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Build Your Own Backyard Observatory

Build Your Own Backyard Observatory

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I spent many hours debating whether to buy a purpose built observatory or to make my own and finally decided to go for a Skyshed pod. The advertising looked good and I did like the idea of having my own dome however delays in getting the thing became too frustrating so I went back to the build my own plan.

I chose a standard garden shed 2.92 X 3.00 mm  which importantly had a gable roof design that was able to be separated from the four walls. The ABSCO Regent 30292RK fitted the bill. http://www.absco.com.au/products/index.php?c=30&p=46

6” Concrete slab laid as one piece pier mount hole in the centre and some star pickets hammered in as deep as I could get them ( there must be at least a metre of mix directly under the pier. Some pipe work was laid to enable 12vdc and control cables to be run to the pier centre and also to bring 240vac power in from outside

Two budding engineers did the donkey work as I supervised from my ride on mower although I have to say I didn’t expect to have to do two more runs to get more mix and cement. However a nice square base resulted so didn’t complain.

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Panelling up was easy and positioning the four walls was a breeze.

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Once in place I braced the walls with the cyclone kit and then ran 25mm box steel as bracing around the top plate since the roof would no longer be part of the stiffening structure. The roof was assembled as on and then heaved up on top of the now rigid walls and position where I wanted it. Again a run of 25mm box steel was fixed to the outer edges of the roof  with premade corners so it too was nice and rigid.

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So there were now two very rigid and completely separate parts to be attached. I did this by lining up the roof exactly and running yet another length of box steel down each side and attaching them to the roof. I then drilled 4 holes in the roof through the box steel and slung 4 Eltrak wheel assemblies in place so that they hung down either side of the wall with enough room to slide the Eltrak  track itself on to them.

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I made a mistake here and cut my track to make it easier to load but in hindsight I would have used the 6m length in one piece and setup a support frame about 2m back from the end of the shed.

Note that I had to assemble this gable end back to front to allow it to nestle back over the rear wall of the obs. I also had to put a stiffener inside across to stop any sag.

The track braces were bolted to the shed walls with some steel strapping to help load spread. Once the track was in place it was a simple matter to just wind up the nuts on the wheels until the roof cleared the walls and presto – roll off roof.  Note the Gable is the right way around   this end.

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My local engineering firm made up the pier  - next time forget the wee tray though!

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And with W.T riding it ready for action.

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Costs:

  • Shed - $1100
  • Steel – already had it but budget $300
  • Pier $300
  • Concrete and framework – about $200
  • Hardware – tops $100
  • Eltrak wheels and track $400
  • Fittings for power etc and beers for self and workers
  • All up around  $2500 give or take

Happy to chat with anyone wanting more info. Dave (07) 4788 8853