View Full Version here: : Homemade Observatory (cheap)
09-03-2011, 05:16 PM
Hi guys just wanted to show what i have started on,im trying to make a homemade observatory i have purchased a 3m x 3m gazebo from ebay and im planing of having the complete top of it remove so i can get a 360 degree view of the sky,will be adding a permanent mount and have a concrete floor with a red lights inserted as soon as i get around to it.
I im keeping it outside for a week as we are due for rain to see if it is fully waterproof before continuing with the project,any tips you guys might have will be greatly appreciated.
21-03-2011, 02:00 AM
I have no tips but I like what I see.
I'm thinking of doing something similar, Let me know how it works out.
21-03-2011, 10:21 AM
so far so good just adding some structure poles and seting up the mount will add pics soon
21-03-2011, 10:33 AM
Good idea. Now to mow the lawns.:D:D:D
21-03-2011, 10:53 AM
have you seen these?
85 dollars and a bitof wood.... a drill 25 bolts and an afternoon
21-03-2011, 12:03 PM
That's the best system that I have seen. You could do some serious construction with that system.
that is great for those that are not that handy.
I wonder how waterprrof it is?
i may move in the future and this looks likes a good option for an observatory. Just need a way to open the roof, i guess.
Also, my swedish friends keep asking me to build a sauna since I have the room at my place- maybe this is an option! :)
21-03-2011, 12:31 PM
With a bit of ingenuity you could make a 'petal' style roof that opened in sections on the Star Plate idea. Just open a few panels in the direction you wanted to view.
Or alternatively make a whole seperate ring that turned on the upper beams with maybe a pair of sectors that opened.
Not sure how that would affect strength as the design of that locks the frame together in the roof apex. But yo could add a circular plate for rollers etc which would brace it as well.
Clever idea ...
21-03-2011, 12:39 PM
It looks like a good system and a petal roof would be the best option,im allready 80% thru making my observatory so i cant take on this design lol.
21-03-2011, 02:31 PM
I think the nice thing about it is the fact you can make it almost any size you like - up to about 3 metre wood lengths- I noted 2.4 lengths gave you the council max (no building license req) of 10 sq metres floor area - this is a nice size and fits well with 1200 x 2400 sheets of ply
Also worked out that it's possible to put wheels on the bottom plates and the whole obs can rotate.all you need then is a carefully crafted circularchannel in which to run the wheels and then you only need a 600 wide slot to zenith and make it turn with the OTA
21-03-2011, 03:10 PM
might have to start work on this after i finish my current Obs(which is for a 10'' Dob) need to make one for a 16'' so this maybe a option.
21-03-2011, 04:49 PM
Just doing a rough mockup of this design, it seems to me that you need to calculate the effective internal dimensions - noting that each side is in fact a flat surface and therefore cuts the effective inside radius down somewhat. For example, using say 2 metre lengths for the base produces an effective inside circle with a radius of 1.4 metres or so - meaning a circle with an area of 6 or 7 sq metres. That does leave some useful spaces in the corners for shelves and so forth but an effective diameter of 2.8 metres is still a bit on the small side. Taking those lengths up to say 3 metres produces an effective inside radius of a bit over 2 metres - much more usable. That translates to an effective floor area of about 13-14 sq metres. To be within the 10 sq metre rule of councils, you'd probably have to stick to 2 metres but to have a decently useful area, you'd want to go to at least 2.4.
It would be easy enough to have a roof section that flips back or even rolls aside but the problem will be with imaging at the zenith. You'd have to have your pier well offset and that puts more pressure on the limited space inside. And it would be a bit easier to have a roof that rotates than to do that with the whole building I think - especially when you factor in the need to have the bottom contact with the slab waterproof.
I'm going to order a couple of these things and have a play with them. If anyone has any ideas about how to solve the zenith problem, I'd like to hear it.
21-03-2011, 10:32 PM
Absolutely brilliant - thankyou! I've been looking for a penta/hexa-type of design for ages for my backyard obs. I wanted something that looked interesting, attractive and practical (to keep SWMBO on side!).
22-03-2011, 12:43 AM
if only i was a handy amn i could do it lol i cant cook 2 minute noodles at the best of times lol
22-03-2011, 01:40 AM
2.4 metre lengths give you exactly 9.91sq metres the inner radius is ~3 metres and the outer radius is 4 metres
I can supply a cad drawing I did if you need details.
Getting to zenith would mean a slight offset of the pier (or rather the axis of the OTA) from the centre of the obs,unless you construct it and then cut out the centre after inserting perlins leaving a pentanlge hole in the middle which can be covered with a rosette attached to the petal off the side to be used to view through
22-03-2011, 06:06 AM
I scaled my model up and without taking into account the thickness of timber or wall materials, a 2.4 metre strut-length will give you an inner radius of 3.3 and an outer of 4.1 or thereabouts. Although it would also give you a total floor area of about 10 sq metres, the effective area is really limited to the inner circle which also has an impact on the size of scope that can be used with this design - especially with a pier that has to be placed off-centre.
I'd be interested to see the CAD and continue the discussion about how to design the roof/roof opening. It seems to me that the rosette idea is worth developing but the moving of the roof could pose problems since the 5-point fixing plates that are used in this design are used not only at the apex but also on each of the wall-roof connection points so you'd have to cut them. Not pretty.
And I'm a bit doubtful about how well you could waterproof the rosette area. With a decent wind driving heavy rain and you'd have major water problems I think.
22-03-2011, 11:23 AM
Yes, I agree with all you've said.
There are some flaws that make it less than perfect, but they also make it quite inexpensive and by increasing the timber lengths, it could be a feasible alternative. 4mm ply is only 10 dollars a sheet - meaning 20 sheets would kill it. 350dollars for a shed that size is pretty good- even if you had to unclip the whole roof to use it. - There's lots of alternative materials you could use on it too. colourbond - that cool room stuff -
Needs work to get it right, but then don't all things
I use ACAD 2010 - do you have the reader for it? I can send the file
22-03-2011, 12:08 PM
Wow some great ideas in this one. And something I think I can actually build even with my two left thumbs.
Since the OP's thread has been hijaked of topic a bit, although with some awesome ideas. Could I suggest a new thread to take this further. There are I am sure a few kits like this and neat "devices" that make construction simple. All we need is to collect some ideas and maybe get someone to do some CAD drawings, with materials you can buy from Bunnings and similar places.
"The Iceinspace DIY Kit Observatory".
I was thinking of comnining the GeoDesic concept with this Star plate connectors. Make the Geodesic frame from wood using the Star Plates to form the Pentagons and Hexagons, or something similar to give the right shape (maybe have to come up with this). Then you just nail on some Panels (add some Water proofing) to the frame and pannels and you can have a Dome. Look I am not the best at this but I hope you get what I am saying. Thos in the consturction game couls suggest easy to get materials that would be suitable for an observatory.
Also as to the loss of space due to sloping walls, well they seem to have thought of that, to give you straight walls.
22-03-2011, 12:59 PM
not sure I like the sound of Ventricle (SIC) walls!! Sounds like a stake to the heart.
If you bought extra starplates you could go out from the bottom then back in again but you may need to add height to your pier!
I think the 3 metre studs would be the best- I doubt anyone from Council could work out you'd overstepped the mark! Making a building 5 sided has its compensations.
if you put in the apex plate, fit the rafters, then put perlins in, you can cut away the excess neatly and have a pop out apex for zenith tracking
A double ring plate could be fabricated from laminated 18mm ply and the rest is history as you say
22-03-2011, 01:51 PM
Taking up Fahim's suggestion, I have started a new thread for this. See "Kit Observatory - not for chickens"
27-03-2011, 07:46 AM
How goes the observatory Statton ?
Post a few piccies as the project unfolds so I can see how it works out.
27-03-2011, 12:47 PM
Not the best looking obs at the moment but it will do the job, going with a different design.
27-03-2011, 09:00 PM
That's a better design for sure.
Is it mounted over a trampoline base?.
28-03-2011, 12:51 AM
Thats looking good, kinda looks like the Apollo lunar module.
One small step to the bavkyard obs, one vast window to the stars.
01-04-2011, 01:11 PM
yea just an old trampoline base that i picked up from the tip,just took the mat out im planning on adding a solid floor to it just gotta figure it out.
20-04-2011, 10:02 AM
i LOVE ur scopes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
20-04-2011, 10:19 AM
Statton, that site you gave here (http://starrycafe.com/images/stories/jjj.jpg) in your first post has been suspended:shrug:
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