Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pier Building Day

I took advantage of some open shop time at my friend Tom Christiansen's art studio in Lutsen called Last Chance Fabricating. In his shop is a tool called a plasma cutter that makes a 1/2 steel plate cut like butter. Every time I use this tool the WOW factor sets in because it makes cutting steel almost painless.
This is the layout of the base ring on the 1/2 inch thick steel plate. It's 14" in diameter with a slotted 3 hole pattern that will allow about 18 degrees of adjustment for aligning the pier to true North.

After cutting the base out I drilled a series of 3/4 inch holes, 3 per slot, 9 in total and then I used the plasma cutter to remove the web in between the holes to form the slots.
The base plate was then welded to the 8" pipe making sure that it was centered and square. Then three 30 inch long gussets were cut out and added for support of both the pipe and base plate.

I left the pier longer for now, it will get cut down after we do some measuring. I still have some grinding, sandblasting and painting to do along with building the equatorial wedge.
Tomorrow I hope to put a crew together for some heavy lifting, if it goes well the observatory will be mostly assembled and ready for paint.

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