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Lockie

Chris's Obsy build

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Well its much appreciated Helen:), and I know what you mean about setting up, well its not so much the setup that bothers me its more the dismantling and putting away at 2-3am when your half asleep:D

Edited by starfox

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Thanks for the heads-up Bizibilder:) I had know idea they did this trick with the dimensions, it seems a bit cheeky doesn't it:D. If I can get a roof rack cheap enough for my Panda I might go the route of building from scratch. I would love to take your advice and go for 7' on the width but I'm just a bit worried about being able to move around the obsy for both the build and for maintenance as the plot is not much more than 8' wide:(

As mentioned I am thinking of 8' for the length but this might be tight for a warm room, trying to work out what warm room width I could get away with I held a tape measure out infront of me at a witdth of 3' and even though I'm skinny it was still a bit tight, I found 3.5' was much nicer though still snug but much better, the only thing with taking 3.5' off for a warm room is that it only leaves 4.5'x6' for the obsy area. I'm going to mask out the dimensions on the floor and place my HEQ5 in it to see what its like I recken, if it feels too tight I might have to run 8.5'x6' by my wife:)

I used to use my old EQ5 down the bottom of the garden near to where I plan to buid the pier and that Plam tree was very close to polaris when I wanted to polar allign so I will like you say be thinking very carefully about where to put the pier before I poor any concrete:D

Edited by starfox

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Thanks Laser:), my skies to the North are my darkest so I tend to make the most of this as well as wanting room to image to the south, so I was thinking of having the pier middle forward in the obsy, as far forward as I can without any risk if knocking the OTA or guide when slewing:) I also need to future proof this clearence for possible larger OTA's. Can you see any issues with this middle forward configuration?

Edited by starfox

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Well its much appreciated Helen:), and I know what you mean about setting up, well its not so much the setup that bothers me its more the dismantling and putting away at 2-3am when your half asleep:D

I'm building one myself just now, should be finished on Saturday, I started to dread setting up the scope also, all those trips back and forward :)

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Well I had a good 9-10 hours on the project today, there is definately a lot more ground work than I initially thought, as when I cleared away the the last of the rubble from the previous shoddy concrete shed base I noticed another very uneven layer of stone and concrete below, also there where several large vertical pieces of Iron work pointing up out of the ground which wouldn't budge:(

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Edited by starfox

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Yes, I built mine because I knew it was only a matter of time before I dropped the scope or did myself an injury - it was marginal for me to carry at any time, but when cold and tired, and over a double height step.....

Helen

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I was previously just taking bags of the broken up concrete skim base down the tip in my car but after seeing this new layer of concrete and large stones I thought better of it, so I dug up the second layer and piled it further up the garden so when I've finished I'll just hire a skip, there is just too much unusable rubble to do it any other way.

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Hey Congrats Mert good luck for finishing this weekend:) I think I've seen you name on a obsy build thread title I'll check it out:)

Edited by starfox

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Exactly Helen, the same thoughts occured i.e 9stone 6lb skinny man carrying an HEQ5 through several rooms and over steps, I feared for both my back and my OTA:D

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After I dug up the second layer guess what:) yes thats right there was indeed a third layer this time mainly red brick and what looks like various Victorian Iron objects, including a fire guard, a half round file a large spring some railing like material etc:) The vertical Iron pillars where still very rigidly stuck so I dug deep around them and hit them side to side with a sledge hammer, they eventually came out but they were quite deep at least 2.5' (see the various Iron items below).

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Edited by starfox

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I lifted the slabs at the front of the plot as I wanted to check whats underneath, and I needed too anyway as the pieer will be placed somewhere in this area.

The reason I've gone to all this trouble digging out everylarge piece of debris is because I have decided to lay new slab over the whole plot and I don't think it would be a good Idea to lay slabs on all this large junk, I would worry that the slabs would crack or something:). I won't obviously slab the area where the pier is going:D My plan is to then sit the modified shed or self built structure on raised blocks e.g. breaze blocks or something a bit thinner, hows this sound so far?:)

I've read some online guides about laying slabs for sheds and the jist seems to be dig down the width of the slab plus a bit more to allow for a layer of fine gravel then a layer of coarse sand with a bit of dry cement in it, make sure the surface is then even with a slight gradient for water run off, then lay the slabs.

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Edited by starfox

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The ground below the back fence is a couple of inches higher than the rest of the garden, it used to have a raised cement skin base so if I'm laying slab lower down should I slope gradually up to the same height or is it ok to have a bit of a step? basically would there be any ground water issues?

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Pass on all the tech side of things but love the progress.( you seem to be working like a Trojan). Love all the picke esp the last 3.... Lovley view of the moon BTW.

Keep them comming :):):):).

OH and by the way if your short on a bit of weight, feel free to take as much of mine as you would like:):o (9stone 6lb. In my dreems LMAO)

Edited by shellfish

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Thanks shellfish:) yeah I couldn't resist a cheaky Moon pic at the end, I should have put my camera on manual though as it just looks like a spot light in the sky with auto settings:D I'm so excited about this project I've literally been wanting an obsy for a decade. I think this is why I'm going for it, I had to stop to take my wife and baby boy food shopping earlier and I was rushing round like a mad man so I could get back and swing the pick axe some more:D oh yeah, I would love a good stone if you've get it spare:D

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Stone... just the one... lol..... Thgink your doing tremendousley and I'm not sure who is more excited to see it finished you or me LMAO :) have a good weekend :)

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You are doing really well - that looks like hard work! A couple of thoughts - with a small obsy don't bother with a warm room. With mine I seldom have the roof more than half open and generally find I'm quite well protected if I set up under the half that is closed. WIND proof clothing is essential (Not waterproof - you can't observe when its raining!!) and a few layers of fleece works wonders, as do ski trousers.

Have you considered removing your fences (if they are yours - or ask the neighbours, if theirs) and setting your observatory right in the corner so that two walls become the boundary? That way you may squeeze a little more space and not have the problem of fence maintenance and access. Just a thought.

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Thanks Bizibilder:) yeah it's hard work but in a good way, bit of an achy back though. Your right it would be much easier space wise if I lose the warm room so this is still an option. I'm glad to hear that you get on fine without one:) I've been out in the open doing AP when its -6 with snow on the ground so being in any type of obsy will be luxery:D I want the warm room mainly for shelter for the laptop, do you use a laptop in your obsy? if so is it ok in the open cold and condensation wise? Its good thinking using the neighbours fence line but a no go I'm affraid as the properties now empty and I have no way of contacting the landlord, plus he or she has only just replaced the panel in the bottom right corner. All good thoughts though:)

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Today I picked up some paving materials and tools from B&Q, I got 10 large bags of ballast (sand and grit), 2 of concrete, and 1 of cement, a large spirit level for leveling the slabs, a metal set square, and something called a Tamper which is basically a heavy flat iron slab on a stick used for compacting down the sand, grit, concrete mixture prior to laying the slabs.

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After getting the materials, I set about removing the last of the large objects from the plot foundations, yet more half bricks and iron poles etc, but after a several hours I was finally only picking out small bolders about half the size of a ping pong balls which I'm sure wouldn't crack the slabs especially if they are beneith a layer of sand, grit and cement. I then proceeded to level the ground by eye and making sure the depth was roughly correct so when the ballast/cement and slabs are added everything is flush with the surrounding path and grass. I will pay more particular attention to this once the ballast is added and the ground is compacted ready for the slabs, I want to work in a very gentle slope 1 in 40 to allow for water to run of according to various online guides.

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Edited by starfox

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My last job of the day was to remove the washing line pole which I will relocate further up the garden. I dug down around the pole and then waggled it side to side, I kept on repeating these steps until I was a fair way down probably about 16 inches deep and I'm still not able to lift the pole out:icon_scratch: I'll have a look at this after work tomorrow if the weathers ok, I'm just wondering if the pole has some kind of flat base thats holding it in, its tempting to saw it down below the level of the foundations and be done with it.

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Well that was one really really tricky washing line pole to get out, I had to dig down the length of my arm before I was able to lever it up using the pick. Finally the ground prep is done!!:)

I'm not 100% sure I should pave the whole plot for the obsy, I've seen that some people have simply placed slabs or blocks at key points under the obsy and this seems to take the weight? So I was thinking a more economical and perhaps a more attractive option could be to dig out 6 or so areas which will support the wooden frame, the holes could be filled with concrete and a slab placed ontop or the concrete could be raised out the ground using a wooden box frame to provide more clearance to help prevent rot. For finishing touches I could lay stepping stones to the obsy and cover the rest of the plot with attractive shingle or stones. I'll look into this before I go further, a building is only as good as its foundations:)

Edited by starfox

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If you go the slabs or blocks at key points, leveling them could be done with a length of clear tube one end on a slab/block and then filled the tube with water the other 3 corners leveled to the water line, intermediate blocks are then placed using a straight edge. The other thing you need to do is secure the whole structure so high winds do not put it in next doors garden, i would suggest the 4 corners have 4" X 4" posted imbedded in the ground to anchor the structure and the floor is then anchored to these while resting on your slabs ect...

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Starfox - I do use my laptop in the observatory (even at -6C or lower!) with no problems. Laptops get quite warm when running and so keep dew at bay. Mine lives in an MDF "box" designed for use observing the Sun (ie to allow the screen to be visible in bright light) as well as in a (Tesco's cheapie) fabric laptop case. When I'm finished I just zip the lappy into its case and bring it indoors - I often reboot it straight away to download my images onto a backup disc. I've never had any problems.

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a building is only as good as its foundations:)

So true :)

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OK mine might be OTT, but the base hasn't moved in 12 months and provided for a solid foundation for the frames and rest of the structure.

The last thing you want is for the floor to start dropping in a year or so's time, taking the structure out of squareness and causing problems with any run off roof section.

If you are planning on a "traditional" base I would suggest you follow Wayne's build (http://stargazerslounge.com/diy-observatories/103639-wetherview-diy-obsy-build-begins.html) and construct a flat base all over,

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This will help spread the weight of the floor and structure and if done properly won't sink.

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