Friday I spent some time working on the rotation ring and wheel kit, which are both supplied with the dome. So far the parts have been well labeled and complete with easy to follow instructions.
This sure was the right time to start test fitting the ring to the roof because in a few days it will be over my head. I also pulled the dome into the shop to install a wheel ring that attaches to the under side, and yes, I did get inside! Sitting on a cooler I worked the shutter doors and got a little feel for what it's going to be like, VERY COOL.
Today was a big day.
Dean and Lester showed up ready to work and first on the list was getting the dome out of the building where we only had 1/2 inch total door gap, which is the reason the walls could not go on until it was outside.
After shoe-horning it out of the building, the walls went up fast, putting up three sides we then lifted and slid the roof section in place, finishing up with the last wall.
Rough door opening.
Roof panel detail
A special thanks to Dean and Lester, who are very good friends and continue to be very helpful on this project, Jim and I both appreciate it.
I took advantage of some open shop time at my friend Tom Christiansen'sart 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.
Well after 15 hours and 630 miles the dome is home.
Dean lent us the trailer and Lester did the ride along. It started at 6:00 am in Lutsen and then, 6 hours later we arrived at Polydome. While visiting with Dan, we got some great tips on making the rest of the assembly go smoothly, we then packed up, strapped down and took off around 1:30. Our first stop was at an auto store for trailer wiring supplies and door mirror extensions. The dome was bigger then I had expected and was very hard to see around, add a 20 mph head wind and we had all the makings for a long drive home. It ended at 9:00 pm when we drove into Lutsen.
I can't say enough about Dan at Polydome he was helpful and gave us a very fair deal on a great made in Minnesota product. I'm excited to start installing it next week.