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Bizibilder

A homemade freestanding pier

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I finally got the thing outside onto the patio!! All I need now is a bit of clear sky and I should be able to polar align it. The idea being that as it is heavy enough that it should retain reasonable alignment over time. I intend to use the mount for Solar work mainly and maybe a bit of visual observing while doing long photographic runs in the observatory.

There is one last bit of "construction" to show - the bin has three wooden blocks inside it to help keep it in position and reasonably level. I bought a Chiminea cover from fleabay (under a tenner from one shop, most were trying to charge £16-£25 for the same item!) to make the thing weatherproof.

IMG_2282.jpg

Just for fun I've made a little movie of the thing in "action" :)

Pier-Movie.gif

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I've used the beastie in a howling gale (40 mph plus gusts)today for some Sun pictures and it was as steady as a rock!! Far batter than the tripod supplied with the EQ5. I am well pleased :) .

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Sounds like your bored of it already!!!! Rather then let all that hard work go too waste by throwing it out i'll take it off you hands free of charge

:)

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:) NEVER!!! LOL

Cheers.

The pier is fantastic, the obs i built is to fit the scope but that has left me with little space due to the tripod legs, its not an issue so much as i can still move around but i'm stepping over the legs all the time. One of the reasons i went down the route i did was because i couldn't have a permanent pier, your peir solves both issues.

I wouldn't know where to start, like Gina metioned earlier i'm better with wood. Do you mind if i ask how much you have invested in materials? you've obviously saved on labour but i'd be tempted to find a metal workshop to get a quote.

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The tube was the offcut of my main observatory tube! I think I paid around £15 for it (offcut bin prices!). The legs, top plates etc I paid £10 - again offcuts. I did all the cutting and drilling myself and the steel fabricator charged £35 for the welding. The chap I use is local to me and this was a job that he "fitted in" between escape ladders and a rather nice garden bridge that he was making! The most expensive bits were all the nuts and bolts as these were all stainless steel from screwfix. As the thing has to live out in the open I went for stainless throughout. The paint £15, the plastic bin £19.99 and the Chiminea cover £9.99 added to the total.

Edited by Bizibilder

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Do you thing £200 would be a resonable outlay then, bearing in mind my labour cost would be higher?

I want one!

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Alan I think £200 should cover it even if your fabricator was less "friendly on price" than mine. Its all the odds and ends that actually shot the price up.

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Cheers Bizibuilder

I sent out a load of e-mails to local fabricators last night, i have had one promising reply.

Its definitely a worth while investment (at least for me) as it will solve two issues i have and provide extra stability for AP, wins all around.

Going forward is there anything you would have done differently in hind sight to either the design or construction?

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To be honest I've only used it the once so far but I don't think I would change anything. The leg ends (1.25" round bar drilled through 0.5") were made that way so I could either simply put tapered "feet" in, as I have done, or to allow threaded rods to be used to make the legs adjustable - just done as a precaution - as I have found the top plate levelling adjustment adequate - it all depends on the sort of ground you put it on.

It is heavy and needs to be for stability - so much better than a tripod. I can lift it on my own but it is easier with two people.

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Would that be the timber collar that gets in the way of your chin when polar aligning? Luckily its attached to the bottom of the four pier head studs and can easily be removed! (I call it planning and forethought....you may call it lucky!)

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Update: The green Chimera cover has proved not to be 100% waterproof ! (It leakes at the sewn seams). I have now added a Tesco garden furniture cover (about $5) under it so the green cover stops 99% of the water and the new one stops the last 1%. The plastic waste bin just keeps things tidy :eek: . (But is essential - in case all else fails it is waterproof!!).

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Daft question, but why do you have the mount raised off the pier with the bolts? Couldn't you bolt it flat to the pier if you know what I mean?

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That is for level adjustment - I was going to install three threaded "bolts" as the feet but went for the double plate at the top instead. Additionally you have to have access to the underside of the top plate so you can insert and tighten the central bolt that holds the mount to the pier. For that you either need the double top plate or a hole cut into the side of the pier.

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Additionally you have to have access to the underside of the top plate so you can insert and tighten the central bolt that holds the mount to the pier. For that you either need the double top plate or a hole cut into the side of the pier.

OK, I was thinking you may have been able to tighten the bolt into top plate before you mounted it on the pier so no need for access?

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OK, I see. Maybe you could move the azimuth adjustment onto the pier (probably more effort than it's worth)?

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Thats a great job you have done there BB, just the thing I am planning to make soon, it just wont be as good as yours!

I have some illuminous strip that may be of use for you to mark the "legs" of the pier to stop you tripping over them in the dark, PM an address and I will put some in the post.

It is good stuff, I sent some to MikeP, this is what he said:

It certainly works very well - I left the padded envelope in the lounge last night with the metal strip in it and when I went in in the dark, the whole envelope was glowing!!!

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I don't ever trip over it as i only use it in daylight! :p .

(Its my Solar pier for when I can't see the Sun from my Obsy due to trees and houses being in the way!)

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Ah, right. I am just getting in to solar myself. Deepsky is hopeless where I live so it is Solar System only for me.

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Seeing as the clouds only seem to be parting during the daytime lately that's not such a bad idea :D

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