View Full Version here: : How much to build an observatory?
23-10-2007, 07:40 AM
Well the time has come. We've sold our house, were moving to the dark sky country :cool: and my lovely wife :love: asked me this morning how much extra will we need to borrow to build my observatory :D
So how much did it cost U! I'd like desriptions, time lines, photos, did you build it yourself of have it built, construction materials etc etc, so I can make an informed decision. I know that there have been a few threads on building observatories so maybe the results and details can be distilled into this thread. Oh and post a link to your thread (either here or off site) if you have one on your observatory.
I'm not looking for a discussion on which is the better type of observatory, dome or slide off roof (I'm keen on a slider but I could be converted ;) , I use a dome elsewhere and I'm not that wrapped on the chimney effect), or which material is more suited for building one out of, though I am interested in little learning experiences and serendipitous experiences. You know, those Eureka experiences.
So bring it on. If there is enough info generated we could make this a sticky thread for later reference for others in the same boat.
23-10-2007, 08:02 AM
Paul from my efforts of researching I have worked out I need between $3K-5K, and that covers the slab or floor construction and the structure. I have a pier, but that could double if I get a second one. I do recommend a pier from Steve Bain, they are built like the proverbial. If you go with a concrete/metal pier and a raised floor you could get one of those observatories like a pod etc. I must say that the observatory that Lee (Plasmodium ) has built has more than got my eye, it has some fantastic features and suits a sloping site.
23-10-2007, 08:04 AM
Congratulations on the move Paul.
All I have to contribute is a couple of links.
If you don't like being enclosed in a conventional dome, a clamshell design might suit better. I'm pretty sure that someone on this forum has a dome of similar design.
Paul - I just built a ROR obs - I did stop counting costs half way :whistle:, but it turned in around $3k I think, and took about 2 months - mainly weekends and a 6 day stretch of time off work. That was including a chunky concrete isolated pier, and used ply-clad stud walls, gable roof with colorbond roofing and also an alarm. For power I have used an extension lead I plug into a caravan/boat inlet on the wall, but will likely have her hardwired once we get some other work done in the yard.
I have kept a web page with construction details - link (http://www.betweentheclouds.com/observatory.html).
Link to my DIY thread here too (http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=22741).
Cloudynights also have a pretty active observatory forum - good info. A good link for heaps of amateur observatories is here (http://obs.nineplanets.org/obs/obslist.html) too.
One thing I would change for Mk-II is to have the roof roll towards the computer/desk/etc end, that way you can partially roll off and dew-shield yourself!
If I had more space I would have made it larger, doubt it would inflate costs much though. But even at 2.1x2.4m it is roomy enough for 2, just watch out for the counterweight shaft (ouch).
23-10-2007, 09:54 AM
I would have guessed at around the 3-4K mark, maybe less, depending on whether you can get some materials second hand or free. Don't forget that you'll want power and communications. If the distance is significant you may want to install a solar panel and inverter for power at additional cost, the Lan link is easy, if the cable distance is too far, or too difficult to install, I can give you a configuration and WAP specs for a budet setup that will run over several Kms for around $300-400.
23-10-2007, 09:56 AM
These are the valuabel little gems that often get missed, thanks Lee. I know what you mean about size though. I was planning about 4 x 3 and my Sya asked me if that was going to be big enough. :D
Power is not a problem as the observatory will only be about 20 - 30 meters from the house and I plan for a wireless link to the observatory with the 9x6 shed on the block converted to a large office/games room :D
23-10-2007, 11:38 AM
Suggest you split your budget into components:
1. Clearing land - checking drainage and firmness of footings, pruning trees etc
2. Slab, pier and wiring mains power ($300 - $1,500)
3. PC, UPS and/or line conditioners and network infrastructure
4. Dwelling (four walls and floor) for the size of observatory you wish ($300 - $800)
5. Roofing system - roll off, rotating dome and degree of automation you want etc (here's where you could spend $1K - $5K)
6. Heating, cooling, fridge, etc - how basic or comfortable a setting to you want?
7. Security system and insurance
Allocate $ per each major category of spend.
Using these headings for mine....
1. $0 (paid for in sweat)
2. Concrete $350, mixer hire $50, pier hardware/formworks etc $100 (plus more sweat!)
4. Floor - $350, Walls incl. door - $1000
5. $750 including rails
6. lighting/power - $150
also - paint/fasteners/sundries $400-500 (more than you think!) - choose a fairly standard screw size, use the same for most things, buy a box of 1000!
A hint for alarm systems - car alarms are a cheap/reliable alarm - generally come as a kit all inclusive, run from a 12V battery, so are good for setups without permanent 240V (or those with permanent power).... Easy to adapt to a shed/observatory too.
These prices are very approximate, wouldn't be too far off..... Watch out for hidden expenses, like impulse buys of all sorts whilst you are at Bunnings etc every day nearly! Panasonic cordless drills aren't cheap! :D
23-10-2007, 12:42 PM
Good stuff Lee, thanks.
23-10-2007, 01:20 PM
LOL Lee is my hero, all I need is bravery to ask now
23-10-2007, 09:53 PM
Ok any other ideas/guestimates from other constructors?
23-10-2007, 10:28 PM
I'll let you know when I build mine hopefully this summer.:thumbsup:
23-10-2007, 10:44 PM
I'm only just starting to get quotes for my materials, Paul.
Mine will be huge though. A double obs about 3m x 9m.
24-10-2007, 04:40 PM
1. Dingo hire required + fill (slight slope): $300
3. - I won't include this in my costing
4 & 5. $4,500 (custom built roll-off-roof 6x3m corrigated shed
6. Not heating or cooling other than white paint & PC fan - $100
7. Locks - $80ish
8. Electrician for 21 power points with power board, trip/safety switches, etc: $750
9. Carpet - second hand so free, but worth factoring in
10. Insulation and Lining for enclosed half - $800 - $1000
hmmm... ended up costing a bit ! :scared: ... but much of that was spread over many years. Shed and concrete was all it was for several years.
24-10-2007, 04:50 PM
Mmmm..custom built roll-off rooooofff...:love:
24-10-2007, 10:24 PM
Gooday to all, I.m currently building my obs' using colorbond fencing material which works out to approx $120 per 2.4 metre X 1.8 metre panel including posts, its very strong vetically which is a great help when adding a roof--also has the advantage of easily changing the height of the walls by shortening the wall sheets to your desired height and if thats not enough its painted inside and out.
My obs' will measure 2.4 X 3.6 which works out to just under 10 square metres by the time I've added insulation, roof, floor etc I estimate approx 2K. Fitting out and wiring etc. will add to the final costs.
24-10-2007, 10:31 PM
What a great idea Al. Thanks for that. So many choices. I need to make a decision by tomorrow morning. Were off to see the bank manager. :D
25-10-2007, 02:28 AM
I built a flat roof OBS (like a doom but flat :P) with a slide of hatch, cost well under $1500,if you send me your email address I'll send you a few photo's.
"nightsky at comcen dot com dot au"
25-10-2007, 07:18 AM
Homework for you (http://obs.nineplanets.org/obs/obslist.html)..:whistle:
25-10-2007, 07:22 AM
Now that site could get me in to trouble Phil :P
Thanks Arthur. pm on the way.
25-10-2007, 12:42 PM
2. support for mount 200
3. transport existing in and out as required.
4 2500 for materials
5. push roll off.. dont need anything else
6. We live in oz dont need a warm room.
7. 2 blue heeler guard dogs. not cheap but i dont get robbed.
I constructed my ownhttp://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=24513
timelines about 3-4 weeks on and off, by my wife and i, made of timber as thermally its the best, bricks hold the heat - tin well try sitting in it on a hot day.
i left an overhang all around for ventilation, it gets no hotter than outside.
if you build your own roll off you can have as much room as you want.
we are in a windy location so i had to go a bit overboard on the structure side of it, but its rock solid.
if you want some more pics or specs i can post another pic or two that might help
25-10-2007, 03:42 PM
Paul I did the cheap approach... a garden shed that rolls away (12 vlt winch)
It was under $1000 and that was using expensive pine panelling to line the internal walls and ceiling. I could not use sheeting as it would not fit in my small car whereas lenghts of panelling did..The shed in effect sits on a floor (with small wheels) with a channel so as to go around the pier.
Although only 1.5 mter square it houses the scope on the pier and provides a good warm room.
Power is 12vlt from a large car battery with a small inverter if I need 240vlt to recharge the lap top.
It rolls on and off easy but I added a $130 4wd winch cause I should not strain myself (hernia, heart and old to boot)
When it is cold I can close the door so when I finally get auto guiding will be able to stay warm...I have in mind a $100 closed circuit cam rather than a window which would be dearer and cause a lose of insulation.
Slide off roof and domes would be harder to keep warm in.
It is simple and a cost effective method which for me has advantages over the others.
Good luck with the decision making process.
25-10-2007, 03:45 PM
Also when closed it does not look tempting to those who may be aware of the valuable gear a dome may contain.
vBulletin® v3.8.7, Copyright ©2000-2013, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.