In the previous post we talked about the search for the dome and its technical spec.
Now we got the dome delivered and started with the construction of. We ordered the dome without professional construction and setup, since we’d like to do this on our own.
The first major problem we encountered, was the delivery to the observatory site. As mentioned in “A project begins – And who drives it” the site is quite remote in the alps, and therefore we do not have a highway up to the front door of the observatory 😉 … it is more like a very steep and winding farm track, only used by the local farmers with their tractors.
So the delivery vehicle made it to the first hairpin bend and got stuck! Fortunately, the local farmer helped us out and towed the delivery truck and its trailer with his tractor up to the observatory.
The farmer also helped us with his tractor to unload the delivery, since the parts were quite huge (4m x 2.5m, barley road legal).
On the next day, with quite bad weather, we started to mount the dome drive ring to the concrete dome base. This was quite a tricky installation, since the parts have to fit together perfectly, and they also have to be adjusted perfectly to guarantee a smooth dome turn afterwards. So we need to adjust some parts. The base ring construction did take some days – it was the most complicated part in dome construction.
As the dome base ring, with its lower stationary part, and the upper rotating part was completed (see image below), we started with the actual dome construction.
The finished dome base ring, the upper part rotates. (Photo by Johannes Stübler, 12.08.2018)
Since the individual parts are 8mm fiberglass, they were quite heavy, and we needed a lot of man power to move them around. To make us the life easier, we decided to build the dome on the concrete place in front of the observatory, and then lift it up and bolt it to the base ring.
The dome will become really stable only after it is finished, and so it was a challenge to hold the parts in place until they are bolted together. Luckily we had a lot helpers and so we managed to build the dome in one single day!
This was also necessary, because we had ordered the crane for the next day to lift the dome to its end position on the observatory.
The observatory got its dome on 18.08.2018 and was now so far built to start with the interior fittings.
On the same day, we also did our first dry run, and hooked up the dome to a powerline, installed its electronics and fired it up: it moves quite well and smooth! So the dome is ready for operation.
There is still a lot of work to do, so stay tuned for more!