Observatory progress – Phases 2, 3 and 4

Posted by @ 8:18 pm on Friday 1st May, 2009.

Readers may remember that Nick and I constructed a prototype telescope pier way back in December. If you want to see what it looked like at the time, the post is here.

Well, that was Phase 1, and since then there have been developments...

Phase 2 (the move from prototype to working sample):

First up, preliminary tests indicated that the dimensions were OK but the ad-hoc angle-iron mountings were inadequate. We knew that they would have to be replaced, as they were only used as a temporary measure in order to allow flexure, resonance and vibration-damping testing. As you can see, they've been replaced with something a bit more substantial.

Second, a large hole was drilled in the side to allow sand-filling to dampen any excessive vibes. We also put a few M6 tapped holes in the side to allow for any future need for attaching brackets, gadgets, earth-tags and other such things.

Third, the whole shebang (apart from the threads) was phosphated and powdercoated which looks neat and should preserve the thing for quite a few years.

Phase 3 (the installation of the pier) was completed a week ago. After the ball-aching job of making a deep and heavy concrete base (see here) the pier was nutted onto the set-in studding, and a base of old slabs was put down around it to support the bearers.

Phase 4 is now complete - the construction of a sound raised floor-frame. To replace the somewhat inadequate floor that (eventually) came with the new shed, I made a frame of 4x2s which has been given several liberal coats of preservative. This frame sits on bearers (some old 3x3 fence-posts) which should last a few years before they rot. These bearers are not fixed, so they can be replaced one at a time if necessary - they cost nowt when "acquired" from the local tip.

Here are a few snapshots of the project so far:


The revised mounting-plate nutted to the studding in concrete base


The slabs have it surrounded!


The floor-frame supported by bearers (old fence-posts)


Phase 5 will be interesting - it's the bit where we assemble the shed walls. Now, if only I had a full set...

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