Geodesic Dome Construction (Tips and Tricks)

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.

Postby LostMachine » Wed Apr 06, 2005 9:31 pm

If you are using a even frequency of radius 12’ you get approximately 338sq feet of space with 6’ clearance.

If you are going with an uneven frequency this number would change depending if it is a 3/8 or 5/8 floor plan (but would still be close).
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Postby BadDawg » Wed Apr 06, 2005 9:37 pm

Thanks to Elemental for posting some pics on the conduit banger's thread.
It the photos of a quick and easy way to mash conduit. It's just my prototype, threw it together real quick out of odds & ends I had laying around. Does a good job.
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Postby robotland » Thu Apr 07, 2005 5:47 am

If you continue to plan and calculate to this extent, I warn you that your mistakes will be small and unspectacular. I suggest that you IMMEDIATELY bang together any pipes that you may have laying around and then drink a sixpack and climb on top. If the resulting dome is too small, build another one. If it collapses under your weight, the sixer will dull the pain. If the dome is too BIG.....oh, yeah. Never mind.
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Postby robotland » Fri Apr 08, 2005 11:08 am

PROJECT SUPERSLIDE UPDATE:

Eureka (again)! THIS TIME I think I've finally solved the weight problem. The Superslide Mark 3 will feature 2x4" framing with heavyduty tarp stretched over top, and nylon webbing underneath for extra support. I'm willing to bet my tailbone on this incarnation finally working! Let you know on Monday.
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Postby chineseobelisk » Fri Apr 08, 2005 6:45 pm

I have been thinking of building a small, 12' or so dia., dome in a high frequency, 5 probably in the 5/8 configuration, so I would have a ceiling height of about 8ft or a little less, anyways... doing this so I could use very small struts and then leaving the major hexes assembled, they would be about 6 or 7ft across and should fit on a trailer. It seems it would be very beautiful and delicate, almost a miniature and would be easy to assemble if I could get the left together sections right. Because of the short -under 2ft, length of the struts I could use something only about 3/8 diameter. Am I crazy? Any thoughts.
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Postby LostMachine » Fri Apr 08, 2005 8:16 pm

Other than the extra work and material, I think you have a great idea. Good thing it is a labor of love.

If you had access to a welder you could assemble it then weld any intersections you didn’t want to take apart. I would leave any struts that connect one panel to another loose, but all the joints in the middle could be welded or brazed or even soldered.

There are the v3’s with a parachute over the top and then there are the pretty Domes. I like the pretty ones.

LM
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Postby robotland » Mon Apr 11, 2005 5:17 am

I wonder if welding the stuts is such a good idea- I've found that a little flex can be a good thing. I guess if you're building such a little dome, and it's broken into segments, it'd be okay. When I built a 6' dia. sphere (for the hell of it) I did the partial-disassembly thing, and the four sections were pokey and unwieldy. I don't have a truck, though- I pack all of the struts and deck-sections for the Snowman into an Element. I'd consider half-assembling the two top domes if I had that kind of room!
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Postby Elemental666 » Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:05 pm

Woot, 60 sticks o' EMT being cut as we speak, found some help!

Dome construction finally under way 8)
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Postby robotland » Tue Apr 12, 2005 5:50 am

Dome On, Compadre! Don't stuff yer struts.....Strut yer stuff! No place like Dome! Domebuilders do it with high frequency! Bucky for president! I brake for domes! My other house is geodesic! You can have my 2V 9 rad when you pry the crescent wrench from my cold, dead fingers! Domebuilders are more stable in threes! Bucky, bolts and domes made America great!
...........and other bumper stickers.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:37 am

You forgot
"Bucky had Balls"
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri


Get a Taint, you pathetic cur!
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Postby robotland » Thu Apr 14, 2005 5:24 am

Indeed I did! Bravo, Fishie!

KINDASTUPIDSLIDE UPDATE:

Another week, another EUREKA!! I became concerned that the tarpslide would tear, and then be useless without a complete rebuild....Difficult on site. Out of nowhere, where most ideas live, came a new thought: Nesting sections of plastic tubing, or pipe, or something like that....It had to be capable of breaking down for stuffing into my Element with the rest of the 300-or-so dome parts, and be both strong AND light. The answer? BLUE BARRELS. I sawzalled four of 'em into halves and removed the ends, and then bolted 'em together with carriage bolts with the heads on the inside so as not to remove chunks from the flanks and hindquarters of those sliding...Every couple of feet there will be hanger loops, and chains to vertices inside the big bottom dome, so it will hang within the structure and allow Rapid Egress from the Observation Deck down, through the dome and out at Playa Level. The barrel plastic sands like wood, so sharp corners and edges come off easily. Some minor adjustments will undoubtedly need to be made, but dammit, this might actually be the one. I'm accumulating a Failed Slide Graveyard, and it's time to finish the damn thing and move on or *choke* (*never!*) give up.....
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Postby iamtonynyc » Fri Apr 15, 2005 8:17 pm

has anyone out there ever constucted a dome out of pvc? if so how did you cut the ends?

thanks!
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PVC Dome

Postby LostMachine » Fri Apr 15, 2005 9:21 pm

Tony,

I’m going to be building a dome out of PVC this summer. I’d rather use conduit but I was given a metric butt ton of 1” PVC. So I plan to use that for my elliptical dome.

The way I’m planning to do the connections is as followed.
Keep in mind I’ve never done one like this before but I have heard of it being done this way.

The ends of the 1” PVC will have short sections of 3/4” conduit screwed and glued in to the ends. Around 5 inches will be sleeved into the PVC and maybe 3 inches will be sticking out the ends.

Any electrical contractor will consider pieces of conduit shorter than 2 feet scrap. Call around and see if you can get a company to save the scrap for you (you may need to offer a case of beer).

Cut the conduit to length. I’m going to try 8-10” sections and see how that works, you may need more, it might take less,??.

Before they are inserted into the PVC, presses the ends flat, and drill your holes. They are easier to deal with when they are short.

Cut your PVC to length, you’ll have to take off a few inches off depending on how much conduit you want to stick out the end. Make sure you have around 4-6” sleeved inside the PVC.

Set up a jig that has the correct measurements laid out. This might be a 2x4 with two bolts sticking out on one side.

The 3/4” conduit does not fit snug in the 1” PVC which is why I plan to both screw and glue the ends. I have a case of “Liquid Nails” adhesive, (I need to use it before it goes bad). Any glue that stays flexible and can bridge a small gap will work. I plan to glue the conduit, get the lengths adjusted on the jig and then put two small self-tapping machine screws in all before the glue sets. Make sure each end gets two screws on opposite sides from each other.

After the glue has dried I’ll bend the ends.

I hope this helps.

With the price of conduit going up, more domes might end up being made out of PVC this year?

LM
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Postby Isotopia » Fri Apr 15, 2005 11:09 pm

With the price of conduit going up, more domes might end up being made out of PVC this year?


Blame it on the asian building boom. Conduit prices have skyrocketed over the last two years.
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Postby LostMachine » Fri Apr 15, 2005 11:22 pm

Isotopia wrote:Blame it on the asian building boom. Conduit prices have skyrocketed over the last two years.


Of course, A few years before we shut down all the U.S. steel mills because it was cheaper to ship it from China.

As I understand it, China needed all the steel because they took on the three world’s largest construction projects. I’ve heard but am not sure of the validity of the statement that China is now exporting just as much steel as they did before. Yet prices are still 300% of what they were.

I wonder how long they’ll take to come down (if they do)?
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Postby iamtonynyc » Sat Apr 16, 2005 8:06 pm

so ive figured out that im making it out of 1/2 emt, but now the question......what do you cover your dome in? any info suggestions or tellimg me what you do, would help greatly.

peace!
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Postby robotland » Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:01 am

iamtonynyc wrote:so ive figured out that im making it out of 1/2 emt, but now the question......what do you cover your dome in? any info suggestions or tellimg me what you do, would help greatly.

peace!


WARNING! 1/2" EMT is considered by the majority of those who contribute to this forum to be TOO THIN for domebuilding of any significant size.... 3/4" is STRONGLY SUGGESTED, although I feel your pain regarding the expense. Check dumpsters and scrapyards if necessary. If you go to the trouble of making a dome, it may as well last a while!

WHY IT'S CALLED A "SLIDE".....UPDATE #4
....This weekend I successfully constructed and hanged the made-out-of-blue-barrels slide. After donning my long-sleeved safety gear, I took the plunge only to discover that while the rigging and bolts hold fabulously, the whole stucture flexes inward enough to restrict downward motion even though the angle is quite steep....You also create one mother of a static charge which, in the dry and dusty playasphere, would be quite irritating! Conclusion: Use of bigger barrels would work, especially if thicker or with reinforcement. The current bunch will be dissected for reincarnation as hanging dome-furniture. The flat-surfaced wooden slide model is probably the best overall, and lack of cargo space prohibits me from realizing that model this time around. I'm gonna let it slide. Now, about that MONORAIL idea...........
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Postby Elemental666 » Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:19 pm

iamtonynyc wrote:so ive figured out that im making it out of 1/2 emt, but now the question......what do you cover your dome in? any info suggestions or tellimg me what you do, would help greatly.

peace!


I've got a few ideas, one is 2 ply covering where the under layer is a shade cloth and the outer is canvas or some other rain friendly breathable fabric that I can paint. Google is full of suggestions here. I"m hoping to have time to make it some what form fitting but who know how much time I'll have so i figured to scap the plans and build the damn thing already.

So I know have room to start doing this and should have a press worked out next week. Got a drill press on the way as well. Building jigs and 2 gardens this weekend. mmm love to build gardens, have a bunch of herb seeds looking for a good home with lots of sun...

Hmmm, does anyone bring plants to the playa?
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Postby robotland » Tue Apr 19, 2005 5:34 am

Hell, someone brought a whole LAWN a few years back!

A note about layers- It helps to separate them a ways, so that they do not trap heat in between. (Unless that's a goal.) Even shadecloth will trap hot air underneath. A vent at the crown of your structure'll go a long way to eliminate heat buildup.
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Postby HughMungus » Wed Apr 20, 2005 1:20 pm

robotland wrote:Hell, someone brought a whole LAWN a few years back!

A note about layers- It helps to separate them a ways, so that they do not trap heat in between. (Unless that's a goal.) Even shadecloth will trap hot air underneath. A vent at the crown of your structure'll go a long way to eliminate heat buildup.


I saw an image somewhere on one of the dome sites where someone had put one of those air circulating fan twirly things on top (like they put on houses to circulate air in and out of the attic). Are those more or less effective than a hole? I'd think they'd be great to have up there for circulation when it's hot and yet still protect against rain/dust.
It's what you make it.
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Postby robotland » Thu Apr 21, 2005 5:49 am

I really like the LOOK of those onion vents, but they don't seem to pull their weight from my experience....There's usually some degree of breeze out there that can be channeled around/through your structure- That's one reason I go to the trouble of having an observation deck. Ten feet up there's more breeze and less dust. (Usually...)
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Postby mamagrrl » Thu Apr 21, 2005 9:23 am

A galpal had a ceiling fan in her 20+ vinyl-billboard-covered dome and said it make the space comfy during even the hottest part of the day.

We're going to cover the sun-side of our to-be-made-soon dome in the same vinyl-billboard stuff (fitted to the dome, of course) and then felt so we can use the sun-side of our dome as evaporation wall for our (purified) greywater. (water dribbles down from the top so the whole wall stays wet. ...and maybe some supersoakers to hose down any dry spots...) Hopes are that it will cool the interior at the same time.

We don't know what we're going to do on the north side.
Maybe the same...

Suggestions?
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Postby mamagrrl » Thu Apr 21, 2005 9:28 am

...and speaking of soon-to-be-made domes, I'm on the lookout to borrow some dies for squishing my pipe. I posted already on conduit bangers, so won't go into detail here, eh?

As a second note, I know someone who's got a truckload of 1" thinwall he's selling off at roughly half retail cost. Salvaged stuff, but clean and straight and nice... and a heck of a lot stronger than conduit. Sweet stuff!
If you're looking for pipe, I'm happy to introduce. (no financial bennies for me.)
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Postby robotland » Thu Apr 21, 2005 9:51 am

mamagrrl wrote: and then felt so we can use the sun-side of our dome as evaporation wall for our (purified) greywater. (water dribbles down from the top so the whole wall stays wet. ...and maybe some supersoakers to hose down any dry spots...)


What a terrific idea, to combine the two functions! Elegant!
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Postby iamtonynyc » Fri Apr 22, 2005 10:24 pm

[/quote]

WARNING! 1/2" EMT is considered by the majority of those who contribute to this forum to be TOO THIN for domebuilding of any significant size.... 3/4" is STRONGLY SUGGESTED, although I feel your pain regarding the expense. Check dumpsters and scrapyards if necessary. If you go to the trouble of making a dome, it may as well last a while!

\[/quote]

is 1/2 inch too thin to climb on or is it just too flimsy?
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covering material?

Postby falk » Sat Apr 23, 2005 2:11 am

Hi all; about to start on my own 32' dome. I would like it to be breathable, and translucent. Cotton duck (suncoat?) sounds ideal, but I have no idea where to get it and what it would cost. Anybody have any insights on this issue?
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Postby kampkalamazoo » Sat Apr 23, 2005 9:47 am

iamtonynyc wrote:


WARNING! 1/2" EMT is considered by the majority of those who contribute to this forum to be TOO THIN for domebuilding of any significant size.... 3/4" is STRONGLY SUGGESTED, although I feel your pain regarding the expense. Check dumpsters and scrapyards if necessary. If you go to the trouble of making a dome, it may as well last a while!

\[/quote]

is 1/2 inch too thin to climb on or is it just too flimsy?[/quote]

If you're building something with A LOT of short struts, like two-footers, then you can probably pull it off. Anything bigger and that 1/2" stuff just starts to bend almost on its own. A rule of thumb is to NOT use anything that you can just pick up and bend in your bare hands. The vertices are going to be plenty strong, and if there will ONLY be load on THEM, then okay. But as soon as someone uses the middle of a 1/2" strut for a step it'll fold right up. You can use the vertices as anchors for platforms that avoid the vulnerable struts, though. The deck of the Snowman sits on extensions from the five points of the topmost pentagon of the big dome, as well as the "North Pole" point.
One other factor with conduit size is that when you flatten it out, there's less material around your boltholes with 1/2" conduit. I use 1/2" holes and 3/8" bolts, and there's btween 1/4" and 1/3" on the sides of the holes with 1/2" EMT vs. more than 1/2" with 3/4" EMT.
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Postby iamtonynyc » Sat Apr 23, 2005 10:32 am

hey kampkalamazoo, thanks for putting you dick in my mashed potatoes!
ive alreay purchased the 1/2 inch and cut and smahed the ends, which pretty much sucks. im gonna go ahead and assmeble the dome and see how it feels but most likely im gonna have to purchase the 3/4 and start all over again. :(
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Postby Martiansky » Sat Apr 23, 2005 10:44 am

Doesn't it totally suck how much the jump in price is between 1/2" and 3/4" conduit? If it was cheaper I'd make a bigger dome! I might have even built a big dome to put up on my land to live in, too!
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Postby robotland » Mon Apr 25, 2005 5:29 am

iamtonynyc wrote:hey kampkalamazoo, thanks for putting you dick in my mashed potatoes!
ive alreay purchased the 1/2 inch and cut and smahed the ends, which pretty much sucks. im gonna go ahead and assmeble the dome and see how it feels but most likely im gonna have to purchase the 3/4 and start all over again. :(


I find the consistency of YAMS to be more sensual, for further reference....
How long are these 1/2" struts, anyway? You can always cut 'em in half, flatten those ends and make something smaller, or with a higher frequency....(three words: REVERSE DOME CALCULATOR.)

You're screwin' yer OWN food by not reading the past posts, my friend.....About every tenth thing I post contains a warning about conduit size. Or a rant about GOOP.
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