Breaking Ground - Pouring The Pier

In the beginning...digging and pouring the pier


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


Aligning the pier to the north was crucial...the level in the background was checked numerous times...

Double Checking Alignment


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

Pad poured


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'

Construction Begins - Floor

Flooring, with under-floor tract for power and control cables


Installed an under-floor tract for USB and power cables to the mount

More floor base


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

The pier base/ opening


Ran 120VAC and wire for future 12VDC

Under floor cable tract


Left this easily accessible for future upgrades and/or cable replacement

Floor/ base


All pressure-treated base

Pier opening


Sealed and mechanically isolated floor (from the pier, 12" diameter X 4' deep concrete with 4 lengths of rebar)


Rear wall


Started with the easy wall first

Front wall


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 up


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

Walls covered


Almost complete OSB on the walls

Exterior walls complete


Ready for roofing

Roof & roll off supports

Roll Off Roof Rails


It was tricky getting it all square, but nailed it

Warm Room Roof


Had to design the warm room roof from scratch

Warm Room Roof Inside View


Detail of the frame work of the warm room...2" X 3" beams to save headroom

Warm Room Roof Ready For Panels


Warm room roof complete, ready for steel roof panels

Steel Roof Installed


Steel roofing installed

Roll Off Roof Complete


First check of the roll off roof, rolling off

Siding and weather proofing

Ready for siding


Tar paper applied to the insulated warm room

Siding started


Siding hung on warm room

Front wall complete


Siding applied to front wall

Roll off side in progress


Siding hung on roll off wall...tricky getting this side right

Brush Seal


Decided to use overhead door brush seals to try to keep out the elements and bugs

Entrance Light


Installed a red LED to allow setting up a scope for observing on the deck

Electrical and finishing touches

Trench for wire and communications


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

Control Room


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 

Control room in action


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

Red LED exterior lighting


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 place to chill before imaging


A perfect spot to watch the sunset...or watch the fire...

made use of an old wheelchair ramp that came with the house...

Sunset over the Blue Marble Observatory


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?