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Everything posted by samtheeagle

  1. Right then, so I've got the pin adjusted, and with a nice bit of clear sky after the torrential rain yesterday evening I was able to verify that it's damn near spot on now My hacking effort doesn't even look that bad, with chemical metal filling in the gaps. It sands down to a very tidy finish. My main concern now is that the pier doesn't seem as sturdy as I had hoped If I pull on it from various sides it doesn't really budge, but a thump on it and it vibrates like MAD. Of course I can put sand in it, I understand that's the standard approach, but will that sort me out? Or do I need to strengthen the pier with the addition of some support fins down the side? Hopefully sand will do it, I'm just conscious that once I bung 25kg or more of sand down the tube the thing is going to be very hard to shift should I want to then take it out to add some strengthening...
  2. Cheers Roger These things are sent to try us. I tested out the repositioned pin last night, and it's almost ok, but I have to adjust the bolts to near their maximum extent to centre Polaris, which is less than ideal. I feel a bit of adjustment and some chemical metal coming on... That's how I would have liked to do my trench, but with two dogs screaming about the place I was worried about leaving it open, so I dug and filled in as I went. That and the fact that a half meter deep trench, even just a spades width wide, produces a huge amount of earth! I'd have had no lawn left uncovered
  3. Oh boy! Once again I get to the end of the weekend to find myself cream-crackered. This weekend I 'ave been mowslty werking metal First up I had to bore a 60mm hole out of the centre of my pier adaptor blank. This involved many many drill holes, a hammer and then about 2.5 hours of filing to make it fit to the mount head. Phew! Then a trip to the old mans saw us get started on the Pier. We had to drill some pretty big holes through the steel, which was ummm, exciting, to say the least. Thank goodness we have a screwfix and a tool station within 5 minutes of us. I've been back and forth to them like I was on elastic But my dad did a fantastic job of welding the bits together, and cutting me an access hole out of the side of the main tube, so I can get to the mount securing bolt easily. We also drilled some securing holes for the adaptor, and set the pin in place. Turns out I was a complete numpty and got this placed 90 degrees out of whack! As we were making stuff away from the obsy my brain got muddled. I'd marked all the bits relative to the front doors of the obsy, and I just lined everything up relative to that. Unfortunately North is on the left hand wall of the obsy, not in the direction of the doors! so I had to pop the pin out and drill a new hole for it. DOH! >< But if that's the worst mistake I make I'll be happy... Then I spent some quality time out in the sunshine rubbing down, and then painting up the beast Here's a pic of it roughly in place in the obsy. I've not secured it down properly yet, I want the paint to have a good bit of time to harden off first. So very nearly there!!!
  4. Ooooh very nice! I need to get my PST out again, the Sun is such a fascinating object. Love the colour you've used too.
  5. GAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! What a nightmare. I've spent all evening trying to get the mains cable through the pipes laid in the trench. It was awkward, and took some time, but was going pretty well. And then we got to near the end, as there wasn't much string left to feed through, and it totally jammed My wife and I tried for ages pulling it back and forth hoping to get it past whatever the blockage was, but to not avail. So I've spent the last couple of hours digging out the far end of the trench where I figured the cable must be stuck. Turns out it really wasn't going to go around one of the 90 degree bends. Which is odd, as it had already managed to go around one. So a right blooming kerfuffle, up to my elbows in mud AGAIN, but the mains cable is out to the obsy at long last. I was filling the trench back in using a head torch it took so long! Urgh! NEVER again!
  6. Yeah, if I'd used a mole it would have hit a number of obstructions, presumably waste materials from the the house were built. Large concrete lumps and broken house bricks and the like. They were a lot of fun to work around.
  7. Oh my word, what a weekend! The trench is DONE! :D:D:D 9 meters dug on Saturday, and the last 4 or 5 done today. It's been a seriously hard slog. When I started out I thought that hiring a mini digger would be expensive, and a bit like cheating, but having nearly killed myself digging 25-30 meters down the garden I wouldn't hesitate in the future... Seriously, anyone out there that needs to dig a trench more than a few meters long, hire a mini digger. But it is done, and I hurt, a lot! :S Tomorrow with the help of my lovely wife we shall attempt to get the mains cable down through it. Corr blimey I hope it goes through ok! No way on earth I'm digging that lot up again. And then I need my father-in-law to come and sparky me up so it's all nice and safe, not to mention legal. That just leaves the pier to fabricate, which is in the hands of my dad, and that's going to require some serious badgering to get him moving
  8. My tool selection is limited at best, so I'm going to have to wing it a lot. Considerable amounts of hand filing will be used to try and keep things neat...
  9. Hmmmms. I'm 99.9% sure that the pin for mine is cast as a part of the tripod head, and so is not removable. So brass eh? I figured it would have to be a hard metal to stop the bolts chewing it to pieces, just wasn't quite sure what to aim for. Ta
  10. Ooooh, someone has been a busy boy Looking good.
  11. That was kinda my plan Then the file to finish. Any suggestions as to what to use for the latitude pin? And how to affix it?
  12. Yeah, I did wonder if one of those would be man enough for the job... What do people think?
  13. Rightyho, I shall see what sort of blades I can source locally, and revert to the intertubes if required. I got my big lump of aluminium in the post today Not the most exciting of things take a picture of you might think... But the label on the packaging tickled me pink! It's a 19mm think plate of metal for gawds sake! But we'd best put a "do not bend" label on there just to be safe! I'd have been very impressed if postman Pat managed to put a dent in it.
  14. Cheers Roger, extra super helpful as always Half-round is what I was picturing actually, I just didn't name it quite right. Will a tile saw be the same sort of thing for cutting the aluminium?
  15. Well we've had some more serious rain storms here, and so far so good! There was one tiny little leak which was well out of the way, and was just a screw needing tightening up a bit. Today I ordered a lump of aluminium from ebay, a 5" diameter round bar of ~20mm depth. My perhaps foolish plan is to make my own pier adaptor by hand. Retail ones are about 80 quid, this has cost me 8. All I need to do is bore a 60mm hole through the center of it without the aid of a lathe! Lots of small drill holes and a round file, plus lots of time and effort is the plan... Am I insane?
  16. Cheers Chris, I can't wait to use it in anger. The nights are certainly drawing in now
  17. Well it may look very nice, but it leaks! The mental downpours of yesterday were just too much for it to handle. Nothing all that bad, but the sheer force of the rain managed to drive it through the roof panel joins in a couple of places. So today was spent applying liberal amounts of sealant to all the joins, fingers crossed that'll do the job. The obsy survived an earlier storm ok, and that was pretty heavy, so it's only the really intense stuff I need worry about. I also adjusted the floor boards a bit today, cutting one very large one into two. This makes it much easier to fit and remove them as and when required, and will also make fitting it around the pier a doddle too
  18. Worry ye not. It's got a boat load of moisture barrier between the OSB and the breeze blocks, and the underside of the OSB is treated with a 5 year anti-rot wood preserver for good measure In fact there's a vapour barrier over the whole floor area below the boards, I figured keeping as much moisture away as possible was the way to go. If that's a bad idea shout now, as the boards will need to come up when the pier gets installed, so I can adjust as required then...
  19. Right then, the last couple of days have been all about the floor. I've put the breeze blocks down, and got them level with mortar. I left those for a day to start drying the mortar out. Today I got the floor boards cut and laid down. That was a right job and a half! :S The large sheets of OSB are really heavy and hard to handle, and getting them to be a good fit, but not too snug was a bit of a faff. But I got there in the end, after spending much longer on the job than I had intended. But at least now my obsy is essentially operational! Still no mains power or a pier, but I could set my mount up in there on the tripod and use my battery as before. Some of the cut-outs on the boards are way too big, but ultimately I intend to add some kind of tiles to the floor to finish it off, so they can make it look a bit neater And look, the roof does open! It occurred to me that all of my progress pictures so far had show it all closed up
  20. Well hopefully the gaps wont be an issue then, I think mine are about 10mm at max, so not too different from yours by the sounds of it. I took the lead from your design and I extended the side weatherboards out past the back edge of the roof, so the corners at the back have additional protection from the sides, so that will no doubt help. The prevailing wind tends to drive the rain in from the side anyway... I'll see about sealing the wall sheets tomorrow, weather permitting of course. Then I'm pretty much done externally. Next job is setting the breeze blocks I'm going to use as floorboard supports. The plan is just plonk a dollop of mortar under each one and tap it down level to the footings. The earth floor is pretty packed down now having had me trampling over it for ages now reckon I might need a hand from the old man to cut the OSB to size, so that might have to wait until the weekend. To be fair that's fine, as now the walls and roof are up the ground inside can dry out a bit before the floor goes down.
  21. Another fun packed day of building, and the weatherboards are on! I'm a bit annoyed that I didn't do a very good job with the back one, the one with the awkward steps cut in to it. There's a pretty big gap between it and the roof rails and guides I'll have to look at adding a flexible strip down the edges or something. But for now it should stop the worst of the rain getting in. Rather bizarrely I'm actually hoping it will rain now, so I can see if anything leaks! Who'd have thought? All it really needs now is a floor, and a pier. And mains power. And prolly a few other things. But it feels like it's nearly there!
  22. I was looking at the ali extrusions too, I would have thought that an L section would be sufficient. All you need to do is stop the roof wandering off the outside edge, as if you do that it can't come off on the inside edge... An L also removes the drainage issue. They're a bit expensive mind, I think my wood guides will do, I'm just a worrier. Last night it was lovely and clear so I couldn't help going out and popping the roof off and enjoying the views my obsy offers. Fan-blinkin-tastic! However, despite Roger's warning I have already cracked my head on one of the rails! :S
  23. A bit more progress today, very handy this time off work I went at a slower pace today, what with being cream crackered and all, and not having the extra pair of hands to help. But I'm happy with what I've got done, which is putting in the roof rail support posts and a cross beam, and tacking on some guides to hopefully stop the roof escaping off the side of the building! The roof rolls very freely back and forth, I only need one hand and next to no effort to move it, so that's probably a good sign. It does tend to wander a bit from side to side along the rails, but so long as the guides hold firm it should just right itself and carry on. I'm a bit concerned about this part, as the guides didn't work out how I'd hoped they would. I had to stand them up on the thin edge of the timber, so they're tall when looking at them from the front. I've walloped in 7 screws per 2.4m section, and it's fairly firm feeling, but the roof is a heavy beast to be rubbing along it. I'm thinking of putting some joining plates on for peace of mind. Better safe than sorry!
  24. Thanks Yeah, after loads of prep work and a couple of days slog it's really starting to look the part. I hope it fits in to the surrounding ok, I was a little concerned that it might upset the neighbours, but they're a lovely couple and seemed quite interested when I spoke to them about it. I'm just waiting for it to dry up a bit out there so I can get on with it again. My biggest concern atm is sorting out some guide rails so the roof can traverse safely. Hopefully by the end of play today the roof will be safe to roll, and it'll be weather boarded up. Thanks for the additional advice Roger, it's no exaggeration to say that I'd never have managed this without your blog and help.
  25. I'm rather more used to a sedentary existence sitting in front of a computer, so all this manual labour is a real shock to the system Right then, another day, more aches and pains... But we have made progress! Not as much as I had hoped, but we've got the roof made and framed, and up on the walls. The runner rails are in place, but are lacking the end support posts But I just ran out of day. I couldn't ignore the wife any more than I already had done on her birthday of all days, so we had to stop. And to be fair I was beat. A fantastic mixed grill where we went out for dinner was quite the tonic, though I am getting seriously sleepy now Our mitre cuts for the roof frame corner struts are errrr, ropey to say the least, not a patch on bizibilders neat and tidy work, but the roof is square and solid, so good enough. Tomorrow I must get the support posts in ASAP, and then try to tack some kind of guide rails on. I picked up some small bits of timber I had hoped would do the job, but it's a tiny bit too thick, and fouls against the nut of the wheel. DOH! >< And then weatherboards, I need to get those on quick smart too, before the weather takes too much of a turn for the worse...
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