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Open air observatory


Mike Q

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6 hours ago, Alan White said:

That makes great sense, only way to find “the spot’ is to hunt it down.
Having the scope on a cart (if the ground between store spot and observing spot) allows makes sense too.

 

Of course this also means i am not necessarily confined to this area.  The cart rolls very nicely even without the handle and moving around to anyplace i want to put it shouldn't be a problem 

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Ok so here is the homemade cart.  While i can do much better woodworking then this, i wasnt going to spend 20 hours building this thing to make it like a piece of furniture.  The wood structure is pressure treated 2x12 material.  It is coated in a water sealent.  It is screwed together with 5/16 x 4 inch (call it 8mm x 100mm) lag bolts.  The wheels are 8 inch pneumatic, 2 are fixed and two swivel.  Then there is the three point leveling system.  The threaded rod is 3/4 -10 thread (19mm) with a spacer and a nut to take the bit of wobble out of it.  The bracket is 1/8 inch angle iron that we welded in gussests to add support and strength.  They are held in place with 3 inch lag bolts.  The feet are a thermoplastic with a thin pad on the bottom and can handle 1700 pounds each.  I didnt need that much but that is what i could find.  I weigh 225 pounds and it easily holds me.  My cousin got on it and he goes 250 to 260.  Yes we are big cornfed Ohio farm boys.  You will note that there is no handle.  Its not here just yet, but will show next week.  Its just a basic aluminum handle that will fit into two flanges and it will be able to be removed to get it out of the way.  While i didnt keep track I suppose i have 6 hours in actually assembling the unit.  Half of that time was making the leveling system brackets.  All in all it should do a fine job. 

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Edited by Mike Q
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  • 3 months later...

So the other day i noticed something about the observation area.  Something just didn't look right.  So i walked out and checked it out.  Due to our somewhat mild winter that has included rain and snowmelt and temps that didnt freeze the ground, the wind has started pushing on the structure and has pushed it hard enough to wobble out the holes a little.  Time to grab some stone and repack the holes.  I must have put up a couple hundred posts in my lifetime and have never had them work loose.  I must be slipping a bit. 

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Also the wooden cart... While it works ok, its not as good as it should be.  A new metal framed model is in work and i can pull the scope around with my lawn mower.  Now i can move the 16 anywhere i want across the uneven ground that is my yard.  I can even pull it to the back 40 where there are no trees obstructing my view.  This is made the way it should have been made the first time 

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This is the current state of the cart.  Have to make some measurements to determine where to place the removable hitch and exactly how long to make it.  There will be no front wheels and i will use the levelers to hold it in place.  The tongue will be long enough that i can either pull it with the mower or by hand.  After the metal work is done i will use a piece of 3/4 plywood for the top.  

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Edited by Mike Q
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On 30/10/2022 at 13:02, Mike Q said:

Oh there is no genius there.  This is just brute force american redneck engineering.  

Sometimes "just getting on with it" is the best way Mike. leave the fancy stuff for when it is needed :)  I must admit, I do like your wooden cart. I have been thinking about how I could make something to help move about a 16 inch Dob, it has a 34 inch circular base and is getting a bit heavy to manhandle. I think I may try to base something around your design if you don't mind.  

Jim

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45 minutes ago, saac said:

Sometimes "just getting on with it" is the best way Mike. leave the fancy stuff for when it is needed :)  I must admit, I do like your wooden cart. I have been thinking about how I could make something to help move about a 16 inch Dob, it has a 34 inch circular base and is getting a bit heavy to manhandle. I think I may try to base something around your design if you don't mind.  

Jim

Oh feel free to steal anything off it that you want.  However let me clue you in on a couple weak spots in the design that need improving.

1.  The wheels - do NOT get 8 inch wheels.  Just dont do it.  Get 10 inch wheels which are wider and disperse the weight better.  

2.  The extentions that the wheels mount to front and rear and mount to the main body of the cart.... Reenforce this area at the top and bottom.  Mine is put together with 4 inch lag bolts and construction adhesive.  This still wasnt enough, use metal.  1/8 inch angle iron across the whole length will do it.  

The levelers ... Well that design works fine.  Dont change that lol.  Its the one thing i got right the first time LOL. 

For your scope a 36x36 area would be perfect, which is what mine is.  

Also.... You cant see this but the underside of the cart is two layers thick.  Even with 2x12s there was some flex in the base.  I did not expect this at all.  The wooden cart is heavy, it is probably heavier then the metal framed cart.  I have looked for what we call platform trucks that were wide enough but always had the wrong wheels on them.  One of those would be ideal if you could find the right size at the right price 

 

Edited by Mike Q
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40 minutes ago, Mike Q said:

Oh feel free to steal anything off it that you want.  However let me clue you in on a couple weak spots in the design that need improving.

1.  The wheels - do NOT get 8 inch wheels.  Just dont do it.  Get 10 inch wheels which are wider and disperse the weight better.  

2.  The extentions that the wheels mount to front and rear and mount to the main body of the cart.... Reenforce this area at the top and bottom.  Mine is put together with 4 inch lag bolts and construction adhesive.  This still wasnt enough, use metal.  1/8 inch angle iron across the whole length will do it.  

The levelers ... Well that design works fine.  Dont change that lol.  Its the one thing i got right the first time LOL. 

For your scope a 36x36 area would be perfect, which is what mine is.  

 

Noted, thanks for that Mike, I'll start gathering materials together; I've got a few weeks off at Easter which will hopefully also bring more favourable weather.

Jim 

Edited by saac
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Just now, saac said:

Noted, thanks for that Mike, I'll start gathering materials together; I've got a few off at Easter which will hopefully also bring more favourable weather.

Jim 

You are welcome.  I sent you a pm and if you have ANY questions ask me.  Don't make the same mistakes i did 

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  • 1 month later...

Well a year ago i started this thread and right in the middle of it i announced the birth of my granddaughter.  Well her birthday party was yesterday, she is now 1 year old.  She is a St. Patty's Day baby and i am certain she wore more cake them she ate. 

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Gorgeous little lass Mike!

Are they Fruit Loops on the tray in image one? No. 2 Son loved Fruit Loops as a sprog during holidays to The States.

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11 minutes ago, Swoop1 said:

Gorgeous little lass Mike!

Are they Fruit Loops on the tray in image one? No. 2 Son loved Fruit Loops as a sprog during holidays to The States.

Yeah those are fruitloops.  I eat them myself from time to time 

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Ah bless, a proper party with the birthday girl smothered in cake.

Made me chuckle as it reminds me of my two oh so many years ago smothered in chocolate cake on a Dad day.

1 year old already, wow how time flies.

 

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1 hour ago, Alan White said:

Ah bless, a proper party with the birthday girl smothered in cake.

Made me chuckle as it reminds me of my two oh so many years ago smothered in chocolate cake on a Dad day.

1 year old already, wow how time flies.

 

Believe me i know what you mean when it comes to how fast time passes 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well nature was again has wrecked havoc on the light barrier at the observation site.  The sustained heavy winds have again loosened the posts in the ground.  Its time to stop messing around.  I will get it straightened up and get some concrete down the holes.  

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Mike, I had feared that you had come to tell us that it had been destroyed what with the weather related disasters on your side of the pond in recent days.

Stay safe!

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Posted (edited)
On 02/04/2023 at 15:00, Swoop1 said:

Mike, I had feared that you had come to tell us that it had been destroyed what with the weather related disasters on your side of the pond in recent days.

Stay safe!

You know ... If it had been wrecked i wouldnt have been surprised at all.   I dug out the holes a bit and added a quarter bag of concrete in each hole.  If that fails... Well, a tractor and front end loader will easily lift it all out of the ground, the holes will get touched up and i will start all over.  The good thing, the black pads.... Well they didnt even try to move.  That i am impressed by 

Edited by Mike Q
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Well because of all the wind the posts have loosened up i am going to have to add in a way to that supports the light barrier and makes it more wind resistant.  A plan is coming to mind.  

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