Old 04-12-2021, 03:23 PM
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whzzz28 (Nathan)
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Location: Brisbane
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Cedar shed ROR


This was built over a year ago now, thought I would post it in case some people are looking for ideas.

I wanted a ROR observatory for my backyard, but i did not wish to build it from scratch myself.
I originally looked at the idea of using a cheap metal garden shed as a base to build upon, but was concerned for potential heat and it would have still required significant works to be useable. Then i noticed Bunnings sell the Stilla Cedar sheds.
From the photo's they seemed perfect for retrofit. So I purchased a Palmwood (2x2m roughly), with rebated floor, two doors and no other options.

It was both easy and difficult to put together (squaring it was painful) but the walls come prefabbed, the instructions were decent. Some of the screws were horrid (cheap), so suggest buying your own screws.

The roof is constructed in one part, then lifted onto the shed. You then normally nail/screw it down to the walls.
This made retrofitting easy. Rather than nailing it to the walls, i attached wheels to the roof, then put tracks on top of the walls. Done. No additional design or wood needed.

Some additional 2x4's were used, especially over the door way. The structure expects the roof to be used to solidify it, but since its free moving, we need to do this ourselves.

A few pieces of additional 2x4's are useful for temporarily holding the structure/walls in place while you nail etc.

Finally the shed once complete was lined on all four walls and roof with foil insulation, and some cheap thin (6-9mm) non structural plywood was thrown on to all walls and roof to solidify the structure. Then painted.

It's surprisingly strong in this configuration, stronger than expected.
Two pieces of thicker ply were used on the walls to provide protection from the elements where the wheels sit when the roof is covering the shed.

How has it handled in the last year and a bit?
My biggest concern was always water/rain. The foil insulation was primarily put it to protect against moisture seeping in through the wood and leaks.

Happy to say there have been zero leaks through the roof or walls.
I was also concerned about the potential for driving rain at an angle to get in under the roof. A few pieces of wood in choice positions kept things dry, and for the places which need free movement, those brushed door seals work wonders.

The wood itself still looks almost new. Highly recommend staining the cedar as soon as possible.

What wasn't so good/learning's:
The two doors bowed in rain. Further there is a significant gap between the doors that allowed water in. This was the only water ingress i saw in the shed. Resolved the water ingress with some plastic over the gaps between the doors.
You can prevent the doors bowing by putting plywood on the inside to keep them in order. I ended up putting the plywood over the windows as well.

I wanted to try not having a pillar. I know, i know - terrible idea. I have my reasons - most due to location of the observatory (couldn't dig up the ground) and there was potential that I might be moving in a year or two (not happening now, thank you stupid house prices).

But it wasn't too bad. The shed was raised off the ground (ground was not level) and I sat my tripod on the floor of the shed. This worked fine. I had very little drift over the course of a year due to movement of the shed.

However - being in the shed while imaging is taking place was not possible. Even shifting your weight was enough to cause issues.
Lucky for me - i did not plan to spend time in the shed while imaging was taking place. So it wasn't too big of a deal. But a permanent pillar would have been nice.

Other niceties:
I simply ran an extension lead to the shed for power. To be able to access the shed remotely via computer i used a Ubiquiti point to point wifi setup. This got me about 350-400mbp/s wifi link. I tried to use my existing wifi, but the signal in the shed (even though it is right next to the house) was woeful. Dropouts were normal, and speeds horrible.
This point to point wifi link worked wonders and saved me the effort of trying to get a cable out to it.

Items purchased:
The shed: https://www.stilla.com.au/product/palmwood-6x6/
The wheels and track: Ebay, search for "Sliding Gate Hardware Kit". The tracks come in lengths of 1M, easy to extend.
Lumbar: A bunch of 2x4's, plywood for the walls/ceiling.

Insulation: Whatever foil insulation bunnings had available.
Stain: Some stain, sorry can't remember, from bunnings. Probably a Cabot's.

Sadly its days are limited. Due to forever increasing height of neighbors trees, and the amazingly high increase in light pollution in my area (live near a business district), i find myself not using it at all. I will likely continue with astrophotography, but only when going to a dark site.
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Old 04-12-2021, 03:25 PM
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whzzz28 (Nathan)
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Some more images.
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Old 04-12-2021, 08:17 PM
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iborg (Philip)
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Location: Lynbrook, Australia
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That looks very nice indeed.

How did you find the size? Speaking from ignorance, it seems quite small.

Am I right in thinking you went for the rebated floor, not the heavy duty one?

I am very tempted!

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Old 14-01-2022, 09:58 PM
Spleenus (Darren)
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Location: Albany, WA
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This is also tempting me, with the heavy duty floor instead. I would be interested to see the inside with all the equipment also for what space there is.
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Old 20-01-2022, 09:11 PM
Paullus (Paul)
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Toowoomba, QLD
Posts: 37
Hi Nathan, thanks for sharing your observatory. Although my obs is still a little way off, I think this has jumped to the top of the list in terms of building/structure I'd like to go with (tossing between tin garden shed, build a timber building from scratch, off the shelf domes, the usual suspects).

For those considering this as an option and concerned about size Stilla have larger sheds on their website, with larger price tags too...

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Old 30-04-2022, 06:00 AM
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alan meehan (Alan)
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Location: maryland newcastle AUSTRALIA
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Nathan a very nicely done build ihave a similar obs in my backyard and iam contemplating building a second one on the opposite side of yard two many scopes and i love the cedar one you have built well done
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