View Full Version here: : Viewbank Observatory
01-11-2007, 09:18 PM
This tread will be devoted to the construction of Viewbank Observatory here in Melbourne. The Observatory on its completion will house two telescopes, an ED120 and ED80 side by side for deep space imaging and a 14" LX200R for visual and planetary imaging. Like all great project it is built on the successes of others. The remove of 16 cubic metres of rubbish, the construction of pargola, decking, plumbing etc. Some major browny points for which the wife has given me permission to build my observatory.
01-11-2007, 09:22 PM
How that I have got the intro out of the way here are some shot of the constrution work. First of the rubbish remove, mostly floor tile from the kitchen renovations, plumbing and tree removel, etc
01-11-2007, 09:29 PM
Next series of shots are of the instillation of the fountaions, I have only three in place, the others will go in next week. The two large piles of besser blocks will be used for the peir foundation later on. In one of the photo you should see the garden shed that will make up the walls of the observatory.
01-11-2007, 09:43 PM
I should add the garden shed that I am using is a 3.9 x 3.1 x 1.9 m shed purchased from Stratco for $749. This will give me about 11 squire metres of floor area. The roof will be a roll off type, the roof will be in two halfs rolling down from the ridge line to wall level, something like a clam shell. When I get up to that stage and you see the photos you will understand.
Good start Anthony..... keep us posted!
02-11-2007, 06:04 AM
I'm so jealous of you guys that have a good spot for an observatory. Look forward to the progress.
02-11-2007, 07:39 AM
Fantastic Anthony - looking forward to the results
06-11-2007, 02:56 PM
Well today I finished the foundations to support the walls and floor of the observatory and with the help of the wife (isn't she wonderful :)) the wall are now in place. Tomorrow the bearer and joist will go in plus I will start digging the holes for the piers
06-11-2007, 03:01 PM
Off to a great start, Anthony!
I hope those trees on the right of the pic (over the fence) don't block much sky.
06-11-2007, 05:37 PM
The trees on the fence line are at the southern end of the observatory they will be a bit of a nuisance especially polar aligning the two mounts but they will not restricted me that much. I have excellent views from the SSE through the Zenith to the West. What I am pretty rapped about is the generous view to the north, lunar and planetary imaging is going to be so much fun with the 14".
06-11-2007, 09:31 PM
Get the neighbours to temporarily attach some ropes to the tops of the trees to pull them back while you polar align :rofl:
A great start Anthony and it's looking good so far. I look forward to the day when I can get started on my own observatory, not too far away I hope.
07-11-2007, 12:00 PM
Damn!!!! And all day I will hear nothing but "my back hurts!"
And I will get sick of blisters, bruises and scratches!!
07-11-2007, 12:05 PM
Very nice work Anthony - keep us posted of progress and 1st light!
07-11-2007, 08:08 PM
A bit nutty:screwy: it just may work, even better a chainsaw there not native so they are fair game.
07-11-2007, 08:11 PM
And not to mention the 30 Dob in 13 hours:D
13-11-2007, 07:34 PM
Over the last two days I have been digging out the fundations for the piers. I am aiming for each pier to be arounded one cubic metre in volume. To form the structure of each pier I have decided on using compost bins of all things, they are conical in shape, so the will produce a pier with a nice wide footing at the base with a small surface area at the top, should prove to be very stable.
14-11-2007, 09:00 AM
Ahhh, holes in the ground, must be the Army training!
"Move that hole over here!"
That's a good idea Anthony, certainly makes a lot of sense. I'll have to remember that one.
14-11-2007, 07:22 PM
Funny you mention that, an officer who planned the gun postion came up to me, said that I was digging in the wrong spot and that I need to move the hole to the right 1.576m:rofl::rofl::rofl:
P.S. I have been doing more digging in the last 10 month then in the nine years that I spent in the Army.
14-11-2007, 07:36 PM
Well the fox holes are in position, out with the trenching tool to night to finish of the fighting bay, by tomorrow morning I will have the sleeping bays in position with over head protection just in time for the clearance patrol and a good breakfast from the Ration Pack.:screwy:
But seriously I have squared up the holes for the foundation, next job is to order the first load of concret so to pour the first part of the foundation, this should happen next week weather permitting (Melbourne is expecting high temperture in the 30+) with the remaining being pour the week after that.
15-11-2007, 12:50 PM
So regarding apierances (get it?) how high will the piers be?
Just keeping up apierances!
As long as you recognise the difference between your fundament and the hole in the ground this should turn out to be a good observatory.
Holey Moley batman!
15-11-2007, 01:01 PM
quick lob a grenade over - nice work anthony!!
16-11-2007, 09:08 AM
This is looking great. When do I get to visit???? And when you are finished can you build mine.
16-11-2007, 04:48 PM
Looking good. I can appreciate the work thats going into it, been a shovel hand in me time. Wish I could build one here, but too many trees around, and I like trees, serious conflict of interest :)
16-11-2007, 05:01 PM
You are welcome anytime.
18-11-2007, 09:42 AM
Getting ready for the first pour of concrete for the piers, the truck should be here about 10am. Currently it is raining which is good as it is not the scorcher the weather bureau had predicted so I shouldn't work up to much of a sweat.
18-11-2007, 11:22 AM
Well it is just after 11am and am enjoying a nice cup of tea. The first pour is complete, bloody hard work pushing a wheel barrow or seven of concrete up a hill, will be repeating the whole process Wednesday. I will be have a couple of beers on that day to celebrate the completion of the piers.
21-11-2007, 03:14 PM
A major mile stone has been reached, I have finished pouring the last of the concrete for the peirs. Picked a good day for it low temperture of 14 degrees and lots of rain, a big different then yesterday 35+ degree. This time around it was lot quicker then the first pouring, even with all the mud. Next stage is to complete the floor so that should be completed in the next week or so.
Anyway once the rain clears I will add some photos of the finished peirs
22-11-2007, 10:31 PM
Am I missing something? I thought you needed mounting bolts for the piers. What kind of attachment method will you be using?
Curious and jelouse :)
22-11-2007, 11:17 PM
Hmmm noticed that to citivolus. My suggestion on something that small a diameter would be Ramset Chemi-anchors and SS studs, doesn't put sideways pressure on the concrete like Dynabolts do. Less chance of cracking down the track a bit.
Looking good though :)
23-11-2007, 08:33 AM
Looks like you've buried a couple of Daleks in your back yard!
Yeah the Ramset idea is the easiest way to go.
23-11-2007, 08:47 AM
Very good tip and I will be definitely looking in to your suggestion. By the was, I have no real plan for this project other what is in my head, it is sort of make it up as you go along.
P.S. If anyone have any good ideas let us know.
23-11-2007, 09:14 AM
Something on my list of enhancements is to get an exhaust fan.
Even though the cool-down with the roof off is quick to ambient, with my LX200 in particular, the cool down time when it's been toasty warm in there is at least 2 hours. Leaving the window open helps quite a bit, but I think it'd be worth thinking about.
Have you got a "warm room", or are you just going to run remote from in the house?
23-11-2007, 09:23 AM
Another vote for ramset solution, something like this will fine, just remember to completely clean the hole (compressed air) before inserting the capsules, also don't forget to drill the holes 2mm larger than the threaded rod that you choose.
23-11-2007, 11:00 AM
I have a Lymax's CosmicOne SCT Cooler on order and should be here in a week or so that should take care of the SCT cooling time. As for a "warm room" I am going with the freezer suit, this will keep me nice and warm during winter. As for running the observatory remotely from the house thats way down the tracks.
Overall ventilation of the observatory I am think of using a large computer fan hooked up to some solar cell.
23-11-2007, 02:07 PM
I am most interested in the results of the SCT cooler. I was thinking of building one myself, but the thought of getting it wrong and doing dastardly things to the inside of the scope scares me.
My thoughts for a fan were the same - I have a 140mm fan from an old server that should do the job. Contemplated a battery/solar config, but the solar panels are so expensive, seemed like a waste - just spend $20 an a 12V dc power supply and run it from the mains in the shed. Not as eco friendly, but it's going to take a very, very long time to recoup the cost of the solar panel/charger combo.
23-11-2007, 11:57 PM
I have a couple of 5w panels that run the external lighting, lights in a second toilet and a home built stereo system for the patio, wasn't too concerned about the cost more the eco friendly thing. Would be a costly way to run the fan, probably ~ $150 with the Panel and battery + wiring. If theres power in the shed, I'd go with the 12v plug pack.
27-11-2007, 12:23 AM
Righto squeezer! :poke: That's EN-trenching tool, OHP, clearing patrol and RATPACK! Someone in the Army should know how important terminology is!!!!;):P
and no....i wasn't in so long that I became institutionalized.....not at all.....:whistle:
28-11-2007, 08:04 AM
That is exactly why I bought one from Lymax. I had worked out what I wanted to do and came up with almost the same concept as theirs! Then I was talking to Anthony one morning and he mentioned Lymax, so I googled them and decided I could either fork out the money and have one in a week or so, or, I could pick up some PVC on the way home one day and spend hours of endless fun on the lathe at home turning it down into a pile of swarf. I figured it would take maybe 2 or 3 weekends in total to get it finished. Compared to buying it, I would be working for about $2 an hour for myself. I don't work for anyone for two bucks an hour...so I bought it.
I ordered it on a Monday and it arrived the next Monday. It works great. I can get it cooled in an hour or so and have sufficient image quality for visual use, otherwise it could easily take twice as long. And I have to get up before 6 each morning to go to work so I really don't want to be up until after midnight.
02-12-2007, 02:58 PM
Did some more work on the observatory to day. Completed the framing for the floor today. Tuesday/Wednesday will see the laying of the Yellow Tongue Flooring.
02-12-2007, 03:19 PM
Here is a couple of photos of the 14" LX200R that I will be using in the obsevatory. The mount that you see is an EQ6 dual axis drive, it has had some much need modification so that it can support the 14". First mod was to replace the original counterweight shaft with 1" treaded rod and the addition of 3x 7.5Kg Gym weights (total weight 22.5Kg). Each Gym weight has been fitted with a treaded insert which allows the weight to be moved up and down the counterweight shaft for more accurate balancing. The second mod was to fit a G11 Saddle plate for a more securer and rigid connection between the mount and the telescope.
Finally I know what some people may say "An EQ6 with a 14" :eyepop:are you mad:screwy:. For the time being it will do the job that I requirer, that is Visual/Planetary Imaging. I do plan to purchase or build a suitable mount in the future for this scope. I like the idea of building my our mount so a Lathe and Milling Machine may come first before the mount.
02-12-2007, 05:29 PM
oh that is infinity and beyond
03-12-2007, 02:07 AM
That scope is bloody huge. The first shot looks like a bobblehead :rofl:
03-12-2007, 06:06 PM
you'll have an AWESOME setup
Talk about taking the strain.
And here was I concerned a 12" LX200R OTA was too heavy for an EQ6!
03-12-2007, 10:53 PM
Talking about taking the strain try lifting the 14" on to the mount every night no wonder I am building the observatory:scared:.
By the way Damain Peach is a brave man to cart a 14" plus mount plus and all the rest of his gear, half way around the world to image Jupiter, the man needs a metal.
03-12-2007, 11:00 PM
Drooling is prohibited, it tarnishes the nice blue paint work and it is a devil to clean of the correction plate. :lol:
03-12-2007, 11:45 PM
Anthony, it's looking good mate :thumbsup:
Did Roger give you all this time off to do it? :P
04-12-2007, 07:21 PM
Well I got the floor down today, which is a good mile stone. The roof is next, this part of the project will take sometime to complete due to the design of and welding together of the roof. I am sure that most people will be intrested in my concept of the roll-off roof so I will keep you posted.
04-12-2007, 09:05 PM
11-12-2007, 03:52 PM
Made the decision to start the constrution of the piers today. Ordered the material this morning from Handy Steel Stock in West Heidelberg, the sale Rep said the order would not be ready for a couple of days which was O.K. with me. But I got a phone call from Handy Steel about 2pm saying that my order is ready, well $132 later I am a pround own of eight piece of scrap metal soon to be welded together to make two piers.
I estimate that each pier will cost about $200 each to complete, not bad for a DIY job. So with a bit of luck I should have the first one completed by christmas and in place and with the 14" mounted on top for the opposition of Mars
11-12-2007, 08:49 PM
Has the Lymax cat cooler arrived yet? Your thoughts if it has....
12-12-2007, 08:38 AM
Not yet, they were out of stock at the time of ordering, so a one week wait has turn out to be a three to four week wait. Not much of a problem as yet but once I have the peir in place for the 14" it will be. By the way I order the Cooler when the Aussie Dollar was over 90 cent now its at 87 cent how unluck can I be.
23-12-2007, 07:23 PM
Hi All and Merry Christmas
Just a quick post to share some photo's of peir number one, still has some work to do on it but it is ready to bolt on to the concrete pad. For those who are intrested I had the top plate milled to accepted the EQ6 Mount. A 30mm hole was bored through the plate steel and then 5mm by 65mm diamater recess was milled in to the plate to fit the base of the mount. I will add a photo of the milled plate later.
23-01-2008, 09:22 PM
With Christmas over and a weeks holiday I have finally got sometime to work on the observatory. A this stage the plan is to get the roof in place so as to offer some weather protection so as to set up a telescope. I have had some problem with the overall design of the roof with several ideas being dumped before choosing the final design (see photos).
Prior to commencing this part of the project I had framed up the interior of the observatory for future paneling and to add support for the roof (also a great excuse to buy a nail gun). You can see from the two photos the 90mm x 90mmx 5m beams sit on and then are bolted to the end framing. On the exterior, four 50mm x 50mm steel tubing were then bolted on to the beam, these will act as the tracks for the roof, the wheels will run agains the beam as a guide. As the beams are not full width to carry the whole roof a wheel (one at both end of a roof panels) will run below the track so as to hold the roof down and in position. I am currently working on these and should have some photos in a day or so to give you and idea what I am talking about.
23-01-2008, 09:28 PM
By the way Turbo the Lymax cat cooler did arrive after ordering it six weeks ago. Have had a quick look at it but can't use it until the roof is on the observatory and the 14" is in place. I will keep up posted when I do.
24-01-2008, 01:30 PM
Look forward to a report!
I wasted several hours the other night trying to image thinking the scope had cooled enough, but clearly it had not.... an hour doesn't really cut it.
I'm tempted to make one myself, I have lots of "recycled" PC fans (one nice 120mm one that should cause a tornado in there. Just got to get motivated enough to do it.
24-01-2008, 01:41 PM
Get Freddy to help you with the design
I'd luv to see a cooler running 500W of stacked Peltiers
( only joking Fred ;) )
24-01-2008, 07:48 PM
Some new shots of the roll of roof. Will fill in the details later as I am still working on the roof.
25-01-2008, 04:45 PM
A long day but have got the roof in place, rolls well but needs some tweaking to get the best performance. Also still have the flashing to do and water proofing but I have something that looks like an observatory or a very weird garden shed.
25-01-2008, 05:18 PM
mmmm why is the roof so flat - you will get moisture under those roof sheets - they are not deep enough channels!!
26-01-2008, 07:56 PM
The roof is finished, and rolls smoothly on and off. Now for details; the main support for the tracks are two 90mm x 90mm x5m beams these protrude about a metre on ether side of the shed. Bolted to these are four 50mm x 50mm x 2.5m square tubing (two at each end), these form the track for the roof to roll along.
The roof itself is contracted from 38mm x 33mm angle iron and 35mm x 75mm structure pine and corrugated sheet iron. The roller system is as follows; on each of the four peices of angle iron are attached four 50mm castors (total 16) nexts four tangent arms, fitted with a 100mm ball raced wheels are fix to each peices of angle iron. The 100mm wheels fit below the 50mmx50mm track and the purpose of these wheels is to hold the roof in place as I am not using full length track due the little room I have in the back yard (in short it is a space saving measure). Turn buckles are used to tension the 100mm wheel against the bottom of the tracks.
Internally eight guide wheels have been fitted (four for each roof panel) and rest against the 90mm x 90mm beam so as to help guide the roof half when they are being open or closed.
In operation the whole system works very smoothly, later on I will install a pully system to make the job easier.
26-01-2008, 08:05 PM
Not sure what you mean, I have set a reasonable fall in to the roof design. Just by luck it rained heavily yesterday and the rain had no trouble running off. I still need to do the ridge cap and the flashing but getting moisture under the roof should not be an issue.
26-01-2008, 09:35 PM
the roof being that flat will allow for moisture to bleed through and drip. that profile colourbond is not designed for such a flat roof. 15 degrees pitch is the minimum design for that profile.
the profile of the steel rib 500 is manufactured for low pitched roofs (as low as 1%)
and is guaranteel to keep out the rain.
26-01-2008, 10:18 PM
I see what you mean, but there is no real plan for this observatory it is just evloving and I have to use the materials at hand, if I have any problem with moisture (winter will tell) I will let you know.
16-04-2008, 01:10 PM
16-04-2008, 03:13 PM
What he hasn't told you as how well it stood up to the storms we had here a couple of weeks back. The roof, even unsecured, only opened a small amount in the 130km gusts and only a little bit of water got in. Anthony has also finished the flashing on both ends so that it has a more "finished" appearance. He has also used window winders to lift up the one edge to clear the other when opening up for the night.
17-04-2008, 01:46 AM
hey, just read the entire thread in the matter of 10 minutes, and love the design! my only question is when the roof is fully retracted, how much of the sky is actually visible? looks like its only a 1 - 2m strip.
MORE PICS NEEDED!!!
17-04-2008, 08:23 AM
yep its about time you put up some more pics anthony
17-04-2008, 03:37 PM
Ok I have been procrastinating a little I will have some new pic up this week end.
17-04-2008, 03:44 PM
With the roof retracted you have a full field of view, It like standing outside and just looking up and around the night sky. The telescopes themselves do have a restricted horizon due to the wall height, but most thing I will be imaging will be close to zenith anyway.
17-04-2008, 11:38 PM
Sounds good! I look forward to seeing more....
**starts drawing up plans for a project somewhere in the foreseeable future
27-04-2008, 04:58 PM
Some final image, the observatory in now to a stage that it is functional. I still need to do the paneling and tired up the electrical side of thing but she works. Just of intrest, the ridge cap that runs the lenght of the roof is hinged and is raised and lowed via window winders, also note the guide wheel to keep the roof straight when rolling off and on again.
27-04-2008, 05:21 PM
I also have two computers for very tasks, such as autoguiding, imaging etc. Both are Pentium III, both where pickup of the sided of the road re-worked in put back into service. The best, a 1Ghz machine with 384MB of ram is used with my LU075C camera for planetary imaging and it works well in that roll. Just a note, I have been getting back into the swing with planetary imaging but due to the smoke haze and now the wet weather I am not having much success (mainly poor data unfit for public viewing).
27-04-2008, 05:43 PM
Nice looking job, Anthony. "Duck Dodgers" will be proud of you. :P
27-04-2008, 06:12 PM
Great looking observatory you have there, I am truly jealous.
I am considering to do the same thing one day (probably wont happen :rolleyes:).
I was wondering how much it cost you to build and buy all the nessesary equipment to build your observatory?
Great looking scopes aswell BTW. :thumbsup:
27-04-2008, 06:45 PM
good stuff anthony..... did you get the motor drive issue sorted out with your mount?
Wonderful setup Anthony, the finished product looks fantastic.
You've done a great job
27-04-2008, 07:02 PM
great work Anthony.
28-04-2008, 11:09 AM
Green with envy!
Very well setup, All you need is to plaster the walls and wack in a microwave and a kettle, you'll never need to go back inside... essentially :P
28-04-2008, 02:02 PM
I did not keep record of the cost but I would say the whole project would round out to be just over $2000. The cheapest purchase where the computers as I just pick them up from the side of the road.
28-04-2008, 02:03 PM
Thanks John, hope to catch up with you at BSG
28-04-2008, 02:07 PM
Yes as you know I had a cheap EQ6 with basic dual axis drive fo the 14" which was not up to standard for planetary imaging, have since upgrade to Synscan V3 Goto drive system which make centering and track much better, still need to work on polar alignment.
28-04-2008, 02:09 PM
Good idea but my wife is already calling herself the observatory widow as I am spending more and more time out there.
29-04-2008, 08:10 AM
Just put a family photo up on the observatory wall. Will she go with that? :lol:
Great design Anthony. A lot of my projects in the past have been the "suck it and see" method, by building it in my head as you go along.
29-04-2008, 12:03 PM
Sounds fair enough to me.... however im 23 and have no wife or children... makes life.. Oh, So Simple!
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