Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Visual Learner and Wedge Building

I'm a visual learner so before I can build anything, I need a clear picture in my mind of the item I'm designing.
The process of wedge design was somewhat painful for a few reasons, first I was having trouble seeing the known angle of 47 degrees 44' 22". I just could not work out whether this angle was off the horizontal or vertical, so I had to call in the high paid help again.

Sam Parker is our project surveyor and a bit of an astronomy buff himself and thanks to Sam's help I was able to see it clearly. That man is worth every dime we're spending with his firm.
The second stumbling point was the design itself. A quick Internet search shows great diversity in wedge building, you can pivot the scope mounting plate from the top, middle, bottom or anywhere in between.
I would come up with an idea, let it roll around for a day, then change my mind, then change it again! This went on for weeks and last Friday I decided it had to stop. I made a call to Tom at Last Chance Fabricating asking for some more shop time and he was kind enough to agree. I figured about 8 to 10 hours would cover it and I only missed that time estimate
by 3 days (not bad) .

I started by cutting the base and telescope mounting plate out of 3/4" steel. I then welded 1/2" steel flat stock under the base to hold the bearings in place along with welding the 3/4" shaft on the scope mount

The triangular cantilever support is cut from 1/2" steel plate, heavy 6" square tubing with 8" disks welded to the bottom which will insert into the steel portion of the pier.
This photo shows cardboard patterns, I cut out a few designs before becoming happy with this one.

Installation of the 8" disks and side cut outs, now just need to finish up the welding and grinding.

Top view of the angle adjustment, the telescope mounting plate is trapped between two 1/2" thick pieces of flat stock that are drilled and taped for 3/8" fine threaded cap screws.
This allows for 5 degrees of total movement, that's 2-1/2 degrees both sides of my target setting.

Front view of adjustment screws.

Complete pier ready for sandblasting and paint, total weight around 400 lbs, not including the sand filling after installation. A special thanks again to Tom for the shop time, you can see what he's working on by looking on his blog or web site .

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