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mhard26339

New Observatory in Norfolk UK

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Hi All,

After spending many hours reading about other peoples observatory builds I decided, after another night setting up ony to be thwarted by cloud it was time to start mine off. I am basing by build on the excellent build completed by malc-c who has been patient with my questions and answer sessions  but with different pier.

After looking at commercial piers I lifted a drawing for one and took it to a local engineering company, the quote came back at £395 +VAT, I might as well by a commrcial one; however up to £500 is too much. By chance I was on an industrial estate in Kings Lynn looking for 200mm drainage pipe, yes sir we can get that for you 3M costs £85, OK cut it in half and sell on SGL not too bad but when leaving the shop I spied another engineering company with lots of pipe on a rack. To cut a long story short 1.9M offcut of 6" I/D PVC pipe 12mm wall thickness for £20.

I also saw the use of brake discs from a Skoda Flavia as part of the mouting plate which I thought was a good idea; I went onto e-bay and found that the rear disc from a Mazda 6 was one of the largest solid, ie not vented, discs available and at £14.99 each sold. Purely by chance the raised portion of the disc fitted perfectly into the pipe as shown. The 5 mounting holes accept 12mm studding and will be the key into the concrete within the pipe. Three holes have been drilled into the plates for 16mm studding to act as the stays and level the whole head; all of the studding and nuts came to £30

Total spend to date was £80 and I nearly had a pier (excluding concrete) but on thinking about mounting the scope I did decide to buy a commercial adaptor from Altair Astro to mount my  NEQ6. I thought that this was expensive at £80 but it was a conevient and speedy solution as time was running out on me to finish this elemnt and the experience of the engineering factory did not fill me with confidence of a cheaper option with the risk on me, I will explain the time element shortly. Attachment of the mount to the adaptor was very vague from Altair Astro, merely "use the bolt from the tripod" but I couldn't see how that would work. So, again on e-bay 4 washers 60mm O/D x 30mm I/D and 60mm O/D x 12 mm I/D and a 12 mm bolt does the trick, the washers being placed inside the adaptor for purchase.

The pictures show the pipe together with the brake disc temporarily fitted. Pictures of the discs drilled for, and with the adaptor attached as well as the NEQ6 in position. Finally, the disc is shown with the rods in place for when the concrete is poured. A template has been made to keep the rods in place during pouring, one disc is then bolted to the plinth, the other held on by the 3x16mm rods through the outer holes. There appears to be plenty of room to adjust the Az bolts without blooding knuckles.

I hope that this has given another example of a pier and head assembly amalgamating private inginuity and commercial availability. Unfortunately there will be no more construction for a while as the number of doctors appointments is getting ever more demanding as I have just been diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and my Chemotherapy starts next week. Hope to resume posting the actual construction a la malc-c sometime around end of August/September if all goes well, I don' think that I will be well enough until then. Whatever, I hope that this inspires another build somewhere that could have been held up because of a requirement for an expensive pier.

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Looks good, the Altair Astro adaptors are a bit on the expensive side, I have the EQ5 version & there is too much metal missing in the middle. 

My solution was to get another adaptor made with a 10mm hole in the middle.  Just a big washer really.

Good luck with your build and I hope you are soon in good health.

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Thank you fondofchips, in fact I was just reading your thread, well done looks good.

Regards

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I am amazed by your ingenuity in finding some cheap parts for the pier. Am going to follow this build with interest.   :)

Wish you all the very best with the treatment - I hope you have a fast recovery.

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I wish you all the best too - good luck :)

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You know where i am if you need a hand, sorry the hospital visit went the wrong way..

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Thanks Tinker, yes the news was not good so have a bit of a battle on my hands but the odds are 80% and will keep in touch, if I can progress during the process I will and come round and thanks for your help to date.

Regards

Mike

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Nice idea to get the brake disc from ebay.  Best of luck with the build, and more importantly your treatment.

James

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Thanks James, I am sure I will be posting on progress soon PMA, PMA, PMA.

Regards

Mike

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Hi Mike, sorry to hear about your diagnosis, all the best with your treatment, and good luck with the hospital car park :embarrassed:  Us Lynnets have got to keep an eye out for one another.

Cracking pier by the way. I'd like to pick your brains one day when I'm ready to start my obsy....

Keep us posted on how you're doing.

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Just been looking at the brake disc prices.  Should a smaller disc be suitable for anyone else considering this, the Fiesta 240mm diameter disc looks like it might fit the bill at only £7: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FORD-FIESTA-1-1-1-8-D-1-4-1-8-TD-1-3-1-0-89-97-Eicher-Front-Brake-Disc-/290993994457

James

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Good luck with the treatment and a speedy recovery as i am looking forward to seeing pictures of your pier finished.

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Just been looking at the brake disc prices.  Should a smaller disc be suitable for anyone else considering this, the Fiesta 240mm diameter disc looks like it might fit the bill at only £7: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FORD-FIESTA-1-1-1-8-D-1-4-1-8-TD-1-3-1-0-89-97-Eicher-Front-Brake-Disc-/290993994457

James

Hi James, Initially I was looking for 200mm dia pipe, that is why I went for the larger disc but I had already sources the discs before I came accross the smaller dia pipe but with walls 122 thick and the price I could not refuse. The idea initially came from someone who used a Skoda Fabia disc at approx £9 I think so any will do if the dimensions work for your project. It was the cost of 12mm mild steel plate and the cutting that sent me own this path and when painted I think that it will be stable and look OK.

Regards

Mike

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Hi Mike, sorry to hear about your diagnosis, all the best with your treatment, and good luck with the hospital car park :embarrassed:  Us Lynnets have got to keep an eye out for one another.

Cracking pier by the way. I'd like to pick your brains one day when I'm ready to start my obsy....

Keep us posted on how you're doing.

Hi Crebles, Of course you can pick my brains, I have had plenty of help in formulating ideas from this forum.

By the way my treatment is at UCJH in London so no problems with parking ay Lynn!

Regards

Mike

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Just been looking at the brake disc prices.  Should a smaller disc be suitable for anyone else considering this, the Fiesta 240mm diameter disc looks like it might fit the bill at only £7: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FORD-FIESTA-1-1-1-8-D-1-4-1-8-TD-1-3-1-0-89-97-Eicher-Front-Brake-Disc-/290993994457

James

James, The link you flagged are the same people that I used, no problems and speedy delivery. It doen't really matter what car it comes from just the dimensions and price!!

Regards

Mike

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Great ingenuity, looking forward to following this build.

I amazed myself by recognising the brake discs as what they were even before I read the text.   :grin:

Carole 

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Sorry to hear of the diagnosis, like other SGL members I hope the treatment goes well and you make a speedy recovery.

Fantastic ingenuity.  I have a small concern using the disks which no doubt are steel, in that they can rust if left exposed.  I'm sure some etching primer and a good coat of paint will sort that out, or possible have the disk zinc coated or something similar.

I do wonder how fabricators and to an extent commercial pier manufactures can charge £400 or more for a tube with a couple of end plates - well done on getting a pier for under £50

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The good thing about the plastic outer pipe is less condensation than a metal pipe.

I've put 10mm of rubber between the bottom of my metal pier & the concrete base to help combat this problem, insulating the pier from the cold concrete base.

There isn't much difference between a concrete pier & a metal pier at the end of the day.

A broom handle is good for poking concrete & removing air bubbles.

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Hammerite paint is ideal for painting steel IMO.  I used smooth white for my first pier head to match the NEQ6 mount then with the EQ8 I used smooth black Hammerite to match.  Previous experience is that it lasts donkey's years even in a salty or sea water environment.  If the steel is rusty just brush it off to remove any loose rust then brush Hammerite straight on - it loves a rusty surface :)  One coat is usually sufficient.

Edited by Gina
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Sorry to hear of the diagnosis, like other SGL members I hope the treatment goes well and you make a speedy recovery.

Fantastic ingenuity.  I have a small concern using the disks which no doubt are steel, in that they can rust if left exposed.  I'm sure some etching primer and a good coat of paint will sort that out, or possible have the disk zinc coated or something similar.

I do wonder how fabricators and to an extent commercial pier manufactures can charge £400 or more for a tube with a couple of end plates - well done on getting a pier for under £50

Hi Malc-c,

Glad to see your comment, as I said earlier I hope to base my build on yours. In answer to your question yes the discs will be etch primed and painted; at the moment they retain the protective coat and must be degreased thoroughly before proceeding.

Regarding the costs for a metal pier, Before I retired I was MD of an engineering firm, steel is getting expensive as are all the materials for fabrication, hourly rates have got to be in the order of £30/hour but I must admit that £390 + VAT did shake me a bit but I couldn't find any steel pipe at reasonable rates or lengths 3M being the norm, I just could not justify the cost particularly after viewing solutions on SGL.

Regards 

Mike

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Hammerite paint is ideal for painting steel IMO.  I used smooth white for my first pier head to match the NEQ6 mount then with the EQ8 I used smooth black Hammerite to match.  Previous experience is that it lasts donkey's years even in a salty or sea water environment.  If the steel is rusty just brush it off to remove any loose rust then brush Hammerite straight on - it loves a rusty surface :)  One coat is usually sufficient.

Hi Gina,

Yes the preferred choice is black? Hammerite Smooth, the only question is whether it should be sprayed on or brushed. I guess that when it is dark no-one will see the difference.

really must make sure that I check for typo's before I post

Regards

Mike

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