Although the hatch slid easily over the aluminium runners and the front window fell out without any fuss and even though I had already planned that eventually these movements would be mechanized in some way or other, it was thought best to install a low tech alternative until then. Handles were therefore added to the upper shutter and the front window and the location of these had to be such as to be accessible while ensuring that the operators fingers would not fall victim to a novel form of guillotine when the two handles came together on closure of the hatch!
The handles were made from scrap pieces of 13 mm galvanized water pipe slid over 10 mm round bar welded to short lengths of flat bar at both ends, allowing the handlebar itself to roll freely . The main hatch handle was made in the same way but wider to allow it to be gripped with both hands if necessary.
The angle that the handles made with the hatches was determined experimentally to make sure it allowed for a proper grip and that in both the open and closed position of the hatch it remained accessible.
As can be seen in the above picture an open space is left between the lower edge of the front hatch and the front side of the dome wall. This was not felt to present a problem and no attempt was made to close it as it presented no risk from rainfall or wind since it was under the canopy and complete insulation was certainly never on the cards.
Had this opening been considered undesirable it could very easily have been patched e.g by a length of canvas sheeting stretching from the lower edge of the window opening to the lower edge of the hatch.
This gap is actually handy if one should want to tap the electric supply from inside the dome to do work on the outside since it provides free passage to an extension ;).
… January 2015 … basic Dome construction finished!!!
..ehm… one question remains… will it go through the garage door ??