Well I've made a start on constructing my permanent backyard telescope pier by drilling the 6mm. mild steel laser cut 200mm. dia. disc to take the three levelling threaded studs and the 12mm. bolt for fixing my pillar extension tube to the plate. My investment in new drill bits and cutting oil turned out well, particularly as I have no pillar drill and had to accomplish the task using my trusty handheld Black and Decker.
I am trying to minimise the costs involved by using as many bits and pieces that have spent many a year languishing in my shed. Using the extension tube, which I already possessed, saved me the cost of a 'puck' and after rooting about in my shed I found some reinforcement bar and most of the timber I required for formwork to cast the reinforced concrete pillar.
By coincidence my friend Mr. Lidl had reduced the cost of a small angle-grinder to £9-99 and as I had given my larger disc-cutter to one of my sons, largely because I could no longer pick it up let alone wield it in any purposeful way, I parted with the cash and now have an effective machine for cutting the reinforcement. I have borrowed an arc welder from another son so I can weld the reinforcent together- excellent!.
As a fair weather astronomer and sometime builder I'm awaiting a warm dry spell before putting the formwork and reinforcement together and mixing and casting the concrete (two pours). Looking out the window I guess this might be a while!
Last night about 1.00am the sky over Lowestoft was dark and transparent. Jupiter was big and briight due south and most of the usual culprits for this time of year were visible through my handheld 11x80 mm. Helios biinoculars. I still could not find the comet lurking somewhere between the Great Bear and Hercules although I could easily see fuzzies of the same magnitude. I think I'm losing it!