The Construction
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The construction started on

 May 5, 2000

Cinco de Mayo 



Click on images to see them full size!

O_ConstructonTheSite.JPG (291178 bytes)


The site in its original state

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The camera and Astro-Pier arrive



 Day 1 - May 5th 2000

"The observatory floor is built and walls go up"

As you can see - most of the walls were pre-built in the factory so things came together very quickly


Unloading the truck and building the custom floor

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Home for the  Astro Pier. A 4 foot deep hole to be filled with cement. Note that the shims will be removed and then the pier is isolated from the floor of the observatory.


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A quick wave and the work really starts to move along

5 hours from nothing to floor and walls up

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 Day 2 - May 6th 2000

Trenches are dug and wires run in preparation for tying the observatory to the Internet

Ethernet, phone, power and umm DTV.....

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The work continues slowed by the weather - 

Not a surprise in the Northwest


O_Construction_HipRoof.JPG (234561 bytes)

The hip roof is up and shingled. 

The extra height of this type of roof was a worry but I had an extra tall pier so they balanced out. I learned that no matter how good intentioned the builders are you must remain in constant communication and assume nothing! 


O_Construction_FinishedDeadman.JPG (272244 bytes) 

The finished "Deadman"

Note the care take to insure the base aligned.
The bolt in the lower left points North


O_Construction_Wrappedpier.JPG (131020 bytes)

The Astro-Pier still in its wrapper by its final home

It took me half an hour to remove the pier from its box!
 They REALLY packed it well. I have had china shipped with less care! Great job!

The DOME arrives!

O_Construction_Dome1.JPG (267089 bytes)

One delivery guy with a lift and a BIG dolly and manual forklift



O_Construction_Dome2.JPG (289106 bytes)

The driver positions the box carefully because it is missing one of the "legs"

He figured someone knocked it off so put a palette under it to stabilize it (277763 bytes)

Hmmm, some damage to the box by the missing leg, I took a picture ..just in case



O_Construction_Dome4.JPG (213395 bytes)

The box in the garage...waiting for its home....


O_Construction_domeingarage.JPG (48054 bytes)

Dome out of the box and roughly fit together. 

Per the Home Dome people it is better to build on the ground first before placing on a roof

 Days 5-9 - May 27-30th 2000


..nothing is sadder than watching a middle-age software bear having to do physical labor....except taking his picture!


CompletedDome_02.JPG (38009 bytes)     CompletedDome_03.JPG (34912 bytes)


Adjusting the DSR access. Everything goes together with a drill and a socket set. 

Building this on top of a tall wall would be extremely difficult and probably dangerous.

Note that the duct tape is used to hold pieces together and to keep the dome from rotating unexpectedly


CompletedDome_04.JPG (39340 bytes)

Attaching the skirt to the walls. Note that my walls are 7'2" and with a hip roof to boot.
I bought two 12' ladders in addition to this little one to make the job easier


CompletedDome_05.JPG (40203 bytes)

Attaching the base ring to the skirt.. do you see the rollers for the dome?
Even though this was built on the ground, it was still a royal PAIN to get thing fitted together again. I
HIGHLY RECOMMEND you use lots of clamps to hold things in place


 Day 10 - June 3rd 2000

Setting the last!

Setting the dome on the building. I did the rings and base but as it turns out it took THREE of us (5 counting the wives who handed the tools up) to get the dome set. As you can see my head may be in the stars....but my feet stayed on the ground! I don't BOUNCE well!



CompletedDome_06.JPG (88583 bytes)  CompletedDome_07.JPG (89716 bytes)  CompletedDome_08.JPG (84898 bytes)

My wife's friend Michelle stopped by to visit and brought her husband Jeff .... Jeff and I said hello, shook hands and he volunteered to help. Pretty darn nice for someone I met 5 minutes before!!
Without Jeff's help I would have
NEVER been able to set the dome. 



CompletedDome_09.JPG (70622 bytes)  CompletedDome_10.JPG (76930 bytes)  CompletedDome_11.JPG (77755 bytes)

An hour later, my friend Ed stopped by on the way back from fishing....Ed was on the roof with Jeff a couple of minutes later...Note how the ol' round bear has his paws on the ground.
Ed's timing was PERFECT! It turned out we needed a second person on the roof to stabilize the dome while I set the bolts....THANK YOU ED!



CompletedDome_12.JPG (79934 bytes)    CompletedDome_13.JPG (79556 bytes)       CompletedDome_14.JPG (81973 bytes)

Jeff, Ed and I  are in  a state of shock                   YES!                     Ooops, let's put Tomas in the middle.
Were we really done???                                                             after all - it is his dome 


CompletedDome_15.JPG (47264 bytes)  

The dome from the inside....boy,  it looks high - but the pier is tall!

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A few screws need a bit of tightening. The shutter cables need to be mounted and the fiberglass cleaned. One small chip needs fixing...

June 30th 2000

ObservatoryAfterPaint.JPG (68509 bytes)

Painting Complete!
The observatory now matches the house.....


July 1st 2000
Fixing the dome rotation

My neighbor -
Mike  "The Wizard" Costello  fixes mounting problems with the
installation of the motors which prevent the dome from rotating properly

The drive wheels must float to compensate for uneven and less than level portions of the dome. Mike trimmed the aluminum arm and mounted the pivot arms correctly so that with springs they would always force the wheels against the dome with a consistent force. The trimming is only needed for the 6' dome. Also note that the motors are mounted horizontally on the DSR and not how they are shown  in the manual!

DomeRotate_MikeAdjustMotor2.JPG (67550 bytes)     DomeRotate_MikeAdjustMotors.JPG (40323 bytes)


DomeRotate_MikeInDome.JPG (67034 bytes)

Mike peeking out of the dome



DomeRotate_Done1.JPG (97690 bytes)

The dome rotates PERFECTLY! 
Thanks Mike!!!!!!

Oh boy... this is fancier than I planned

Note the splattering on the lens-dramatic but accidental!

Drywall1.JPG (37382 bytes)       

drywall2.JPG (130582 bytes)


DryWall3.JPG (112841 bytes)



paint01.jpg (23599 bytes) Paint02.jpg (23169 bytes) Paint04.jpg (39137 bytes)

Paint05.jpg (50684 bytes) 

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Paint_scope04.jpg (27478 bytes)

Paint06.jpg (92598 bytes)



My wife, Elfie and son Joel standing by their inheritance!



OH NO! Need to change my pier!
17.5" North, 40" Up
Bill Shiffman to the rescue!