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GraemeC

Graeme's ROR - a build with added features

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After a long period of ideas and planning I managed to make a start on my ROR earlier this year.  Its not quite finished yet, but its nearing its final stages, so I have a bit of a photo library showing its development.  The original ideas and sketches are from about 2 years ago, when I thought I would make better use of the space in the garden and also find a semi permanent home for my astro bits.  I live on the edge of a town so my skies aren't dark skies, but the back garden isn't overlooked by any street lights so it is comparatively dark.  I thought the advantage of convenience would outweigh the light pollution and so it would be worthwhile constructing an observatory.  If I get really enthusiastic I can still put the semi-portable equipment in the back of the car and drive off to dark sky locations less than one hour's drive away - such as remote parts of Wiltshire & near Salisbury plain.

I wanted to build a multipurpose building on the site of my delapidated shed.  The best arrangement that came to mind was to have an observatory with roll off roof, and a new (smaller) garden shed.  The two buildings would be separated by a treehouse type of play area (for grandchildren).  The ROR itself would slide over the footprint of the treehouse, so the supports would also be the structural supports for the play area.  Ok, off to do some sketches....

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I made up a shopping list of timber, nails and other bits and starting getting it all together.  A base was cleared and the boundary hedge cut back.  Then I had a break while I had builders in, working on a house extension.  That meant that the wood and other parts spent last winter under canvas in the garden with no progress being made.  Once the builders had gone, I uncovered everything once more and prepared the ground slab for the ROR.  It comprises paving stone base with a single layer of brick to support the ROR walls. 

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Oooh, another build.  Jolly good :)

James

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3 hours ago, Alan White said:

Good luck with the build,.

From the OP it sounds like Build is nearly finished we're playing catch up!

looking forward to seeing more pictures 😃

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Yes I'll be posting the photos as I get them sorted to bring you up to date.  The project has been quite stop-start-stop because of work commitments and distractions from the work on the house.  So I didn't want to bore you with a very protracted development!  The plan is for a roll off roof approximately 2m x 3m, any larger would dominate the garden so I thought this was a nice balance.  I'm not building a pier as I might want to move my imaging rig to a dark sky site occasionally, so I'm having a portable pier (EQ8 style).  I also have a 14" Dob so that will take centre stage in the ROR from time to time.  The ROR base is against the east boundary of my long thin back garden and I have a good view of most of the sky except for one tree to my south east.  I could have positioned the ROR in a different place to see that part of the sky but the rest of the garden would have suffered so its all a compromise   :)  If I wait a couple of hours, all the objects behind the tree emerge anyway.  

Views to the lower sky in the west will be assisted by a drop-down flap.  So the western wall is in two pieces top/bottom and will be hinged.  This means I had to decide what to do with the running rail which runs north-south...  I opted for a solution where the rail on the west wall is also fixed to the flap, and moves out of the way when the flap is lowered.  It means that in order to open the flap the roof needs to be fully open which I think it would be anyway.

At this point I have buried a cable pipe under the paving stones from one corner to the centre, and capped off both ends with black plastic caps.  This is so I can run 12v power supply to the tri-pier and perhaps run USB back out to the corner.  Reduces the trip hazard... 

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Edited by GraemeC
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Sounds even more interesting as no pier and a dob too.
I am thinking of similar or a shed and a fence to block light intrusion alongside.

 

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I think it'll always be a compromise between accessibility, other uses for the garden, and the avoidance of neighbours lights or streetlights.  I'm finding I'm getting re-acquainted with visual astronomy as well, as the prospect of carrying everything about every time will not be a concern any more!  This pic shows the base looking south towards the delapidated shed.  Quite a study in rot and semi-collapsed buildings, that was...   The wood under cover is sufficient tongue & groove for three sheds.  I decided to use something a bit more substantial that your average shed material so I've got 28mm tongue & groove, which is more like log cabin specification.

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The assembly begins.  The completed wall panel, two half panels and end frames are propped up against the fence before all being bolted together with a bit of help from the younger builders in the family...

The observatory has to be used as a regular shed while the old shed is demolished.  The old lawn mower has to be kept somewhere!  So the observatory is first assembled without the roof rollers or panel hinges.

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That is quite a jump from your last post!

Did you make the panels, or were they made and delivered by a third party?

I'm intrigued with the image showing equality in action - the gent casually watching-on whilst the lady-folk do the hard work! 🤔

Edited by Astrokev
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It's all home-made... The jump in construction is more due to the lack of pics in the early stages rather than a rapid building process.  I made the framing by using a layout jig to hold all the joints in the right place then good old fashioned hammer & ring nails to secure it all.  I wondered about buying a nail gun but when I found out I would need different sized guns for different sized nails I decided not to.  I did buy a palm nailer partly as an experiment but I didn't bother with it much as it turned out to be more hassle than it was worth.  I have better pics of panel assembly and truss assembly for the other parts of the build, to be posted soon.

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The gent is my son who kindly came around to help with holding the walls in place.  The walls are pretty heavy and it was a two man job to lift the large ones.  The youngsters are my three grandkids on.. Err .. Work experience... For the afternoon.  Naturally I made sure they had the appropriate PPE.  🙂

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Very neat so far.  Is that a fold-down section on the garden side?

James

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Looks an interesting build and programme you have going.

Interested to see the end results.

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Hi James,

yes the west facing side is in two parts and the upper part will have hinges so it will fold down as a flap.  At the moment it's just sitting in position under its own weight with a couple of temporary clamps to stop it falling out.  I thought the observatory width of approx 2.2m could be a bit limiting if I am looking over the western sky, so the idea is the flap can drop down and give me extra visibility.  In practice if I am imaging from here it's more likely I'd be looking at objects quite high up anyway so it might not be necessary.

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I have exactly the same thing in mine, Graeme.  Even down to it currently being held in place with clamps :D

James

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Windows put into the south facing wall.  These two double glazed units were left over from the rebuild of my old kitchen and are ideal for providing internal light during the day.  The windows are fixed and will be opaqued over before anything of interest is stored inside!  At this point, the observatory is cunningly disguised as a shed (no track or rollers) because I need somewhere to store the garden tools while I also demolish and rebuild shed number 2.

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Looking very nice.

Carole 

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Roof completed.  The roofing shingles are rather heavyweight but they have a very good life expectancy.  There is a membrane layer underneath.

After this I turn my attention to the second part of the build, which is to demolish the old shed, replace it and then to connect the two new buildings

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Guest

Looking good. I just love pictoral developments. Saves scrolling through all the off topic natter 😴 lol can't wait to see the next stages come together. Great project and thread 👍

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Is the intention to add the rolling mechanism for the roof later?  Lift the roof and insert the runners etc. once the rest of the work is done?

James

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I like the look of those roofing shingles.

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