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Building my own pier in the garden?


choochoo_baloo
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Hello all,

As per the title above, I am looking to build by own pier to provide permanent mounting for my equipment. From my preliminary research I gather that I have two feasible options:

1. Buy a ready made item (I hear good things about the Alatir Skyshed). Bolted to a concrete pad that I'll pour.

2. Buy a DIY style one whereby the pier itself is concert poured into a vertical storm pipe etc. as shuttering. Then buy all of the metal fixing plates to attach mount to top of the pier.

There is a big difference in cost for the two options: ~£500 vs ~£200. Obviously the ready made option is a lot quicker to install however are there otherwise any pros and cons once installed?

Assuming not, I will probably go for route 2, and was planning on buying the Astro Engineering kit. However their website is a bit patchy and has no phone number or address...? Can anyone suggest an alternative product?

Thanks for any information in advance.

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Some say the metal pier is better, some favour the concrete.

IMHO: depends on your gear :) if you go for a steel pier I'd choose one with a knee so you don't have to worry about the meridian flip anymore. Those are quite expensive or you'll get an old gas bottle and know someone with welding equipment.

For "just a pier in the garden" I'd favour the concrete. Easy to make by yourself and, if done right, very good. Except for the meridian flip....

I just have a normal concrete pier with 30cm diameter for my NEQ6. Can be easily upgraded to hold an EQ8 later or even heavier.

CS

Thomas

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option 3 would be to go to an engineer near you and get a price to knock up a metal one. I made my own and not including concrete base, it came in at around £80.

I went to a local metal fabricator. It's amazing what they concider off-cuts :) 

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Matthew ,

I would go for the concrete pier with a plate bolted to the top which could be removed and modified to suit any future mounts you may wish to add. Removing a £10.00 disc brake and replacing with another to suit your mount give you some future proofing as well as a good solid low maintenance mount. My pier from my Obsy build was cheap to build but solid as a rock with the option to change the top plate if needed.

Gareth

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Matthew ,

I would go for the concrete pier with a plate bolted to the top which could be removed and modified to suit any future mounts you may wish to add. Removing a £10.00 disc brake and replacing with another to suit your mount give you some future proofing as well as a good solid low maintenance mount. My pier from my Obsy build was cheap to build but solid as a rock with the option to change the top plate if needed.

Gareth

 both piers have there advantages, to be fair though, the plate with changable brake discs does apply to both :D

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here is a link to my pier build that might be of some help to you, 

http://www.robslack1.webspace.virginmedia.com/Pier%20Build.htm

it`s solid as a rock and i`ve had no problems with it and cost alot less than the altair astro one which is lovely and i almost bought one myself but with the money i saved went on astro gear i also needed, hardest part was drilling the holes in the top plate so a bench drill would be handy.

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...if you go for a steel pier I'd choose one with a knee so you don't have to worry about the meridian flip anymore.

Can you please explain what is this "knee"

I tried looking at Altair Astro page and didn't see anything about it?

thanks

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Exactly :)

Since the head is already tilted, the mount does not need to flip. This would be the best (imho) pier. A welder could build this with ease and costs you next to nothing. ASA sells such piers for over 3k €.

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OK, so I know now what the "knee" looks like - thanks :smiley:

I am still not sure how does it help with meridian fli ?? (but that's probably just me being thick :tongue: )

need to read up about it.

and... who is ASA? (link please?  or full name rather than abbreviation so that I can google it mysef)

Edited by bambuko
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OK, so I know now what the "knee" looks like - thanks :smiley:

I am still not sure how does it help with meridian fli ?? (but that's probably just me being thick :tongue: )

need to read up about it.

and... who is ASA? (link please?  or full name rather than abbreviation so that I can google it mysef)

Here we are,

http://www.astrosysteme.at/eng/mount_ddm160.html

Pricey though :eek:

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The knee is to allow the back of the scope to rotate under. Normally on a EQ6 tripod or on a straight pier, the back of the scope hits the legs/pier at some point during the path from one horizon to the other.

There's two ways you can set the axis up - either straight.. that means you're hardware aligned or using an EQ mount on top and use the alt-az alignment adjusters.  You still get the benefit of extending the beyond-meridian reach and possibly not even have to perform a flip at all!

Btw - the DDM is a direct drive mount. It uses magnetic flux to move and hold the mount. There's no gears, no bands or moving parts in the drive mechanism so you you simply get great tracking performance. 

The DDM60 is their small mount - it's about €7K. *drool* but you need a PC connected and their software only runs on Windows.

Edited by NickK
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