Now that I'm getting older I have decided to make a permanent home for my telescope. As having to lug my heavy Meade 10" Schmit Newtonian out side every time I use it is not going to get any easier in the future.

So here I'll be blogging all the trials, tribulations, successes and failures (of which there will be many I'm sure) of building an astronomical observatory from scratch.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The mounting plate

I've had very productive day today, not only have I dug out the foundations for my observatory but also made the mounting plate for the pier head. just a couple of finishing touches like a spacer between the disc and the EQ mount, and to manufacture something for the adjusting screws to work against. I'm very please how the old brake disc came up with the grinder. Had a comment from somebody in the Stargazers lounge about how we people in Scotland are tight with cash, very glade he realized that I was recycling this old brake disc an not scrimping! 

In a bit of a hole

 The shuttering is now at the correct size for the observatory foundations, 2.7x2.7M and the central hole for the pier is at the right depth, so pleased that I didn't find any service pipes which was what I had feared.

I struggled to find a steel lintel the right size locally so I improvised adapted and overcame by dismantling the rotary washing line and used the central pipe as the lintel. Don't tell the wife!


Now I'm ready for the Ballast and cement delivery on Monday/Tuesday.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Chainsaw massaker

My new (toy), right Mr apple tree as of tomorrow your fire wood.

And now the end is near!

Now I STUMPED, my new toy just isn't quite man enough to get through this gert big stump. I don't care though as the offending root has gone so I can now get on with ground work.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Arrrrrg the Shed is coming!!!

Arrrrrg the Shed is coming!!!  
The wife had a phone call to day to say the shed will be delivered tomorrow. 28 day it said on the website only been 13! I very impressed with the service but I aint ready for it for one the bloody apple tree is still there and I've not ordered the cement and Ballast yet. Time to Isywizzy let get bizzy me thinks!!!

As promised my flatpack Observatory arrived today 24-02-2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Give me a Brake (Disc)

Isn't it just great when Karma works in your favor? My first job today was to check out the brakes on a Ford Ka, and guess what it needed front brake discs. That'll be forty quid save then thank you very much.

As you can see my measurement were correct a perfect fit, will just need a large washer now to clamp mount to the brake disc. Next job though is to get the grinder out a clear the disc up and make it  nice and shiny. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Plan number two

Hi folks,
 After breakfast this morn' I doned on my overalls ready for another morning of digging out the foundations, but it was just to darn cold out there so I decided to retire indoors to do a little more planning.  Well as I said previously that my design might change today I went back to the drawing board and planned the whole observatory to the millimeter and made a few changes along the way.

Firstly I've planned the foundations on the correct sizes of the shed I've ordered, and incorporated a central pier and mounting plate, (more about the pier latter)

Next was to work out the internal area and space to allow for optimum operating and storage. You can see central pier I'm planning on more clearly in this blueprint, which came from an article in the sky at night magazine in 2010, just new it would come in handy one day. As I will be building the pier at the same time as the foundations the whole area of the foundations will be part of the piers' foundation and therefor should make for a very stable mount.

Here is the article from The Sky at night Magazine:

the next item on the agenda was to plan the base plate for my LXD 55 mount to attach to. This meant dismantling my mount and tripod and taking accurate measurements of mounts fixings. Like so;

As I was drawing this it suddenly hit me that this looked like some thing familiar, and something I work with everyday as a mechanic. Can you tell what it is yet??? No well let me give you a clue, take a BRAKE and look at the next illustration.

A 2005 Ford Fiesta front brake disc is just ideal, I needed something with a 60mm hole to fit my mount and this disc has a 63.6mm central spigot, which will give a a 3.6mm clearance fit, Prefect! The central hub is 150mm in diameter which will fit nicely onto my 160mm diameter pier secured by bolts or threaded bar though the wheel stud holes into the cement in the pillar. Got the A-team theme tune in my head again!!
The braking surface of the disc will make a nice sized shelf for storing eyepieces and other items too just as an added bonus. I should be able to get hold of and old disc from work which when cleaned up will be fine and will cost nothing, worst case would be having to pay £40 for a pair of discs.

Next was to work out the optimum height for the pier and mount which was not to tasking a I use the approximate height of the of the tripod and mount assembly and aloud for the extra 43.5mm of the brake disc and the distance of  mounting bolts.

The final step(or what I thought) was just to ensure that the over all height including the scope would allow for the roof to close. (still in two minds on the roof folding or roll off)

WHALLA! all is good, or is it?once I finished all this I had a terrible thought. Will I be able to see Polaris through my polar scope to align the mount to the polar axis? I knew the apex of the shed does not face due north but more NNE but the eave could just be to high. Back to the drawing board again to be sure.

Phew!!! thankfully all is good. Now the Roof????? Roll off? fold open??
Later people.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No turning back now

Well that's the shed which I'm going to covert into my observatory purchased so it must happen now. I've gone for this 8x8 foot which will either have a roll of  or fold back roof. Delivery time is about 28 day so time to get the foundations in me thinks. praying for some good weather now!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Size is everything

Think I may have found the right sized shed for the project  this   8'x8' shed should do the trick and not brake the bank either at £520 inc floor, base and delivery. It slightly bigger than I planned put that may give me the opportunity to have my imaging equipment  in there to.