Building the Observatory

Now the construction of the 
Observatory Tower with Roll-off-Roof begins

First thing is to build the floor framing
for the tower. The framing is supported
on concrete piers and bolted to the steel
floor framing of the containers.

We dig a 48 inch deep hole for the
telescope steel pier. A 8" sonotube
will be used to anchor the 4" diameter
steel pier.

The sonotube is buried to where the
top of the tube is about 1" below the
top of the floor framing boards.
Then we fill the sonotube with concrete
and place the steel pipe inside.

Once the concrete is dry, we install the
floor decking and start erecting the walls.

After we installed 3 walls, we then built
the second story floor and added the top
section of the 4" steel pipe. Now we can
erect the last wall.

Next we added windows to the second
story and installed the final sheets of
exterior siding. Now ready to build the

I will be using garage door rails & rollers
for the roll-off-roof. The rollers will be
attached to a end roof truss and the track
to the building walls.

The roof end trusses
are made of 3/4"
plywood for the top
and bottom plates
and 2x4's studs.

The walls are complete and the door
is now installed. The roll-off-roof is
finished and works properly too.
All we need are the final finishing

Roof open
Roof closed

The observatory tower is now finished
Stairs to observatory
Observatory with roof closed

Observatory with roof opened and telescope installed

Here is a video tour of the finished observatory...


  1. Wow! I just got my first scope for Christmas and was looking for a dark sky spot near Dallas when I saw your Blue Star Observatory pin and clicked on it out of curiosity.

    I never expected to stumble upon such an awesome idea that you have painstakingly and expertly turned into a reality for yourself. I love the shipping container concept and the observatory tower, as well as the genius idea of garage door rails for the sliding roof.

    Well done, sir! You've inspired me to perhaps follow in your footsteps. Thank you.


  2. Thanks Ryan. The observatory should be ready for use by next weekend.

  3. Hi man, you did it ! Congratulations, clear skies and a lot of fun !!

    1. Gracias.

      Ya a pasado un año y me falta muy poco para terminar este proyecto.

  4. Fantastic project Bob, I envy you. My only question is about weather sealing because I see open spaces in your tower. I hear those Texas winds can really whip up and make rain go sideways.

  5. The observation tower was not completely finished when I made this video.
    Flashing, weatherproofing, and trim had not been completely finished.
    I stopped work on the observatory so I could finish the interior of the main cabin, but the cabin is now finished. Now I need to finish the observatory.

    So far 2 major rain storms have passed over my observatory with winds over 60 mph and everything has held up fairly well.

  6. Fantastic work Bob!!! How come I did not see this at AF?? Somehow, I missed this one! Very impressed and happy for you!! Beautiful observatory!

    1. Thanks Jeffry

      I did post a thread an AF back on November of 2014. Here is a link

      Would appreciate it if you left a comment on the thread, to bring it back to life... hehehehe


  7. Bob,

    I am curious how the 4 inch pipe at that height has worked out for your pier? In looking at design, you may have to add concrete block up to the bottom of 2nd floor, then backfill that with soil or concrete to allow the pipe to be more rigid, for most of it's length.

  8. I filled the pipe with sand to reduce any vibrations, but it will move a bit if bumped.
    Has not been an issue once the mount and scope are tracking because there is very little movement during tracking. Just gotta avoid touching it while imaging.

  9. Hi. Congratulations for your work.
    I am also building an observatory similar to your design. I also want to put a column from the ground to the observatory; Are about 3 meters high and I think there may be vibrations even if you fill it with sand. How tall is your column?
    Thank you

  10. Felicitaciones Bob !!...hiciste realidad el sueño de cualquier astronomo aficionado.
    yo aca en israel tengo que viajar hora y media para encontrar un cielo sin polucion luminica considerable.
    un abrazo