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S@N Observatory plans


Teslar
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So I've been studying the loans for this observatory that cane free with the mag December 2009. There must be few built since then so I'm wondering if anyone can advise me on improvements over the original design I'd be keen to know of any variants on the shutter and mechanism and has anyone automated the rotation

I may start mine soon so keen to know others experiences if this one :)

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Hi Gina. It's the plans that were included in the CD with Sky at Night Magazine published in December 2009 showing a 3M Dome garden observatory I've got them on disk so not sure if I can repost here as they may break a rule of some kind

I'm interested to know if anyone has improved the dome rotation and or security as the current version looks like it would lift off in a Gale (I'm in an open windy location) I'm also interested to know if anyone has automated this design

I had hoped there would be a few threads here regarding its build and construction but can't find this particular design used anywhere. :(

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Teslar,

Is this similar to the Maurice Galvin octagonal dome build - published at http://home.freeuk.com/m.gavin/mydome.htm ? This design was published in Small Astronomical Observatories; Patrick Moore [editor]; Springer-Verlag 1996; chpt. 6 - ISBN 3-540-19913-6.

I've not seen that issue of SON, but was looking at building something along the lines of a 1.7-1.8m dia Galvin dome and would be very interested in comparing notes during a build if the designs are comparable. Not currently looking to a great deal on the automation side, due to limited budget - though keen to get the design fundamentals right so that I could add auto dome rotation in at a later point. I'm also very keen to keep the design light/modular, so that I can dismantle and move at a later point if required.

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It's similar but it's a 3M dome built from hardboard with a fibreglass layer on top. The base section comprises eight 1.4m posts each on a concrete pad. The floor section allows for a door opening to a step upto a raised floor and there is a square hole in the middle to access the concrete pillar base

I'll post some photos from the CD when I get home on Friday

The only part of the design that concerns me is the method which fixes the dome to the base. Unless I'm not reading the plans correctly it seems to just rely on its own weight to keep it in place :( living in a windy location this is a worry so I was hoping to get some feedback from a member who may have used these plans previously. With regards to automation I've found a few possible options and one very good low cost one but I need to understand the existing roller configuration better before I decide which drive solution is best. Again it might not be till it's built before I can tell that unless I can find one that's been built already

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The plans I have are A4 and its impossible to see the detail of how the dome and base come together. I'm trying to get these printed on a larger scale

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It's similar but it's a 3M dome built from hardboard with a fibreglass layer on top. The base section comprises eight 1.4m posts each on a concrete pad. The floor section allows for a door opening to a step upto a raised floor and there is a square hole in the middle to access the concrete pillar base

I'll post some photos from the CD when I get home on Friday

The only part of the design that concerns me is the method which fixes the dome to the base. Unless I'm not reading the plans correctly it seems to just rely on its own weight to keep it in place :( living in a windy location this is a worry so I was hoping to get some feedback from a member who may have used these plans previously. With regards to automation I've found a few possible options and one very good low cost one but I need to understand the existing roller configuration better before I decide which drive solution is best. Again it might not be till it's built before I can tell that unless I can find one that's been built already

Thanks Teslar - I've just been out and remeasured, though 2m diameter is my absolute max to build this screened in a corner of the garden, though pretty sure I can manage with this being tall and skinny ;) 3m sounds positively palatial and a fibreglass roof should help to add some mass and keep the roof down on top. The roof retention area is quite a serious concern, but I have seen quite a lot of good ideas - worth taking a look at the Pulsar domes and some other designs for ideas. I'm going to build some C clamps that fit down inside the ring and tension up underneath the inside edge with mini rollers. I plan to make these adjustable so that they can be tensioned down for security. Though I think in for storm force conditions it could be worth adding a few hard tie down points in to the base of the plinth and these could tension up to the dome ribs of the dome with ratchet straps or similar.

I've also decided to work with standard waterproof 4 ply for lightness and cost. Rather than sheet aluminium or fibreglass I am going to cover this with painted canvas (with a rubberoid/sykaflex paint and primer. Pretty sure this will work adequately and it's reasonably cheap, light and can be easily maintained. I like the idea of the hardboard, with fibreglass, though think this will need to be sealed both sides to keep the condensation out.

Browsing around today I discovered that our very own Nytecam is M Galvin, who's dome construction plans set me on this trail - I think he's been using this dome for 11 years, so might be worth a quick PM to see if he can clarify on the dome retention and any subsequent modifications to the design.

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Thanks for the dome obsy plug! My old 10ft dome was frameless with gores stitched together with copper wire sealed with Flashband ( its due for demolition!). My currently used dome with 12" SCT has build link below. However I'd recommend Ron Johnson new ply dome for ease of construction also linked below. Good luck :police:

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Thanks for the dome obsy plug! My old 10ft dome was frameless with gores stitched together with copper wire sealed with Flashband ( its due for demolition!). My currently used dome with 12" SCT has build link below. However I'd recommend Ron Johnson new ply dome for ease of construction also linked below. Good luck :police:

Thanks Nytecam - I hadn't found the astroman.org, just the wpo-building a small dome site - I really like the Gazebo style drawings, maybe one day when I get my grand house ;) I will be building a variation somewhere between your and Ron's design, but will take a few months to get set up and ready to go with this.

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  • 7 months later...

The plans I have are A4 and its impossible to see the detail of how the dome and base come together. I'm trying to get these printed on a larger scale

Hi Teslar. I am planning to build this SaN domed observatory imminently, so can't give any feedback on how it behaves in a windy environment.

I first came across the plans on a relatively recent SaN cover CD but it had very little detail. Then a friend from my local astronomy group passed on 3 of the original 2009 magazines but unfortunately without the accompanying CDs. Luck would have it that at this years local Star-gazing Live event, a visiting speaker had been clearing out old magazines and CDs, and low and behold he had all the CDs relating to the obsy build. So I have PDFs of all the plans, and a lot more detail, etc. Not sure if you already have these CDs.

To secure the whole structure I intend to embed fixings in the eight concrete pads and bold somehow to the mains posts. Not sure yet how to secure the dome - probably work that out when I get there! Wickes order at the ready and next week start digging...

John

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Hi John good luck with your plans. I changed tak slightly and bought a 3M Dome on astrobuysell. I've not built it yet as the windy has still not abated around these parts and I'm thinking the ground is too wet and cold for the concrete to set. Hopefully all will settle this month and a start will be made

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