June 29, 2017

– Observatory Build – Day 1 – Sod Removal - Yesterday was the first day of the site preparations and included sod removal. The area for sod removal was one-foot larger than the footprint of the planned concrete slab (8 x 15), so the sod removal was started at 9×16 feet. 

Start of the hole for the pier placement. 

Me on dirt removal duty.

June 30, 2017

Pier Selection Time - I guess I should have purchased this ahead of time, but I didn’t. My original intention was to use my telescope on a concrete slab from inside a roll-off roof shed. I felt the Meade 12″ on a Celestron CGEM-DX would be stable enough without a pier. Unfortunately, the shed is being delivered with a wooden floor so I decided a pier was needed. It is probably better I do this for future telescope needs.

I have narrowed it down to Pier-Tech ( or SkyShed Pier ( Thus far, only Pier-Tech has returned my emails about purchasing a pier. They can ship by the end of July, but will mail me the bottom plate and J-bolts after I place an order so that I may continue the pad construction.

If anyone has information on either pier, I would appreciate the feedback.

July 1, 2017 

Final Level, Pier Selection and Ready for Stone - This morning we finish laying out the measured grid and leveled the dirt. We also started on the 36″ deep pier foundation. At this point, the pier hole will be covered with plywood and 4-ton of 2B stone will be delivered to the site for the foundation base.

Since my last post I have decided to pour my own pier and top it with a CGEM Pier Adapter Kit ($270.00 with shipping) from Starizona. What this means is it will take two concrete pours to finish. The first pour will be for the 8 x 15 pad, followed by the pre-built shed placement, followed by a second pour to create the concrete pier. Since the shed delivery will basically be placing the shed in place using a “mule”, there would be no way to lift the shed up-and-over a pre-existing concrete pier.

So for the cost of some time and extra concrete I should be saving a significant amount on the purchase of a steel pre-made pier. Luckily, I have a brother-in-law who knows what he is doing with construction details.

July 3, 2017

Pier Hole Complete and Crushed Stone Delivered - Pier hole done, down 36 inches, 4 tons of 2B stone delivered and being spread. Things are moving along. Special thanks to Mengle Hauling in Weatherly, PA for the stone delivery (and my winter coal supply) – thanks! 

Two tons of 2B stone delivered (another two ton on the way). The hole for the pier is under the plywood. 

Mengle Hauling delivering the second load.

July 4, 2017

Ready for Framing the Pad - Site is prepped and ready for framing it out and the pouring of the concrete pad. Tomorrow the actual roll-off roof shed will be ordered, probably 4-6 weeks delivery from Stoltzfus Structures in Atglen, PA.

July 10, 2017

CGEM Pier Adapter Kit - The CGEM Pier Adapter Kit has arrived from Starizona! This kit will allow me to use my Celestron CGEM-DX mount on my home-made pier later this summer. Now I just need to purchase some anchor bolts to secure this to the concrete pier.

Pad framing.

Pad framing.