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My astronomy project:
Building an Observatory
(or a playhouse for big boys)


Making of an Observatory part 2

  1. Building the door
  2. Building the hatch
  3. Mounting the roof panels
  4. Roof top panels
  5. Building a stable base to the legs

1: Building the door

New weekend and today it's time to build a door to the observatory.

The first par t of the frame to the door

Here is the first part of the frame for the door with its hinges mounted.

Observatory door frame

Now the frame is finished and it's time to mount the panel.

The white door panel

When we did a renovation of another house we got some used white panels left over. Just cut the bad part away from the end, a new paint will later make them as new.

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2: Building the hatch

Last time I was so in hurry to cover the building that I didn't had time to take photos.

Observatory, making of the hatch

Here how it looks when I left it last time. Today I going to build the hatch.

Observatory, making of the hatch

First I need some locking mechanism to the roof and hatch, later I maybe ad a motor to open hatch and roof. This eccentric lock is adjustable, it looks maybe a little bit weak, but this is just for the small south part of the roof.

Observatory, making of the hatch

The hatch much have a hinge, you can see it here, just left to the red panel.

Observatory, making of the hatch

I need to lower the hinge and the stud it's attached to. Also cut openings in the panel for the hinges.

Observatory, making of the hatch

Here is the stud that has to be lowered.

Observatory, making of the hatch

First hinge attached.

Observatory, making of the hatch

Just two hinges will not be enough, I will ad a third one in the middle, and that one will be mirrored to lock the hatch to not move in sideways.

Observatory, making of the hatch

First opening of the hatch!

Observatory, making of the hatch

Now I have attached the hatch to the south part of the roof. I also added another red panel.

Observatory, making of the hatch

Now it's time to separate the roof in two parts. Will the roof hold together or fall apart?

Observatory, making of the hatch

The cut operation was a success!

Observatory, making of the hatch

Here I have planted tiny small green plants. The idea is that those small plants will grow to two meters height to the next summer. The purpose is to have a wind protection and also make the observatory invisible. I have also cleaned the rock from all other green stuff.

Observatory, lock roof

To the roof I use a bigger version of the eccentric lock.

Observatory, lock roof

The backside lock.

Observatory, counter balance weight

Here where the letter "A" is I will place a counter balance weight and a chain to lock the hatch in open position.

White Corners

Added white corners to get it look like an old Swedish house.

White Corners

This was the last work on the observatory 2016.

White Corners

I have not found a roof yet to the observatory and now the winter are coming.

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3: Mounting the roof panels

Spring 2017.

Observatory roof mounting

Now at late spring it's time to start to building on my observatory again. I have bought one channel plastic panel in dimension 6x1.2 meters 33 mm thick, cut it down to two 2.2x1.2m.

Observatory roof mounting

First panel mounted. If I get problem with my two part roof I can connect them again as an one roof construction. The roof panel are still long enough to cover both roofs.

Observatory roof mounting

Screw that hold the roof in place.

Observatory roof mounting

Under the screw there is a gasket to make it water proof, I don't want any water on my equipment!

Observatory roof mounting

Both roof panels in place. I will cut the end later if this two roofs construction will be good.

Observatory roof mounting

On the sides I shall also have this kind of panel, but not that thick, maybe 12 to 16mm.

Observatory roof mounting

The profile of the roof panel is X-form. It shields against heat and cold and I hope the dew buildup on inside will not be a problem.

Observatory roof mounting

What's left over of the panel I use to the small part of the roof.

Observatory roof mounting

First side panel mounted.

Observatory roof mounting

Second side panel mounted. How many screws do I need to let it withstand the wind?

Observatory roof mounting

Waiting for a special solution to keep it tight against weather.

Observatory roof mounting

I think it will be a solution with a steel or aluminum panel over the roof top.

Observatory roof mounting

Seen from inside.

Observatory roof mounting

I think it will be wise to reinforce the roof against the weight of snow in winter. The panel has low friction and it should not build up any big piles of snow atop, but who knows.

Observatory roof mounting

Later I must reconstruct the hinges, it must open at a more wide angle and also be stronger.

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4: Roof top panels

Today I shall try to make a top cover of the joint of the two roofs. Not an easy project.

Observatory top roof panels

I need some profiles with length of 2.5 meters, these was the only ones I could find, they are made of steel. I need two of them.

Observatory top roof panels

First I made this distance of wood to have something to mount the top panels at.

Observatory top roof panels

The distance in place.

Observatory top roof panels

The profile that cover the lower big roof at right. You can see how the right side of profile ride on top of the plastic roof panel.

Observatory top roof panels

From other side and now the second top roof panel in place. To the right is the panel that cover the lower roof panel.

Observatory top roof panels

A view over the small roof panel with the top cover, it looks nice.

Observatory top roof panels

The left roof swing over the right roof panel when closing. I already now see that I will get problem here. The right roof panel isn't very step. If the wind blow from wrong direction it will press the water up under the top cover and then drop over the edge into the observatory.

Observatory top roof panels

In closed position.

Observatory top roof panels

View over the big roof panel. I feel this will not be easy to get to function properly. It had been easier If I had chosen an ordinary sliding roof. But then it hadn't been as exiting as this solution, and if I don't want to have any problems I shouldn't doing astronomy at all! I can always change the construction easy to a sliding roof. The drawback with a sliding one part roof is that I need an opening to the telescope.

Here is the three alternatives I working with:

Observatory construction !: left swing, right slide

With roof divided in two parts that one part swing and the other part slide none of them will hit the telescope. For this I need rails outside the observatory. I must slide the roof very far to the right to not hide my free view out.

Observatory construction 2: left swing, right swing

With both roof swing on hinges it will be an easy construction. Could be difficult to open and close in heavy winds and other drawbacks.

Observatory construction 3: left swing, right lifted with arms and move

With the right roof lifted by four arms was my plans from beginning, or maybe two arms in one end and a wheel at the other. With this construction I can had the roof top in the same height as observatory walls when open. This will be the most difficult construction and have it stable enough.

It will work something like this:

  • https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=BNNoVbgPX0M
    (Ford Skyliner hard top, Youtube)
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    5: Building a stable base to the legs

    To have my observatory in correct position I must have it standing on a stable platform. Today I will make that base.

    Observatory, concrete base to the legs

    Here you can see the stairs up to the observatory, not so easy to access and carrying heavy equipment in the cold and dark winter.

    Observatory, concrete base to the legs

    First I have to center the observatory building around the pier and have one wall in south direction. From the center of the pier to the closest wall I have 0.95 meters, it's a small observatory but no need to stand inside it.

    Observatory, concrete base to the legs

    In our garden I found this big concrete tiles that I can use.

    Observatory, concrete base to the legs

    First I make a stone bed that the concrete tile can rest on, very carefully get it in level.

    Observatory, concrete base to the legs

    And then place the concrete tile on top of the stone bed. Checking that it's still in level.

    Observatory, concrete base to the legs

    In one corner there is no rock underneath, just a lot of stones.

    Observatory, concrete base to the legs

    After moving around the stones I got it stable and in level. Then I also have to have the observatory in level. Small wooden wedges make it. Later I have to match the high of the observatory building to the mount and telescope I will have installed into it.

    Observatory, concrete base to the legs

    Here how it look with all the four corners are in level and correct position.

    Observatory, concrete base to the legs

    These small stones will move away if I don't fix them in position. I will pour concrete over them.

    Observatory, concrete base to the legs

    First I have high viscous concrete around the rim, later I lift the concrete plate and pour low viscous concrete under it that flow out between the stones.

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