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Lockie

Chris's Obsy build

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Lovely doggy :)

Best alarm system you can buy :o

I was trying to tempt her to jump in and help dig the foundations but she was having non of it :D

Mind you I seem to remember your goats helped you in your build :)

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They checked it out, anyway :) And there was canine and feline checking as well :) And we too have a canine alarm system :o

Edited by Gina

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Hi Tinker, the clear tube with water in sounds like a nice cheap alternative to a large spirit level, My largest spirit level is 600mm which isn't massive but I can boost this by sticking it onto a bit of straight timber to check that the span between two slabs is level. Thanks for raising the point about securing the shed I honestly hadn't even considered this as sheds normally have a lot of stuff in them holding them down but the obsy won't have, great point:) I've got to be careful about how I solve this issue with aesthetics being an issue as I'm in full view of the neighbors:)

Edited by starfox

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Thanks Bizibilder, thats good to hear:) in that case I'm thinking of compromising on the warm room considering 8'x6' is the max size obsy a can realistically have. Instead of a warm room I'm thinking more along the lines of warm alcove, I'll try and upload some kind of crude blue print in order to elaborate:D basically instead of having a full partition wall have a partial partition wall and have the roof so it only rolls off 5' which would give a partial ceiling plus less total area needed for the external roof supports, this will give an area 6'x5' open to the stars which I'm thinking will be enough?

Edited by starfox

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Malc - thanks very much for the link to Waynes build:), what an amazing obsy he's built their, stunning infact:D! the thread is a great read and I've learnt a thing or ten by reading it. the breeze block base wayne and youself have used is a better version of what I had in mind so I think I will also be doing something very similar, I'm tempted to morter in the blocks though as well as the frame and compacted sharp sand base?

As I'm planning a small cheap obsy I'm leaning towards doing a similar base with the breeze blocks, then buying a T&G shed and stapling a waterproof membrane to the underside again like in Waynes build, add a couple of coats of cuprinol or similar, then add the RoR gubbins to the top of the walls plus I'll probably need some additional bracing:)

p.s I'll be looking up your build in the morning Malc your pics look very good indeed:D

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For building works, I have a laser level. These are not very expensive and readily available from DIY stores and ScrewFix, Amazon, etc.

Edited by Gina

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Chris, it was Waynes build that inspired my project, and whilst I opted for a suspended floor rather than supported floor, both observatories have a fair bit in common.

It does make me cringe when I here the words cheap and observatory in the same sentence. In my opinion the two don't go hand in hand. It's difficult getting the balance between a custom build from scratch and converting a commercial shed for example, and I would always recommend a custom build rather than trying to strengthen up a commercial shed, which in their nature will of used the cheapest of materials to keep costs down, unless you go to a quality shed supplier and then the cost are comparable to a self build, especially if you shop around for materials.

The average cost for a scratch build observatory of 2.5m sq with a suitable warm room in traditional shiplap is around the £2K mark, with around half of that just on materials. But these are substantial structures, and ideally should last years without any major repairs. I live in a fairly sheltered area, but my observatory has still had to withstand winds in excess of 45 mph, 6 inches of frozen snow, and direct summer sunshine when it 33c in the shade. I've seen some designs and build where quite frankly I doubt if they will survive their first winter.

Hope I haven't scared you off with the costings, but then I was following normal building regs code of conduct with studding at 16" centres etc so my matreial bill was a tad high. The other thing is to read through the build threads... and then pick the good bits from each one. It will also help you not to make the mistakes we all seem to of encountered. Oh and one other thing, if you are installing mains electricity, then double the number of sockets you think you need :)

Edited by malc-c

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Seems to me there are two things you shouldn't skimp on - a good mount for AP and a good solid observatory. Both are things you really only want to buy/make once.

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Malc, thanks for the advice, I had planned on spending a maximum of 800-900 hundred on the build for a small obsy, now with a sheltered alcove rather than a full warm room for both space reasons plus not wanting to overwhelm an overlooked terest house garden. From what you are saying I would be making a mistake if I bought a kit T&G shed, and I should self build. Does the same apply for those Galvanised metal sheds?

I would like to self build but was bit worried about both organising all the material needed in one go as I would have to get delivery or hire a van, then storing the materials as I dont have a garage or front garden, I guess I could keep them all under a tarp in the back garden but then theres finding space to work with the materials, I guess I've just got to be very organised:D

One other plus for a from scratch build is that like Wayne I don't have to conform to set shed dimensions and therefore might be able to squeeze a small warm room in if I stretch the budget a bit:)

I've only read half a dozen build threads so far, so like you say I need to read plenty more to avoid making any big mistakes:)

Edited by starfox

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Yes, that'll do unless you plan on a big scope plus guide scope etc.

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There have been several converted sheds, including the metal type often found in Argos. They work well, and by all accounts take little to convert to a ROR design. Being metal they have their disadvantages, namely they are hot in the summer, but other than that they make for a decent alternative to the wooden shed.

My post was really directed at those who purchased a 5 x 7 from B&Q for £150 and then expect it to remain square and strong when the roof is modified. These sheds at this price range tend to have very poor quality timber and have a framework from 2" x 1" timber with 3' spacing ! - remove the roof and the structure becomes very flimsy.

When I priced up a 4.8m x 2.4m shed / workshop from a local company the price wasn't far off the £1200 mark and that was before I hacked the roof off and lined out a warm room, so for me making it from scratch was the way forward. Trust me it's not that difficult, just make up a frame, then another and bolt the two together... then add the next and the next etc... as for materials, just buy then as and when you need. With the Mayday bank holiday and the the one in June coming up, simply schedule delivery for the Friday before and prey for good weather. I took a week off work (I think it was at the end of May) to do the bulk of the build in one go. If you are going to do something on the same scale then it's worth doing the same.

Having a warm room is a real advantage... OK I went overboard and included a microwave and kettle, plus it was nicely carpeted, but if you are into imaging then it makes it a lot cozier. But it doesn't have to be that big. Provided you can sit at a PC and operate the scope in some degree of comfort then it makes observing a more pleasurable experience.

I think for £900 you could, with careful purchasing of materials, come up with a very sound observatory. If you opt for the scratch build, the most costly part is often the shiplap cladding, which averages £400 - £500 on an observatory the size of mine / Gina's / Waynes.

Hope this helps...

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One other plus for a from scratch build is that like Wayne I don't have to conform to set shed dimensions and therefore might be able to squeeze a small warm room in if I stretch the budget a bit:)

Exactly... you can make the observatory fit into whatever space you have available. In Waynes case he made the construction look like two sheds side by side, but due to the position of the main path his warm room was slightly smaller than the scope room. I don't think he could of done that any cheaper if he went to a commercial company and got them to build the same...

The one thing you get from a scratch build is pride. As Wayne said, often there isn't a day that goes past where you open the curtains and look out and admire your handy work, saying to yourself " I built that !"

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Oh yes, the feeling you get looking at one you've built yourself is great :) Even more so using it! :)

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Sold! self build it is:D Thanks Malc and Gina that was just the push I needed :):icon_salut:, I'm going to hit the drawing board now and I'll see what happens, I might see if I can download a free version of AutoCAD it might come in handy:D.

Regards Chris:icon_salut:

p.s. Gina - I'm planning to get hold of a 150pds or GSO 150DS and guide plus widefield with my existing ZS66, but eventually I would like a 6-8" RC but these are still quite light and compact so my HEQ5 (mk1) should last me a while once I've done the ST4 port mod:D

Edited by starfox

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I've been down to the plot this evening with a tape measure, string and some pegs inorder to get a better idea about dimensions by actually standing in the areas pegged out to see how they feel. A couple of hours later after playing around with several ideas I realised that to include a warm room 8'x6' is a little bit too small, the bare minimum I could live with would be 8.5'x6' and better still 9'x6'. I was a bit worried about both the neighbours views plus their plam tree getting in the way of my polar allignment so I've now opted to move the obsy to the very back of the garden despite the big conifers on the other side obscuring some of my views to the south, I think whoever moves in that side will cut them back anyway as they are way out of control:D

One thing I can't decide is which way round I should have the obsy?

The picture below shows the telescope area nearest 6'x5'3", followed by the warm room 6'x3'9" then the far pegs representing the RoR upright supports with the roof rolling off 5'. I'm thinking I can even push this back another 6" to the upright supports are very close to the back fence.

or

Should I flip it so the telescope areas is at the back and the RoR uprights are at the front?

The pros of having the obsy layed out as shown in the picture are that as you walk out of the warm room into the telescope area you are facing the sky to the west with south to the left and north to the right, so you are already facing in a good direction in my opinion. The cons are that the bulk if the obsy pertrudes more into the garden.

the pro's of flipping it around so the telescope area is at the back of the garden are that it makes the most of the space, the cons are that the conifers to the left obscure a bit more of the south sky and for viewing and imaging you need to walk out of the warm room then around the scope and point the scope over the RoR which might be slightly more tricky I'm not sure?

any thoughts on this long winded explanation:icon_scratch:

p.s. the brick represents the pier:D

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post-28797-13387776143_thumb.jpg

Edited by starfox

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You don't necessarily need to see polaris for PA. You can use drift alignment, especially as you don't need to do this too often with a permanent setup. In the southern hemisphere there is no polaris and they still manage to polar align :-)

So I would rather go for a place where your actual views are less obstructed, especially to the south.

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Yes, lots of interesting stuff happens south - planets in particular! In the north they'll eventually reach higher in the sky if you wait long enough, but not in the south.

Ideally

My warm room is only 3 foot wide and it is fine. I'd put the extra 9 inches back in the scope area! In fact, I'd do what we did and build the outside first and then add the partition later - you'll have a much better feel for it then.

Helen

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I couldn't survive in a 3' warm woom :)

63294d1310506541-observatory-build-underway-img_0327.jpg

Step into my office :) :)

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I'd love bigger too Malc, but when space is really tight then enough room to swing a cat (or a newt or a frac :)) seems more important.

Helen

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yesyes- yeah we are spoilt in the northen hemisphere for sure:), its not a major thing I know wanting an unobstructed view of Polaris as I know its best to drift allign anyway when setting up on a pier so as to get the best accuracy, it just would be nice as I guess we get set in our ways pointing the polar scope at it over and over again:D. The way I've got the outline layed out in the pics is set far enough back to see the pole star from the pier position plus its far enough forward to miss a fair amount of the conifers as well, its probably my best bet as any further forward and obsy might dominate the garden too much (mainly thinking of the neighbours:) ) The only down side is its not the best use of space which ias why I'm also thinking of flipping it so the RoR uprights are at the front, I guess both ways have their pro's and con's, I'm quite a cautious person so I WILL over plan everything:D

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Hi Helen, you find 3' ok thats interesting:) What are your obsy dimensions if you don't mind me asking? Like you say I would build the outside first then partition the insde but I wanted an Idea of the viewing area dimension so I know where to place the pier as I'm thinking its probably best to place it central in the viewing area? ah well this is a good question, is it best to place the pier central? and whats the minimum distance you could have the pier to a wall?, assuming initially I'd have a 6" newt guided, then eventually move upto something like an 8" RC guided. p.s. I would love a pic of what a 3' warm room looks like, or am I pushing my luck:D

Edited by starfox

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hey malc- you could live in that! infact it looks better than the Uni halls of residence I was at in your neck of the woods at Hert's:D

Edited by starfox

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WOW.... I go away for 4 days and come back to this :D:):(:). Looks like alot of ground work ( bet you wish you had Charlie Dimmok lol)

Keep this up[ and you'll be supping a cuppa in your new build in no time :)

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