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Dismantling a Pulsar dome


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Having recently been involved in dismantling and transporting a Pulsar dome (2.2 mtr) here are a few tips.

Pulsar put a substantial bead of RTV between the joints. When you have removed the bolts the flanges have to be parted. I found that a 4 inch wooden handled paint scraper lightly oiled can be forced in-between the flange and then drawn up and down cutting the RTV. Eventually the sections will part.

The panels will fit inside a long wheel base Transit van. Take some blankets or dust covers to pack between the panels to stop them rubbing during transit (no pun intended!)

Poly rope will tie them down (our van had rings in the floor). Journey one was with them stacked flat, journey two with them stacked vertical.

When you have them home the next problem is getting the RTV off the panel flanges. Some spray on softener (via Ebay) proved to be useless. Unibond RTV softener from Screwfix applied over the RTV and left for 3 hours made scraping it off a breeze. A power wash, Tee cut (or Brasso) and a wax polish brings the panels up like new. A power polisher takes the hard work out of restoring the finish.

 

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5 minutes ago, Tomatobro said:

A power wash, Tee cut (or Brasso) and a wax polish brings the panels up like new. A power polisher takes the hard work out of restoring the finish.

I polished my Pulsar dome last summer, using a power polisher, first boatyard fibreglass T-cut, then boat yard fibreglass polish. Came up a treat - it was like looking in a mirror! But by he end of the summer the lustre was going and now I am back to square one: it looks shabby again. Any ideas what to do next? Back to T-cut and polishing? Or just polishing? And when I've restored it again, can I put something on top to stop the lustre going again?

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I used a power washer to strip the rubber sealant remaining after splitting the clamshell halves. I also used the balde of a plane, used flat to slide between and cut the seal effetivelyy and later to remove the residual silicone. Worked well, just dont cut yourself. 

I powerwashed the dome and then brushed it down and applied polish via the power washer, like they do in a car wash. Wasn't ever going to polish

Just needs a wash now to get the algae off, In the same way as everyone else's I spose.

Mike

 

 

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Some really good tips here.

My 2.2m dome fitted on a flat-bed trailer in two halves, with the dome section complete; I split it at home to clean it up. Getting the silicone off was the biggest job for me. Three different softeners had no effect - I even tried leaving it overnight but still wouldnt budge. In the end I sharpened a stiff scraper on my grinder wheel and used this as a blade (wearing heavy duty gloves). 

As to polishing, my dome had sat underneath trees, in a farmyard for years before I purchased it and was covered in algae and black-spots. After jet washing, soft-sponging and washing down the surface was gleaming. I figured if it was this good looking after years of abuse, polishing may only enhance it for a while. The glossy finish has not faded since I installed it 6 months ago and this is enough for me without annual maintenance, besides which I have the dome mounted on a 600mm high table to get me views over the surrounding buildings and reaching the top would be tricky at best.

I did replace all the bolts with stainless domeheaded hex bolts and stainless nuts/washers, while Screwfix had a special price on - a few pounds well spent as I see them every time I am in the obs. I need to replace the bearings in the dome rollers as they had been left exposed to the elements for years at the farm.

I also replaced the nylon studs to the apeture, with bearing rollers of the type use in shower enclosure doors. A little Blue-Peter work needed here but it now glides like a dream and could easily be powered by a motor if I felt so inclined to build one (my dome is the older model that cannot be retrofitted with the Pulsar automator system).

 

Dome.jpg.0070bf7c931aabe9866f7d03956faab5.jpg

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On 22/05/2018 at 16:11, JeremyS said:

I polished my Pulsar dome last summer, using a power polisher, first boatyard fibreglass T-cut, then boat yard fibreglass polish. Came up a treat - it was like looking in a mirror! But by he end of the summer the lustre was going and now I am back to square one: it looks shabby again. Any ideas what to do next? Back to T-cut and polishing? Or just polishing? And when I've restored it again, can I put something on top to stop the lustre going again?

try something like this product using an electric polisher https://refinishsystems.com/product/farecla-g3-glaze-gloss-enhancer-1l/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIqeC6mPqe2wIVbZPtCh00vAn5EAQYBSABEgKCn_D_BwE

and protect with this with this https://www.croftgate.uk/product-page/quick-n-slick-250ml

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18 minutes ago, bottletopburly said:

Thanks. Do you know that these are OK to use with fibreglass? I couldn't see it mentioned

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2 hours ago, ACross said:

Some really good tips here.

My 2.2m dome fitted on a flat-bed trailer in two halves, with the dome section complete; I split it at home to clean it up. Getting the silicone off was the biggest job for me. Three different softeners had no effect - I even tried leaving it overnight but still wouldnt budge. In the end I sharpened a stiff scraper on my grinder wheel and used this as a blade (wearing heavy duty gloves). 

As to polishing, my dome had sat underneath trees, in a farmyard for years before I purchased it and was covered in algae and black-spots. After jet washing, soft-sponging and washing down the surface was gleaming. I figured if it was this good looking after years of abuse, polishing may only enhance it for a while. The glossy finish has not faded since I installed it 6 months ago and this is enough for me without annual maintenance, besides which I have the dome mounted on a 600mm high table to get me views over the surrounding buildings and reaching the top would be tricky at best.

I did replace all the bolts with stainless domeheaded hex bolts and stainless nuts/washers, while Screwfix had a special price on - a few pounds well spent as I see them every time I am in the obs. I need to replace the bearings in the dome rollers as they had been left exposed to the elements for years at the farm.

I also replaced the nylon studs to the apeture, with bearing rollers of the type use in shower enclosure doors. A little Blue-Peter work needed here but it now glides like a dream and could easily be powered by a motor if I felt so inclined to build one (my dome is the older model that cannot be retrofitted with the Pulsar automator system).

 

Dome.jpg.0070bf7c931aabe9866f7d03956faab5.jpg

Hi Across, 

I'd like to understand more about your last paragraph, since I believe I have one of the too. 

My shutter rides on Teflon slides. Is this what you are describing ? Do you have some photos please ?

Mike

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9 hours ago, JeremyS said:

Thanks. Do you know that these are OK to use with fibreglass? I couldn't see it mentioned

Yes they’re fine farecla products used in marine industry they’re just cutting compounds you just need a fine compound there are other makes bit like Tcut but finer , last product is a polymer cleaner use it on my car doesnt contain wax though water just beads off 

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12 hours ago, skybadger said:

Hi Across, 

I'd like to understand more about your last paragraph, since I believe I have one of the too. 

My shutter rides on Teflon slides. Is this what you are describing ? Do you have some photos please ?

Mike

Hi Mike

The sliders that my dome had where white nylon and they did not slide well at all. I purchased a set these of bearing rollers (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01LL80ZJK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) designed for shower enclosure doors and adapted them by adding a longer bolt to allow for two rollers on one shaft. The roller is 25mm so fits the slot nicely and is designed for a damp environment.

I found it is possible to remove a slider and replace with a roller, one at a time, without taking the aperture off completely, although it is fiddly.

Anthony

7310D9D0-54CB-45BA-9381-819A4FF8A88E.jpeg

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24 minutes ago, skybadger said:

Do your nylon blocks ride in a moulded recess ? Mine don't. But it's still a great idea. 

Cheers

Yes, my pulsar dome has a recessed channel that the nylon block “moved” along. These rollers are just about long enough (with an extended bolt and two wheels) to run inside the channel. If your dome has Teflon sliders, this may not provide much of an improvement. As I understand it Pulsar upgrades their design to improve the motor drives and this may have been part of that.

 

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3 hours ago, hughgilhespie said:

Great thread for Pulsar owners.

I have just ordered a set of the shower rollers. The Pulsar nylon blocks are a horrible design and this is a great idea to replace them. Thanks!!

Hugh

Hi Hugh,

happy to discuss the alterations I had to make and can send photos. 

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  • 1 year later...
On 22/05/2018 at 16:01, Tomatobro said:

Having recently been involved in dismantling and transporting a Pulsar dome (2.2 mtr) here are a few tips.

Pulsar put a substantial bead of RTV between the joints. When you have removed the bolts the flanges have to be parted. I found that a 4 inch wooden handled paint scraper lightly oiled can be forced in-between the flange and then drawn up and down cutting the RTV. Eventually the sections will part.

The panels will fit inside a long wheel base Transit van. Take some blankets or dust covers to pack between the panels to stop them rubbing during transit (no pun intended!)

Poly rope will tie them down (our van had rings in the floor). Journey one was with them stacked flat, journey two with them stacked vertical.

When you have them home the next problem is getting the RTV off the panel flanges. Some spray on softener (via Ebay) proved to be useless. Unibond RTV softener from Screwfix applied over the RTV and left for 3 hours made scraping it off a breeze. A power wash, Tee cut (or Brasso) and a wax polish brings the panels up like new. A power polisher takes the hard work out of restoring the finish.

 

So I am going to pick one up this week and was wondering about what size van to collect it in. I was erring on the side of caution and was planning on getting a big Luton van with tail lift etc? Is this overkill? You mention a long wheel base Transit, is this more than adequate?
It does come with an extension bay, so not sure if that makes the difference to size of van needed. Driving 3 hours so dont want to arrive and not be able to fit it in. Thanks

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I am seeing Tomato tonight and will ask what was the model of standard van he booked to move the dome from my house to his. Whatever it was it was not big enough and we had to do it in two trips.

It was a long wheel base Transit we used to move it from Scotland to Thirsk. Needed coverings to stop the panels rubbing against each other. The van had floor mounted "D" links so we were able to restrain the movement with straps for the journey

Will get Tomato to confirm

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It will depending on how dismantled it is (and how much you want to dismantle on site). I only had to split the base in half to get it all onto an open, flat trailer and would have managed with a long wheel-base transit with the dome in to pieces. If you split the base and the dome into four I am sure you could get it all into a transit.  As Tomatobro says above, take plenty of coverings - raid the airing cupboard.

 

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thanks for replies guys, I think to be safe I will just pay the extra £10 for the bigger van. I am not 100% sure if they have split it in half or taken it completely apart. Yeah more concerned about it getting damaged in transit. I noticed that when Pulsar transport it on their big shipments from their Facebook page that they use pipe insulation on the edges or the walls etc. Maybe that would be wise. I will need to get myself some more straps or rope by the sounds of it also.

 

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It was a standard wheelbase VW Transporter van that was too small. This will NOT take the Pulsar dome base and dome sections in one go. However I think any long wheelbase van will do nicely. We just put protective cloths between each panel, they nested quite securely when in the van, but best to lash them together to stop them shifting, especially if you have to brake hard at some point in the journey...

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Just reread the thread, thanks for the tip on the shutter rollers, this would certainly make installing a powered drive easier, it does take a lot of effort to get the standard shutter design moving.

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That is useful to note Tomato, on the size of van needed. One further small point to note from my own experience: the fully assembled dome top is fairly heavy (and difficult to move on your own). Try to keep it flat on its base lip whilst in the van and not propped on an edge. Mine was transported only 3 miles but propped up and the outer edge became fractured, despite the layers of blankets under it.

Post some photos if you get chance to take some. Good luck!

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8 hours ago, tomato said:

Just reread the thread, thanks for the tip on the shutter rollers, this would certainly make installing a powered drive easier, it does take a lot of effort to get the standard shutter design moving.

Happy to report that 18 months on and the rollers are continuing to work very well. They are a lot quieter than the nylon bushes too and I recommend having a go at it before your dome is assembled in its new home - it’s a long way up to the top of the dome.

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3 hours ago, ACross said:

That is useful to note Tomato, on the size of van needed. One further small point to note from my own experience: the fully assembled dome top is fairly heavy (and difficult to move on your own). Try to keep it flat on its base lip whilst in the van and not propped on an edge. Mine was transported only 3 miles but propped up and the outer edge became fractured, despite the layers of blankets under it.

Post some photos if you get chance to take some. Good luck!

Yes I believe it has been dismantled but I will be protecting those edges as much as possible. I will take some photos and post them up here. 

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