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Demonperformer

Major rethink ...

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Have a look in the "Sponsor Announcements and Offers" forum :)

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After much searching, I have finally found some dimensions for the EQ6 pillar. Not on any official site, mind you, but tucked away in an SGL thread from 2011.  A nice little drawing, with lots of dimensions, by BlueAstra can be found at http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/102809-eq6-pillar-mount/ post #14.

So looks as if the hole would need to be either 50cm diameter, or 84cm square.

The total height is 81cm, so it is going to be a balancing act between having enough of it buried to make it secure, but not so much that I lose too much height. 'Secure' is not so much a matter of 'not wobbly' (it is, after all, designed to be used without being buried at all), but to make it very difficult for any would-be scrap-metal seller to "adopt" it.  My current thinking is if the 'legs' are covered, this would be sufficient (I have in mind something to do with 'drag' in the case of anyone thinking they can just pull a pipe out of the ground - as I've said before, I am no engineer).  This would leave me about 70cm above ground.  I think that would not be sufficiently different to 80cm to be significantly worse for seeing over the fence, but would be significantly more secure.

I am also thinking that the cheapest/easiest way to make a means of walking round it without getting muddy feet is to lay a 0.5m wide gravel strip all the way round. So, additional costs to the pier itself will be 10 bags of sand for burying the feet of the pier (I could actually get by with 7 bags, which is slightly cheaper than 10, but 8 bags would cost more than 10, and a bit extra might prove really useful - maybe as a base for the gravel?) and 10 bags of gravel for the path (the 8 bags required would cost more than 10).  Cost: £12.40 for the sand and £17.40 for the gravel; just under £30.  With the pillar @£189 from FLO, all-in for under £220, which is within the £250 budget I was working with for my DATHWY pier [that's "do all the hard work yourself"].

I am almost convinced :D.

Edited by Demonperformer

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Yes, so am I :)  In fact I think I am convinced :)  I think anything more than a small amount of concrete mixing etc. would be too much for me now.

I won't clutter up your thread with my plans - I'll put them in my own thread :)

Edited by Gina

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Yes, I am too.

But I'm giving myself a 48-hour cooling-off period before I place an order.

This is as much a logistical consideration as anything else.  If I place an order now, "next day delivery" will be Tuesday, and I will be out for quite a lot of that, so it is better to aim for a Wednesday delivery, which means not ordering until tomorrow evening or first thing Tuesday morning.

It also gives me two nights to sleep on it and to come up with any other amendments to my plans before I am finally (or should that be financially?) committed.

And I'm already beginning to wonder if it is going to be high enough to use the telrad efficiently, or whether I am going to have to invest in a RA finder-scope.  At least telrads seem to hold their second-hand value. Thankfully I have not yet 'stuck' it on the scope!

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I also meant to point out, but forgot, that if you do go with a buried pier with legs you only need to cut 3 slots in the ground, just wide enough to fit the pier base legs and to pack some sand on each side.

This saves alot of digging. :laugh:

Pete

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Just ordered mine now too :)

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Ain't it typical.

Package duly arrived and next morning I went to Wickes to get the sand/gravel for the build.  By the time I got all that lot home (in two loads) I had started feeling like death warmed-up, so nothing has been done further until today.

Took me two hours to convert the original hole I had dug.  Widened it to 95cm square and made it about 20cm deep.  4 bags of sand brought the level up to about 12cm.  Then removed the outer rim to a depth of about 7/8 cm for the gravel path round it.

That's it ... feeling totally washed-up now, so leave the next stage until next week.  After all, it is going to be there a long time (hopefully) so waiting another few days isn't going to kill me.

In the meantime I can have a think about what I am going to do with the pile of dirt that came out of the hole.  Maybe I will be able to get away with just spreading it around the garden.  Or maybe it will be a couple of shovels-full in a carrier bag in the bottom of my bin each week for the next three months!

BTW: the string line that is visible in the first picture behind the hole is lined up N-S (as best as I can get it) for positioning the peg on the pillar.  Not absolutely essential, but (rather like levelling it) getting it as close as possible will make transferring the mount from pillar to tripod and back again as painless as possible.

post-4846-0-32428500-1384598629_thumb.jp

post-4846-0-60721700-1384598655_thumb.jp

Edited by Demonperformer

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In the meantime I can have a think about what I am going to do with the pile of dirt that came out of the hole.  Maybe I will be able to get away with just spreading it around the garden.  Or maybe it will be a couple of shovels-full in a carrier bag in the bottom of my bin each week for the next three months!

I now have visions of DP going for a walk in the local park wearing trousers with false pockets operated using bits of string :D

James

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Hope you feel better soon DP :)

You've been watching too many POW escape films James :D

Edited by Gina
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Don't worry about the soil. I took up an 80' x 4' x 6" concrete path in the summer. I've been lobbing bits in the bin every since and I think I have at least another year to go! At least you will be able to get away with a bit in the garden recycling bin as well as the rubbish.

17.JPG

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Make yourself a rockery using some soil between and fill it with alpine plants - after a while it'll be lovely :)

With excess soil you could make some raised beds - save your back later :)

Just some thoughts :D

Edited by Gina

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I now have visions of DP going for a walk in the local park wearing trousers with false pockets operated using bits of string :D

James

What?

Modify a pair of trousers to have false pockets?

Much too DIY for my tastes :D

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Right.  Out this morning to see ISON (failed miserably) and Mercury (a pure delight, as always), so after breakfast decided it was time to get on with this pillar-thing.

First thing I notice is that the pillar comes with no instructions whatsoever.  Thank you, SW.

Next thing I notice is that I am not an octopus.  OK, I already knew that, but what I did not know was that you need to be one if you are going to attempt to put the pier together on your own.  Three legs and pillar all to hold in position while you are tightening the three bolts that hold it all together.  Putting some books under the central region helped hold the legs in place which made life a lot easier.

Took it outside (getting it through the internal doors was interesting) and set it up on the sand.  I would have liked to have removed the wheels first, but could not find a spanner that would fit in the gap, so decided to bury them as well. Get it aligned roughly north.  Mark the positions where the legs go and remove the pillar to dig some "trenches" in the sand.  Replace the pillar in these trenches.

Now this is going to cause controversy, but at this point I used my level to see if it was.  It very nearly was, and by simply screwing one of the feet out a bit, I achieved a perfectly level top.  I know, that is not necessary, but it was nice to achieve because that will make it easier if I transfer the mount from the pillar to the tripod for use out the front.

I packed the sand tightly around the legs.  Then I did something that I am not convinced is going to achieve anything except pander to my paranoia.  I took three strips of wood and placed them over each leg, and buried that, digging a small trench into the surrounding area that eventually became the path.  My thinking was that it would add some more resistance if anyone tried to climb over the fence and relieve me of my nice shiny pillar for its scrap value.  As I say, I am not convinced it will be any sort of deterrent, but I did it anyway.

More sand, packing it around the base of the pillar and feet to make a solid base.

I then used the empty bags to provide an anti-weed defence on the 'path' bit and used the last two bags of sand to (1) stop the bags blowing away, and (2) bed the edges of the bags against the surrounding soil.

Pea shingle poured to make the path and voila! ... one pillar ready for attaching the mount.

I am glad I did not go for buying the exact number of bags of sand/shingle I calculated I needed.  I used all ten of each, and have a feeling that, as things settle, it may be worth getting a few more bags to add to the mix.  I'll see how that goes.

Considering how kack-handed I usually am, and how this project has sort of stumbled into its finished form, I am actually quite happy with the end result.  It may not win any beauty prizes, but it will do me. And as for anyone coming to pinch it, they will have to do an awful lot of hard work to get that pillar out of its hole.  Hardly worth the £20 scrap value.  So I am currently a reasonably contented bunny. :)

And at the risk of re-sparking controversy again, the top of the pillar is still absolutely level.

post-4846-0-39103700-1384863619_thumb.jp

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post-4846-0-60249700-1384863659_thumb.jp

post-4846-0-80150900-1384863667_thumb.jp

post-4846-0-78323600-1384863675_thumb.jp

Edited by Demonperformer

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Been thinking where I go from here.

1. Thanks to Gina's explanation on her thread detailing how the mount fits on the pillar, it is clear to me that removal of the plate and mount together are an option.  As long as I keep them attached, the location of the allen screws will mean that the mount will be pretty much as well aligned when it goes back as when it comes off.

2. Any form of permanent cover (obsy) is going to require a lot more thinking about (and money) and I do not want to be waiting for that before I start getting the benefits of the pier over the tripod.

3. Messing around with allen screws to put on/remvoe the mount in the dark and cold is a recipe for disaster, especially over a pea-shingle surface.

4. I am not convinced that leaving the EQ6 mount out on the pillar all the time is a good idea, even if I could find a way of securing the allen screws to prevent theft.

5. I am therefore coming down fairly heavily in favour of the idea of splashing out £30 for the green-witch cover (top one here: http://www.green-witch.com/acatalog/Cases_and_Bags.html ).  I can then put the mount on the pillar before it gets dark, cover it if necessary, remove the cover and add the scope when I start, replace the cover when I finish (if necessary), and go and retrieve it in the morning when I can see what I am doing.  If I subsequently build a more permanent obsy, this would no doubt be resaleable.

6. I am also thinking about getting another 10 bags of shingle.  About 3 would cover the remaining sand, which would make it look a bit tidier (I think) and the other 7 would enable me to come back about another meter (towards the camera in the last photo) giving me additional room for table/chair and still leave room to walk around it without getting muddy feet.

Of course, by the time it stops raining, I will probably have changed my mind about all this again!

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Since good weather tends to come in batches you could presumably leave everything set up under a decent soft cover for a few days at a time? You could find a very minimal heat source to go under it if you were worried about damp and condensation. I have some little puppy warming stainless steel trays which generate a tiny amount of heat, enough to keep above the dew point. The running cost is measured in pence.

Olly

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Been thinking where I go from here.

1. Thanks to Gina's explanation on her thread detailing how the mount fits on the pillar, it is clear to me that removal of the plate and mount together are an option.  As long as I keep them attached, the location of the allen screws will mean that the mount will be pretty much as well aligned when it goes back as when it comes off.

2. Any form of permanent cover (obsy) is going to require a lot more thinking about (and money) and I do not want to be waiting for that before I start getting the benefits of the pier over the tripod.

3. Messing around with allen screws to put on/remvoe the mount in the dark and cold is a recipe for disaster, especially over a pea-shingle surface.

4. I am not convinced that leaving the EQ6 mount out on the pillar all the time is a good idea, even if I could find a way of securing the allen screws to prevent theft.

5. I am therefore coming down fairly heavily in favour of the idea of splashing out £30 for the green-witch cover (top one here: http://www.green-witch.com/acatalog/Cases_and_Bags.html ).  I can then put the mount on the pillar before it gets dark, cover it if necessary, remove the cover and add the scope when I start, replace the cover when I finish (if necessary), and go and retrieve it in the morning when I can see what I am doing.  If I subsequently build a more permanent obsy, this would no doubt be resaleable.

6. I am also thinking about getting another 10 bags of shingle.  About 3 would cover the remaining sand, which would make it look a bit tidier (I think) and the other 7 would enable me to come back about another meter (towards the camera in the last photo) giving me additional room for table/chair and still leave room to walk around it without getting muddy feet.

Of course, by the time it stops raining, I will probably have changed my mind about all this again!

I think that telescope cover could be a good idea :)

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Thanks, Gina, your encouragement is always a good sign :).

Olly, I see your point about the "batches" of good weather. As you may have gathered if you have read the entire thread, I am fairly paranoid about getting things pinched, which I think is my main concern about leaving things out.  However logical-me (when he can get a word in edgewise) knows that access is at worst difficult and taking the item without considerable disturbance being caused would be unlikely.  So I've had a look at steel puppy-warmers on the internet and they seem to be a little on the expensive side (IMO), but maybe something like http://www.skyandtelescope.com/howto/diy/3304231.html could be adapted for keeping the mount above dew point?  No idea how many resistors I would need, but the EQ6 is a fairly hefty chunk of metal (you won't need me to tell you that!) and so would probably require quite a high resistance to warm it up enough?  Can I ask if you know the wattage of your trays?  That would give me a starting point to think about it.

Thanks.

Edited by Demonperformer

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Right, scope coat ordered and a further 10 bags of shingle bought from Wickes.  The three additional ones to cover the sand have been put down, but I am waiting to hopefully get a couple of days dry weather before I start "paddling" to do the extension.

Now all I need is to find some way of deterring the local cats from using this area as a public convenience .... preferably something other than getting out the air rifle .....

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Right, scope coat ordered and a further 10 bags of shingle bought from Wickes.  The three additional ones to cover the sand have been put down, but I am waiting to hopefully get a couple of days dry weather before I start "paddling" to do the extension.

Now all I need is to find some way of deterring the local cats from using this area as a public convenience .... preferably something other than getting out the air rifle .....

I think there is a pepper that deterers cats, or on the electronic side a detector they emits a high pitch noise they don't like,,,,,or this link might help....

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Homemade-Cat-Repellent

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Thanks very much for those suggestions.

The link is very informative.

Particularly like the "this mixture is especially noxious to them" comment

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Right, scope coat ordered and a further 10 bags of shingle bought from Wickes.  The three additional ones to cover the sand have been put down, but I am waiting to hopefully get a couple of days dry weather before I start "paddling" to do the extension.

Now all I need is to find some way of deterring the local cats from using this area as a public convenience .... preferably something other than getting out the air rifle .....

The domestic cat is probably the most persistant animal on the planet, particulary once it gets into a routine.

I've tried the pepper, hot curry powder, (cancelled out by rain) electronic devices, (they get used to them) CD's & plastic bottles of water on their side (they don't like their own reflection), the best device I've found is this: -  

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Water-Blaster-XLR-Cannon/dp/B0000BYAWZ

With its 20 metre range you can carry on soaking the cat as it runs away and they don't come back.

Seems a bit expensive for an overgrown bicycle pump but like all simple ideas it just works.

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