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Old 21-11-2012, 11:35 PM
Garbz (Chris)
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Ideas for a not full observatory.

Hi guys,

I currently live in a raised house with no storage available underneath and recently injured my back carrying the scope down the stairs so I'm toying with the idea of building a more permanent setup in the backyard.

I unfortunately don't have the budget or plot of land to setup a permanent observatory. The layout of my garden means the telescope is setup somewhere close to the middle of the yard. Otherwise there are trees or a massive house hanging over a large portion of my sky. However I do have the space to setup something I can leave there but can be moved on rare occasions.

I'm toying with a few ideas.
  1. Setup the telescope in the backyard and put a heavy duty tarp over it. This would protect it in mild conditions. Probably ok to leave during a nice night, but I wouldn't trust it with rain and wind. Also the backyard unfortunately has clear view of the street so I wouldn't trust this to thieves either.
  2. Put a small shed over it. Cut the shed in half with a hinged roof so I can literally lift the roof off. I don't have anything to tie this down to so I'd be worried about some of our massive storms here in Brisbane. But at least it would do more to keep the weather and potential people out.
  3. Suck it up and suffer.
I'm open to other ideas. I could probably spend around $200-300 on a solution. Oh and it if helps I don't have much equipment. I'm not trying to setup a full observatory with power etc. That stuff is light and I have no problems dragging that up and down the stairs along with an extension cord. However I would be looking for something to setup EQ6 with tripod, counterweights and OTA (8" SCT). So all in all fairly compact gear.


I was looking at a 1.5m x 1.5m shed as something to get me started.


Has anyone here had a similar budget permanent setup?
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Old 22-11-2012, 09:54 AM
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ZeroID (Brent)
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Hi Chris, there has been a number of small shed rollaway builds by various people in similar position to you. Restricted space or rented property etc. If you search in Observatories here and in Cloudynights you'll find ideas. It 's a bit over the top designwise but search for 'tardis observatory' and you will see what I mean.
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Old 22-11-2012, 09:59 AM
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steve000 (Steve)
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A mate and I were talking one day...
We found a tiny garden shed for next to nothing from bunnings we had this idea to build it but then modify the walls so basically it has a few bolt locks in it and padlocks to keep it closed then when required you undo the padlocks and the bolts and the walls just fold down and can be stored away for the night.
The walls themselves weigh next to nothing and can be made secure by driving starpickets into the ground or a similar ground method like concrete and wood in the ground.
If you area is safe some rope and pegs in a storm should work instead of pickets which are permanant.

The other idea was to get a shed with a large enough door where you could open the door and slide the shed off of the scope rather than lifting it. You could even put wheels or a cheap supercheap trolley to lift it. Total cost is around $250 tops id say.
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Old 22-11-2012, 10:17 AM
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why not just a telegizmo 365 cover for both scope and tripod?
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Old 22-11-2012, 07:53 PM
cmr (Chris)
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I have a C8 and Minitower AZ mount and faced a similar issue - I currently have some caster wheels on the bottom of the tripod (two locked so they don't swivel, one free to swivel) and a tele gizmo 365 cover (tripod and scope) and three pavers in the yard. I leave the whole setup outdoors under my back verandah, and wheel it out to use. So far so good (about 3 months now)
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Old 22-11-2012, 11:12 PM
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nobbygon (Angus)
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Chris,

I'm about to start building my version of your number 2 option on Monday. I've opted for a metal pier rather than the tripod just for stability reasons. Ill be putting a duramate 5x3 over the top of the pier/scope and modifying the base of the shed so I can padlock it to some wooden footings ill put on all four corners. The doors will open and ill wheel the entire shed away during the session. Should end up costing all up around $650. $150 for the pier and concrete etc so it would cost you approx $500 to do something similar. Watch this forum for updates of my build. Hope it helps.

Cheers,
Angus.
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Old 23-11-2012, 10:59 AM
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jjjnettie (Jeanette)
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Please make one of these.
http://blastr.com/2011/06/astronomer-protects-backy.php
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Old 23-11-2012, 11:10 AM
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ZeroID (Brent)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjjnettie View Post

TARDIS !!! there it is ....or was
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Old 23-11-2012, 01:35 PM
Garbz (Chris)
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Wow I'm blown away by the responses and suggestions. Didn't expect quite this much interest. Currently leaning toward the shed option, there seem to be a few good suggestions here for securing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve000 View Post
The walls themselves weigh next to nothing and can be made secure by driving starpickets into the ground or a similar ground method like concrete and wood in the ground.
If you area is safe some rope and pegs in a storm should work instead of pickets which are permanant.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nobbygon View Post
modifying the base of the shed so I can padlock it to some wooden footings ill put on all four corners.
These are both very good suggestions. I'm sure I could find the backyard space to cement a couple of decent hooks into the ground to act as a foundation.

That storm that his Brisbane last week nearly demolished my backyard, we're on the top of an east west facing hill and the winds were incredible. I do think I can engineer me up something though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by niko View Post
why not just a telegizmo 365 cover for both scope and tripod?
Mainly security and weather. We're hail prone in this area, the weather can change at a drop of a dime, and the backyard of my property is visible from the street. I have no privacy at the moment, so a simple cover won't suffice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmr View Post
I have a C8 and Minitower AZ mount and faced a similar issue - I currently have some caster wheels on the bottom of the tripod (two locked so they don't swivel, one free to swivel) and a tele gizmo 365 cover (tripod and scope) and three pavers in the yard. I leave the whole setup outdoors under my back verandah, and wheel it out to use. So far so good (about 3 months now)
This is similar to a suggestion from one of the guys I work with. He's suggested 3 pavers and drilling a pilot hole for the tips of the tripod legs in the correct spot for easy setup. Unfortunately the house was recently re-stumped and budgets constraints haven't allowed me to rebuild the walls under the house. I have zero security for anything that isn't upstairs at the moment, and the stairs is what's causing me the most grief with setup. I have a bicycle lock on my own bicycle in my own house at the moment. It's quite a strange state I'm in.

Last edited by Garbz; 24-11-2012 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 24-11-2012, 06:29 PM
Garbz (Chris)
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I'm actually leaning towards rolling my own now (no I'm not building a Tardis ). Came back from Stratco and Bunnings today and the sheds seem to be somewhere in the $300 range and that's before modifications.

Maybe building something out of plywood with a corrugated zinc / iron roof. This would also let me bring the dimensions down. To clear the telescope I only need about 1.3m square x 1.6m high. The smallest sheds I've seen are around 1.6m square x 1.9m high with anything smaller being one of those weird space saving 0.8mm wide contraptions.

I'm going to investigate the cost of materials (make it out of weatherboard or ply or metal?) and also start another thread about what kind of environment these telescopes need to survive. i.e. will humidity / heat be an issue during the day when it's not in use etc.
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Old 25-11-2012, 07:12 AM
mikerr (Michael)
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Chris, you might get some ideas from Peter's great thread here....

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=81959

Michael
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Old 25-11-2012, 05:13 PM
Garbz (Chris)
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Indeed thanks for pointing that one out Mike.
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Old 25-11-2012, 07:22 PM
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How about putting a small shed on castors? The walls would have to be re-inforced and the top of the doorway also. You could secure it to the ground with a clasp and padlock arrangement.
Cheers!
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Old 26-11-2012, 10:40 AM
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This may give you an idea.
http://www.billinforres.110mb.com/Obsy/Obsy1.htm
However the smallest footprint I have seen is just to put in a pier with the mount on top. Then to take a normal sized plastic rubbish bin. Invert it over the mount for protection and then mount the lid so that it is around the pier on the bottom of the inverted bin. The metal clasps that seal the lid to the bottom of the bin will then hold the bin over the mount and pier giving weather protection. If I can find the site that demonstrates this I will pm it to you.
Have a look here for more ideas
http://obs.nineplanets.org/obs/obslist.html
Allan
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Old 26-11-2012, 02:25 PM
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Tandum (Robin)
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Here's the scope motel, another idea.
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Old 26-11-2012, 03:15 PM
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This is the pier and cover design that I was talking above
http://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/fe...telescope-pier
Very effective in a minimalist way.
And this is the best pier design that I have seen as its adjustable while maintaining perfect rigidity
http://spazioinwind.libero.it/gpasi/tech/pier/pier.htm
I used this design for several piers in different locations and in my Sirius Observatory.
Allan
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Old 29-11-2012, 10:48 PM
Garbz (Chris)
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Thanks guys. These are all great suggestions. At the moment I'm not going for a pier design but so far there's a lot of good concepts I can adapt.

I'm thinking of a construction of 5 parts. 4 walls and a roof section which will clip into each other making the entire thing collapsible. The trick is making it collapsible enough to be convenient and yet sturdy enough to ride through weather.

Currently thinking of structural plywood as the building material of choice.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:53 PM
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OzEclipse (Joe Cali)
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Many years ago (early 1980's) I had a weather proof cover for my equatorial mount in a removable permanent set up at Arthur Page's Mt Tamborine observatory. It didn't hold the OTA just the mount.

I was a uni student at the time and on a real shoestring budget. I made the rectangular cross braced frame out of oregon pine - it doesn't rot. Tamborine gets big winds all year round and lots of rain in the summer. I went to a sheet metal shop and ordered 4 side pieces and a cap for the top. Each side piece was the size of the side and had a 2 inch strip bent at right angles. Each of these wrapped around the corner as flashing to stop water ingress. One of the lower horizontal braces was hinged and had a sliding bolt. One side was removable. To remove the cover , I removed one side plate and the hinged lower brace hinged out of the way and I could drag it away from the mount. I had a shelf seat that slid into place and voila I had a wind proof chair. When not in use, two bolts went through a couple of angle brackets and threaded into loxons in the concrete base to lock the cover in place in big winds. Big difference with today's mounts is that my mount had no electronics - just a synchronous motor.

this could work on a tripod or pier. Just need to make the box bigger. If I were making it bigger, I'd probably put two wheels at the back corners opposite the opening side so it could be tilted over and wheeled away.

This was a very simple design.

Joe
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