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JamesF

JamesF's observatory build

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48 minutes ago, JamesF said:

A short while later we had bits of ash falling around the house, which can't be good news

Hopefully just a grass fire.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, JamesF said:

My intention was to remove all the screws holding down the rails for the roof and seal all the holes to stop water getting in, removing one of the rails that has leaked in the past and sealing the underside of the V channel at the same time (so water can't travel down the inside).

James

Hmm, thinking on this, I realise I hadn't considered this. Perhaps I should remove the screws holding the rail down and similarly add sealant to resist water getting in. Don't really want my rails rotting in a few years. Fortunately there are only half a dozen or so in the rail section that is open to the elements. I'm not too worried by the rail covered by the roof when it's closed.

Another thing to add to the list :)

Edited by Astrokev

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I didn't seal the screws in my rails but the wood was well soaked in wood preserver.  No problem so far

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On 18/04/2019 at 21:20, JamesF said:

Haven't got much done this week, but over the last couple of evenings I've been tidying up in preparation for painting the scope room, which I hope my daughter will help with tomorrow.  I even took a hoover down and to get rid of as much of the dust as possible.  Disappointingly the removal of the dust revealed this:

obsy-build-82.jpg

Looks like a rodent of some variety has been nibbling at the edge of the floor :(

I'm slightly tempted to get some steel or aluminium angle and screw it over the edges, though clearly I'm going to need to put some "rodent deterrent" down there somewhere.

Last job this evening was to remove and number all the pieces of aluminium section for the lighting.  They can go back in once the painting is done, but taking them out makes the whole job a lot quicker and simpler.

James

I used offcuts of EPDM glued to the floor to seal all the gaps as an effective creepy crawly barrier.  We occasionally have mice where next door's bird tables have overflowed but they have not caused me a problem.   How did the rodent get in?   Open door, pier opening?   You might find the problem goes away once you have finished and fully sealed any entry points at ground level.

large.Obsy-152.jpg.7effc14940ca88a65fb54da4b4dc9b71.jpg

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When you have an obsy with a warm room, is there a need to use the keyboard on the 'pooter whilst working?

I ask as, with allyour use of LED strip, how about fashioning a strip of low power LED to act as a red light over the keyboard to further reduce dark adaptation being scuppered?

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6 hours ago, LongJohn54 said:

I used offcuts of EPDM glued to the floor to seal all the gaps as an effective creepy crawly barrier.

Ah, yes, I had planned to do something like that and forgotten about it.  I'll add it to my list now.  Thank you for the reminder.

No idea how they got in, to be honest.  Fortunately or unfortunately, we have quite a large number of potential suspects around here and some of them are astonishingly acrobatic when they've a mind to be, as I found out when I tried to stop the squirrels stealing from the bird feeders.

James

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6 hours ago, Swoop1 said:

When you have an obsy with a warm room, is there a need to use the keyboard on the 'pooter whilst working?

I ask as, with allyour use of LED strip, how about fashioning a strip of low power LED to act as a red light over the keyboard to further reduce dark adaptation being scuppered?

That's an interesting idea.  I might put it behind my ear for later and see if I actually need any light for typing by.  I touch type (though hardly in a fashion recognisable by the people who do qualifications in these things as my approach is somewhat biased towards programming) so it might not be necessary, but we'll see.

James

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Today has largely been spent working with power tools.  The first job was to drill all the holes (both top and bottom) in the next set of blocks to make up the piers.  To void blowing out the inside of the block I started with a 5mm bit and worked my way up to 12mm in three stages.  Over twenty-four holes that takes quite a while :)  I needed a break after that, so using the cut-off saw I chopped down lengths of threaded rod for fixing the blocks together and cleaned up the ends with the bench grinder.

Next was the really messy job: using the disc cutter to cut the remaining blocks in half for the top section of the pier.  I looked like a ghost from all the dust after doing that and had to come in to clean up a bit.  Finally I had to drill the last set of holes in the bottom faces of these half-blocks and put a single hole in the top for fixing the mount.

All the hard work done it was then just a question of taking all the bits to the observatory and assembling them.  As with the bottom blocks I used Gorilla Glue on one of the mating faces and as it requires moisture for curing I "painted" the other face with water.  In the instructions it says to just spray the face with water, but the blocks were bone dry and sucked up the water so I had to be a bit more heavy-handed.  After positioning the new blocks I pushed the threaded rod through the holes and tightened up nuts onto large washers on each side.

I managed to finish two of the piers before calling it a day, though I could quite easily have carried on by the light from the LEDs with the roof closed.  I took this photo after finishing the first (farthest) one.  There's an NEQ6 tripod hiding behind it with the legs collapsed down as far as possible for height comparison.

obsy-build-92.jpg

Eventually these will all be clad with ply and painted the same colour as the walls, but in the short term I think I'm just going to focus on getting one sufficiently progressed to be usable.

There were, I'm afraid, a couple of casualties whilst using the tools.  I don't think this chap is going to be much use any more.  I'm not entirely sure what happened to the pointy bit.

obsy-build-93.jpg

And this one will mend, but stings quite a bit at the moment.  It certainly doesn't like being covered in shampoo :(

obsy-build-91.jpg

I didn't actually realise it was happening otherwise I'd have done something about it before it got quite so bad.  I'd drawn blood in exactly the same place when I caught my had on a sharp edge on one of the blocks right at the start of the day, so was ignoring the pain (thinking it was just from the cut) on the grounds that it was my own stupid fault for not wearing gloves to pick them up.  I'm sure it will be fine once it dries out.

James

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Oh, whilst engaged in all this manual labour it struck me that my observatory now doesn't just have a scope room.  In fact it's a "three pier suite".

Or, or, since the concrete blocks cost me a little under £3.50 each, what I have in there now are "the three tenners".

James

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What do you mean, "groan"?  That's my piers de resistance!

James

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Continues to look great James. I guess it’s a good feeling to get that messy job ticked off. 

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27 minutes ago, Astrokev said:

Continues to look great James. I guess it’s a good feeling to get that messy job ticked off. 

Yes, I'm glad that's done.  Things seem to be changing very fast at the moment.  I seem to recall your build seemed to do the same at a similar point.  All of a sudden lots of things start to come together.

My second string of LEDs arrived today and the aluminium section might well arrive tomorrow in which case I can get the warm room roof finished, then paint it and put a desk in and all of a sudden it starts to look like a usable space.

I have all of next week off (at least as much as you can do when running your own business).  Seemed like a good plan given that four days holiday gets me ten days away from work.  Whilst I do have other things to do I hope I can keep the momentum going.

James

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More progress today, though I was slowed a little by having to share resources with my father-in-law who was making some new doors for the polytunnel.  Not much I could do about that, but I think I've talked him into at least buying a new cordless drill to replace the four dead ones he keeps trying to persuade into ten minutes of working life so he won't need to use mine in the future.

First up was finishing off the last pier which was pretty straightforward.  Then I started lining the warm room ceiling during which time the aluminium section for the lighting arrived which meant I could actually get it all in place and complete the ceiling.  Even without a door (and with the roof rolled back) the warm room was getting a bit sweaty compared with the scope room, so it looks as though the insulation has some effect.

Just before 7pm I was thinking I was all done as I was given my "15 minutes to dinner" warning when I realised there was a small section behind the internal door lining that I'd missed.  There wasn't time to do that, so it will have to wait for tomorrow.

My wife said she'd sort out some paint that we no longer need so I can see if there's any I want to use for the warm room.  It might mean that not all the walls are the same colour though :)

After that I'm probably going to have to play things by ear a bit.  The weather looks to be taking a bit of a downturn into the weekend.

James

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Rain overnight forecast for here :clouds2:

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There's a little forecast for here, too, but only for a couple of hours.  Then tomorrow is supposed to be sunny again from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.  After that it all looks rather downhill :(

James

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Yes...

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With the vagaries of uk forecasting, I’d be prepared for anything!

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Today I had a bit of a tidy up to clear away tools and materials that I probably don't need in the near future, another trip round with the hoover and sealed all the joins between the ply in the warm room (no point insulating it if cold air can still get in).  I also removed and numbered all the sections of aluminium for the lighting.

After that I went for a swim with my daughter during which time my wife found me some tins of paint to investigate.  One was white, but there won't be enough of that to do more than one wall in all likelihood, but the other two tins were "Lavender Cupcake", whatever one of those is.  I'd call it a sort of pale pinky-purple myself :)  In boring conformity with common practice I decided to use those to do the walls and the white for the ceiling.  I started with the walls and I have to admit that I wasn't entirely sure about the colour to start with, but actually now it has dried a bit the paint does go quite well with the "Galaxy Blue" of the scope room.  Having completed the walls I decided I'd call it a day and try to get the ceiling done tomorrow if time allows.  I've got a few other jobs that must get done first, but if there's time to do the ceiling and for the paint to go off a bit then I can fit all the lighting.

Ran out of time for pictures, but I'll take some once all the painting is complete.

James

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Sounds like a plan James, but wouldn’t it have been easier to paint the ceiling first? You’ll now have to be careful you don’t drip or splash ceiling paint down the walls!

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Almost certainly, Kev, but I really wanted to see what the other paint looked like :)

 

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48 minutes ago, JamesF said:

Almost certainly, Kev, but I really wanted to see what the other paint looked like :)

 

I can understand that. Lavender Cupcake has a certain appeal!

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Not so much progress over the last couple of days.  The weather has been quite unpleasant and wandering between the observatory and workshop in the tipping rain doesn't really appeal.

However, I have now finished painting the warm room:

spacer.png

which means there's plenty I can be getting on with there.  Installing the lighting, fitting the desk and chopping up a flat-pack wardrobe to make a storage unit to start with.  Brownie points on offer for the latter too, as said wardrobe is currently occupying the space where my wife wants to set up desk for herself.

I've also been working on cladding the piers, which has turned out to be very slow work.   Not helped by the fact that there's a possibility a rodent has developed a taste for some of the wiring in the workshop and turned itself into a, err, "dead" short.  Every time I enable one of the workshop ring mains it trips the RCD within a few minutes, even when there's nothing plugged into any of the sockets on that ring.  So that's another problem that needs tracking down once I've made room to shift stuff around.  Anyhow...  I have at least finished cladding one pier and found a bit of wood that can fit on top just to finish it off:

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The mounting plate won't actually go on top as in the photo.  I'll cut a disc out of the middle for it to sit inside.  Then I just need to point it north-ish and bolt on a NEQ6.  I'd have done that already, but I'm almost ashamed to admit that I appear to have neither a compass nor any suitable M12 bolts!  I did at least fix the cladding onto the pier using some of the mountain of rawlplugs (that I had no need for) supplied with the lighting strips.  The cladding on the side facing that clamp on the floor has a hole in the top, by the way, so I can get a hand/spanner in for the purpose of putting in the bolt for the mount.  In the fullness of time I might make a cover for that, to discourage little creatures with far too many legs from deciding that it would make a nice home.

There was another casualty today.  The concrete blocks ate the business end of yet another masonry drill.  I'm down to my last one in that size now.  I see a Screwfix order in my near future.

Oh, one casualty and another almost there...  I've mentioned before either in this thread or Kev's build that the chuck on my hammer drill is dying.  Today it was actually undoing itself and releasing the drill bit whilst I was using it.  It really is time for a replacement now.

James

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Some good progress James. Pier looks great. I assume that’s the lavender cupcake in the warm room?  Looks more pink on my phone....Suits you Sir!

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5 minutes ago, Astrokev said:

I assume that’s the lavender cupcake in the warm room?

It is indeed :)

James

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Very nice ?  With my observatory I just got it to a state where it could be used and there it stayed!  No paint on the inside though I did put rubber foam tiles on the floor - mainly in case of dropping things.  It's had a fed upgrades but only to improve performance.  Scope room not lined warm room insulated with polystyrene blocks and lined with 6mm mahogany plywood which I was going to varnish but never did.

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