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Choose Anchor Bolt Type:
L-Bolts for pouring concrete
Straight bolts for dry concrete
The Altair SkyShed Pier is a revolutionary design - the only pier which can be adjusted in rotation and levelling after installation. These unique features make it the best selling professional pier in the UK and North America, and probably of all-time.
The easy installation process as well as free UK courier mainland delivery make the Altair SkyShed pier a compelling choice for any observatory or free-standing telescope project.
The Altair SkyShed Pier is made from rock solid 6mm thick powder coated steel, and is 32 inches in height excluding the pier cap, which adds another 4-6 inches depending on the position of the tilt adjusting bolts. Total height including the pier top is therefore 36-38".
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 (please click on the large image to the left to see pictures) and then adjust the pier afterwards to suit your mount. This design is the easiest to install and use on the market, period. No other product comes close in ease-of installation. 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 distinguishing this product from other telescope piers, for customers who expect the best.
Infintely adjustable and rigid: The large 320mm steel baseplate is welded to an 8" diameter steel centre-column. Four "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 is essential for GOTO accuracy, and to eliminate field rotation during long exposure images with an Equatorial Mount. 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.
Attaching your mount: The Altair SkyShed pier cap has a variety of holes to accept most Meade Wedges, as well as the Skywatcher EQ8 mount directly. For mounts requiring a countersunk hole, the Altair Multi Mount Pier Adapter (which supports most popular Chinese mounts), can be fastened in place with the provided bolts. Celestron AVX, Paramount MX and special extra smooth EQ8 Pier Adapters are also available. You aren't constrained to one type of mount, because the top plate is large and flat, so you can attach pretty much anything to the Altair SkyShed Pier. For more adapter info, see the respective product pages.
Perfect levelling is essential for astro photography of any kind even planetary imaging: Without perfect levelling (and we mean perfect) Equatorial Mounts, even if polar aligned, will you to track objects perfectly, but will still suffer from field rotation. Field rotation is where the object remains centred in the field of view, but rotates over time. 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. 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 leveling 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. This is not surprising considering smaller diameter rods are used to level machines weighing well over a ton, and because the EQ mount is usually well balanced causing negligible torque. Don't fall for cheaper competing designs which don't allow rotation or rely on "shims" for perfect levelling. It is not possible to perfectly level anything with shims because they have a set thickness. Also just imagine how much time you would need to spend assembling your complete scope and mount plus polar aligning it, then taking the whole thing apart adding a washer under the pier (thereby lessening contact with the concrete base) and reassembling it. If you ask us tjhis process makes no sense whatsoever...! 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 built by a third party, 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 them.
Precision materials and zinc coating for longevity: No other pier comes close in material and anti-corrosion coating quality. The pier 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. At the time of writing, no other pier product has this expensive coating process, which is better 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 with Matte Black RAL9000. 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. Even if you manage to chip the powder coating, the zinc undercoat prevents corrosion. This two layer coating technology is far superior to painting processes, and provides the ultimate in durability lasting many years.
Telescope Pier FAQ:
Why get an Altair SkyShed pier? It's ultra-stable, and you don't have to keep re-aligning your telescope mount every time you use it. It can be conveniently moved if you move observing locations, and it's a must-have if you have an observatory, creating loads of space around the telescope - no more bumping into tripod legs in the dark, and causing wasted sub-frames during a good imaging run. Of course you don't need an observatory to have a pier - many customers erect their pier on decking or a surface in the garden and leave their mounts on it with a cover. The four steel pier fins have holes at the tops enabling you to hook a cover on with bungee cords.
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! This is the most innovative pier on the market, and the first to sport this feature. It's for customers who appreciate a good quality finish, and a nicely made product due to laser cut steel, and a beautiful matte "automative grade" powder coated finish. Our piers are grit blasted before coating too. No spraypaint over unblasted steel, no single coat of DIY-quality "rust resistant" paint which will chip off and corrode, and no amatuer welding. This product is professionally built to last.
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 and there is no need for "shims" under the base to level 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 to a new or existing surface.
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. (Click on the image gallery for step by step photos).
How to I fasten the pier to an existing hard concrete or masonry 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 to the pier head? 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.
Altair SkyShed Pier Unique 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 each cable of supporting well over a ton in compression on their own.
- Pre-drilled for classic Meade and Celestron Fork mounts.
- Adapters available for most mounts (see compatibility list below).
(Search for "pier adapter EQ6" for example).
- Suitable for up to 16" Cassegrains and heavy duty mounts. (Call for larger custom sizes).
- Hole in base and cap for neater hidden power cables.
- Perfect for any observatory, including the Skyshed POD.
- Can be filled with sand (in bags) to dampen vibration even further.
We provide "L-bolts" if you're pouring concrete, or "straight" bolts, enabling you to drill holes in an existing surface - such as a concrete pad. Just let us know which you prefer.
- Can be shortened easily if needed - just cut the top off the tube with a bandsaw or plasma cutter. Your local metal shop or even garage can do it in minutes. Alternatively, place a special order with us.
- L-Bolts or straight bolts included. Your choice.
- Usually in stock in standard length.
- A crisp, tough high quality powdercoated finish, with neat welds, which will last many, many years.
- The SkyShed/Altair pier is not only the worlds, it's the UK's best selling pier design, ever. Over 14 years in production, much imitated, never equalled.