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Observatory - Planning Permission Granted :)


malc-c
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With the nice weather of late my other half has instructed me that we need to finally do something with the garden, and give it a spruce up. I happened to drop in to the conversation the possibility of building an observatory in those plans and she didn't object. "go for it" she said !

OK we've not got a fortune, and I need to include landscaping in the budget, but this is what I have to work with (excuse the state of the garden !)

obssite.jpg

Basically the observatory will sit on the patio between the two sheds. The distance between them is 5m and due to the angle of the fence the max depth will have to be 2.3m.

My first thought was to build a 2.5m x 2.3m traditional roll off roof with the roof rolling off to the right. Or (depending on cost) a warm room of similar size could be added...

Now the questions for those who have been through this sort of thing.

1) - I currently have a SW200P on a tripod, which I hope to substitute for a pier. Would 2.5m x 2.3m ( 8'.2" x 7'.6" ) be enough space for working around the scope.

2) - What security measures are worth having, dedicated shed alarm ? mortise locks or padlocks ? -

3) - Insurance - will normal household insurance cover any loss or should you choose a dedicated company, and if so which one would you recommend.

4) - I intend normal tong & groove over a 4" x 2" timber framework. Is it advisable to insulate the walls and line it with plywood or thin MDF to reduce temperature fluctuations.

Thanks in advice for your comments

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I'd estimate that in the worst case the scope will need to swing through a circle of around 5ft diameter, which doesn't leave a lot of room to walk around it when it's horizontal unless you align it along the shed. In "normal" use though, I'd guess you're going to have a turning circle closer to 4ft in diameter, leaving you about 18" either end if you have it aligned across the shorter side of the shed. That still seems a bit tight to me, but I'm not exactly of slight frame.

Why not set the scope up next to one of the sheds so that the vertical axis of the tripod is 3'9" from the wall and see how you feel about moving around between the two? Set up like that you could measure the turning circle of the scope a little more accurately using a plumb bob which might help you decide.

James

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James, thanks for the suggestions. Maybe I should look at making a frame up for the flooring and increase the area in some way... and then try and come up with some form of rotating roof /dome design

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I use a SW200P and the internal dimensions of my obs are 1.9m x 1.9m.

Never had a issue with available room inside.

Fitted shed alarm,PIR alarm.

Padlock and mortice lock to door.

No need to insulate Obs,just warm room if you add one.

I lined my obs with thin hardboard only to hide all electrical cabling.

My build thread:http://stargazerslounge.com/diy-observatories/103639-wetherview-diy-obsy-build-begins.html

Wayne

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i think your size will just about be ok.mines 1.8x1.8 which is a squeeze with the oo10" but fine with the smaller scopes.

security measuresas much as possible, dedicated shed alarm will help.

mortise locks or padlocks and hinges whatever you choose i have fitted coach bolts through with nylocs so that they cannot be undone from the outside.

i would check the small print of any household insurance cover!

i would definitely insulate the walls plywood or thin MDF will be fine! it will look good be better insulated and and another layer for the thieves to have to contend with.

good luck with the build!

Edited by bunnygod1
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You've reminded me on the subject of security... Someone recently posted an ebay link for a chap selling high security door locks. Well, not locks really, more bars. Definitely worth a look.

James

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Thanks again for the additional input. I'm going to spend a whilst doing some costings, and possibly look at rescaping the garden that might involve taking up the patio and re-laying it as well as relocating the wooden shed to give me more space.

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I have a chainsaw you can borrow for that tree and them bushes.........

LOL - those bushes were the height of that tree all the way along to the other shed a few months back :D

For some reason the chap wouldn't cut the tree down... but trust me it won't be there for long :rolleyes:

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Malc, i modified a bespoke 10ft x 7ft apex shed. Hard work but so worth it. I use the same scope as you and the size is fine. Not too sure what will happen if and (probably) when i upgrade the scope. HERE is the build if it is any help to you.

You've reminded me on the subject of security... Someone recently posted an ebay link for a chap selling high security door locks. Well, not locks really, more bars. Definitely worth a look.

James

Not sure if THESE are the ones but they are really well made.

(I`m not connected to the seller in any way.)

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I thought you actually meant Official Planning permission because it must be a beast of an Observatory lol.

Me too, lol - but to be honest the planning authority in my house is probably more strict than in the council offices hereabouts!

I'm having to sell my obsy plans as part summerhouse, (warmroom to you and me) and part Obsy!

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1) - I currently have a SW200P on a tripod, which I hope to substitute for a pier. Would 2.5m x 2.3m ( 8'.2" x 7'.6" ) be enough space for working around the scope.

I'd just set up your scope and use a tape measure to check (remember to account for the INSIDE dimensions of the shed)

2) - What security measures are worth having, dedicated shed alarm ? mortise locks or padlocks ? -

Padlocks and/or mortise locks - yes. Personally, I'd be cautious about an alarm - they have a habit of going off when you don't want them to (a great way to ++++ off the neighbours)

3) - Insurance - will normal household insurance cover any loss or should you choose a dedicated company, and if so which one would you recommend.

Speak to your insurers. Tell them exactly what you want covered and the construction and security on the observatory.

4) - I intend normal tong & groove over a 4" x 2" timber framework. Is it advisable to insulate the walls and line it with plywood or thin MDF to reduce temperature fluctuations.

Some insulate, some don't. I have a metal shed and the walls are insulated, but the roof is not.

I hope this helps

Edited by michaelmorris
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Spent some time with the planning committee (read wife) as I thought the space would be tight and impractical, so I was toying with converting a 3.5m x 3.5m chunk of the lawn to a patio and run the roof off in an easterly direction... not convinced and reminding me of how tight our budget is, we reverted back to our original plan.

Out with the chalk and an 8' x 8' (approx 2.4m x 2.4m) square was marked out and the 200P set up with the mount centered over the middle point. I then swung the scope around to all possible angles to see if I could still observe without stepping outside the box, and whilst there wasn't stacks of room it was comfortable.

Due to the limitations in viewing I've chosen to have the runners around 4'.6" - so the scope will be parked with the dec axis horizontal. This will give me reasonable horizons to the south. I'll also have to prune the tree to the north so I can polar align. I've knocked up a sketch in Photoshop to get some idea of what it might look like. I'll probably change the roof to an apex rather than pent, but my PS skills are a bit limited :)

Several advantages to this.

1) - there is already mains to this area to supply the garden light. This saves having to dig up the garden to lay cables.

2) - the shed is near enough to be used as a warm room so data cable runs wouldn't be too long.

3) - the patio is reasonably sound and sturdy enough to take a pillar mount - I intend to use a self leveling compound prior to laying the floor framing

post-23388-133877565203_thumb.jpg

post-23388-133877565211_thumb.jpg

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Well after discussion with the planning officer (read wifey) the MKII design has got approval :)

We (read me as the wife still has her foot in plaster) commence phase I of the plan, which involved moving the shed on the left in the picture in post #1 on to the patio so that it's next to the brick shed (pictures will follow as wifey thought it was funny seeing me struggle and put my back out again !)

So now I have an area in which to build an observatory and have room for a warm room to boot ! The overall plot will be approx 16' x 7'. The obs will be 11' x 7' but will have a workable area of 8 x 7, as the floor will be raised to give clearance for the horizons I want, and then have steps down to a 5' x 7' warm room. The roof of the observatory will run over the top of the warm room, with an overhang of around 3' over the steps. Hopefully I'll knock up some plans later which will give you all a better idea of what I'm hoping to achieve.

The advantages of this is that it places the scope further into the garden and gives me less obstructions (ie the hedge is no longer a problem). Cost will be more, the design a bit more of a challenge, but the project will cater for all my current and possibly future needs

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