July 2016: Personal Observatory
After waiting 7 months for the delivery of the POD (
built to order) it finally arrives last week. 4 big boxes on two
The dome comes in 4 pieces, 2 quadrants for the primary dome half and 2
for the secondary dome. In use the secondary dome slides up under the
primary half. Assembling the dome halves and applying the hardware
and weather seals was the most time consuming process.
I spend part of day one to bolt the quadrants together
and seal the seams with Lexel silicone sealer. I let it set up over
night before continuing. The next day I applied the aluminum plate to
the bottom of the flange of the primary that rides on the rollers
that will be inserted on top of the side panels. I also applied
the seal the closes the gap between the primary dome and secondary dome.
Having completed the assembly of the domes we moved the side panels out
to the telescope deck.
assembly of the wall panels went rather quickly. Some of the blot holes
didn't quite line up but we persevered.
It took a couple of hours to get the sides bolted
and the primary dome in place.
Once the Primary
dome was secured in place, we added the secondary.
After about 4 hours we had it all buttoned up just
before the rain started.
The only thing lest to do is finish bolting it to the
deck and adding some additional weather stripping where the two
halves meet at the bottom corners. That can wait till it stops
Here are some shots of the completed project:
8/15/16 - Pod Zenith Clearing Supports
Though the POD very well
engineered it has one drawback, you are unable to image close to
the zenith because the dome is in the way. SkyShedPod has an accessory
called a PZT. It's a table that allows you to push the POD
dome off the sides and out of the way. The Table is made of marine
plywood. The drawback I see to the PZT is that it will collect
snow in the winter and is limited in size. You can only push
the dome off in one direction.
I decided to follow the
example of another POD owner who built and extension frame in a
spoke fashion that allows him to push the pod off in multiple
directions and since it's a spoke it will not accumulate
snow in the winter. This owner built his frames out of 4x4 lumber which
I thought was over kill, since the dome isn't that heavy.
I opted to use 2x4 construction instead and after
completing the project figured that 2x3 would be sufficient. Since
I have a 3 bay pod I decided to extend the frames over each of the bays.
Here is a picture of one of the side frame members
. The frame is 42 1/4" tall to provide enough clearance
for the 2x4 top rail and the 1" composite decking on which the dome will
slide. This will bring the composite board about 1/4 below the edge of
The top member is 33" long 2x4 ( you can make it as long
as you need). I used half lap joints cut into the top member to allow
for the two cross pieces that will connect the two side frames.
Originally I had intended to use 2x4's for the cross members but found
out that the top of the bay would interfere with the upper 2x4 so
I ended up using 2x2 up close to the dome and a 2x4 at the fare end.
. The top frame was cut at a 15 degree angle to follow
the curve of the dome.
The frame is attached to the dome with 2" screws that
are screwed thru the dome and into a 2x4 backer on the inside of each
With all the frame members fastened with the 3"
construction screws I topped them with the composite deck board.
This is what the finished frame looks like so far.
I still need to add some stops to the ends of the frames
to keep from pushing the dome over the end and I may also add a piece of
decking between the bays for additional support.
Now waiting for the quick disconnect rollers
assembly so I can actually test this out.
Quick disconnect hardware in place and now the roof is
easy to slide off.