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Posts Made By: Paul Baughman

October 8, 2007 08:55 AM Forum: Home Observatories

$250 project

Posted By Paul Baughman

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.


October 8, 2007 09:00 AM Forum: Home Observatories

linkage from the $250 project

Posted By Paul Baughman

Here's a picture of the linkage from the $250 project post. Paul

October 8, 2007 09:04 AM Forum: Home Observatories

Roof open- $250 project

Posted By Paul Baughman

Roof open. Gives you an idea of my open sky. Paul

April 9, 2008 08:33 AM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

Joe Castoro painted my AP tube

Posted By Paul Baughman

I was thinking about having my Astro Physics tube painted locally but I became brainwashed with Joe's ads on Astromart. I'm happy with Joe's work. He responds to email and is easy to reach on the phone. I got my tube and dew cap back yesterday.


April 28, 2002 06:25 PM Forum: Star Parties

Nebraska Star Party

Posted By Paul Baughman

Your questions can be answered by browsing the NSP web site. The Nebraska clubs will make you feel at home. I plan to attend. If you have questions, please contact some of the folks on the NSP web site.


January 21, 2006 01:00 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Orion "Five-Star" Customer Service

Posted By Paul Baughman

This isn't exactly a response to this thread but I thought I'd share it anyway. I bought a Meade 14 mm Ultra Wide in 91-92 from Orion. They were closing out Meade and selling Tele Vue in their catalog. The eyepiece was a good deal. It was obvious when it arrived that it was a demo. Orion swapped it out for a 13 mm Nagler. Tim Gieseler sent me a personal Christmas card with a lengthy note. I was impressed with the customer service. This is only an anecdote and isn't a endorsement for Orion now.

Paul Baughman
Strawberry Point, Iowa