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$250 project

Started by baughman, 10/08/2007 08:55AM
Posted 10/08/2007 08:55AM Opening Post
I was reluctant to post this because I thought the idea was most likely redundant.
Two years ago I bought plans and rollers from Scott Horstman of Backyard Observatories. I poured a concrete slab and used some of his ideas when I built a building from his plans. Instead of a steel roof I used sheeting and shingles. I had a steel roof on my previous observatory. I had condensation problems. Water droplets would form and drop on my desk and equipment. The roof was a lot heavier to push off than my old steel roof so I starting thinking about garage door openers. I guess I'm feeling old at 55.
In August I bought a heavy duty screw drive Genie garage door opener kit at Home Depot plus two extensions. My observatory is 12 foot square on the outside. It's mounted upside down. The nice thing about this idea is that you can make the track very precise in length using a bandsaw or hacksaw. I bought the second extension for the steel screw. The steel screws simply connect with a collar. The limit switches are designed to hang downward in the kit. I tapped holes in the body of the switches and put small screws to keep the arms from flopping down. The secret to success is keeping the track stable and rock solid. I mounted a couple of 2 x 4 brackets to do this. Rather then trying to over ride the door sensors I just mounted them below the motor box. It don't bother my night vision. I use gate latches to lock down my roof. My track is 7" from the wall for that reason. The roof stops 24" from the wall. It still gives me 9' 4" north & south and 11' 4" east & west clearance. I have trees to the north and a tree and neighbor's garage to my south so this setup works for me. A creative individual could mount the garage door opener outside the building like a air conditioner and cover it.
I didn't have a clue if this would work. I was worried the motor and carriage assembly wouldn't move the roof. It works beautifully. It's pretty cool to release the latches for the roof, push the button near the door and watch the roof open.


Attached Image:

baughman's attachment for post 39082
Posted 10/08/2007 09:35AM #1
Ahh, the luxury of modern technology! I like it. smile

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