Steel Pier recommendations


 

Hi folks

I'm looking for any recommendations on a steel pier for a permanent observatory mount

fabricator? product? other??

we are installing a couple piers in our new observatory and did not want to build up the cement all the way.  This would be for Mach 2 maybe AP1100  type mount

Thanks for any tips or suggestions

Brian 



Brian Valente


Christopher Erickson
 

Tapered piers are much more resistant to ringing than straight piers.

A tapered X-pier would have much better thermal characteristics than a round, triangular or squared tubular pier.

Adding sand, oiled-sand, sawdust, etc. to a ringing pier will not stop the ringing. Only filling with concrete will do that.

Up until the appearance of "affordable," commercially-available, amateur telescopes and mounts in the 50's and 60's with cheap, straight, round tubular piers, all serious telescopes, both professional and amateur, had tapered piers.

Any decent machine shop can make you an excellent tapered X-pier from standard plate steel or plate aluminum stock.

Tapered X-piers also are more convenient for cable management and for adding shelves, etc.

Drilling holes in them will also slightly improve their thermal characteristics and shorten their cool-down times.

"My advice is always free and worth every penny!"

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


On Wed, May 26, 2021 at 9:44 AM Brian Valente <bvalente@...> wrote:
Hi folks

I'm looking for any recommendations on a steel pier for a permanent observatory mount

fabricator? product? other??

we are installing a couple piers in our new observatory and did not want to build up the cement all the way.  This would be for Mach 2 maybe AP1100  type mount

Thanks for any tips or suggestions

Brian 



Brian Valente


Stuart
 

I'd echo Christopher's comments without amendment and would draw your attention especially to his comment about aluminum vs. steel. You only have to move your steel pier once to realize why you like your aluminum piers more. ;-)


On Wed, 26 May 2021 at 15:57, Christopher Erickson <christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:
Tapered piers are much more resistant to ringing than straight piers.

A tapered X-pier would have much better thermal characteristics than a round, triangular or squared tubular pier.

Adding sand, oiled-sand, sawdust, etc. to a ringing pier will not stop the ringing. Only filling with concrete will do that.

Up until the appearance of "affordable," commercially-available, amateur telescopes and mounts in the 50's and 60's with cheap, straight, round tubular piers, all serious telescopes, both professional and amateur, had tapered piers.

Any decent machine shop can make you an excellent tapered X-pier from standard plate steel or plate aluminum stock.

Tapered X-piers also are more convenient for cable management and for adding shelves, etc.

Drilling holes in them will also slightly improve their thermal characteristics and shorten their cool-down times.

"My advice is always free and worth every penny!"

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


On Wed, May 26, 2021 at 9:44 AM Brian Valente <bvalente@...> wrote:
Hi folks

I'm looking for any recommendations on a steel pier for a permanent observatory mount

fabricator? product? other??

we are installing a couple piers in our new observatory and did not want to build up the cement all the way.  This would be for Mach 2 maybe AP1100  type mount

Thanks for any tips or suggestions

Brian 



Brian Valente


George
 

Brian,

 

Consider the ATS Permanent Pier and fill it with rubberized much for Lowes or Home Depot.

https://www.astro-physics.com/atsp

 

Regards,

 

George

 

George Whitney

Astro-Physics, Inc.

Phone:  815-222-6538 (direct line)

Phone:  815-282-1513 (office)

Email:  george@...

 

From: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Valente
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 2:44 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io
Subject: [ap-ug] Steel Pier recommendations

 

Hi folks

 

I'm looking for any recommendations on a steel pier for a permanent observatory mount

 

fabricator? product? other??

 

we are installing a couple piers in our new observatory and did not want to build up the cement all the way.  This would be for Mach 2 maybe AP1100  type mount

 

Thanks for any tips or suggestions

 

Brian 

 

 

 

Brian Valente


ROBERT WYNNE
 

Even then consider a "portable" aluminum 10" dia. pier 48" tall will give one  pause before moving. -Best, Robert

On 05/26/2021 1:02 PM Stuart <stuart.j.heggie@...> wrote:
 
 
I'd echo Christopher's comments without amendment and would draw your attention especially to his comment about aluminum vs. steel. You only have to move your steel pier once to realize why you like your aluminum piers more. ;-)
 

On Wed, 26 May 2021 at 15:57, Christopher Erickson < christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:
Tapered piers are much more resistant to ringing than straight piers.
 
A tapered X-pier would have much better thermal characteristics than a round, triangular or squared tubular pier.
 
Adding sand, oiled-sand, sawdust, etc. to a ringing pier will not stop the ringing. Only filling with concrete will do that.
 
Up until the appearance of "affordable," commercially-available, amateur telescopes and mounts in the 50's and 60's with cheap, straight, round tubular piers, all serious telescopes, both professional and amateur, had tapered piers.
 
Any decent machine shop can make you an excellent tapered X-pier from standard plate steel or plate aluminum stock.
 
Tapered X-piers also are more convenient for cable management and for adding shelves, etc.
 
Drilling holes in them will also slightly improve their thermal characteristics and shorten their cool-down times.

"My advice is always free and worth every penny!"
 
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii

On Wed, May 26, 2021 at 9:44 AM Brian Valente < bvalente@...> wrote:
Hi folks
 
I'm looking for any recommendations on a steel pier for a permanent observatory mount
 
fabricator? product? other??
 
we are installing a couple piers in our new observatory and did not want to build up the cement all the way.  This would be for Mach 2 maybe AP1100  type mount
 
Thanks for any tips or suggestions

Brian 
 
 
 
Brian Valente

 

 

 

 


Dean S
 

I found an old street light pole and made several piers from it. 
 
Dean
 
 

From: Brian Valente
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 3:44 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io
Subject: [ap-ug] Steel Pier recommendations
 
Hi folks
 
I'm looking for any recommendations on a steel pier for a permanent observatory mount
 
fabricator? product? other??
 
we are installing a couple piers in our new observatory and did not want to build up the cement all the way.  This would be for Mach 2 maybe AP1100  type mount
 
Thanks for any tips or suggestions
 
Brian 
 
 
 
Brian Valente



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Don W
 

Ringing (like a bell) is never a problem - it is a high frequency / low amplitude motion that never is seen by the scope.  Ringing is started with a bang, which you will be VERY unlikely to do.  You don't hit your pier with a hammer do you?

Stiffness of a pier is very important if you are visual observing and want to manually focus on Jupiter - just touching the focus knob can move the object and set up fundamental oscillations (primarily of a cantilevered pier - mounted on concrete).  A tripod or AstroPhysics portable pier with a wide doesn't have this problem.  But a metal pier bolted or inserted into concrete is a spring ready to wave back and forth.  Putting anything inside a tube (sand or concrete) is a disaster waiting to happen - adding mass to the spring and causing a very long oscillation lasting for seconds.

If the pier is used only for imaging, these concerns for oscillation are much less a problem, since only wind is likely to affect the bending of a tubular pier.  For these type piers, the difference in stiffness between aluminum and steel is 3:1.  The modulus of aluminum is 1/3 that of steel, meaning the aluminum is far worse.

Don


ROBERT WYNNE
 

Can this resonance be baffled by adding strapped turnbuckles? -Best, Robert

On 05/26/2021 2:54 PM Don W <westergren@...> wrote:
 
 
Ringing (like a bell) is never a problem - it is a high frequency / low amplitude motion that never is seen by the scope.  Ringing is started with a bang, which you will be VERY unlikely to do.  You don't hit your pier with a hammer do you?

Stiffness of a pier is very important if you are visual observing and want to manually focus on Jupiter - just touching the focus knob can move the object and set up fundamental oscillations (primarily of a cantilevered pier - mounted on concrete).  A tripod or AstroPhysics portable pier with a wide doesn't have this problem.  But a metal pier bolted or inserted into concrete is a spring ready to wave back and forth.  Putting anything inside a tube (sand or concrete) is a disaster waiting to happen - adding mass to the spring and causing a very long oscillation lasting for seconds.

If the pier is used only for imaging, these concerns for oscillation are much less a problem, since only wind is likely to affect the bending of a tubular pier.  For these type piers, the difference in stiffness between aluminum and steel is 3:1.  The modulus of aluminum is 1/3 that of steel, meaning the aluminum is far worse.

Don


Stuart
 

My aluminum pier has gussets. They help a lot. And it weighs a tiny fraction of what my steel piers weigh.


On Wed, 26 May 2021 at 19:23, ROBERT WYNNE <robert-wynne@...> wrote:
Can this resonance be baffled by adding strapped turnbuckles? -Best, Robert
On 05/26/2021 2:54 PM Don W <westergren@...> wrote:
 
 
Ringing (like a bell) is never a problem - it is a high frequency / low amplitude motion that never is seen by the scope.  Ringing is started with a bang, which you will be VERY unlikely to do.  You don't hit your pier with a hammer do you?

Stiffness of a pier is very important if you are visual observing and want to manually focus on Jupiter - just touching the focus knob can move the object and set up fundamental oscillations (primarily of a cantilevered pier - mounted on concrete).  A tripod or AstroPhysics portable pier with a wide doesn't have this problem.  But a metal pier bolted or inserted into concrete is a spring ready to wave back and forth.  Putting anything inside a tube (sand or concrete) is a disaster waiting to happen - adding mass to the spring and causing a very long oscillation lasting for seconds.

If the pier is used only for imaging, these concerns for oscillation are much less a problem, since only wind is likely to affect the bending of a tubular pier.  For these type piers, the difference in stiffness between aluminum and steel is 3:1.  The modulus of aluminum is 1/3 that of steel, meaning the aluminum is far worse.

Don


deitzelj
 

My pier from Parallax instruments is probably the best astronomy investment I have made.  

JMD


deitzelj
 

https://ap-ug.groups.io/g/main/photo/254098/3094907?p=Name,,,20,1,0,0

The pier is level, the photographer is not:-). 

JMD


Don W
 

Hi Robert,
Yes, turnbuckles like are used on the AP portable pier do make the pier extremely stiff, so there is no oscillation.  A wide base (provided by external turnbuckles is very good.  A steel pier pipe, embedded in concrete is very good, much better than a steel pier bolted to a concrete pad.

I have personal experience comparing an 8 inch x 1/4 inch wall 49 inch tall embedded pier with a 12 inch dia. x 3/8 wall pier 60 inches tall.  The 12 inch pier is rock steady focusing,  while the 8 inch pier moves when your eyebrow touches the eyepiece.

A lot of pier designs will work fine if you are remote focusing for imaging.  But a lot of pier designs are really poor for manual focusing and visual observing..

Don


AaronW
 

Does anyone here have any experience with the adjustable height piers made by Pier-tech, Inc.?  Happy with the product?

Are there any other providers (US-based) that offer such an option?  

Best,
Aaron

On May 26, 2021, at 7:43 PM, Don W <westergren@...> wrote:

Hi Robert,
Yes, turnbuckles like are used on the AP portable pier do make the pier extremely stiff, so there is no oscillation.  A wide base (provided by external turnbuckles is very good.  A steel pier pipe, embedded in concrete is very good, much better than a steel pier bolted to a concrete pad.

I have personal experience comparing an 8 inch x 1/4 inch wall 49 inch tall embedded pier with a 12 inch dia. x 3/8 wall pier 60 inches tall.  The 12 inch pier is rock steady focusing,  while the 8 inch pier moves when your eyebrow touches the eyepiece.

A lot of pier designs will work fine if you are remote focusing for imaging.  But a lot of pier designs are really poor for manual focusing and visual observing..

Don


Ben Lutch
 


There's a street light outside my house begging to be made into several piers :-)

On Wed, May 26, 2021 at 1:38 PM Dean S <dean@...> wrote:
I found an old street light pole and made several piers from it. 
 
Dean
 
 
From: Brian Valente
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 3:44 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io
Subject: [ap-ug] Steel Pier recommendations
 
Hi folks
 
I'm looking for any recommendations on a steel pier for a permanent observatory mount
 
fabricator? product? other??
 
we are installing a couple piers in our new observatory and did not want to build up the cement all the way.  This would be for Mach 2 maybe AP1100  type mount
 
Thanks for any tips or suggestions
 
Brian 
 
 
 
Brian Valente



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Chris Cook
 

I use a LeSeur pier with my 900 mount and it is rock steady.
 
Chris
 


 

----- Original Message -----
From: AaronW <aaron.wilhelm@...>
Reply-To: <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
To: <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Sent: 5/26/2021 11:22:16 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Steel Pier recommendations

Does anyone here have any experience with the adjustable height piers made by Pier-tech, Inc.?  Happy with the product?

Are there any other providers (US-based) that offer such an option?  

Best,
Aaron

On May 26, 2021, at 7:43 PM, Don W <westergren@...> wrote:

Hi Robert,
Yes, turnbuckles like are used on the AP portable pier do make the pier extremely stiff, so there is no oscillation.  A wide base (provided by external turnbuckles is very good.  A steel pier pipe, embedded in concrete is very good, much better than a steel pier bolted to a concrete pad.

I have personal experience comparing an 8 inch x 1/4 inch wall 49 inch tall embedded pier with a 12 inch dia. x 3/8 wall pier 60 inches tall.  The 12 inch pier is rock steady focusing,  while the 8 inch pier moves when your eyebrow touches the eyepiece.

A lot of pier designs will work fine if you are remote focusing for imaging.  But a lot of pier designs are really poor for manual focusing and visual observing..

Don


M Hambrick
 

Is LeSeur still in business ?

Mike


Chris Cook
 

Don't know.  I found mine on Astromart. 
 
 
Chris
 

 

----- Original Message -----
From: M Hambrick <mhambrick563@...>
Reply-To: <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
To: <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Sent: 5/27/2021 9:07:08 AM
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Steel Pier recommendations

Is LeSeur still in business ?

Mike


dan kowall
 

I believe that Le Sueur went out of business a few years ago.

dan kowall


Joe Mize
 

Robert, Dean has a good DYI alternative for Piers. 
 
I went to a metals salvage yard and found a 8”x52” Steam Pipe with a 2” thick flange already attached, $35.
I had a 1/2” flat plate attached to the top for mounting my AP1200 and 14.5” RCOS, another $35. 
I’ve used my pier for the last 15yrs without a hint of vibrations thanks to the 3/8” walls.
Call ahead, check for availability of steam pipes.
 
HTH...joe

"May He Go Among the Imperishable Stars"
Joe Mize, StarFields Observatory,
Chiefland Astronomy Village
http://www.cav-sfo.com/indexarchive.html
 

From: Dean S
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 4:38 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Steel Pier recommendations
 
I found an old street light pole and made several piers from it. 
 
Dean
 
 
From: Brian Valente
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 3:44 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io
Subject: [ap-ug] Steel Pier recommendations
 
Hi folks
 
I'm looking for any recommendations on a steel pier for a permanent observatory mount
 
fabricator? product? other??
 
we are installing a couple piers in our new observatory and did not want to build up the cement all the way.  This would be for Mach 2 maybe AP1100  type mount
 
Thanks for any tips or suggestions
 
Brian 
 
 
 
Brian Valente



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ROBERT WYNNE
 

Wouldn't thicker walls especially fabricated from steel or cast iron be more prone to vibration/harmonic vibration. Thought that was the basis for bell geometry - thicker wall - louder ring? -Best, Robert 

On 05/27/2021 8:24 AM Joe Mize <jmize@...> wrote:
 
 
Robert, Dean has a good DYI alternative for Piers. 
 
I went to a metals salvage yard and found a 8”x52” Steam Pipe with a 2” thick flange already attached, $35.
I had a 1/2” flat plate attached to the top for mounting my AP1200 and 14.5” RCOS, another $35. 
I’ve used my pier for the last 15yrs without a hint of vibrations thanks to the 3/8” walls.
Call ahead, check for availability of steam pipes.
 
HTH...joe

"May He Go Among the Imperishable Stars"
Joe Mize, StarFields Observatory,
Chiefland Astronomy Village
http://www.cav-sfo.com/indexarchive.html
 
From: Dean S
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 4:38 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Steel Pier recommendations
 
I found an old street light pole and made several piers from it. 
 
Dean
 
 
From: Brian Valente
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 3:44 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io
Subject: [ap-ug] Steel Pier recommendations
 
Hi folks
 
I'm looking for any recommendations on a steel pier for a permanent observatory mount
 
fabricator? product? other??
 
we are installing a couple piers in our new observatory and did not want to build up the cement all the way.  This would be for Mach 2 maybe AP1100  type mount
 
Thanks for any tips or suggestions
 
Brian 
 
 
 
Brian Valente



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