Pier Pier Pad

                                 The Ring
Construction was started in August of 2008, and halted over the winter.  We almost bagged the idea for lack of funds.  We have been getting help from local business men  and with out them we couldn't do this.     The Ring

The Dog House
The Dog house  is being constructed on the NW side of the dome.  It is going to create a small blind spot at the lower elevations in the north west.  It will be the control room and storage and will be heated in the winter for more comfortable observing.  There will be a weather tower attached to the north side of the of the Doghouse and weather data will be automatically collected 24 - 7.  Security will be 3 small digital cameras that will be motion activated and connected to an alarm system.  It's too bad we have to worry about security, but I guess it is the times. 
doghouse               doghouse               dog house
On top
The Doghouse

The DomeThe Crack
The Dome/Fertilizer Tank Please don't laugh at my dome.  I am poor boying this project and using anything that works.  Several years ago,  I saw a fertilizer tank  on the edge of an alfalfa field.  Being a working telescope operator, I thought, cowabunga!  That looks just like a small observatory building, and drove on.  That is what my dome is made from.  It's a  7 1/2 foot diameter fertilizer tank.  I got it for $100.  It had a crack in the top.  The shutter has to go somewhere, and that's right where it needs to be.

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That sucker is heavy The rings The adjuster comming off so big All Painted
The Carousel is now finished, except for some grinding and paint.  It's going to work like planned, after a wheel substitution.  The cheap castor style adjuster wheels climbed up the hub and caused the carousel to bind and stop.  The fix was a trip to the 2nd hand store and a pair of used roller blades.  The roller blade wheels fit perfect and don't climb.  I just need to figure out how to power it and,  in the future, figure out how to sync it to the telescope.  The dome goes on next..  
The Dome All Painted and pretty
 1 October 2009, we got a coat of paint  on the dog house and figured out how to locate the true center of the slit from top to bottom.  It won't be long before we are trying to find time to do the little tedious finish work, and find that asteroid that is going to take out the planet.  We still need another battery and the drywall in the dog house needs to be mudded and painted.  The base of the dog house needs sealing, flag pole installed and several yards of gravel spread, but the light is on at the end of the tunnel.  The rest is pretty easy work, but needs to get done before it starts snowing.  Official "First Light" is going to happen sometime in the middle of November. ( I hope the snow holds off 'til then.)

The Shutter 9 Oct 2009
Today was a mile stone day.  We got the shutter cut out in the Dome.
We can see the sky!
 I have
been himhawing around for the last several days, just putting off  putting a saw to my dome.  Once it is cut, it's hard to back up.  My brother suggested radiusing the corners, so I radiused the coreners and started cutting.  If I had cut it when I had it measured out, the corners wouldn't have gotten radiused.  The stress on the corners would have split out.  Sometimes waiting and thinking works out for the best.   With the shutter cut out, first light is just around the corner.
The door and shutter cover come next.   Stay tuned.
                                                          Almost done

19  Nov 2009Clamping in place
Heat treating the dome Today I got the shutter framed.   It took a bit more doing than I had hoped.  There was some warpping due to the crack I cut out for the shutter.  I built the frame outside the dome and installed it after.  I had tried to assemble it in place, but would not come together.  When it was all assembled it bolted up just like it was planned.  It just took several clamps and a good friend to push and pull  at the right time.  To fix the warpage, I am trying to heat treat the dome.   I sealed it up and left a heater on for a few hours.  I'm hoping when it cools it will keep it's shape.  We will see.

20  Nov 2009
Today a friend helped me finish installing the shutter framing.  I want to thank Darrel for coming out in the middle of his day to hold pieces of the frame while I put a screw in them.  He didn't think he did anything, but I couldn't  have done it without him.  THANKS Darrel.
Ready to dry in.

Tuesday, November 24th,  we are going to try to mount the telescope and make sure everything fits and can move like it is supposed to.  Wouldn't that be a bummer.

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Now we can fly our flags