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


Making of an Observatory

Part II, Roof

  1. Building the roof frame
  2. Building the door
  3. Building the hatch
  4. Mounting the roof panels
  5. Roof top panels

1: Building the roof frame

Today I will build the first step of the roof. I'm starting with the framework that holds everything up.

Observatory, Lower part of sidewalls to roof

Here is the lower part (to the right) of the hatch that holds the upper sidewall in place. The upper part of the hatch will be modified to fit my new ideas.

Observatory, Upper part of sidewalls to roof

The upper part of the sidewall of the roof.

Observatory, cut the roof in two parts

As you can see I have divided the roof in two parts, each part will be smaller and lighter and the observatory house will get a nicer look I hope. When roof is finished I will cut the roof apart with a saw as you see in the photo above.

Observatory, reinforce sidewall

Now it have started raining as it normally does in Sweden. Sorry, no outside view photos because I'm was in hurry to protect the building from rain. But under the weather protection I could work further. Here has the upper part of roof come in place. Because one side of the roof is open I have to reinforced it. At the same time I want it to be as light as possible. Here has one diagonal stud come in place.

Observatory, reinforce corner

Even the corners of the roof are reinforced with diagonal studs.

Observatory, reinforce front division

Another reinforcement, but this one will be replaced with some other construction later. I need the space around here for the lift construction of the roof. To the left you can see the beginning of the new hatch design, now it will be joined with the front part of the roof as one unit.

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2: 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 to 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.

The door was complicated to get to work properly, maybe I replaced it with a readymade door that I cut down to correct size.

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3: 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 continue to build on 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. The plywood behind the lock is just a temporary solution.

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 upper stud that has to be lowered to get a lower free view out.

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 main 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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4: 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 32 mm thick, cut it down to two 2.2x1.2m pieces.

Observatory roof mounting

First panel mounted. If I get problem with my two part roof design 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 that it will not be a dew buildup on inside 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 top joint 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, it just fall off, but who knows.

Observatory roof mounting

Later I must reconstruct the hinges, it must open at a more wide angle and also be stronger, see in the roof mechanics part 3.

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5: 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. The joint between the two steel profiles I will use as an air ventilation outflow with a filter to stop bugs come in.

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 a 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, a soft gasket maybe will be the solution.

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.

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To the third part, Roof mechanism

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