Building an Observatory

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Here are some images of what's happening (VERY SLOWLY) as I try and build a building to house my 12" LX200 Classic.

My homemade wedge proved wholly inadequate. The horizontal pieces on top of the tripod are 18 ply 2 1/8" structural stair treads, screwed and glued. Wind of any kind completely wipes out the view thru the scope, regardless of how low power / wide field I was operating at. In addition, any touching of the scope and you could see the wood move. Wholly inadequate...

Then in the summer of 2010, the LX200 electronics starting acting up at the same time a donated Meade Superwedge was placed in the mail headed to me. Time to do something better..

I have been thinking of this for years, and acquired a pile of 4" x 8" and 4" x 10" and other misc timbers. I have the design in my head, but I figure I might just start doing it, or it will never get done.

I started with post hole diggers, but quickly moved to using a digging bar, as my soil is HARD. The hole is 3' x 3' x 28" deep. Then there is a 24" diameter hole that bottoms out 50" deep..


This is to be my pier. 85" long. 1/2" x 7" lags w/ 2" square washers in a nice spiral pattern - each pair of lags are mounted 3" lower than the pair to the left and 12" apart on the same side. There are (4) 4x10s wrapped around an 8x8. See other images.

Cost?  Nothing..

In the hole.. Those are bits of 1" concrete remnants from core drilling holes in concrete. I am using them as gravel drainage in the bottom of the hole. BTW, when this very heavy pier hit the bottom of the hole, it landed perfectly plumb. A rough guess is that the pier weighs about 300 pounds.

Currently free standing, and facing North. This view is to the Northwest.

A Friend donates an aluminum plate, which has arrived in the mailbox on Friday.. Just in time for the three day Labor Day weekend..  So I labor onward..

Plate will go just about there..

As this was a "used" plate, there already were some holes. I drilled and tapped the three holes for locking down the wedge (3/8-16 x 2 ") and drilled the center hole. I used the perfectly placed countersunk holes to fasten the plate to the wooden pier. This wasn't necessary, as the center bolt would do, but I want to be extra sure that rot wont cause the scope to fall off anytime soon. The four lags (three installed with one shown ready to go in) are coarse thread #12 x 3".

All hardware is Stainless. Top of pier was primed in advance of installing the plate to help prevent condensation from rotting out the top of the pier.

Center lag is 1/2" x 7" and was predrilled with a 3/8" drill bit 3 inches deep. Wedge was installed and bolt was installed using a ratchet and an extension pipe..

Wedge is attached to pier. YES!!!

The notoriously inaccurate bubble level is, well.. Inaccurate.. We shall see if I can adequately drift align the scope.

Two coats of Primer/Sealer. Note the hole is now almost full of 1" diameter concrete cores. Either I'll buy bags of cement and blow it in with a garden hose, or I'll just fill the rest of the hole with concrete.

Getting to the point where the pier is ready to take the scope has made me quite happy.. Love those dimples!

Total Cost thru September 3rd, 2012? About $30..

Scope on the pier, perfectly aligned, and ready for for use for Satellites, Occultations, etc.

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This site was last updated 08/10/16

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