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_lunar_landings.thumb.jpg.b50378d0845690d8a03305a49923eb40.jpg

Bukko

Yet another building project

Recommended Posts

I'm watching this with interest......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Me too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're a brave chap Gordon.
I'm most impressed at your project planning - critical people like neighbours and planners squared off in advance!

I think your farmer neighbour's kids ad their friends will need to be shown the sights when the scopes and cameras are installed and the warm room running. That was a dodgy-looking tractor and I can imagine stress levels were high during those lifts!

Bravo!

Tony Owens

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all for the interest...

Tony, the planning requirement was highlighted by the estate agent handling the house, so I made getting permission part of the purchase requirement. France is totally different to the UK and being in the middle of nowhere "surrounded" by farms, my little project was simple. The only stipulation from the local mayor was I needed to form an astronomy club...

There is a lot of local interest, the track behind my house is used by locals taking a short cut and they often stop to talk... Such a challenge, as my French is about remedial GCSE level and they talk so fast here!!

When I get some time later, I will post some more pix...

Gordon

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow kudos for getting all that sorted out! I must admit what you are doing is a bit of a dream for me too, but retirement is at least 30 years off.

That setup is looking marvelous!

 

Looking forward to seeing more pictures. :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The  build project has taken around 6 months to date - this includes selling my UK house and moving lock stock and barrel to France. Having to decorate some of the rooms, as well as dealing with lots of overgrown garden and swimming pool in need of some TLC...

Builders here are pretty rare and all seem to have more work than they can manage. Our estate agent gave me the details of a Brit who lives close enough to help, but like every other builder, has more work than time. So I fitted in with his priorities to other customers, hence the long build time.

Anyway, after a good read of the assembly manual, we started on the base ring.

Key thing from the manual is to make sure the base ring is flat and circular (sounds obvious, but the tolerences are not big...) so lots of time was taken with the first one. Once in place, the measurements said it was fine without needing any adjustment, so the second one was a lot quicker...

The painted bricks inside the base is to support the raised flooring. And after setting the base ring in place, the piers were installed.

The first one holds a SW NEQ6, so has the rats nest to allow me to easily fit the mount, cutting a hole in the side of the pier was considered, but I thought it easier to have the flexibility of the rats nest. Never found it a problem. The second pier is for an ME2 so is a flat plate. Both were levelled, not for PA, but to make sure the moments of force act directly down... I suspect this is not really a problem, but it takes no effort to level the pier when bolting it down...

The piers were bolted down with m16 studs cemented into the base and cement applied under the pier to grout it down.

Gordon.

01.jpeg

02.jpeg

03.jpeg

04.jpeg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like getting builders might be a common problem in France.  The one who is/will be doing our barn conversion is actually in France this week and next, doing some work at a house owned by one of his neighbours here.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, JamesF said:

Looks like getting builders might be a common problem in France.  The one who is/will be doing our barn conversion is actually in France this week and next, doing some work at a house owned by one of his neighbours here.

James

I think shortage is country wide here in France...

Like finding hen's teeth... I would love to bring in a UK builder with the promise of a free holiday for his family, but the weather is not yet warm enough to entice anyone... The house is big enough, with a whole ground floor with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms for visitors.

I have all the heavy stuff finished now, so the rest I can manage, except for lifting the ME2 and 16" OO ODK into place. But this is not technical, so I will get some neighbours to help. They work for wine and that's easier to get here than a builder!!!

Good luck with the barn conversion!!

Gordon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not warm enough?!  You should try being back here at the moment :)  Despite getting towards the middle of May the thermometer has been struggling to find its way up to double figures of late.  My wife said there was even a frost this morning, and we're in the (allegedly) mild south west.

Whereabouts in SW France are you?

James

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, JamesF said:

Not warm enough?!  You should try being back here at the moment :)  Despite getting towards the middle of May the thermometer has been struggling to find its way up to double figures of late.  My wife said there was even a frost this morning, and we're in the (allegedly) mild south west.

Whereabouts in SW France are you?

James

OK, it's not that cold here...

Just about t-shirt and shorts weather, but the pool is not quite up to 20 degrees C yet...

We are off teh big road from Bordeaux to Toulouse, about 100 kms SE from Bordeaux. Turn south off the road around a town called Marmande and we are in the countryside near the town of Casteljaloux. That's a spa town with some tourists, but not enough to block the roads every summer !!!

Gordon.

Edited by Bukko
adding data

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By chance we were discussing coming down that way for a holiday this year -- staying near the lakes that I can't recall the name of near the coast.  But we have decided to stop a little further north near Royan on the grounds that it fits more neatly with the ferry timetables.

James

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, JamesF said:

By chance we were discussing coming down that way for a holiday this year -- staying near the lakes that I can't recall the name of near the coast.  But we have decided to stop a little further north near Royan on the grounds that it fits more neatly with the ferry timetables.

James

We take the overnight ferry from Portsmouth and it is about 7 hours drive to our house on the toll roads.

130kmh, stay in top gear and the roads are pretty quiet. The French do not like paying for the tolls, so they are under-utilised.

Enjoy your holiday!

Gordon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, flushed with success with the base ring, the instructions has me wiring all the rollers to mains electricity !!

Power to the rotating part goes through the rollers and so no batteries, etc. required.

The rings are in 4 parts, once all joined and the rollers adjusted to allow for smooth rotation without touching the stationary base ring, there are wire links to join the tracks together. Power is then taken up on some wires and connected to a terminal box later.

There is an outer weather cover ring to fit before the dome is bolted together.

So far, no issues, Scopedome assemble every one before shipping and this can be seen with the screw holes all lining up, even though they look to be hand-drilled...

Gordon.

 

05.jpeg

06.jpeg

07.jpeg

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Almost completely up to date now, we got a break in the bad (windy) weather and I managed to persuade the builders to give up their Saturday and come round and play...

The first dome basically took 90 minutes to assemble the main pieces, with more time to fit the limit switches for the shutter and then the shutter itself.

We even found time to stop for lunch but despite the forecast, we took some rain in the afternoon.

The panels assembled really easily, again in part to the pre-assembly in the factory, plus we were no longer trying to double think the instructions and simply do what they say. (Lesson here, I think) I love the door, it hinges out like an aeroplane but the door panel is pretty heavy!

So far, I have been impressed with the assembly manual, having now built using them, but there is still some work to do in fitting the electronics and interconnecting cables... Then comission the dome and test everything works well. And then try and run it via the software...

Then fit the scope and cameras and the big test is everything playing nice together.
So still a lot to do...

Hope the pictures give you an idea on the steps to build one. It has been fun, hopefully the fitting out goes well too.

Gordon.

 

08.jpeg

09.jpeg

10.jpeg

11.jpeg

16.jpeg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Bukko said:

 

05.jpeg

Hope those trees behind you aren't going to grow and encroach on your view, Gordon?

I must say, I'm thoroughly enjoying this thread. One of the best ones at the moment. Makes we tired watching all your activity, though 🙂

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, those dome really look the business :thumbsup:

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, JeremyS said:

Hope those trees behind you aren't going to grow and encroach on your view, Gordon?

I must say, I'm thoroughly enjoying this thread. One of the best ones at the moment. Makes we tired watching all your activity, though 🙂

 

Hi Jeremy,

I am really glad you like the thread, but don't think I am posting in real time!!! I started the work late November, so this is not a fast-track project. But in my defence, I also have done a bunch of re-decorating; there were some badly affected trees from processional caterpillars and as a result, I needed to fell 7 trees. So don't be surprised if the updates slows up soon...

The trees in the picture are actually further away than they look, 20m+ at a guess and they are to the north, so not such an issue. From both domes, I get a clear view of Polaris.

I only have one big tree to the SE of the domes, so any target entering from the East might need a couple of hours to clear. Depending on the target, I can get some time before the tree, then lots of time after. Due south is clear to the horizon. There are a couple of very small hamlets around, the nearest town is around 5 miles away and not heavily lit.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Gina said:

Wow, those dome really look the business :thumbsup:

Thanks Gina,

I spent a HUGE amount of time researching domes and other options for an observatory. Key issue for me was a very exposed aspect with high wind being a problem.

As I went through the assembly, I have been more impressed as I progressed. Next bit will be the electronics and software, so hopefully, this will also go well... But I guess, watch this space!!

Gordon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, only just seen this thread. Great build and those domes look fabulous. 

Good luck with the rest of the project. Looking forward to seeing the finished article!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those last few pictures remind anyone of anything?  No?  Shhhhhh

spacer.png

:D

James

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Ah but there's three of those, Gordon has only two!  I doubt Gordon's are quite as big as those even though his are pretty big!  😂

Edited by Gina

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, JamesF said:

Those last few pictures remind anyone of anything?  No?  Shhhhhh

spacer.png

:D

James

Spoken in jest, I hope...

We are more or less on the flightpath of the French air force, often low flying fighters sweep through the valleys around our place. We also see the odd helicopter and larger transport aircraft also flying low.

Mrs Bukko and I have this ongoing joke that we are waiting for a knock at the door.... Hopefully, it is a joke. Our only saving grace will be that the dome and mounts move far too slowly to actually track anything.

But you are not the first to point out the similarities. Our builder asked the same thing, especially as I started to change the design from what was declared in the planning request... Hahah

I am sure it looks too obvious to raise suspicions, but maybe they will think that's what I want them to think !!

Oh, dear, I am going to jail...

Gordon.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, to bring this thread fully up to date, the second dome was also constructed.

You would think having built the first one, the second would be easier and quicker, but no. Increasing wind speed and some rain, along with the base being higher (The first is 50cm high, the second 80cm...) made it more difficult. My original plan was for the bases to be something like 1.5m off the ground, I think building the dome on top would have been really challenging and Scopedome suggest assembling the dome offsite and using a crane to lift in in...

We did get it up though and as a pair, looks impressive. Better in real life, more so than the pictures. Fitting the shutter was also a lot more challenging, as we need to remove some of the rollers then place it under the top rollers at an angle from the back. Working off a ladder with a shutter that must weigh 50kg or more is not for the faint hearted, so we enrolled the builders' son to do it.

The internal flooring was put down to assist in the access, when I am done, it will be secured to the bricks so stop it rattling around. The bricks are not perfectly level, or there is some slight warping of the wooden decking material. Either way, it will need to wait until the power and data cables are installed and the computer placed under the floor before finally securing it.

So please expect a bit of a time delay now before any more photo updates, as I now have to catch up with other work around the house..

Gordon.

 

12.jpeg

13.jpeg

14.jpeg

15.jpeg

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They do look very impressive, I have to say.  And from the photos appear to be very well-made, too.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It looks so good!

What kind of gear are you putting in there? Saw an EQ6 and a 300mm(?) newton..

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.