The original SkyShed pier is the only pier on the market which can be adjusted in tilt and 360 degree rotation after installation and tightening down the base bolts. This means you can install the pier, put your decking in place and then adjust the pier afterwards to suit your mount. This design is the easiest to install and use on the market. The unique design is the brainchild of Wayne Parker of SkyShed, the worlds most prolific observatory manufacturer, and is often purchased with the SkyShed POD or roll-off observatories. The product is manufactured in the UK by Altair Astro with SkyShed's permission, with a combination of structural and ergonomic features, which distinguish this product from other telescope piers for customers who expect the best. The piers components are laser cut from steel plate, then the base plate and anti-flex fins are welded to the 8" diameter steel column on a jig for perfect alignment. This results in a pier which is as light as possible for ease of installation, while remaining extremely rigid. The piers are then sand blasted to prepare the surface, then flame-sprayed with zinc. This is a better process than galvanizing, and is often used for industrial and military marine applications where a professional finish is required. Once the flame spraying process is complete, the piers are placed in an industrial oven and powder coated. This creates an extremely tough coating which not only creates a perfect finish to the product, but also protects it against knocks and wear and tear. This two layer coating technology is far superior to painting processes, and provides the ultimate in durability.
Zinc Flame Spraying and powder coating are done by Mastercote
Why the Altair/SkyShed Pier design?
It's the easiest pier to install, period, and the special adjustable pier-head saves you set-up time. Pier levelling and rotation can be adjusted AFTER installation on the base!
Infinitely adjustable and rigid:
The large 320mm steel baseplate is welded to an 8" diameter steel centre-column. Four large "fins" are welded to both the baseplate, and the centre-column, reducing flex and vibration to undetectable levels. This pier will easily carry mount/telescope combinations around 120kg in weight. The pier top-plate can be easily levelled with four (yes four!) 16mm (2/3") diameter solid steel threaded rods positioned at each corner. Once you have threaded your cables through the provided centre holes, simply level and tighten the pier cap down. Perfect levelling helps GOTO accuracy, and to eliminate polar field rotation relative to the horizon. The pier-top can be rotated 350 degrees, making the process of pointing your mount due North to get perfect polar alignment quick and easy. Once pointing North, the pier cap is locked down with four 12mm bolts.
Levelling and rotation is important for good GOTO and easier, more accurate polar alignment: All major mount manufacturers recommend setting up an Equatorial or Alt Azimuth mount as level as possible, and aligned to the North/South axis. Without accurate levelling Equatorial Mounts are difficult to polar align unless and often suffer from GOTO accuracy and other balance issues. This not only reduces the quality of your long exposure imaging and GOTO accuracy, it can even cause problems with planetary imaging and, say lunar mosaics. This is why all major mount manufacturers recommend starting polar alignment process with levelling first. The only way to ensure your mount is perfectly level is with the four 16mm thick steel threaded adjustment rods, which allow small incremental adjustments with a spanner once your scope is mounted. When the pier-cap is tightened down, the levelling rods keep the pier top perfectly level, even when tested with our 16" RC on an EQ8 mount adding up to well over 100kg total weight. Now your mount is well balanced causing negligible torque. Don't fall for cheaper designs which don't allow rotation or rely on "shims" (basically washers) for accurate levelling. It is not possible to perfectly level anything with shims because they have a set thickness and it would be a very lengthy process. The reason these designs are cheaper is because shortcuts have been used to reduce fabrication and coating costs. When you get that dream rolloff observatory or dome, or make your own, this is the only solution to get 100% right designed by astronomers. We have replaced many piers from 3rd parties which have suffered various problems from corrosion, to a frustrating inability to level or rotate them in Azimuth.
What's the benefit of post-installation adjustment?
The pier head can be locked in any position, at any time. That means there's no need for perfect North alignment of the base bolts, and even if you get the base levelling slightly wrong, you can still ensure your mount is perfectly upright and aligned North/South. That means you don't have to be a DIY expert to install it! You can also lower and raise the pier head by about 6" by adjusting the 4x 16mm bolts around the perimeter.
What comes in the box?
The pier assembly and all bolts and nuts for the pier-head are included. Your choice of either straight or L-bolts and nuts are included for fixing the pier down. (see below for bolt / adapter options)
How to I fasten the pier to a new poured-concrete surface?
If you're going to pour your own concrete, we suggest using a wooden template for the base and L-bolts and nuts. Simply cut a piece of wood to the same dimensions as the concrete you're pouring, and place the pier on top of the wooden template. Mark the 4x holes through the base, and drill holes for the L-Bolts. Then push the L-bolts through and fasten them to the wooden template. When you've poured the concrete, place the template on top, and allow the L-bolts to sink into the wet concrete. Remove any excess concrete and allow it to set. When you remove the template you will have the 4x bolts protruding, to which the pier can be fixed down using the nuts provided.
How to I fasten the pier to a new poured-concrete surface?
If you want to install the pier on an existing flat surface, choose the straight-bolt option when ordering instead of the L-bolts. Once you have drilled 4x holes in the hard surface which correspond to the pier base holes, you can fill the holes with "builders epoxy" and allow the straight studding to set before attaching the pier with the buts provided. Alternatively you can use your own expanding bolts and so-on depending on the type of surface and your preference.
How do I attach my telescope?
The pier is pre-drilled with 6x holes which fit our CNC machined aluminium Pier adapters for the iOptron iEQ45, Celestron CG5, Skywatcher EQ5, HEQ5, EQ6 German equatorial mounts (see the related products below). Installing a mount and adapter takes a few minutes - all the stainless steel bolts and nuts are provided to attach it. You can also easily drill the 13" diameter top plate with a normal drill with metal drill bit to accommodate your Meade or Celestron Wedge or a Losmandy Pier adapter - in fact any mount can be easily adapted to fit. Finally, you can bolt certain mounts directly to the top plate without an adapter or the need to drill holes - such as some Meade LX200 fork mounts and Astro Physics mounts with a 6 hole pattern.
Unique pier features
Can be adjusted in levelling and rotation AFTER installation saving time and effort.
8 inches in diameter adjustable in height from 36-38 inches (optimum size range for small or large SCT's, or long refractors on an EQ mount).
All steel construction throughout for extreme rigidity, yet relatively light weight.
Powder coated laser-cut steel for a crisp finish. (Another first).
Flame sprayed zinc undercoat for a better finish than galvanised, and marine spec durability.
Large, flat 13" Dia baseplate, for easy access to the base bolts, with four perimeter fins.
4x massive 16mm bolts support the top pier plate.
Pre-drilled for classic Meade and Celestron Fork mounts.
Select the multi mount adapter for these models
Altair Sabre mount
Skywatcher EQ6 (AKA Orion Atlas)
Celestron CG-5 & CG-4
Generic Chinese EQ5 mounts such as "Astro-5 EQ" mount
Meade LXD75 (due to mount model variations, please email us to confirm dimensions)
Several Vixen mounts (due to mount variations, please email us to confirm dimensions)
These piers are normally available at very short notice (14 days), please contact us as due to the size and weight delivery prices can vary depending on location.
Our standard delivery charge for most of the UK is £2.95. All orders are shipped promptly, lower value items are sent Royal Mail 1st class and higher value or larger goods are shipped via reputable courier. All goods are shipped fully insured with FEDEX, UPS, DPD and Royal Mail, we do not use budget courier services, please note we can only ship to UK mainland addresses. We are not able to ship to forwarding agents or PO boxes.
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