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The Observing Area Build


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Power up and running to a double waterproof socket. LED dimmable spot at recommended by others temporary fitted to trial and ascertain best location. Inaugural observing with Dob for a short sess

Well the final bolt down and first light, albeit WL and a blank disc in poor seeing 😁 Biggest delay today was finding an M10 nut in my vast collection of M6 and M8 nuts! Clearly the

Well materials ordered, now number 150 in the delivery queue, so Thursday 30th latest. Wood, Ballast, Cement etc. Oh and the duct arrived a week earlier than stated, Mrs W. Has not seen it yet.  🤞

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3 minutes ago, Alan White said:

When you say thicker, do you think 6" is to thin?

Yes.  Though it depends what you mount on it and what it's made of.  My pier is 1.2m high 8" at the top and about 11" at the base where it joins the block.. 

Edited by Gina
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OK, good point and duly noted, thank you @Gina for the reply, appreciated.
I will have to ponder on that one a while as was working on a 6" steel or concrete one.
It is for visual use, but who knows for what in years to come.
 

Edited by Alan White
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Please feel free to chime in on my public musings:

So work now done so went into garden for some Sun Tonic, and more thoughts on the plan.
Got a bit carried away and now more red paint on the concrete, but it is straight to fences this time.

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So marked for a 600mm x 600mm hole, think if i can 600mm deep. 
That should be a good footing.

The straight line is where I will run a 50mm PVC Drain pipe with slow bend at each end for future cables,
but for this plan a 12v power supply line to start with to the Pier.
Is this big enough a duct or do I need bigger?

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A cupboard in the corner with 2 big angles shelves, roof at top (where else) and
double doors opening each side onto existing fence.
The strip of wood shows the angle intended, gives enough space for my plan and allows doors to be out of the way open.
Also plenty of space left around the scope when in use at cupboard side.

This will give me dry space for 12 Volt PSU and shelf or my EP Case at lower level and laptop or books above.
Also allows me to have growth space for changes of use and kit, no plan on imaging as I observe, but as we know plans change.

This is almost turning into an observatory.

Ran through this with the 'Domestic Manager', who thinks it should look ok in the garden and work for me.
I think the pier will not have a push away cover, just be covered once built.
 

Is this a sensible layout for what I have, can anyone see any major pitfalls or goofs so far??

 

Edited by Alan White
typos of course
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I think Gina is wise suggesting that you consider the effect a roof would have on your pier plan.

Looking at threads on this forum it seems that piers get infected and sprout walls which, if left unattended develop a bad case of the roll off roof disease.

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Some progress and a slight problem too, part of the fun.

The corner housing has a plan, I have some wood to build the frame and roof, but not enough to finish.
Clearly the materials can wait and are certainly not essential supplies in anyone's books.
Play has been stopped due to lack of long enough screws, but internet order with Toolstation placed, so sometime next week.

Uprights cut, will hold the doors and be side frame.
Top support for roof on fence line cut.
Tomorrow cut the front of door frame and roof brace.

A couple of sunny hours late this afternoon after work as I needed to seriously destress as I have spent the week trying to get PPE 
for those who truly need it at the Local Authority I work for, and it's not a good place to be if you need PPE.

Anyway, back to Astronomy and my project.

Actual work again started 👍           No longer just dreaming or thinking of a plan 😀

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And a slightly closer look, quite pleased as I have a deserved reputation as a 'Wood Butcher',
If you are still with us Mr Ballance (my Woodwork Teacher) then you were quite correct in your assessment.

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Well a total rethink as the doors would have got complicated and the shape other than looking nice did nothing
as a cupboard or usable space, the odd corners if anything made everything challenging!
As a renown 'Wood Butcher' complicated and wood are not good bedfellows for me, so a rethink and slight change,
this only wasted a few short bits of used timber, everything else is reused.
All timber is old fence rail that I kept in the garage for an astro job one day and that day is here.

So was in the corner and triangular:

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Now a rectangular store / electrics area:
This will use a 30" wide door, so a standard size if needed, but tempted when timber supplies are back to make my own.
Plan to clad the side and door in feather edge or shiplap timber and stain to match fence of observing pad.

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And yes it is straight, something odd with angle picture taken at, mostly was all balanced in place,
this due to lack of screws, but on way from Toolstation via Royal Mail.

Front timber is levelled, you can see how out the pad concrete is, this allows for the floor to be cast in concrete,
Plan is to stop water ingress under a wooden floor and gives a decent surface for the transformers etc to stand upon.

All electrics will be in the narrower right hand side, on a boarded wall and the rear (left in picture) wall will be clad too.
Surfaces for charts and Moon Map etc.  So a little home for my observing pad, certainly not the shed or observatory I had in mind last year.
But I will up the situation with a duct into the cupboard and foundation for a pier going forwards.

Oh yes, and the fruit trees x3 are all into bud or leaf: Crabb Apple nearest, Cherry to right and Plum behind Crabb Apple.
The Cherry has its first ever flowers (low down and white), which is rather nice.
Sorry a terrible image, that's why it is last!

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A very nice long weekend of distraction from the world as it is at present, also have done quite some gardening too.

The pier foundation will be 600mm x 600mm Area with about 900mm depth if I can dig that far down here.

And thanks to @AdeKing for the ongoing chat via messaging on piers, mounts and the striking likenesses in our astro lives.
It's always so helpful to talk things through and a pleasure to share our hobby remotely.

You all take care now.

Edited by Alan White
correction
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Well progress made today, had a day off work, so of course spend at home, what else.

So with all the new screws and vapour barrier etc. from Toolstation and Screwfix,
I have been busy fitting the frame to final location and built and felted the little flat roof.

The roof needed side battens, of which I have none, so a length of floor board was ripped down,
used what was my Dad's AEG circular saw, its years old and used this when I was an apprentice with him.

So here we go:

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Chase in for the 50mm duct, cupboard frame built, roof on and vapour barrier on side as no cladding.
Duct in tomorrow if the rain that started stops.

Very pleased as it look OK, I am a wood butcher normally and its straight, solid and looks OK.
Perhaps hope for me yet.
Mind you I have yet to make a door to fit, so time to go all wrong yet!

View from garden, just a little flat roof shows:

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If you look behind the Observing Area, you can see the animal track from where the Foxes and Badgers wander.
They and the local Bats often join me when observing.
Oh and the Owl in the woods beyond next doors field often has a hoot too.

So now frustrated needed materials to finish and for the pier.

 

Edited by Alan White
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Hi Alan, all looking good 👍.............apart from mention of the possibility of going to the dark side..........you know it’s a slippery slope.........just think of all the TV eyepieces you could buy instead........😁

Cheers, Ed.

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It's starting to take shape very nicely Alan.  Your fondness for the nature around you reminds me of the autobiography Starlight Nights, The Adventures of a Stargazer, by Leslie C. Peltier, and particularly the chapter entitled Cowpasture Station.  There is something special about having that closeness to nature that can be lost when confined inside a dome. I think the wildlife adds to the whole experience and makes the whole thing magical. Birds singing their hearts out during pre dawn sessions. Bats showing off their aeroBATics, Owels talking to eachother and hedgehogs sharing a slug constantly entertain me.  Foxes and even the occasional Deer have paid me a visit.  I can't think of a more wonderful hobby.

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Progress continues.

50mm duct in with 2 x 135 bends to make a long slow bend up into cupboard / observing office.
Other end butted to middle of where pier will go, so leaves me flex in pier choice.
Duct concreted into the pad up to the area marked for pier footing.

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Cupboard / observing office now has a concreted floor, which help anchor the structure even more.
Now just needs to be left to cure for a few days.

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I had some good news in that my local woodyard, who I use often and have been shut are opening next week for
phone based orders, delivered to driveway with contactless transaction, so perhaps some cladding and door timber
can be arranged after all............ to be continued
 

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6 minutes ago, Beulah said:

Great thread. That concrete base was crying out to be an observing pad, glad you saw the potential.  :)

I always did from the day it got put down for the kids pool, just had to bide my time.....
that was many, many years ago and was used for a scope from about 2015 or so.
The Observing Pad is a slow burn process, mainly due to finances and trying to finish the house projects that go on and on.
 

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On 18/04/2020 at 15:03, Alan White said:

I had some good news in that my local woodyard, who I use often and have been shut are opening next week for
phone based orders, delivered to driveway with contactless transaction, so perhaps some cladding and door timber
can be arranged after all............ to be continued

Well, I have moved from a possible customer to the we will call you before the end of the week for your order.... 🤞

Edited by Alan White
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Well materials ordered, now number 150 in the delivery queue, so Thursday 30th latest.
Wood, Ballast, Cement etc.
Oh and the duct arrived a week earlier than stated, Mrs W. Has not seen it yet.  🤞
Image of it rested in place, it's off due to the pads wonkyness.

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You’d better come up with an explanation about the ducting because it does look like you’ve sneaked another scope in.....

Choose your words very carefully indeed or you’ll be wearing your dinner tonight 😩

If she asks me, I’ll say yes, it’s definitely a scope, he’s removed the mirrors and hidden them somewhere, would that be helpful ?

Ed.

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12 hours ago, NGC 1502 said:


You’d better come up with an explanation about the ducting because it does look like you’ve sneaked another scope in.....

Choose your words very carefully indeed or you’ll be wearing your dinner tonight 😩

If she asks me, I’ll say yes, it’s definitely a scope, he’s removed the mirrors and hidden them somewhere, would that be helpful ?

Ed.

Thanks for the “help” Ed 😂,

All is good and approved, no mistake for another scope, it was greeted with “oh”.

I don’t think my mention of a new mount or hanging two scopes in the future enhanced the moment though 😁
but I have taken the oh as full approval.

Edited by Alan White
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Learning point from today:

Do not leave your mixer at the back of the garage and then fill with project materials and treasure.
It takes a very long time to dig through, sort and sift the wheat from the chaff!

My back and shoulders are killing me now, and no holes or mixing even started!

But another step closer to my desired pier at home 😀

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Well more is under construction ......  I sneaked a few hours this afternoon guv 😉

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This is actually the last image, but I thought it looked better than holes as a starting image.

So I cut out concrete pad with a diamond disc on my 9" grinder, very nice, kept wet it cuts well and no dust,
but oh my goodness the slurry spreads well up the fences!

The hole is extended to 700mm x 700mm from the original 600mm x 600mm,
as I decided I need a few mm further from the office, aka cupboard as the scope may grow in time.

So here is that cut hole, amazed it's so neat and straight....ish.

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And then I started digging and by goodness do I know about it now!

First image part dug:

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Second image dug, perhaps:

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So here we go, the Observing pad takes its next turn within the saga,
I best hope the ballast and cement turns up now!

 

 

 

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It is looking good Alan, but it is tiring. Where I live the ground is quite heavy, and I chose a hot day to do it, still I was ably assisted not to say spurred on by  Grandson who was six at the time. I notice you are using your foot to knee to gauge the depth. I stuck my Grandson in the hole and when it was up to his shoulders it was good enough.

Keep supplying the pictures of your toil Alan, I am enjoying it....:grin:

Edited by Saganite
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3 minutes ago, Saganite said:

I stuck my Grandson in the hole and when it was up to his shoulders it was good enough.

In case anyone else is considering this method, do remember to remove your grandchild from the hole after measuring :)

James

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