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Old 06-03-2020, 07:19 PM
carlstronomy (Carl)
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My Observatory

Good evening fellow star gazers

I have been dabbling in the stars for a few years now, minor heath issues have kept me out the game for the past year. I have posted a few images here on the site over the years and log in a take a look at the work of others when I can.

In 2017 I purchased a used SkyShed POD from a fellow member of this great community Leo. This was set up on the grass for some time and served me well using my NEQ6 Pro set up on its stock tripod (of sorts).

The time has come after much saving of money to be able to build my 2 car garage which has also enabled me to build a permanent observatory using the POD behind it.

If its okay with everyone I would like to share my build with you all, I can learn from and others may also get some idea's on what to and not do

The project started the other week and these are my steps completed and to do.

1. Pick the spot (Completed) Images 1,2 & 3
2. Prep the ground ready for the slab (Completed) Images 4 & 5
3. Prepare boxing for a 3 x 3 slab (Completed) Image 6
4. Dig 1 x 1 meter deep hole for the peer (Completed)
5. Dig 4 x peer holes around the edges of the slab for stability (Completed)
6. Manufacture a 450 mm steel rod frame to support the peer and concrete in the ground (Completed)
7. Prepare the mesh and lay the slab (Completed)
8. Manufacture a solid steel peer and prime (Completed)
8. Mark out the circles for correct positioning of the POD on the slab
9. Assemble the lower section of the POD and seal to the concrete
10. Assemble the top section of the POD and seal
11. Paint the peer to look super cool
12. Manufacture top plate adapter to fit NEQ6
13. Bolt Peer onto concrete slab and conduct compass alignment
14. Lay carpet inside POD
15. Set up cool low voltage smart RGB lighting
16. Set up solar system in conjunction with shed
17. Install computer system and setup equipment in POD bays
18. Accurate drift align with SCT9.25"
19. Start enjoying my night photography in my new observatory
20. Design and fit roll off Zenith table (Only drawback to the POD)

I will post some images of where I am up to in the coming days
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Last edited by carlstronomy; 06-03-2020 at 08:22 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-03-2020, 09:46 PM
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h0ughy (David)
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Don't forget to run any conduit and cable for power and data before you pour the concrete. Also grade the slab from the centre to the edge with the centre being higher, 1% would work. This will help stop water getting into the dome. Always exciting starting the journey
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Old 07-03-2020, 01:34 AM
carlstronomy (Carl)
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Thanks David

Slab is poured and angled for water release

Apart from one cable running from the shed to the POD one meter away there are two cables running from the side of the POD to the peer. These cables will run in an on the ground flat cable tray which is not much higher than the flooring I will lay on completion. The power to the POD will be connected to a weather proof power point on the side and all power cables run neatly around the edge.
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Old 07-03-2020, 06:12 AM
appiice (Ed)
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Slab

Hello David and Carl

Good luck on your build, you won't regret the ease that you can be up and using the scope when it is finished.

Just one negative comment, the idea of a 1 degree slope to help water drain away sounds like a plan...Ö. for a potting shed.

If you build your structure with care ( and skill ), including grading the land around the structure you don't need any fall on the floor for water run off.

For example, I am a licensed builder, can I build you a house with a fall so any water entering your home will run out the other end? Your 1 degree fall ( 18mm of drop over 1 meter of run ) over an average house width of say, 15m is 270mm, going to look pretty good from the front!

Bit extreme, yes but if the slab is above the finished grade, and the roof does not leak, why would you want to allow for water entering the dwelling, I would rather keep my scope and all the electronic stuff in my Obs dry to start with.

Ed
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Old 07-03-2020, 08:56 AM
carlstronomy (Carl)
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Ed, agree totally. The slab was laid professionally and I have faith in what has been done. The slab is not angled from the center but is angled very slightly away from the side bays, this is so when the heavy rain falls here in Brisbane it does not well up a create issues. You will notice there are three bays in the drawing below and I do not want water build up in super heavy rain in what could be classed as the two large catchment areas. The POD will be sealed and touch wood no water will enter the enclosure
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  #6  
Old 08-03-2020, 02:53 AM
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Enjoy Carl ⭐️⭐️👍👍🪐🪐🪐🔭🔭
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:57 AM
carlstronomy (Carl)
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Thanks, Jen. That is whole idea of this project

Also just checked up the warm room on your thread, super
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlstronomy View Post
Thanks, Jen. That is whole idea of this project

Also just checked up the warm room on your thread, super
Hehe thank you 🤪🤪 it definitely has a bit of a girley touch to it 😈🤣
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:18 AM
appiice (Ed)
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Mastic

Hello Carl

When you get to sealing your pod to the slab, have a look for a " non setting mastic " rather than using silicon, silicon will set all the way through and eventually ( quicker than you might think ) when the slab expands and contracts the joint will fail and water will enter the pod, a non setting mastic skins on the surface but does not set all the way through.

Any movement in the slab / pod joint will stay sealed and waterproof.

From memory it is a little more expensive than silicon but better in the long run.

There are many on the market here is one at Bunnings.

https://www.bunnings.com.au/selleys-...alant_p1230169

Ed
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:10 PM
carlstronomy (Carl)
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Ed, thank you so much. I have been looking at what to use for the sealing as the recommended Lexen brand is not available in Australia. One tube came with the POD from Leo but not enough to complete the whole job. I could see by what was used by Leo and what he also mentioned that I would need something better that silicon sealing compound.

Your timing could not be better Just need to find one in grey or clear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by appiice View Post
Hello Carl

When you get to sealing your pod to the slab, have a look for a " non setting mastic " rather than using silicon, silicon will set all the way through and eventually ( quicker than you might think ) when the slab expands and contracts the joint will fail and water will enter the pod, a non setting mastic skins on the surface but does not set all the way through.

Any movement in the slab / pod joint will stay sealed and waterproof.

From memory it is a little more expensive than silicon but better in the long run.

There are many on the market here is one at Bunnings.

https://www.bunnings.com.au/selleys-...alant_p1230169

Ed
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  #11  
Old 28-03-2020, 07:40 PM
carlstronomy (Carl)
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Well I carried out a little work on the POD yesterday and today.

1. Removed the old sealing compound and cleaned the walls.
2. Drew out the circles on the floor and placed foam gasket on the floor for a padded seal.
3. Positioned the walls and bolted together and to the floor.
4. Removed the old sealing compound and cleaned one half of the top section ready for assembly.

Having a great time and looking forward to its completion, it will give me something to do once my work dries up
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Old 28-03-2020, 07:46 PM
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peter_4059 (Peter)
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Carl,

That's looking a lot more comfortable than what you had before!
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  #13  
Old 28-03-2020, 10:35 PM
carlstronomy (Carl)
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Yes Peter, the wet grass always was a pain

Should be good when its completed.
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Old 29-03-2020, 06:04 PM
carlstronomy (Carl)
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More work carried out today

1. Pod fully assembled.
2. Roof is sealed.
3. Walls and floor still require sealing.
4. Painted the pier.
5. Mounted the pier in position.

Starting to move along nicely now
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Old 29-03-2020, 06:09 PM
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peter_4059 (Peter)
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Looking good Carl. Just needs some of these for the floor...
https://www.target.com.au/p/4-pack-e...r-mat/60198716
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  #16  
Old 03-04-2020, 10:44 PM
Hemi
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Hey Carl, nice build.....what foam did you use, I’m a few steps behind you in setting up my pod. I was going to use 6mm closed high density foam, but wondered if 6mm was thick enough for the gasket?

Hemi
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  #17  
Old 04-04-2020, 12:17 AM
carlstronomy (Carl)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemi View Post
Hey Carl, nice build.....what foam did you use, Iím a few steps behind you in setting up my pod. I was going to use 6mm closed high density foam, but wondered if 6mm was thick enough for the gasket?

Hemi
Hemi,

Yes 6mm is fine. I used 6mm x 48mm foam rubber with a self adhesive backing. Placed it so it was on the outer section so it did not tear when screwing the pod to the concrete. I still have to seal around the outside so the foam rubber does not soak and rot.

Carl
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Old 04-04-2020, 12:29 AM
Hemi
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That’s interesting, I considered doing that, but decided to just put a 250x250 sheet of the foam down, plonk the pod on top and trim to fit on the outside. Then seal. I’ll build the internal floor up a little more with some foam tiles. And seal those.

The closed high density foam, I’m hoping shouldn’t soak up and rot, maybe I’m wrong though?
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Old 04-04-2020, 01:24 PM
carlstronomy (Carl)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemi View Post
Thatís interesting, I considered doing that, but decided to just put a 250x250 sheet of the foam down, plonk the pod on top and trim to fit on the outside. Then seal. Iíll build the internal floor up a little more with some foam tiles. And seal those.

The closed high density foam, Iím hoping shouldnít soak up and rot, maybe Iím wrong though?
We use this type of foam for gaskets at work. It does go brittle and age over time, it will not last indefinitely. It is not designed to stay wet so I have no idea how it will react over time under the dome taking hours and hours to try out. For this reason I just used a small amount around the outside that could be sealed from moisture ingress, if it does go off I do not have to lift the dome again. For my floor I will be using the carpet tiles from Bunnings, carpet helps reduce internal dampness and will wear a lot better.
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Old 05-04-2020, 12:47 AM
carlstronomy (Carl)
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A little more work carried out over the past few days.

1. All joints and floor sealed
2. RGB LED strip mounted
3. Telescope mounted on pier
4. Computer table and drawer in pod
5. Computer powered (temporary) and connected to mount using EQmod.

Important to do

1. Clear alignment points (Done)
2. Drift align mount
3. Create new alignment point data
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