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About Mowbs

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  1. Thanks Peter, that’s very kind. I had a look at your website and I will definitely drop in past on my way home if the sky is clear. Photogav, I’m planning visiting Aushwitz and then heading down to Maranello to visit the Ferrari museum so I won’t be far away from Val D’Aosta, thanks for that suggestion, I’ll have a read up on that.
  2. I’m going to do a 1 or 2 month tour of Europe in my camper van this spring and I would like to visit a planetarium either in Europe or the UK, preferably avoiding London and Paris or other major cities with low emission zones. I visited the planetarium in London when I was a child and thoroughly enjoyed it but I see it is now closed. I am planning to visit the space centre in Leicester on my way home which seems to get mixed reviews regarding having a lot aimed at children. I was surprised at how many planetariums there actually are with a google search. Can anyone recommend one, or a good public observatory? TIA
  3. I don't have a levelling plate, the adapter plate is only to fix my mount to my pier
  4. That would certanly save a LOT of hassle. I have been speaking to Altair Astro and even after seeing my photo they think I can flip the one I have. I'm not convinced the centre hole is big enough but it will be another 3 weeks before I'm home. Do you know if the ID of the centre hole is bigger for the NEQ6 than the EQ5 side?
  5. Thanks StevieDvd I kind of feared that. I've concreted nuts in my pier for my anchor bolts (6 of them!) so I guess there's nothing else I can do but chip 6 inches of the concrete out and reset my anchors in to suit a new adapter plate. Wuthton, the block of wood in the concrete was to allow room for me to get my fat fingers in to tighten the centre bolt and the adapter plate was levelled with shims to eliminate the need for a potentially wobbly levelling plate. It works (worked) pretty well, it would have been much easier to rectify this with a levelling plate though. Apologies for the upside down images, I don't know what's going on with that.
  6. Thanks Wuthton The guy I spoke to seemed pretty sure I could flip it over. I'm not at home at the moment so I can't really try anything else but do some research online. When I tried it upside down the centre of my mount wouldn't fit through the centre hole of the adapter - it's a smaller hole on the other side, and like I mentioned above, if I bolted it down from the other side the top of the Allen key bolts would sit above flush of the plate. You should be able to see what I mean in this photo - I don't know why these ipad photos seem to attach upside down but you'll get the idea- this is the adapter sitting the way it did for my EQ5
  7. Like the title suggests I'm looking for some pier adapter help. I have a concrete pier with an Altair Astro mount adapter fitted to the top. I have recently changed my EQ5 for an NEQ6 which doesn't fit my old adapter. I have contacted Altair Astro who told me it should fit if I turn the adapter upside down but it doesn't (also, then the mounting bolts wouldn't be countersunk) Does anyone know what the difference is between the adapters, the photos on all the websites are a little vague when it comes to these adapters and I've seen them with 4 or 6 anchor bolts - or just which one I need to order to fit my mount Thanks
  8. Pretty bored at work so I've gone into detail with planning quantities of materials so I can get right into building when I get home. I've just started a new job and they've posted my passport away for a visa so I could be here another 5 weeks in the worst case. I should be able to plan it down to the last nail and screw at this rate. I can see this 3 sided front causing rigidity challenges, I'm also going to have 3 drop down flaps on the south face so I won't be able to scrimp on materials or build quality, I'm going to make the frame out of 4x2. I'm sure I can build it rigid enough to work, there will be a divide across the middle for the warm room so the roll off roof will only cover the front 3m and the warm roof will be fixed. That will also help to give it some stability. (Hopefully!) If this photo comes out upside down then you'll just have to turn your monitor upside down to view it, I've tried everything to correct it including taking it upside down.
  9. The more I read the more I'm thinking it's the the measurement of the holes for the base you're looking for, I really should read these posts better before I post because I can't find an edit button on my ipad. Anyway if you need any dimensions of the adapter plate let me know. Good luck!
  10. Just re-read your post and realised it's not the adapter plate you are talking about, does the pier have the adapter plate on the top? If so and it's the 6 hole one let me know and I can give you the measurement.
  11. Hi, I've just finished my pier with an AltairAstro adapter plate for an EQ5 http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/211161-mowbss-observatory-build/ Is that the one you are talking about with the 6 bolts? I believe they do another with 4 bolts. I have a vernier calliper so I can give you an accurate measurement tomorrow, do you need the measurement between two opposing of the 6 holes? I presume you are preparing the pier before you have the adapter, I drilled through my adapter plate and put my bolts through to make my template. I'd be interested to know how you are planning to attach the adapter to your pier? I've only had the opportunity to use mine once (briefly) since it was built but it made a big difference to the ease of setting up, hopefully I'll get my observatory built over the summer and that will make a huge difference for short observing sessions.
  12. The pier is complete! I mixed up some mortar - (3 parts building sand to 1 part cement) and filled the last few mm, it was much nicer to work with than the concrete and gave a really nice finish to the top of the pier. I might give it a coat of white masonry paint later to blend it in to the plastic pipe but I'm really happy with how the white pier looks with the Skywatcher. The level of my adapter plate is very slightly off. From previous posts I read while researching my build the general opinion is that the level being slightly off will not affect the scope when it is set up but I would like to get it as close as I can. I buffed down a couple of the washers that are between my adapter plate and the top of the pier and it is much closer to level but it could do with a little more buffing to level it perfectly, it's really not much off though but I think it would be worth the extra time just for the piece of mind. The captive nuts concreted into the pier The adapter sitting on the mortar The scope fitted to the adapter plate The scope fitted to the adapter plate with the footprint of the observatory marked out Next step will be lifting the turf and setting the slabs for the base of the observatory
  13. The pier is taking shape. The main hold up has been that I wanted to align my azimuth stop bolt with Polaris and I haven't seen Polaris in quite a while. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day but the fog started rolling in from the south as it was getting dark. Luckily I had enough time to mix up a batch of concrete and align my captive nuts. I used a 1.5m length of 8" plastic duct (£20 from eBay) for the pier, 1 bag of cement and 4 x 1.5m of 10mm re-bar hammered into the ground. I got the welder from work to knock me up anchors for the M8 nuts of the adapter plate to concrete into the top of the pier You can see the wooden block I've concreted in to give me access to the M12 mount bolt I had to cut a lot of my adapter plate template away to give me access to pour in the last of the concrete. The missing bolt is to allow room for the space to access my mount bolt. I'll give it a few days to a week for the concrete to go off, the main fill was done a week ago so I only had to fill the last 6 inches last night, there shouldn't be too much shrinkage. When I remove the wooden template I will put bolts back into the captive nuts and fill and smooth the last few mm. The top of the plastic pipe is perfectly level so I'm expecting the adapter plate to sit level. If it needs any adjustment I could use washers between the pier and adapter or buff off or build up the concrete.
  14. Thanks everybody, There are some great suggestions and things I hadn't really thought about in those replys and it's given me a lot to ponder on. I agree the hexagonal front will affect the strength of the structure, I've also been thinking of fitting 3 drop down flaps on the 3 front panels which would again comprimise the structure but I'm sure as dmahon says, it could be engineered out. Anyone who has used the EDPM for roofing material, do you think it would be possible to use it on a roof of that shape? I was thinking about the possibility of folding the excess at the angles of the roof and glueing the flaps down but I don't really want it to look like a pigs ear. Perhaps I could fit the 2 smallest angled sections as seperate pieces and then glue the main part over the top. I'm sure that wouldn't be ideal and it would comprimise the integrity of the sheet and would 2 pieces glued together give a waterproof seal? Failing that I could install some kind of ridge tile or go with a completely different material. (Profiled sheeting, plastic roof tiles, etc?) Either way, I know this hexagonal end is going to be a PITA but I'm determined to keep it. I have started looking to source parts for the pier. My plan is to fill a section of 200mm plastic pipe with concrete and rebar and fit an Altair Astro type mount adapter directly to the top with no adjustment plate. http://www.hampshireastronomy.co.uk/product/skywatcher-pier-adapter-eq5 Accessing the mount bolt in a similar way to the pier in this build http://www.philchris.co.uk/pier.htm#Lower%20Pier%20Construction With a space for a hand or a couple of dainty fingers (that wouldn't be my fat sausages then) to fit the bolt and tighten it with a ratchet and socket. I have been considering welding 'L' angle steel to the nuts of the allen head bolts and burrying them in the cement to form a captive nut (held in place with slightly longer bolts (so the actual ones don't bottom out on the concrete) through a ply wood template) I don't see a way of fitting the mount adapter in the more conventional way of concreting protruding threaded bar out of the top of the pier because the adapter would need the heads of the nuts to be recessed. Does anyone know what size of thread are on the nuts / bolts of the allen head cap screws supplied with these mounts? I have emailed the company but haven't had a reply yet. I will try another supplier if I don't hear soon. I'm sure this design will have some flaws, perhaps 200mm is not a big enough diameter if I am loosing a quadrant the best part of 100mm wide at the OD but I will make some kind of mock up before I start to see how much pier I will be left with by the time I can get my hand in there. I can always increase to 300mm like the pier build above. I also have concerns about concreting captive nuts into the pier, probably not the cleverist thing in the world and it could be difficult to get a good anchor that's not going to pull out or crack the concrete above it as soon as I tighten the bolts. Again though perhaps with the right sections of angle welded on it and burried deep enough into the pier it 'could' work. I have a wedding next time home and a stag do, that's seriously going to eat into build time since I'm only off for 3 weeks before I start a new job. That's the downside of having a sister who's been married more times than Zsa Zsa Gabor, but I'd like to at least get the pier built. Thanks again for all your invaluable input, I'd be interested to hear any suggestions to improve on the ideas above. (the pier stuff, not the bit about my sister)
  15. Here's an update of the plan, much the same as before but this one looks like it might stand up to a breeze slightly better and the pitched roof has been shortened over a flatter warm room roof, influenced by r3i's build. A ruler was found and used for this one. Hopefully I can find a tape measure before I start on the real thing or it will look more like the first sketches
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