Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_globular_clusters_winners.thumb.jpg.13b743f39f721323cb5d76f07724c489.jpg

Shibby

Build: My Roll-Over Roof Observatory

Recommended Posts

Here is my observatory build thread! I actually started work some 7 months ago, but progress has been very slow as I only manage to find a couple of days per month on average. I thought I'd wait until I had enough decent progress to show you all before posting anything!

Originally, I only planned to put up a pier + new shed, but the good people here on SGL encouraged me to go for a full observatory. See my original thread here: Pier + "Astro Shed"

Eventually, I settled on the idea of a roll-over roof. My design is probably quite unconventional and uses an off-the-shelf 12' x 8' shed as a starting point. It's a fairly sturdy one, though, and I'm reinforcing it where possible. I (my wife) wanted to save as much garden space as possible, so I will be building a new roof section that slides back, on rails, over the warm room side of the observatory.

Back at the start of the year, I did not consider myself adept at DIY let alone construction, so I've learnt an awful lot along the way. At the time of writing, the observatory is not quite proven, so I don't know for sure if my "unique" design or methods are going to work... So far, so good, though!

Here are some of the early / rough designs:

3d-overview.PNG.94b544e72016676e05eb05d8d5c604ee.PNG

roof-overlap-from-front.PNG.2139d62ffe0d62276cfa1b0e92fa62d2.PNG

 

runners.PNG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

February

Area marked out (you can just see the pink string). The tree on the left is a bit awkward - at this point I'm thinking of just trimming it well back:

5a15abac93c10_20170220_133025-Copy.thumb.jpg.bdde8e440e352a3ced6c600aefb03233.jpg

 

2 days later... a storm rips half the tree down, the rest is partly up-rooted! More space for my build!

5a15abad6d467_20170223_190252-Copy.thumb.jpg.26402b96d69e32daa9311e29ebc07718.jpg

 

Edited by Shibby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

March

Some materials for the base arrive. On the same day, I finished cutting down the tree and clearing the area.

5a15ac27e5fdf_20170310_105045-Copy.thumb.jpg.bd6ec5b341c7b3d9b204e503b59bc733.jpg

5a15ac28c0600_20170311_150111-Copy.thumb.jpg.89fbd0d62874c207b3f3015d050a3adf.jpg

Groundbreaking!

5a15ac2999ade_20170311_180624-Copy.thumb.jpg.f599ceeca0a669e8adbd66bc7b7af73b.jpg

 

Started digging the hole. Very hard work with the solid clay below 20cm, mixed with large stones.

5a15ac2a7ced1_20170318_132722-Copy.thumb.jpg.3501a23099f63785331992503cfeb71a.jpg

 

Edited by Shibby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Early April

Finished digging the hole. The pegs are for levelling the sub-base.

5a15ac6d677d7_20170402_135704-Copy.thumb.jpg.f11db7c139124ab7ac96bcf0dbed26be.jpg

 

USB & DC power cables run through a drain-pipe to the pier location

5a15ac6e40149_20170402_135717-Copy.thumb.jpg.7442287db33bf1606d37cd53f936e7f6.jpg

 

MOT barrowed in

5a15ac6f14769_20170402_172512-Copy.thumb.jpg.cd0b225b5c082768827951151792bc06.jpg

 

MOT compressed with a hired plate compactor (scary machine!)

5a15ac6fdb674_20170402_183908-Copy.thumb.jpg.fcafbf65e0c0b5cde01a20733dad71a1.jpg

 

Edited by Shibby
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Late April

Template and threaded bar for the pier fixings.

5a15ac9943c25_20170422_180553-Copy.thumb.jpg.c94894c0de94c5dee0e10b7ef0c5b4fa.jpg

 

At this point I drafted in some help from my dad... Paving slabs partly laid; concrete mid-pour (using a hired mixer):

5a15ac9a137fa_20170430_164721-Copy.thumb.jpg.73cba62a1356450c50218b86f4dbeb39.jpg

 

Paving finished and concrete all poured, template with threaded bar in place:

5a15ac9accaea_20170507_171949-Copy.thumb.jpg.1529e2323593a2a01b887a058902ab46.jpg

 

Edited by Shibby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

May

Everything is set, template removed:

5a15acdc3e130_20170507_175330-Copy.thumb.jpg.2fe8dc3925101cf18d611f9baeb118d1.jpg

 

Rear area fully cleared, weed barrier + gravel added. You can't see in this picture, but I've dug a drainage channel on the left-hand side where the ground is higher that the base foundations. My wife and I took this opportunity to re-paint the fence. 

5a15acdd1a55d_20170514_192358-Copy.thumb.jpg.7af2762873596b34303a221b97a10897.jpg

 

Pier bolted down and floor started!

5a15acdddf832_20170527_132344-Copy.thumb.jpg.33f51eb6ac8db616cae2ad58548bf7ec.jpg

 

Floor completed. I was pleased to see the measurements match up!

5a15acdeb0695_20170527_163259-Copy.thumb.jpg.980740701e598f096548d241143804a7.jpg

 

Et voila! The shed itself went up in no time. The walls stack up from thick tounge-and-groove boards that overlap at the corners. We pre-painted them with 2 coats of Cuprinol.

5a15acdf82bbf_20170529_132127-Copy.thumb.jpg.ac4853740f4337670e80141f2a64c778.jpg

At this stage, I haven't completed/felted the roof because it's going to have a massive hole cut in it later on! Little did I know just how long the tarpaulin would be in place...

 

Edited by Shibby
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

June

After a week of heavy rainfall, I was very concerned to find damp patches on the floor. Worried that I had either rising damp or water getting under the floor, I lifted all the floor sections and painted them with 2 coats of "liquid rubber".

5a15ad2fb2f58_20170608_182602-Copy.thumb.jpg.0df0375a4c1900c1110a733e835b8bf7.jpg

5a15ad308a0f0_20170611_204415-Copy.thumb.jpg.1cfdacf7e81fd8015143f8512180928f.jpg

Rather embarrassingly, it turned out that my roof tarp was not entirely waterproof (since replaced) and that's where the water was coming from! Still, a good idea to have fully waterproof floor bearers.

 

My stepfather is a qualified electrician, so he helped my hook up the electrics. The power (and ethernet) is run from the house, just as an extension plugged in to an existing 13amp socket - this helps avoid some of the certifications that would otherwise be required. Here is the consumer unit and first socket:

5a15ad315fa56_20170624_192302-Copy.thumb.jpg.7eb48dbf1ca6b2288d1c15df27efca82.jpg

 

Edited by Shibby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

July

Work starts on the frame for the new roof section. It's made from steel tube, which I painted with lead oxide, and tap-in connectors. In the centre is a self-supporting glazing bar.

5a15ad62e0e35_20170715_143736-Copy.thumb.jpg.c92b590a6806aa3ece0ce0fb2d488f08.jpg

 

Here you can see the V-profile steel wheels, embedded in timber and bolted onto the steel frame. The rails are mounted on the outside of the shed walls - this allows the sliding section to overlap at the front and back for better protection from the rain.

5a15ad63caf9b_20170715_210354-Copy.thumb.jpg.aa49af0455ea0131ba1fb76c6ca58a84.jpg

 

And it fits!! It can be easily slid back and forth with one finger!

5a15ad649b0ee_20170715_212408-Copy.thumb.jpg.8500e6b936eeed5c46f2bcb3dfb7645d.jpg

 

Here's a closer view of the V-profile rails & wheels.

5a15ad6556946_20170919_183923-Copy.thumb.jpg.5717b9fd25744c424d160c83e3b5d2c7.jpg

 

Edited by Shibby
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

September

After a few more days work, the rather fiddly job of completing the roof section is now finished. The panels are HeatGuard polycarbonate. The boards at front and back are "golden oak" PVC fascia boards, in an attempt to match the timber colour as well as possible. Mmmm veneer.

5a15ada97fb7e_20170905_175123-Copy.thumb.jpg.4f3a35557313b738d647e215ad8feb63.jpg

 

The next job was to move one of the heavy-duty roof joists to line up with the edge of the opening section, then cut the roof panels and re-fit to make a hole!

Once done, the timber "lips" were added around the edge of the hole and the new roof section lifted into place.

One late evening of twilight, rain-dodging felting and the roof is *finally* water-tight! The ugly tarp has gone!

 

Here you can see it from the inside, with the toggle latches holding the roof in place.

5a15adaa41dab_20170919_124331-Copy.thumb.jpg.b0372719e5b85a67f748c5d3c7909a27.jpg

 

I might add insulation to the underside of the polycarbonate - it depends how effective the HeatGuard turns out to be next summer.

5a15adab062fa_20170919_124352-Copy.thumb.jpg.d6d8162a5c804fd7dead3859a3e1d50f.jpg

 

Since there's an actual opening in the roof, I have actually started calling it an "observatory" rather than "shed" - I milestone, I think :)

5a15adabd0dcd_20170921_133248-Copy.thumb.jpg.74845bd812ffa9b1e8f767d31b8dc5c2.jpg

There's just a few bits & bobs to finish on the outside and then I'll be ready to start fitting it out. Thanks for reading - I'll update this thread as and when any further progress is made!

Edited by Shibby
  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking really good.  Not long before you're up and running by the looks of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice to see a slightly different design.  So much fun still to come with wiring and setting up all the gear!  Keep us posted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! I will certainly keep the thread updated.

1 hour ago, RayD said:

Not long before you're up and running by the looks of it

Ha, probably not considering the prior rate of progress! At least I can work inside, even if raining, from now on...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent work sir.     The shed and roll off roof design is very neat, especially using the weight saving polycarbonate panels.    It will transform your 'inner' space from a daytime dark shed to a light rich technical area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With Roll off Roofs generally the roof rolls back on to two vertical support pillars.This is the first time that I have seen a design where the roof rolls back over the warm room. Very progressive thinking. So simple a design that it has been missed by most of us.................Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hat's off to a fine design and build. You will come to love your observatory more than you know and the benefits are enormous.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, sloz1664 said:

Hat's off to a fine design and build. You will come to love your observatory more than you know and the benefits are enormous.

Steve

Couldn't have put it better myself.

Excellent build and interesting new approach to the rolling roof.  Don't rush to finish it, enjoy the building process.  I found that when building mine, the journey was almost as much fun as the destination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all, I appreciate the comments. Fingers crossed I'll get there in the end :) My next job is the stud-work and internal wall, so I'll post some pics of that once I've got somewhere with it.

On 21/09/2017 at 17:26, Craney said:

Excellent work sir.     The shed and roll off roof design is very neat, especially using the weight saving polycarbonate panels.    It will transform your 'inner' space from a daytime dark shed to a light rich technical area.

It is actually really nice in there during the day with the soft ambient glow.

On 22/09/2017 at 09:55, DAVE AMENDALL said:

This is the first time that I have seen a design where the roof rolls back over the warm room. Very progressive thinking. So simple a design that it has been missed by most of us

Probably because this method does introduce a number of challenges. It needs to be as lightweight as possible, very carefully lined up and the rails have to be mounted on the outside, otherwise you can't achieve a rain-proof overlap. I tried to come up with a design with the rails inside but it just wouldn't work.

On 22/09/2017 at 14:43, r3i said:

Excellent build and interesting new approach to the rolling roof.  Don't rush to finish it, enjoy the building process.  I found that when building mine, the journey was almost as much fun as the destination.

Yes I'm really enjoying it actually. Of course, there's the odd stumbling block along the way but as long as you set off expecting that, it's no worry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, that's really good, particularly impressed by tight fit of closed roof, will use liquid rubber on my build. I am using the same pier as you and when I removed the top former that held the bolts in place I noticed that the top of the concrete was slightly pitted. Did you get that? I so what did you do? 

What scope are you putting on the pier?

Max

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, maxchess said:

when I removed the top former that held the bolts in place I noticed that the top of the concrete was slightly pitted. Did you get that? I so what did you do?

Yeah it wasn't a nice, perfectly smooth surface but overall it was flat enough that the pier still bolted down nicely.

17 hours ago, maxchess said:

What scope are you putting on the pier?

The pier seems sturdy and for 6 months I've a second-hand MN190 patiently waiting in the wings for me to finish the obs!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.