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Started by Ibartman, 12/24/2006 06:19PM
Posted 12/24/2006 06:19PM Opening Post
I have ordered my Dan's Pier plate and Purchased a used Milburn Deluxe Wedge from a fellow Astromarter (which i recieved yesterday). And the Skyshed Plans should be here in a day or two. I am clearing my spot for the observatory. WOOT!!!. This was my Christams Present from the Wife and Kids. Arent they Great?

I will start posting images as i build it for those that are interested. I Have been wanting this since i have moved out here to TN. I am out of town a bit and i get decnet dark skys.

Anyone know how high the Dan's pier plate and Milburn Deluxe wedge and Meade LX200 GPS is total so i know how high to build my Pier? Just thought i would ask.

Posted 12/24/2006 07:45PM #1
What a Great Family you must have Rick! grin
Merry Christmas! 8)

Please visit my Observatory Construction pics at:
And check out this place too!

Posted 12/27/2006 05:54AM #2
Rick, good luck with your observatory building project! As far as pier heights, you should assemble your scope with its tripod and determine the best viewing height for you. In my case, my C11 tripod broke so I wasn't sure of the exact height and went with the standard 42". The 42 is "above" the floor and "below" the bolts that stick out the top. My true height is actually 45" to the top of the aluminum plate that sits on top of the pier plate. Being 5'9", I still use a step ladder when viewing the horizon. When setting your top plate in the concrete, I would recommend placing 3 short pieces of 2x4s to provide an even 1.5" gap. Use the pier plate with bolts attached and top nuts attached and flush exactly as you would have it later. I did not do this and ended up with only a 1" gap which was very difficult to tighten/level the plate from underneath. Also, I stuck a half cut basketball pole down the middle of my pier for added strength which was probably overkill but happen to find one on the side of the road. My pier goes down 42" in the ground, and I hand mixed 35bags of concrete which killed my back. I would recommend a truck delivery which will run approximately the same cost. Also, pack the concrete into the tube thoroughly to remove air bubbles and set up 2x4 supports to keep it from tipping.

Have fun building!


Attached Image:

fugardi's attachment for post 110287
Posted 01/04/2007 07:41PM #3
I started out to make a cement pier, as you did. Problem was I decided to put a tube in the center and also I wanted the cement column diameter to be unobtrusive, so I poured it 8 inches in diameter. What a mistake!!! (We could have told you that Joe!!) The cement dried and then cracked from the outside to the tube in the center. At least with the center tube I was able to bust the whole thing into pieces and dig it all up. Made for a great weekend. My construction friend says cement pillars need to be at least 10 inches in diameter or you run the risk of cracks at least the way I was doing it.

I ended up buying a salvage piece of 7" thick wall galvanized pipe 12ft. long. I cut it in half and sold the other half to my co-viewer friend for his pier. Total cost $77, well actually half that each. He poured playground sand in his to damp it and since I'm only visual, I left it alone. Turned out sweet though. I'll post a picture of the final product when the sun comes out.