome.com USA IL ?
Astrodomes                astrodomes.com Austrailia Queensland ?
Aphelion domes         apheliondomes.com Canada BC direct
Baader planetarium   bader-planetarium.com unable to reach site
AstroHaven                astrohaven.com USA CA ?

I believe Baader is in Germany, but I don't know if they have any US distributors.



#22 cneal

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Posted 19 November 2021 - 01:57 PM

Alpine Astronomical is Baader's US distributor. I don't see any domes listed.

 

I believe Baader is in Germany, but I don't know if they have any US distributors.



#23 Nick Dangerr

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Posted 19 November 2021 - 03:32 PM

The Baader link doesn't work because it isn't spelled correctly - it needs another 'a' in the first syllable. The link does work with the corrected spelling.



#24 sheepofblue

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Posted 19 November 2021 - 06:04 PM

I thought Germany also.  But one thing I tried to show is that while the list is AWESOME for someone in the US the Aussie builders might not be a great option just as the US builders might not be for them.  There is a lot of international folks here.  Me personally I looked at one and it would come from BC Canada and the shipping was huge as I am in the southeast US so a long way to truck.  YMMV but I recommend you factor that in when searching.  For me I have a trailer and could likely pick it up in MN for some savings (and could combine the trip with Shelties or motorcycles so added bonus)


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#25 archer1960

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Posted 19 November 2021 - 06:48 PM

I thought Germany also.  But one thing I tried to show is that while the list is AWESOME for someone in the US the Aussie builders might not be a great option just as the US builders might not be for them.  There is a lot of international folks here.  Me personally I looked at one and it would come from BC Canada and the shipping was huge as I am in the southeast US so a long way to truck.  YMMV but I recommend you factor that in when searching.  For me I have a trailer and could likely pick it up in MN for some savings (and could combine the trip with Shelties or motorcycles so added bonus)

Just confirmed - they are in Germany




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