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May 31, 2018

Since my dome is in the header....

7 comments

I figured I'd share some of my construction pics. I cleaned out an area after looking for my best exposure in my yard. (not easy I live in the woods). This spot allowed decent view South and a view of the North Star. Instead of pouring cement. I bought 2x2 step stones from Home Depot. They will deliver, but I made two trips with my SUV. I got a load of sand and put a 4-6 inch bed under. Then leveled them and filled the seams with sand.

 

 

 

May 31, 2018Edited: May 31, 2018

Next the floor. These were also from Home depot - about 88.00 for all of them. They also are 2x2 and fit together like a puzzle. VERY SOFT FOAM. I love them. I often sit on the floor and drop to my knees to work on something and they feel great. Also cut easily. I made a 8ft circle and cut it out with a razor knife in a flash. I late cut out the feet for my tri-stand so that it rests on the stone instead of the pad. It also patches easily. I've cut out pieces to run cords etc, and when I moved them I could cut a patch and poke it into the hole. Works great.

 

May 31, 2018

 

The KIT came UPS and I uncrated it in the shade to later move it into the sun for it's final location. The parts were packaged nicely. No damage. No missing parts. In fact I had plenty of extra hardware (nuts and bolts). All was well except my latch on the door didn't work properly. Babak at NexDome proptly send me another which worked like a charm. Left is one of the box lids, I put all the parts into. A friend and I put it together rather easily in 4 hours + 4 hours the next afternoon. (two 4 hour sessions).

 

Boxes came like in the above photo. I quickly opened them up to get started The Dome itself comes in sections. The slit will slide up and over when complete. I had almost ordered another brand of dome. I'm SO happy I found the Nexdome before it was to lake. The other unit was a little cheaper, but looks like a little tikes play set and has no provisions for motorized rotation or shutter door control. With this dome I can (and do) operate fully remotely from in the house which is about 300' from the dome.

 

 

 

 

May 31, 2018

The walls went to together easily. As a early adopter the instructions were poor at best. But it was pretty straight forward. Since then some very nice instructions have been created and are available in the support/download area of this website.

 

Then we carried the walls into place. The next day we lifted the dome up and set it on top. We had a storm blow through. Tree's down and a lot of damage and I was shocked to see that the walls had only moved a few inches and the some was still sitting in the grass the way we left it. I opted for one bay. Later I wished I had ordered two. (PLEASE GET THEM INITIALLY, it's much cheaper in the long run). But I paid the shipping again to get a 2nd bay. The two work well. I'm remote - so I don't do much sitting in the dome during imaging anyway. One of the bays can be seen below. I didn't use the included shelf.

Resting on it's slab of stepping stone base, I installed the door and moved in the flooring. (below)

What has impressed me the most if the finish. We have well water with a lot of rust content that isn't filtered (outside). It makes everything yellow. When I saw the stains on the dome I was really bumbed out... but they EASILY wiped right off. So far it's been very easy to keep clean. Since I live in the woods on 2 acres I do a weekly spray of ant/blocker from a spray bottle around the base of the dome and it's been working fine at keeping the buggers out. Door installed she was ready to use. I quickly found that I didn't like rotating (though easy) the dome while using it. And I added the rotator option. It was quite painless to install. Below you can see no rotator has been installed yet. Just manual rotation.

The Rotator consists of a motor unit that you drill and bolt into one of the aluminum uprights, then you peel and stick a "TRACK" all around in the inside of the dome. It was quite painless. I had it rotating in under an hour. The track is pressed around the inside of the dome and the two ends meshed perfectly to create a non ending track. Nothing to cut or measure. A magnetic sensor is included which sets the domes HOME position. I wanted the shutter centered at home when my mount is Parked. - Easy nuf.

 

 

 

May 31, 2018Edited: May 31, 2018

The rotator worked great with SGP (my primary software for imaging). It controls the dome and the dome slit tracks with where the scope points. So the two are aways aligned. Even at the Zenith... which (by the way that other dome I had considered first can not offer, you must remove the dome to view the zenith unobstructed with that other dome). So shortly after I was rotating, I felt I could be in the house if only I could open and close the shutter. That would keep me out of the cold, away from the mosquito's and allow me to be fully remote. Luckily, the shutter system was just about to be released. Below you can see the rotator unit. Just 3 screws into the upright post. Notice it's nylon gear meshes with the track around the dome and gives you 360 degrees of rotation in either direction. There is a manual rocker switch or you control from your ascom software. In this photo you can see the USB connector that runs to my PC in the dome. (laptop, nuc etc). Only other connection is a 12v power supply/

 

Here is the shutter, it was in really easy to install, nothing to drill. I had it operational in under 30 minutes.

 

Again as a early adopter - I ran into the NEWBIE problems, luckily our good friend Pat Meloy has been working on improving the software and features and I've been beta testing it for him. It's coming along nicely. Using my cloudwatcher (Nexdome sells) it will automatically close the shutter if clouds move in. (BEFORE IT RAINS). This is built into ASCOM and SGP. PHOTO BELOW: Shutter READY and charging.

 

My grand sons love the dome and want to "sleep over" in it. Here we're shooting some solar images.

What do you guys think of working out of the hot sun during a solar session? Is the dome cool????

Below one of our images. Quark "c" on a 80mm refractor. ASI174mm camera.

 

May 31, 2018

Thanks for sharing that! I was so excited about putting mine together I didn't take many actual assembly pics.

 

Jul 2, 2018

I notice a lot of light coming through the the dome/side wall area or is that my imagination.

New Posts
  • Preferably with pictures as it looks like you need to make something for yourself for the bar to slot into. When you pay the prices asked you expect ro be able to lock the thing.
  • I am about to assemble my NexDome and setup my observatory. I have a 14” Meade GPS on a custom pedestal. My guestion is: Getting the scope into the dome and onto the wedge I think is going to be a bear. My thoughts are to build the dome around the pedestal with the scope already on it. Any comments on this? That scope is BIG and I think that lifting it through the slot is going to present more problems than lifting the dome over the scope. Planning the install to have as few few problems as possible. Thank you Bob P
  • As report under Shelving problems I have a question about draining the depression on the exterior of the dome of rain water. I was thinking of drilling a few small holes in the area but realized that it would drain into the interior of the dome. Has anyone figured out how to remove the water? Its a special problem when opening the shutter which dumps onto the scope and mount.