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Old 25-04-2017, 07:21 PM
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johnyb (John)
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An observatory from an old cubby house

Hi all, being new to this hobby (about 6 months) and having bought some cool equipment, I wanted to set up the scope and not dismantle it each time.

There was no way that my wife would allow me to build a new structure in the middle of the back yard.

So I thought, what about the old cubby house. You will see from the pic that it was not in an ideal position and elevated so camera shake would be a problem.

It was an issue I was prepared to put up with as I was intending to do it all via remote control from by garage via either Wifi or Power over ethernet connection.

This indeed would pose some interesting issues to overcome, but what the heck, it beats setting up the scope each night.

Anyway here is the pic of the cubby. Trees behind me but i would have a south to southwest outlook.

I am a newby at posting things, so i'll just post one pic at this stage of the old cubby. not sure of the file size.
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  #2  
Old 25-04-2017, 07:43 PM
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I have often contemplated buying one of the Bunnings Cubby Houses and modify it to ROR or opening roof.
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  #3  
Old 25-04-2017, 08:13 PM
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Ok finally worked out how to place low res pics on the forum without it crashing.

I bought some form ply, treated pine and other materials at Masters when they were closing down. up to 70% off the price of the form ply sheets.

The cubby was also not square so i had to make a frame around those TP posts.

Reused the roof poly but made a new light weight roof frame, with a vapour barrier to catch condensation.

I used two angle braces to form a track for the castors. the size is about 2m x 2m so 4 castors would be OK.

Put a couple of blocks at each end so it would not roll of the edge.

I used some cargo straps to tie the roof down when closed and when open I have four elastic straps to keep the roof from blowing away when open.

For weather sealing, i used some plastic flashing which overhangs the walls by 10mm when the roof moves it just flexes over the walls. Same goes for the fascia it has a 10mm overlap with the walls to keep the rain out.

I also put in a couple of vents to each gable to improve air flow.

Put an external powerboard in from the house, which also serves as ethernet over power to get onto the network.

Enough room for a chair and bench.

No was was i gong to try to put in a pier all the way to the ground, so I stiffened up the floor with some steel and a post wedged up hard from underneath. Doesn't bother the rabbits a bit.

Dry as a bone after 40mm of rain yesterday.

The pics speak for themselves. Cheers.
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  #4  
Old 26-04-2017, 09:04 AM
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Hey John you have done a brilliant job,so good to have a permanet set up
cheers Alan,go play in your cubby
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Old 26-04-2017, 09:52 AM
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I have a similar situation, the existing building which I intend to use as astro-office, and next to it I intend to build the observation deck (with dome further down the track).
The only detail I don't like about your approach is the lack of pier - perhaps you should have build concrete slab under the cubby floor? Or this is in the future plan already?
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  #6  
Old 26-04-2017, 01:09 PM
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Thanks Alan,
Even grown ups can play in cubby houses
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Old 26-04-2017, 01:23 PM
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Hi Bojan,

Yes that would have been the better solution, however, i had to make do with the situation at present. I tried to keep costs down to a minimum and without too much disruption to the rabbits we have underneath.

Given that the positioning of the cubby is not ideal with a limited outlook to the heavens, it will have to do for the time being.

But nevertheless, worthwhile thinking about in the future.

Cheers
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Old 26-04-2017, 02:40 PM
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Congratulations on doing a great job John! I love solutions that make use of existing situations and/or materials.

I've been contemplating something that might suit here, but haven't yet settled on anything. Currently the gear (such as as it - very modest beginner stuff) sits in a converted (enclosed) carport along with a couple of motorbikes. It has to be carried out - which is no big deal as it's only a couple of metres.

Initially, I played around with the idea of reversing the usual arrangement - leaving the existing roof in place and building a moveable floor that rolls out instead. It all seemed good on paper but the problem would be getting it as stable as I'd wish. I guess that's Bojan's point about a pier.

However, at this early stage, perfect conditions aren't very high on my list.

Wishing you many happy hours of play in your cubby. It's a beauty.

Cheers,

Chris
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Old 26-04-2017, 04:47 PM
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Well done John.
A cubby house is certainly a low cost solution. A couple of suggestions if I may
1. Get a pruning saw and hack away some overhanging branches.
2. Get some vibration pads to isolate the tripod from the suspended floor. You can easily use some heavy duty plastic bags filled with sand so long as the tripod legs don't puncture the bag.
Good luck
Bo
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Old 26-04-2017, 09:04 PM
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John ...good job, enjoy your new orb...

Col.
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  #11  
Old 27-04-2017, 01:13 PM
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Thanks for the advice and positive comments.

I will get some anti vibration pads.

I have cut down as many of the overhanging branches that I could get to. The trees in the back ground are 25m high Sydney Blue Gums. i stood on planks on top of the wall with the roof open and then on to a 6' step latter above that reaching up with a pole arm chain saw. Quite scary indeed.

I do have a reasonable outlook to the south and south western sky, with a space between trees to get a section of the north western sky.

Again, not ideal, but it will have to do. So planning what to take and when throughout the year will be my focus. The main aim though, was to have a scope set up and not be moved.

Thanks again for all of your comments. Being new to the hobby, this forum is an excellent place to glean information, and all of the members are so helpful.

Cheers.
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Old 27-04-2017, 06:43 PM
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ZeroID (Brent)
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Hi John, nice work, making do with what you got. And some good DIY skills showing through as well.
My Ob has a Nth\Sth slice of sky for similar reasons as yours. You just have to be patient and it will all slowly revolve past you into view.
Have fun ..
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Old 29-04-2017, 09:54 AM
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great work JB - I'm looking forward to now seeing how your camera mod will turn out

Russ
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  #14  
Old 29-04-2017, 10:42 AM
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johnyb (John)
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Thanks Russ,
Camera is in pieces as we speak, and this afternoon i will be polishing off the bayer matrix.

A bold move i know. I might post elsewhere on how that project turns out.
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Old 29-04-2017, 01:33 PM
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Nice work John.

Definitely thinking outside the square with that job.
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Old 15-05-2017, 10:40 PM
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Wow that came up really well. Congratulations on the cubby upgrade!
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Old 16-05-2017, 04:35 PM
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What a great idea. Our cubby house at home is now used for the kids bikes. I could trim the roof down a bit, add a new level with some yellow tongue flooring and make my own observatory. Scott, get planning! I can hear my wife now......"what are you doing...what do you want that for......"
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Old 16-05-2017, 09:27 PM
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Scott, it was either do up the cubby or nothing at all. There was no way my wife was going to let me build a new obs.
Best of luck if you choose to do the same.
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Old 18-05-2017, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnyb View Post
Scott, it was either do up the cubby or nothing at all. There was no way my wife was going to let me build a new obs.
Best of luck if you choose to do the same.
Yeah, no way I would be able to build a new one either. I mentioned the renovations last night and she said "go for your life".... in other words, I'll believe it when I see it. Well, I might just go ahead and do it.
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Old 19-05-2017, 12:42 PM
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Well, best of luck then. look forward to pics of your progress.
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