Saturday, June 03, 2006

Observatory Update

One Setback Encountered, Another Avoided

I got the mounting plate back from the machine shop, and boy, does it look sharp. I bolted it to the top of the pier with a little effort, and immediately discovered that the holes for the wedge attachment were drilled 15° off. I double-checked my drawing, and the part was machined wrong. It's OK, it's just a matter of drilling & tapping new holes--the old ones won't hurt anything. If there's an upside, it's that I found this before the plate went out for anodizing.

While I was trying the plate out, I thought, "Man, the wedge sure looks close to the roof." So this morning I set the tripod up alongside the pier, mounted everything up, and breathed a sigh of relief. It looks like I have about 1 1/2 inches (37 mm) to spare. It is tight, though, and I'm not quite sure what I'll do if I want to piggyback anything on the tube in the future.

What would I have done if the scope didn't clear the roof? Disassemble the shed, put down concrete pavers under the floor, and rebuild on top. I'm glad I don't have to deal with the money and labor now.

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