Technical Innovations

Manufacturer of Home-Dome and Pro-Dome Observatories

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Photos in category sections represent a sequential visual log of dome construction.
We will constantly expand this section and look to our customers for input and web links.

The observatory domes from Technical Innovations are shipped in sections and require assembly at the final installation location. The general approach to dome assembly is the same regardless of size. The two primary considerations throughout the process are keeping roundness (within listed circumference tolerances) and maintaining levelness. This requires stopping for measurements multiple times throughout assembly, even when the preassembly service was provided. Manuals provided by Technical Innovations take you through the assembly process step-by-step, and are supplemented with drawings and photos. By choosing the dome size category to the left, you will see a series of photos which are a sampling from the new assembly CD now provided with the observatory dome assembly manual. 

Preassembly -
Technical Innovations offers an optional preassembly service. Preassembly is much more than just a "pre-drilling" process. The dome is completely constructed, with all accessories (except rectangular and circular skirts), and then put through a complete series of "working observatory" tests. When disassembled for crating, as many parts as possible are left in place and seams are carefully marked. Walls can be crated in "stacks" rather than individual ring sections. Preassembly typically reduces final assembly at the owner site by more than 50%

Pre-Drilling -
Technical Innovations now offers an optional pre-drilling service. Rather than constructing the entire observatory, the pre-drill service will ship the fiberglass parts with most of these holes measured and drilled prior to crating. Throughout the final assembly process, it is extremely important to maintain roundness and levelness, while keeping a pleasing “cosmetic” appearance by aligning seams and keeping adjoining sections flush. Many times there will a hole going through two pieces of fiberglass which will then be bolted tightly together. Even though the sections must be moved around until the final position meets the specifications, we know closely enough where the holes will be located to be able to drill one set of the holes (“Guide”) then the use that hole as a guide when we drill through the second piece (“Final”). In this case, the pre-drill service will measure and drill the “guide” holes while the customer will drill the “final” (using alignment of the existing “guide” hole) and bolt the sections. Many of the holes are measured and drilled simply as “final”, and these will all be done in the pre-drill service. An example of this situation would be the holes for the wheels and side rollers in the base ring. Even though a few “final” holes will need to be drilled in the final assembly, no measurements will be required and “guide” holes will provide a fast and accurate final assembly.

Mounting Dome -
The observatory must be securely fastened to protect from high winds and bad weather. Most standalone observatories are mounted onto concrete pads, but some people elect to bolt their observatory to a wooden deck (with an independent pier and pier support structure). We suggest using concrete anchor bolts approximately every 15"-18" around the circumference. The bottom ring of the observatory has a 3" or 4" mounting flange which turns to the inside all around the circumference. Typically a 2" long 3/8 anchor bolt will be adequate. A large fender washer should be used inside between the bolt head and the fiberglass flange.      

Weather Sealing -
Your observatory will arrive with several tubes (depending upon size, number of wall rings etc) of quality clear silicone weather sealing. Once construction of the observatory is completed, this silicone should be applied into the seams where fiberglass sections are bolted together. The three primary areas (as displayed in the photo) are where the dome quadrants meet, where the dome halves are mounted onto the Dome Support Ring, and where the wall ring sections are attached to each other as well as the rings above and below. A small bead of the silicone should be applied with a regular caulk gun and can be smoothed to an even and consistent finish.       

Moving Dome -
The reason our observatories are classified as "temporary structures" for zoning/permitting purposing is that they truly can be un-assembled and taken to a new location. Often the most difficult task when taking the dome apart is the removal of the clear silicone provided for weather sealing. We advise customers who know that they will only have the dome at the first location for a short period of time, to use a strippable caulk during the initial construction and save the silicone for after moving the dome to its permanent location.