Building Diary






1 May Initial contact from IoA Cambridge.
1 Jun IoA offer accepted.
19 Aug First visit to Cambridge.


20 Apr Second visit to Cambridge.
21 May Meeting with William Watkins.
1 Jun Third visit to Cambridge.
17 Jun Telescope prepared for lift and move.
19 Jun Telescope removed from dome and transported to Knighton.
17 Jul Move of telescope from water factory to Laminating Technologies.


Jan – Nov Planning, dome design and fund raising.
10 Nov Beginning to clear the old flowerbeds, and filling the “pond” outside the shop.


May First delivery of building materials.
18 Jun New ramp levelled. Path outside shop filled and levelled.
21 Jun New ramp edged and shuttered.
23 Jul First concrete on new ramp (top and bottom).
18 Aug Ramp concreting completed. Trial trench dug in grass area.
20 Aug Path from shop to front door concreted.
27 Aug Paving slabs lifted from patio. Dome marked out.
11-13 Oct Footing trenches dug.
15 Oct Footing trenches filled with concrete and levelled.


26 Mar Site levelled to footings level. Start on plinth hole.
27 Mar Plinth hole finished. Shuttering box constructed and positioned in hole. Steel reinforcing box constructed.
14 Apr Shuttering box braced and backfilled.
20 Apr Shuttering box lined – sand in the bottom and expanded polystyrene on sides. DPM lining for box fitted. Cable conduit fitted. Steel reinforcing into box.
21 Apr Concrete for lower plinth poured.
30 Apr Sole plate template made. Shuttering box for plinth top constructed. Box aligned and braced/secured. Holding down bolt holes located.
2 May Holding down bolts delivered.
3 May Final adjustments to shuttering and bolt locators.
9 May Concrete poured.
12 May Shuttering removed to reveal the plinth.
28 May Trench for power and data cables dug. Pipe laid and covered.
24 Jul First course of external wall bricks laid.
25 Jul First courses of external and internal wall concrete commons and blocks started.
20 Aug 3 more courses of brick laid.
12 Sep 4th course of brick laid. Internal block finished.
15 Sep Masco rented. Dome floor filled with spoil and levelled. Covered with scalpings and levelled.
28 Sep Scalpings covered with sand and levelled.
26 Oct Dome base covered with DPM and taped.
8 Nov Dome base filled with concrete and floor levelled.


24 Apr All bricks delivered.
3 Jun Door formers built.
22 Jun Bricks moved to concrete base.
25 26 27 Jun Brickie starts work on external wall.
3 Jul Continues.
10 Jul Continues.
11 Jul First 15 courses of brick finished.
28 Jul Telescope baseplate on site.
12 Aug Baseplate painted.
18 Aug DPC and first course of internal block above floor laid.
20 Aug Scaffolding erected.
28 – 30 Aug Next 15 courses of brick laid.
1 Sep Internal blockwork laid.
8 Sep More blockwork.
29 Sep More blockwork.
6 Oct More blockwork.
8 Oct Blockwork complete for the year.


11 Apr Telescope baseplate lifted onto plinth.
13 Apr Lorry back (Fibreglass workshop) delivered.
21 Apr Baseplate alignment checked. Levelled with nails.
27 Apr Self levelling grout to secure baseplate.
3 May More internal block work.
10-11 May Fibreglass mould complete.
17-18 May More internal blockwork.
23-24 May First attempts at fibreglassing. First section complete. Work on 6” guide scope.
31 May – 1 Jun Second fiberglass section complete.
6-7 Jun More indoor work on guide scope.
14-15 Jun Internal block work nearly done. Skip filled with building rubble.
17-18 Jun Another 7 courses of brick started, including lintel over back door.
21 Jun Internal block complete to one course below joists.   Two internal lintels fitted, door formers removed. A start made on final course of block.
28-29 Jun More blockwork. Another fiberglass section completed.
12-13 Jul Blockwork finished up to joist level, and lintels finished.
19-20 Jul Another fiberglass section.
03 Aug Another fibreglass section.
05 Aug Telescope base assembly and optical tube brought up to observatory.
09 Aug Another fiberglass section.
11 Aug Telescope base assembly lifted into dome.
11-13 Aug Joists completed.
16-17 Aug Block between joists.
6-7 Aug Block completed to brick level around external wall.
13 Sep Base assembly re-shrink wrapped.
14 Sep Another fibreglass section.
17 Sep Brickwork to the top started.
21 Sep Last fiberglass section completed.
22 Sep External brickwork completed.
23 Sep Scaffolding removed.
27 Sep Block work up to dome retaining plates.
4 Oct Block work up to final level, except over stairwell.
25 Oct Block work completed.  2014 aim achieved!


15 Apr Fibreglass dome ring sections trimmed.
6 Jun Mold for the dome fiberglass sections fabricated.
8 Jun Mold assembly starts in lorry back.
13 Jun Mold assembly.
20-21 Jun Mold assembly completed.
28 Jun Matting for first panel laid.
01 Jul First panel completed.
04 Jul First panel removed from mold.
8 Jul – 10 Oct 24 more panels fabricated (Most Wednesday evenings and Saturdays)
14 Oct 26th and final panel completed.
3 Dec Prototype dome wheel assembly produced.


2 Jan Steel ring sections cut.
13 Jan Ring sections delivered to site after galvanizing.
16 Jan Ring sections laid on top of brick and blockwork.
19 Mar Ring sections secured.
30 Apr Dome sections trimmed and drilled.
7 May More trimming.
14 May Trimming completed.
21 May 8 sections paired and bolted together.  2 support vanes in camera tube removed.
23 May Plate holder removed from camera tube.
28 May 8 section trial build.
4 Jun Sanding of dome sections started.
11 Jun 2 trial build sections removed.  Building rubbish organized.
18 Jun Massive tidy-up!  Old concrete removed.
21 Jun Optical tube interior shot blasted and primed.
25 Jun Trial build dismantled.
02 Jul Sanding of dome sections.
09 Jul Dome running gear wheels assembled.
16 Jul Running gear test.  Connecting rods primed.
23 Jul Dome section priming and painting.
27 Jul Dome section priming and painting.
30 Jul Dome section priming and painting.
06 Aug Dome section priming and painting
11 Aug Dome section priming and painting
13 Aug Dome section priming and painting.
17 Aug Dome section priming and painting.
20 Aug Dome running gear fitted.
24 Aug Dome ring fitted.
30 Aug Dome section priming and painting.
31 Aug Dome ring bolted to running gear.
04 Sep Dome ring.  Dome ground plan laid out.
07 Sep Dome ring sections fibreglassed together.
10 Sep Dome ring sections fibreglassed together.
14 Sep Dome ring sections complete.
17 Sep Dome ring painted.
15 Oct Dome build starts.  20 sections completed.
20 Oct Catastrophe!  Dome destroyed by storm.
22 Oct Damage assessment.
23 Oct Dome rebuilt and completed.
29 Oct Repairs started on inside of dome.
05 Nov Repairs continue.
12 Nov Repairs continue.  Cross beams installed.
19 Nov Repairs continue.  Sections realigned.
26 Nov Optical tube lifted into dome.  Dome lifted and secured to dome ring.
03 Dec Dome/ring joint sealed.  Shelter cleared.
10 Dec General site clear-up.


12 Jan Front doors and fire door fitted.
18 Feb Lorry back removed.
21-22 Feb Upstairs floor installed.
11 Mar Removal of Denso tape begins.
13 Mar Cherry picker trial.
15 Mar Central plug fitted.  Fitting of fibreglass tape to seams started.
22 Mar Fibreglass tape to seal dome ring.
29 Mar Seals completed.
01 May Denso tape removed from telescope.
08 May Telescope base and tube cleaned.
13 May More cleaning.
20 May More cleaning.
27 May Optical tube primed.
10 Jun Shutter rails sanded, drilled and cleaned
17 Jun Dome seams fiberglass taped.
18 Jun Taping finished.  Shutter rails deburred.
15 Jul External dome ring joint taped.
16 Jul Dome joints sanded, and painting started.
22 Jul Internal painting started.
29 Jul More internal painting.
5 Aug More internal painting.
10 Aug Grill floor and railing test.
12 Aug Internal painting finished.
31 Aug Floor grill and railing installed.
2 Sep Dome painting finished.  Lower shutter rails fitted.
16 Sep Second coat inside the dome
23 Sep Dome internal painting finished
26 Sep Stairs inspected at factory
27 Sep Trial stairs build in dome
7 Oct Dome paint touch up.  Work on RA gearbox
13 Oct Stairs installed
14 Oct Work on RA and Dec gearboxes
21 Oct Telescope rotated to park.  BBC filming
28 Oct Dome louvres fitted.
4 Nov RA gearbox and tube interior
11 Nov Telescope exterior preparation
18 Nov First layer of lagging tubes fitted over dome seams
25 Nov First layer finished
02 Dec Second layer fitted


6 Jan Dome lifting beams removed
13 Jan Holding down brackets completed
20 Jan Trench dug to solve damp issue.  It didn’t!
17 Feb A good tidy up and sort out in the building
24 Mar Front door linings fitted.  Work starts on the shutter aluminium frame.
31 Mar Shutter construction starts.
7 Apr Shutter construction
14 Apr Shutter construction.  Waterproofing paint applied to dome (inside).
21 Apr Shutter construction.  Rear door lining fitted.
28 Apr Main shutter frame completed. Waterproofing fluid applied externally.  It works!
5 May Second coat of waterproofing fluid applied throughout.


DRAX Sponsors


Registered Charity

Project DRAX is supported by:

Spaceguard UK,
Llanshay Lane,
Knighton, Powys,
LD7 1LW. United Kingdom.

Tel: 01547 520247

Registered Charity 1143257