Hyperion Observatory

                                                  Building the dome

In October 2008 I ordered to  Astrodomes  (Col blumson in Australia) a kit for building a 3m diameter steel dome. While waiting for the kit to arrive we built the platform where the dome was going to be installed. The pictures show the platform still with the formwork.

The kit arrived the first week of Mars and I used the "San José" holiday (from thursday to sunday) to build the dome with the help of my brother an my two children. The pictures show the parcel that came from Australia (2,40x1,00x0,30m):

Here is part of the hardware, the frontal hoops and some of the pannels. Everything is made of zincalume steel and the panels are 1mm thick, what once assembled, gives the dome a very good solidity.

First of all we had to assemble the base ring, that is the base of the dome and where the wheels contact, and to mount the wheels on top of the concrete platform. There are three fixed wheels (one of them with the motor bracket) and other three sprung wheels, so the weight is well distributed among six wheels. Here is the ring on top of the wheels:

The next step was to assemble the skirt, fastening the pannels and fixing them to the base ring.

Once the skirt was finished, we had to assemble the upper ring, the frontal hoops and the two first pannels. This is a delicate operation because the frontal hoops have no rear support and we had to prop them on top of a stepladder while assembling the first pannels:

Once the three first pannels were assembled, the supporting stepladder was no longer needed, the system is in a stable balance. The next steps were assembling and screwing pannels from the rear to the front. The joint between pannels is sealed by means of a one side bonded tape. In this way the dome is watertight.

We keep assembling pannels... A few remain:

The next step was assembling the shutter that, as can be seen, has two way curvature, it is a piece of sphere. Next the rear hoops are assembled. Over them two pieces of HDPE can be appreciated, where the shutter is fixed and that allow the shutter movements sliding over the edge of the hoops.

The dome, almost complete is shown here, a front view with no shutter and a rear view with the shutter partially open... Very little remains...

Finally we assemled the door and the motors and... The dome is complete...  Except painting, isolating, etc.  We have used more than 1.000 bolts and nuts.

During the two following weekends I have been working in the motor controllers, power supply, wiring, etc. Wiring is already complete, including a solar pannel for the battery that gives power to the shutter motor and a directional WIFI antenna.

Finally I could put my mount on top of the pier as well as the rest of the hardware, PC, wiring, etc. By now I am able to control the movements of the dome from the house via WIFI and to slave the dome to the telescope through the ASCOM driver. Here, the mount inside the dome can be seen.

The aspect once painted:



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