Found a local handy man who knows concrete. John was awesome to work with...he wisely showed up with a power auger to get through the thick clay. He thought my plan was a bit out there, which it was...but he still managed to deliver
Aligning the pier to the north was crucial...the level in the background was checked numerous times...
To be absolutely certain that we had the alignment right, we installed the pier, as the adapter plate could only be installed one way (without modifications), and getting the height to match the floor was a tad tricky, but we got it pretty close
After pouring the pier a week before, I arrived home one night to find that the framing for the pad has been installed, and it was poured the next day. Measures 9' X 18'
Installed an under-floor tract for USB and power cables to the mount
Secured the floor frame to the concrete pad...severe winds out here at times, and would rather not find the obsy knocked off it's pad after a storm
Ran 120VAC and wire for future 12VDC
Left this easily accessible for future upgrades and/or cable replacement
All pressure-treated base
Sealed and mechanically isolated floor (from the pier, 12" diameter X 4' deep concrete with 4 lengths of rebar)
Started with the easy wall first
Held off on building the floor to use the cement pad as a flat work area to build the walls...turned out to be a wise decision
Walls went up without a hitch...plan your work, and work your plan
Had the pier and scope installed early...OK, couldn't wait to start imaging...but also to check on the wall height, to confirm that it was gonna work
Almost complete OSB on the walls
Ready for roofing
It was tricky getting it all square, but nailed it
Had to design the warm room roof from scratch
Detail of the frame work of the warm room...2" X 3" beams to save headroom
Warm room roof complete, ready for steel roof panels
Steel roofing installed
First check of the roll off roof, rolling off
Tar paper applied to the insulated warm room
Siding hung on warm room
Siding applied to front wall
Siding hung on roll off wall...tricky getting this side right
Decided to use overhead door brush seals to try to keep out the elements and bugs
Installed a red LED to allow setting up a scope for observing on the deck
Ran 14/3 electrical cable and Cat5e to the garage. Wireless works fairly well from the house, but nothing like a hardwired connection. And using an extension cord for power just wasn't cutting it. Once winter hits, the extra power will be nice
Although I can control everything from inside the house (focus, slewing the mount and camera). having a warm room will be appreciated during set-up and adjustments over the coming winter...cozy little cubby hole
Under-shelf red LED lights installed. Went with 12VDC lighting fixtures for RV use. Double lamp, 1st notch is red, 2nd notch brings up the white LED's. Future intention is to power everything with solar and a 12 VDC deep cycle battery
Found a deal on red LED rope lighting just before my first open house/ star party. This was perfect for allowing everyone to see their way around and maintain their dark vision.
Looks kinda cool, too
A perfect spot to watch the sunset...or watch the fire...
made use of an old wheelchair ramp that came with the house...
After 6 months of effort, I can sit back and breathe again!
If anyone is considering building (or buying) their own personal observatory, my suggestion is...
what are you waiting for?