Construction of the new Observatory

in Happy Jack, Arizona

Uploaded 5/2/2002

Making the concrete Pier

Click on the thumbnails for the 640x480 sized image.

May 2002 images

Pouring the Pier Foundation

The hole for the pier is dug into very rocky soil, and six rebars are wired in place to accept the coming hollow pier.

The Author next to the pier hole, minutes before pouring concrete.

Fellow amateur Vince Mele and myself during the alignment process of the rebar.

Half a ton of concrete and rock later, the foundation is poured and solidifying rapidly.

Pouring the 9 foot Pier

May 10, 2002

A basal solid pour was made a few days before to give a firm bottom to the hollow pier. A 12 inch sonotube was used as a form.

Mounting bolt pattern is maintained by attaching the 2 foot threaded rods to a plywood plate. This will be plunged into the wet concrete at the end and will be the studs which the heavy aluminum mount will be connected to.

the foundation rebar is extended to 7.5 feet with extensions that are wired in place. The top of the array is held secure with a paint can, and inside the ribs of rebar, we put 6 inch diameter dryer vent tubing. This is filled with masonry sand to take up the inner space and deaden vibrations. Considerably less concrete is used as well.

Masonry Lattice, which is akin to hardware cloth, is weaved in the rebar outside of the six inch inner tube. The cement must be fluid enough to be poured on both sides of the lattice to make a solid bond.

The final inner tube is in place and filled to the brim with masonry sand. The lattice can be seen sticking out of the last 4 foot pour. and Vince is preparing the top of the tube for the final pour.

Here, the final piece of sonotube is in place, it sits 6 inches above the top of the rebar AND the tubing capped with sand. Now by filling it to the top of the sonotube, the top will be a solid six inch slug of concrete. I just finished plunging the bolt plate into the concrete and am positioning it due north.

The finished pier, extra cement was poured in a ring around the base for additional stability. It is VERY solid, and took only 8 bags of concrete, and three bags of masonry sand for the center. Over the next few weeks, we will water the cement as often as possible to set it for maximum strength.


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