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:D I am a complete beginner and looking at building a roll of roof. That bit has been done and the hard bit begins were to put it in the garden and my biggest fear is the PIER and setting everything up as i dont have a clue on this bit. So any advice would be great and if you live in the Wisbech,Cambs,UK area then please feel free to pop round and tell me were i am going wrong.

Thanks to you all.

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Can you confirm how far you are on with the project? Have you a shed built and a roof built and are ready to assemble it at some position in the garden? If not then the first thing to do would be to decide where it needs to go. No simple answer, but a balance betweent the best view with the least amount of light pollution, so spend a few nights outside and experiment with different position of setting up your gear. Also the shed must not offend neighbours (unless you don't like them), nor should it cos aggravation with the other half, don't learn the hard way or you may spend many nights out in the obs, with a sleeping bag :D D:

I've been working on my obs for a short time and it is nearing completion. The last few pieces will be ready on Thursday, and once installed, it's just cosmetic and wiring work to be done.

I've attached a link to my progress so far, it might give you a bit of help, or some visual pointers.


All the best


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Hi Diesel I've attached (or attempted to attach) pictures of my pier installation. Here are the steps:

1) Dig a deep hole, about 4 feet if you can if you plan on a heavy mount and scope.

2) Pop a plywood box inside which is varnished to stop it rotting and let it protrude a bit above ground. How large it should be is anyone's guess but I think used about 16 inches on a side.

3) Chuck in all the rubble and stuff you don't ever want to see again and pour in concrete with some ballast.

4) Bolt your L-Bolts to a premade plywood template with the same hole pattern as the pier, then flip the whole lot over letting the bolts sink into the concrete, and wipe away the excess. Leave it for 2 days. No matter how tempted you are, don't fiddle with it.

5) Build decking around that so that the pier doesn't touch the decking (very important to eliminate vibration)

6) Bolt the pier down and you're done.

then you can build the observatory on the decking or whatever framework - ideally that's the sequence anyway.

You don't have to have a premade steel pier like I did, you can also use a large sewer pipe plastic or clay as a former to pour the concrete into, and just put the bolts right on the top with a steel plate which will do the job though you won't be able to reposition it easily. If you are putting a pier on a pre-existing concrete surface then just buy expanding bolts for concrete - they're like giant Rawl plugs, or you can buy studding and cut that into short lengths for about £2 or so and epoxy that into the concrete.

It all went pretty smoothly really first time, even though I was worried I'd get it all wrong. The only part I got wrong was the volume of concrete, as I didn't take into account all the rubble I chucked into the plywood former - so it overflowed a bit which is a pain to clear up - but nevermind, the decking covered that anyway :) the only other unexpected thing was some kind of creature bit my ankle when I was digging out the hole in the evening near the bottom - but it escapred before I could work out what it was, felt like a bee sting. ;)

If you hit the water table within the first couple of feet, you can chuck a "dry-mix" of concrete and ballast in and it will soak up the water and set, then follow that with more concrete mixed with water. Luckily my water table was about 4 feet so I didn't have to do that. I hired everything from HSS and it didn't cost much at all.

Anyway, hope it works out.


(edited step 4)






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