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Old 15-06-2010, 12:58 AM
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gerry aarts (Gerry)
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Roll Off Roof all Timber Observatory

Hi All,
Built this one for around $1500 on my 50 acre property at Windeyer near Mudgee NSW. Dimensions 3.0 x 2.4 metres.
Cheaper and better then a color bond tin shed. 50x50 mm posts, ply and wheels from Bunnings Hardware.
The planks and posts are rated H4, termite and rot proof.
They are used for landscaping. They will shrink somewhat.
Later I can put some Ply board on the inside but right now its dry as a bone in there.
I glued the planks with liquid nails and used long brass screw to fix it together.
I used some solid chain and bolts to secure the roof at lock up.
The wheels roll on the timber plank top and I created some timber guard rails to keep the roof centered.
The roof is made from timber frame and Ply.

Note that all the support posts are on the outside of the observatory.
All the timber planks were screwed on from the inside, great security feature.
The outside posts allowed me to build the rails using the same width and line.

Why wood????
Well its thermally stable, stays real cool in there in summer.
The other reason was security. I even made the door out of the planks.

You would need a D9 or a big chain saw to get access into my Observatory.

My son in laws Craig and Andreas helped me out, thanks guys.

My little visitors were suitably impressed (see images attached)

Read below a response I PM'd with further details on the construction method.

I do not have any plans. I built the whole thing on the fly.
A bit of trial and error, but like Paul Keating once said: "It was a bit like Ben Hur, a wheel falls off the chariot but we still managed to get to the finish line. LOL

Plank size, they are: 3000x200x50 mm.
I just went by the timber plank size.
Used 40 planks x 3 metres long. $15 each total $600.
8 x planks high that makes the wall height by default 1600mm.
I can see the horizon, so can the telescope.

The external length of the observatory is 3 metres,
The width 2.4 metres.
I cut the rear wall planks at 2300mm and slipped them in between the side walls (that takes into account the width of the side wall planks 2x50mm=100mm). Therefore the 2300mm length for the back wall planks.

An important point to remember.
The 4 x 50mm x 50mm posts for the main part of the observatory are set 100mm back from the corners of the 3 meter side walls.
This then allow you to screw the front and back wall planks through the side planks. Get it?

You need 9 x 3000x50x50mm posts.
4 x Posts placed to secure the side walls.
2 x Posts placed to take the 2 x 3000mm planks that act as a rail to allow the roof to roll over when open.
1 x posts in the center of the front wall and fixed gable. This is how I secured the fixed gable.
2 x posts to make a left and right frame for the door.
I purchased 10 x 3000x50x50mm x posts at $20 I think. $200

Important: The ply roof overlaps to sit on top of the fixed gable.
So when you build the roof, the first roof gable timbers that you screw the ply roof onto, should be set back by the width of your fixed gable to give a neat flush finish. The overlap of the roof onto the fixed gable makes it waterproof.

I purchase 6 x 2400x1200x15mm ply. $30x 6 $180.
I have 1 sheet and some pieces left over.
4 x sheets for the roof, 2 for the Gable ends.

You also need some timber to build the roof trusses and gables. $100.
A few hundred 75mm & 100mm long brass screws. $100
I don't like Philips head screws, you can buy them with a hexagonal hole in the top, the box also contains the hexagonal tool you need.
PS I also pre-drilled all the screw holes.

I do not know the degree of the roof pitch.
I pitched it after I put the telescope on the pier to ensure I had enough clearance to allow the roof to roof without hitting anything. I can put my Williams Optics 80mm guidescope on top and still have enough clearance.

I also cut some inner and outer Guide rails to keep the wheels centered. I think metal angle or U channel is a better solotions and intend to do that in the future.
The outer ones have to be cut at the angle of the roof pitch so it does not not foul the roof.
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (My Observatory0022.jpg)
61.5 KB211 views
Click for full-size image (My Observatory0011.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (My Observatory004446.jpg)
136.9 KB207 views
Click for full-size image (My Observatory0044461.jpg)
57.9 KB194 views
Click for full-size image (My Observatory0044462.jpg)
58.2 KB207 views
Click for full-size image (My Observatory0044464.jpg)
23.6 KB177 views
Click for full-size image (My Observatory0044468.jpg)
54.5 KB189 views
Click for full-size image (My Observatory0044469.jpg)
29.6 KB193 views

Last edited by gerry aarts; 16-06-2010 at 01:31 AM. Reason: construction details added
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Old 15-06-2010, 05:02 AM
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bartman (Bart)
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Hi Gerry,
Nice set up!
Looks VERY SOLID! Great idea affixing on the inside!
BTW what race are your friends? My data base doesn't contain this species!
Bartman
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Old 15-06-2010, 05:33 AM
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sheeny (Al)
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Very elegant solution Gerry. I like it.

Al.
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Old 15-06-2010, 07:29 AM
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by gerry aarts View Post
Hi All,
Built this one for around $1500 on my 50 acre property at Windeyer near Mudgee NSW. Dimensions 3.0 x 2.4 metres.
Cheaper and better then a color bond tin shed.......
Why wood????
Well its thermally stable, stays real cool in there in summer....
nice one Gerry !
My Obs is all lapped wood with foil backed insulation
(local temp range -3C /+46C)
Roof is colorbond with foil backed insulation underneath (stops heat n' drips)
Built over a raised hardwood deck allowing airflow!
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Old 15-06-2010, 08:13 AM
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h0ughy (David)
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done very well Gerry - but that isnt masonite ends in the roof is it? Very ingenious use of materials. When i bought the same sleepers for the base of the dome, i had very little wastage. Well thought out solution!

BTW where is the step ladder for your friends to get to the stool near the eyepiece?
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Old 15-06-2010, 05:43 PM
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Impressive looking observatory Gerry. Your friends look a tad green, hope they don't sneeze over the corrector lens.

All the best.
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Old 16-06-2010, 01:21 AM
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gerry aarts (Gerry)
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Houghy,
The gable ends are standard house frame timbers and 15mm thick ply wood.
Gerry
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Old 16-06-2010, 06:29 AM
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Bassnut (Fred)
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So cool, simple and solid, love it. No V rails to ride up on and jamb up iether.

BTW, how do you get the roof to track straight with the guide rails, wont you need horizontal guide wheels on the inside ?(thats what I did), or do the running wheels just scrape against the guide rails.

I found with the roof settling and flexing over time, U channel would have been impossible to use. Running over timber rails the way you are, with guide wheels gives much more flexibility and room for movement and misalignment.
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Old 16-06-2010, 07:39 AM
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h0ughy (David)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gerry aarts View Post
Houghy,
The gable ends are standard house frame timbers and 15mm thick ply wood.
Gerry
it was the dark inside bit that fooled me gerry
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Old 17-06-2010, 12:56 AM
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gerry aarts (Gerry)
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Hi Fred,
Thanks for the tip on adding the horizontal guide wheels to improve the roll off roof operation. That should work a treat.
A good solution because the vertical wheels do foul on the guide rails now and I then have to push a lot harder then I want to.
I will install them at the first opportunity.
Regards
Gerry
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Old 19-06-2010, 09:48 PM
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Champion!
may you enjoy many a night under a clear sky.
Brett N Frances
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