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My New Observatory.....I'm Under Construction!

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#26 StarManSteve

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 12:05 PM

Well everything was going too well I guess. I did a sun transit right before the pour as well as doing one the day before. My good friend ( we won't mention any names) (George) turned the tube just a little when installing the conduit & forgot to realign it with the control mark we made just for that scenario. I knew the declination but I couldn't get a compass to work around the tube if my life depended on it. Talk about the Bermuda Triangle. I got the best reading I could, eyeballed it, & split the difference from where he moved it. There was no turning back. Did a sun transit yesterday & its off by about 3 degrees. The plate will move about 2 degrees at most but the wedge has +/- 10 degrees. Wheewww!!! Scary. Turns out concrete can on occasion have just what a compass hates. Did'nt act like that til it was filled.

Steve

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#27 StarManSteve

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 12:20 PM

Here's another of the plate perfectly level, Yesss!! :jump:
The aluminum plate is 1 1/4in. thick & the bolts are 12in stainless steel with self aligning spherical washers.
A little buffing to clean it back up & were good.

Steve

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#28 StarManSteve

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 12:25 PM

This is the last pic for now. Everything cleaned up & some of the deck boards laid on top for effect only. Much more to do & I'm still waiting for the OB to arrive.....


Steve

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#29 dgs©

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 12:32 PM

My good friend George looks on. He thinks I'm crazy building this..

Don't worry... he's probably wrong. :whistle:

I don't think you'll be disappointed with that pier. It looks plenty stout. :ubetcha:

#30 StarManSteve

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 12:47 PM

Oh, its not going anywhere. He's just not into astronomy. He's not one of us......I don't think that came out right :lol:

Steve

#31 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 12:59 PM

WHAT DOES GEORGE KNOW... LOL

He just does understand how we
"astronomers" think...

Looking good...

Bob G.

#32 Joel

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 01:52 PM

I heard those bigfoot piers are designed so the ground "slips off" the pier and doesn't move with frost so it's a good thing you didn't backfill the hole with cement. I do have one question though. How did you put the electrical cable in the pier? Is it enclosed in pvc or something? I'm looking to do a cement pier next year probably so I'm just curious how you did it. All looks good so far!

#33 rwiederrich

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 03:33 PM

Oh, its not going anywhere. He's just not into astronomy. He's not one of us......I don't think that came out right :lol:

Steve


Shoulda told him it was a *Potting* shed, or a hobby shop, or well house, or a nuclear reactor, or........

Rob(people who aren't *into* astronomy luv nuclear reactors) :roflmao:

#34 MichaelW

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 03:40 PM

nuclear reactors.... :lol:

Funny that the average 5 year old around here knows that mine is an observatory. It's the adults that seem to be confused. The rumor going around our little community is that it is a missle silo. They seem to be ok with that. :foreheadslap:

I may place a "Got Milk" sign on the side of mine and have the local dairy re-imburse me for advertising. :lol:

Steve the observatory is coming along quite nicely and fast. You may want to give the concrete a little time to cure. :lol: But I bet you are working fast, to stay warm. ;)

#35 StarManSteve

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 04:28 PM

Thanks Bob.

Joel thanks for the info, I wasn't sure about that. It does say backfill with dirt. I've used them before & they work really well.
The electric wires are in 1 inch PVC pipe. I went in just under the soil into the side of the pier tube into 90 degree sweep bend then straight up to where I wanted it to exit & 90 degree sweep bend back out. A threaded adapter wiil screw right into the back of a surface mount duplex box. I also have a junction under the deck in the case wire goes bad I don't have to fish the whole wire thru.

Steve

#36 StarManSteve

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 04:37 PM

:lol: Thanks Mike.
Well we had everything planned out, putting some of the frame up was a last minute decision, because of the height of the deck we could put the mixer almost to the top of the pier tube. Definitely going to give it a couple of weeks to cure, the OB should be here by then. I decided to modify the adapter plate to give it a bit more adjustment. I'm a beta test for APT Astro. They made the adapter plate to mount the wedge to a concrete pier. My pier offset plate I made to go with it is easier to work with so I'm going to incorporate my ideas onto theirs. It goes to the Tech High School tomorrow.

Steve

#37 RRaubach

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 06:19 PM

Super Impressive, Steve! Keep the pix coming, too!

#38 oldsalt

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 07:05 PM

very nice job, Steve. Take your time with it.

#39 StarManSteve

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 07:16 PM

Thanks Rodger,
Except for that little glitch with aligning the plate everthing went well. Not bad for a newbie. :grin:

Jim,
Thanks,

Oh I will. May have seemed like a frenzy but with 3 of us working we could get a lot done.

Steve

#40 BCB

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 08:27 PM

Good god man.. How long did it take to go through all those bags of cement to fill it all ?? I bet your fairly sore too. :)

Nice work Steve.. I can't wait to see what your going to put up on that deck of yours. :)

Umm, I thought there was no stick framing allowed by the covenant ?? I figured you were going to pour a pad instead.. I guess that's what I get for thinking.. :lol:

#41 StarManSteve

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 09:06 PM

Mark it didn't take as long a I thought it would, the mixer made the difference & the fact I'm still a youngin' helps. Can't have a framed building or structure, but a deck is perfectly fine.
No pad, I figured it would become a heat sink in summer and the way I built the deck it can be taken off the footers and moved....hehehe :grin: I'm crafty.

Steve

#42 nodaknewbie

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 10:10 PM

Steve,
Is it just my eyes or have you mounted the sonotube upside down? Could that be what tricked George into trying to straighten out the top plate? :crazyeyes:
Looks great. And yes, I had wished I was a young dude this summer when I made my little observatory.
Gary

#43 StarManSteve

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 10:42 PM

Gary,
Your eyes be just fine, the 16 in tube I used came only in a 12ft length, one end was little boogered up so we cut on that end and put the uncut end on top, even though it would be upside down, there's really no up or down on form tubes thank you very much ... :grin: :lol: That easy pour tube by the way is very thick not like a sonotube. Its not gonna come off easily either. I think I'm gonna leave it on. Thinking I'll cover it with carpet( easy to do since my business is carpet maint & restoration) or maybe winding some hemp rope around it and polyurethane it. Hmmmmmm... a nautical theme, I am using bulkhead style ship deck lights.
I am glad I'm that young myself....That was a workout.

Steve

#44 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 02:23 AM

Steve, Looks like EYE-1 ;) is well on it's way, congrats.

#45 MichaelW

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 03:29 AM

Sonotube, upside down? :lol: That's pretty good. Almost like grabbing a handfull of nails and saying I can't use this one because it's for the other wall as the tip is pointing the wrong way.

The sonotube should peel pretty easily (even if it is upside down) and wetting it can make the peeling a tad easier if it's not tearing well.

#46 StarManSteve

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 06:26 AM

Thank you very much Dennis, I appreciate that.

Michael W.,

:roflmao:
Actually this Easy Pour tube according to Mayers Manufacturing, is the non strippable heavy duty version. Its just a wee bit smaller than 1/2in thick, its a monster. I could probably get it off but I think I'm gonna leave it. It will take paint well too if I decide to that route.

Steve

#47 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 10:17 AM

About the Big Foot.... ! I'm still a little confused..

You fill the INSIDE with concrete then put a sonotube over the opening..and continue pouring ?

Then backfill around the BigFoot with dirt...

Sorry But my brain is not fully functional this morning..

Bob G.

#48 MichaelW

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 12:31 PM

Bob,

That is correct. The idea behind this is to create a wider foot print for the concrete column to ride on. This helps stop or prevent tipping. This also spreads the weight out to prevent the column from moving further into the ground where the compression from the weight could act as a pile driver. The other advantage to the Big Foot is to provide a way to stabilize the form in an upright stance while pouring. The same could be acheived without the Big Foot by digging a bigger base for the form and pouring concrete into the base to create the foot then using lumber to support the form while pouring.

When I poured my 16 piers I simply used the shovel to create a bigger base and poured in concrete and let it stiffen a bit before placing the form slightly into the concrete, just enough to hold the form upright, then poured the rest of the pier. I didn't need to brace any of my piers using this method and saved me some bucks over buying quite a few of the plastic feet.

#49 Neil

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 01:42 PM

Looking good Steve, when is the expected finish date, as you're looking in better shape than me to finish your project off quicker?

Keep up the good work...... :jump:

Regards,
Neil.

#50 StarManSteve

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 03:03 PM

Bob & Michael W.,

Thats right, the BIGFOOT spreads the weight differently then a rectangular or square footer that's hand dug.
The other major difference & why I like them for piers of any type is they basically eliminate joint shear. They have a round bottom with gusset sides that tapers up into a bell shape, in one smooth transition. Other footer shapes even in a monolithic pour can suffer joint shear. Picture your round sonotube sitting on top of a square or rectangle footer its as though you have 2 joints even when poured together. One thing though always backfill a BIGFOOT before you pour. With a 16 in tube almost 1/2in. thick 5+ ft above ground I didn't need to brace it. BIGFOOT allows a certain height above grade before you're required to brace.

Steve


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