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Thread: Pier for home observatory

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    Default Pier for home observatory



    Looking for pier to mount C14 in home observatory. Any recommendations? Haven't really researched them yet. Slab is done. Lumber is coming Thursday the 11th. Did put some pics in photo album. Will post more as I frame in in. Dome is shipping 26th. Will be sweet.
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    Default Re: Pier for home observatory

    The slab looks great!!!

    For the pier my first thought is to go with SkyShed. I think it would work for a 14" but I'd check with them in regard to whether they think it would be adequate.

    I had a pier made by a local contractor. It'd have been cheaper and faster for me to have gone with SkyShed. I'd probably also have asked 1800Destiny about making one for me - they used to do that and I believe they made them from aluminum which is nice since there is no corrosion problem and it is lightweight.

    From looking at your slab I'm not sure where you plan to put the pier.

    Also, some people use SonoTube along with some rebar and cement to make a pier. That means you or your concrete contractor make the pier. Then you get a pier top plate from a place like this: Dan's Pier Top Plates or you can have a local machinist make one.

    In Michigan I'm guessing they normally dig down at least 4 feet and depending on how deep your frost goes they might go deeper. . .

    I did most of my growing up in Northern Minnesota and our pipes were buried at least 6 feet deep and sometimes that wasn't deep enough to keep them from freezing. If I were putting in a pier where I grew up I'd probably be digging down about 8 feet to hopefully prevent heaving from the frost.
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    Default Re: Pier for home observatory

    With a continuous slab like that, your options are limited. You can't at this point dig a deep foundation to be below the frost line. You will just have to hope that the slab is heavy enough not to heave too much in the frost and strong enough not to crack.

    You can buy or have made a steel pier. There are numerous plans available online.

    I build myself a plywood pier in the shape of a tapered column. I have used it for five years in two different locations, and I am very happy with it. In its current installation, it is bolted to a concrete foundation block that goes down four feet. At my previous site, it stood on hard-packed ground, anchored by spikes driven four feet down.

    The tapered column is very rigid, and vibrations damp out in about 1/4 second. I normally carry an 8" Newtonian on it, m ounted on a CEM60. On occasion, I mount a C-11 on it, and I have had no problems at all.

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    Default Re: Pier for home observatory

    Hi Kathy, if you get the chance can you post a pic of your pier in your equipment album? I keep bouncing between concrete or steel for my pier build, and your idea gives me something else to think about.

    Clear skies!

    Quote Originally Posted by KathyNS View Post
    I build myself a plywood pier in the shape of a tapered column.
    So many trees in NJ!

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    Default Re: Pier for home observatory

    I have posted some pictures in my album. http://www.astronomyforum.net/member...equipment.html

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    Default Re: Pier for home observatory

    Perfect, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by KathyNS View Post
    I have posted some pictures in my album. http://www.astronomyforum.net/member...equipment.html
    So many trees in NJ!

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    Default Re: Pier for home observatory

    Slab is for the bottom floor. It will be for the computer and controls. It will be heated and air conditioning. Dome will be on top floor. To cut down on any vibration or wind movement., I am building it with 2x6. Walls will be foamed. Top floor walls will be the same. Only 48" tall at most. The floor will also be foamed to help control any vibration. Obviously top floor will have no heat or A/C when in use. Thought about slab for the dome next to the one I already did. That was the original plan. Thanks for all the input.
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    Default Re: Pier for home observatory

    Hi Valen! I could be wrong but you might consider completely isolating the pier from the second floor. Seems like you will have significant vibration if you secure the pier to the second level floor. A couple of other things to consider are wind vibration on the second level and if your warm room is on the first floor under your dome remember warm air rises and may affect your views. Your original plan for two slabs side by side and independent of each other sounds like a better plan. Just my two cents. Also I had a local welder make an aluminum pier for my 10” LX200 and I really like it. If I had it to do over I would have made it 8 inches in diameter instead of 6. Good luck with your observatory!
    E72A6FB0-8BAE-4B68-934A-87A4E643330E.jpeg
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    Default Re: Pier for home observatory

    I think you would be better off building a 12-foot pier on the slab than a 4-foor pier on the second floor. Violins and guitars are made of wood because wood vibrates so well. There is no way you can keep a wood floor from vibrating. Even if you are downstairs in the warm room and allow no one upstairs when the scope is in use, movement of the dome as the mount tracks will be enough to vibrate the building and the scope.

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    Default Re: Pier for home observatory

    With a C14, I agree with the others. You want the pier isolated from the floor. You can saw cut an area in the concrete and dig a pier. I don't have an observatory yet but I have a pier. I used to observe on a concrete patio with the tripods that came with my mounts then because of vibrations, I decided to install a pier. I used 2 masonry blades in my skillsaw and etched an 18" by 18" square into the slab as deep as I could get it. Then I used a hammer drill to drill lots of holes in the concrete within that square. Next, I used a 16 pound sledge to bust out the concrete. Finally, I used a hand post hole digger to excavate a hole 5.5 feet deep by 14" diameter. I had some 4" by 4" quarter wall tubing on hand so I fabbed a pier from it and concreted it in with only the metal tube rising above the exhisting patio slab. I still was getting more vibration than I wanted in the 3.5 feet of metal that was above the slab. So, I filled the tube with sand. That helped but didn't give the vibration free mount I wanted. Lastly, I bought some 10" sonotube and used high psi cement mix to bring a concrete pier up to within 8" of the pier top.

    I'll be doing another pier eventually at some land I just bought and will learn from my last project. I'll do a sonotube type concrete pier with 3' of metal tube embedded and only 8" of metal tube exposed from the top.
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