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Flip-Top Space Saving Observatory Design Idea


Stargazer33
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With the replacement decking nearing completion and the new flower boarders in and planted up, I've accumulated enough Brownie points to at least start thinking about an observatory! 

Our garden faces West, but our back boundary neighbours have mature beech, sycamore and Ash trees at the bottom of their gardens so our sky views are severely restricted. This combined with our southern neighbour having a large magnolia close to the boundary fence means this view is also largely restricted. We therefore have a limited amount of sunshine in our garden and being that the observatory needs to go near to the southern boundary, I don't want it to be too big and block out even more sun. Because of other things we want to do in the garden, I didn't want outriggers for a roll off roof. The large draw sliders were an option but they seemed a little expensive for the sizes required.

Looking on-line at various types of shed, I thought that the pent design would give the most amount of sunlight if the highest part of the roof faces south. I wanted the roof to be as waterproof as possible so decided on an overlap with a lip to prevent water from being blown under and into the observatory. 

I made a model from balsa wood and have animated its opening and closing to show what my thoughts are. In the model there is one prop leg but in the full size build there would be two, one at each corner.

In the model I have a slim bifold door between the warm room and the 'scope room. This may change to a sash window type of access depending on findings during the build. The size of the observatory is intended to be 8 x 4 with a 4 x 4 warm room and a 4 x 4 'scope room; due to space available for the build. This probably means building from scratch rather than adapting a pre-made shed. So the build my be delayed until timber prices come back to  more sensible levels!

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Edited by Stargazer33
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  • Stargazer33 changed the title to Flip-Top Space Saving Observatory Design Idea

Great idea !!!    Hmmmmm...This gives me some ideas for a future project.

 

If you made the walls a bit taller the roof walls could then be shorter and it would allow the roof to be tilted more than 9o degrees which would give you more view of the sky.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks John!

Unfortunately we've got 40' - 50' trees 30' to the west of where the observatory would go, so it wouldn't be limiting my view. It would make the opening section lighter however and therefore easier to move.

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I like the concept... but how and what are you going to use to open and close the 'scope room 'flip-top' box?

Assuming it is going to be made from plywood, (preferably marine-ply), and reinforced... is it going to be too heavy for manual operation!

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Because the pivot point is so low I don't think it will be too hard to open. I might increase the side wall height, as John suggested, so lightening the opening part. If I keep the hinged wall low and therefore the pivot point there shouldn't be an excessive amount of weight. 

It's still really in the 'imagineering' stage as the folks at Disney would say! I may decide to go for something completely different. It really depends on the availability of raw materials; either timber or a ready made shed of suitable size/design.

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  • 2 weeks later...
16 hours ago, wimvb said:

This is an interesting design, but it looks to me like the side walls are going to be a major obstruction when the roof is open.

I only have views to the North and limited South. West is hampered by an oak, beech, sycamore lined lane (bridleway) and low East is blocked by our houses.

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12 hours ago, david_taurus83 said:

Could you not slide over the warm room and put a half door on the side to match the warm room door? No obstruction on the scope side then and not taking up any more space.

I did consider this type of design, but wondered if too much water would drip into the 'scope room if I opened up after rain.

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9 hours ago, wimvb said:

Or have the door on the short side.

Unfortunately I'm 6' 4" in my stocking feet, which is why I put the door in the taller side. I've scalped myself so many times going in and out of our shed I don't want to be doing the same on an obsy; especially at 02:00 in the morning! It's amazing how much hair protects your head from bumps; and how much it hurts when you no longer have that protection! 👨‍🦲🤕😂

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Really like the design concept and hope to see a future build thread.  My main concern is the singular support for the roof when open, I recently tried something similar with a roll off roof system, completely different direction for forces and leverage, and completely unsuitable in that application.  Because you main load will be vertical it should work well, my main concern is stability side to side causing the moving part of the obsy to twist, so I would strongly recommend 2 legs either side with some sort of cross bracing.  I am 6' 2", although I rarely wear stockings, high days and holidays🤣  So you have my sympathies about being scalped, you really would think we'd learn to duck!

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Thanks Ian. The intention always was to put two support legs on the actual build. I just got lazy with the model build as it was getting a bit late by the time I finished. Good suggestion about the cross bracing though. 👍

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