Geodesic Dome Construction (Tips and Tricks)

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

Postby robotland » Thu Jul 28, 2005 6:24 am

How could I have forgotten ZIP STRIPS?!?! Of COURSE you need THOSE!!!
I reccommmend using brightly-colored ones, to aid with deMOOPing at week's end. Also bring a sharp knife- My bro-in-law gave me a fantastic little lockbladed Gerber, the kind with a partially serrated edge, and it's perfect for popping zips out later on. (Beware of Swiss Army blades for this, unless they lock.)
And, about visegrips- A REALLY big pair o' chunkers for pulling rebar is handy, and LONGNOSE 'grips for "conduit pinching".

BIG CONGRATS to all first-time Domers! Feel's GOOD, don't it? Lemme know when it's time to put that deck on.......
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Postby Martiansky » Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:24 am

A friend of mine suggested taking a rope that was my domes radius and then using a nail/stake making a big circle to lay out the dome circumference.
Anyone have any thoughts on if this would be helpful out on the playa when setting up the dome?
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Postby robotland » Mon Aug 01, 2005 11:05 am

I like to grab ten struts and start bolting them together- Then hook the last to the first and kick into a rough circle. Then start unbolting and rebolting in a circle until it's time for a beer.
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Postby Martiansky » Mon Aug 01, 2005 7:08 pm

Cripes! I put the tarps on my dome and made.....a SAUNA!
Somebody get me a towel, please!
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Postby Danger » Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:00 pm

I always build mine from the top down so I don't really have to worry about the diameter. It all just comes together and falls (after a lot of shaking) into place. I don't think you'll need the rope.
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Postby Martiansky » Tue Aug 02, 2005 2:34 pm

SCORE!!!
I just got a FREE 14' X 48' Billboard vinyl!! I wish I would've waited to buy the tarps now, but I'm sure I'll find a use for them. Maybe stretch them between my dome and Robotland's a make a big shade space between us!
I am going to atempt to make a cover for my dome and if I get another one a floor!
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Postby LeChatNoir » Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:42 pm

WOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!

SCORE!!!!!
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Postby Elemental666 » Tue Aug 02, 2005 7:06 pm

sweetness, grats M!!!

I got to work on my cover yesterday with a helper who's going to hem the edges of my dropcloths for me. I have 6 12' x 15' 8oz canvas dropcloths. What we finally decided on was to hem one of the 12' edges with a length of rope in it, then the other three edges with a 1" hem. I'll pop grommets in the 1" edges. so basicall I use the grommeted edges (working from the bottom up) to secure and hold the canvas tight (not too tight tho) then gather it up at the top with the rope. Tie the rope around the struts on the opposite side and call it good...

May make a fitted covering for next year... we'll see...
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Postby Martiansky » Tue Aug 02, 2005 7:42 pm

I just made a small wooden dowel (how the crap do you spell dowel? That doesn't look right!) dome to try my cover idea with. A star shape for the top with the triangles hanging down the sides, attaching to 5 pentagon shapes with an extra triangle on one edge. Works great in my head!!
I may still end up tarps for this year!
Did I just say "this year", like I'm meaning to return yearly? And I'm only a first-timer! Huh-oh! Guess I'm hooked already!
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Postby Elemental666 » Tue Aug 02, 2005 8:07 pm

Martiansky wrote:Did I just say "this year", like I'm meaning to return yearly? And I'm only a first-timer! Huh-oh! Guess I'm hooked already!


I know I am, most of my friends are log time burners and they've been trying to get me out there for years. I decided to build this dome not just so I could have a shrine for my passed friend but because I know I can use it again next year...
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Postby Martiansky » Tue Aug 02, 2005 8:16 pm

I went to Menards today and all their Coleman camping stuff is on clearance! I picked up a stove for $30 and a bunch of other stuff, too. One time buys and won't have to buy them again so that may help me to return again next year, too.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Tue Aug 02, 2005 8:50 pm

This year is definitely cheaper than last year for me, Msky. Seems it’s that initial investment that’s a doozy. But it still ain’t cheap.
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Postby Elemental666 » Mon Aug 08, 2005 1:06 am

Running into a snag on the cover.... This is a 24' diameter 3/8 3v. About 17.5 from the ground to the peak...

My plan was to use 5-7 12'x15' tarps going long ways from the ground up. I hemmed 3 edges 1" to allow for grommets, then the 4th edge (12' length) I hemmed like the top of a curtan and threaded some rope through it. Secure the bottom edge to the bottom of the dome and gather the top edge, tying off to an opposing strut. I ended up with a LOT OF slack near the top. No real clear way to tighten it up. So I have pleant of tarps and could grommet the rope edge very easily. Anyone have suggestions on how I could get a better fit without doing any additional sewing?

Time is a major concern at this point, and I know I did this to myself, but any help would be worth, at the very least a drink on the playa and of course my undying gratitude...
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Postby robotland » Mon Aug 08, 2005 5:41 am

You might try pinching some triangles of cover and rolling the fabric up- Then securing the rolls with spring clamps. I used a similar technique to fit a rectangular mesh tarp onto the roundness of the observation deck in the Snowman- Then I cut the excess off and popriveted the seams. A little sloppy, but it doesn't show as much on a shade layer....Pinching evenly-spaced sections of excess radially around the dome can be made to look fairly presentable, and you could quickly whipstitch the rolled-up material to hold it in place.
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Postby mamagrrl » Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:03 am

Hmmmnnnn....
Pleat the xtra tarp at the top, trim to 5 inches over-lap and polyurethane glue it?

At 3/8's, shouldn't it be closer to 12 feet tall than 17?
Did you mean 5/8's?
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Postby Elemental666 » Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:25 pm

it's actually about 10' tall, 17.5 is the length of the arc from the ground to the peak.

I tried making trapezoid type shapes and that was a totall nightmare. So I freaked out for about an hour, had a beer, smoked a bowl and then went back to it. I added more grommets along the sides and bungied the shit out of it. Its kinda wrinkley, but its servicable... Seems like everytime I hit a snag and freak out, the solution just up and presents itself...

serendipitous eh?
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Postby Martiansky » Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:32 pm

So, Elemental...are you using tarps then for your cover? I have 2 12'x24' silver/green tarps wrapped around the dome, where the tarps fold over at the top I added some short bungies to keep them up and not hanging down. The 2 tarps leave only about a 4' diameter opening to be covered up. I am still thinking about making a star shape out of the billboard vinyl for the top. I have to make a template for the pentagon and then add the triangles for the "arms" of the star.
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Postby Elemental666 » Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:38 pm

cover is made of 6 12x15 8oz canvas drop clothes. I leave friday morning on a 10 hour trek to deliver this dome to the rest of my camp and paint it. Find me on the playa and I'll introduce you to my inspiration and tell you the whole story ;)

I'm not going to have a floor and I have about a 8 inch space around the bottom to let air in. At the top there is a hole that's gonna end up looking like a 6 petaled flower in shape. It'll make since if you see it. It's all held together precariously but a metric ass load of bungy cords. :P
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Postby Elemental666 » Tue Aug 09, 2005 8:19 pm

wootness, It's done and ready for transport to the playa!!!

Gonna end up scratching all the bungies and tying up the tarps in alternating sets of three in two layers. So every other tarp will have ropes over it and the other will have ropes under it. This'll clean up the wrinkles and be relatively taut. Thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way, couldn't have done it with out your help.

See ya on the playa, and I'll get pics up early next week.
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Postby Martiansky » Wed Aug 10, 2005 5:38 am

Excellent job, Elemental!!
You are going to be in the Parade of domes right?
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HELP WITH A COVER!

Postby don » Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:37 am

I just finished building the structural portion of my dome, but am now unsure as to what material to use to cover it, any suggestions?


<p><img border="0" src="http://www.teamlefave.com/images/domesmall.JPG" width="500" height="277"></p>
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HELP WITH A COVER!

Postby don » Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:39 am

I just finished building the structural portion of my dome, but am now unsure as to what material to use to cover it, any suggestions?


http://www.teamlefave.com/images/domesmall.JPG
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Postby supersurly » Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:06 pm

parachute, canvas, sheet metal(my favorite), stretchy stuff, plexiglass, plastic, tarp, leather, plywood, whatever...
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Re: HELP WITH A COVER!

Postby falk » Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:10 pm

don wrote:I just finished building the structural portion of my dome, but am now unsure as to what material to use to cover it, any suggestions?


This late in the game, tarps held in place with bungie cords are pretty much your best option.

I've been making a fitted canvas tarp for my dome http://www.efalk.org/OasisDome/photos.html (scroll down), but this involves an awful lot of sewing. Also, canvas is heavier than plastic tarps; my finished cover will weigh 120 lbs.

Current plans are to sew the cover as one giant piece, but I'm worried about handling a chunk of canvas that big. Does anybody have any experience with big covers like this?
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Postby mamagrrl » Wed Aug 10, 2005 3:24 pm

We're going to grommet ours (cut into smaller triangular panels), then overlap the top panels over the lower to prevent rain-seepage. We're thinking it might have the added benefit of allowing us to un-fasten a section during the heat of day and let a little more ventilation in... ormaybe not.

and whaddya mean? This late in the day?!! Why, there's more than a week left! Don't we do our best work under pressure? (rolls eyes and hunkers down.)
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Postby Elemental666 » Wed Aug 10, 2005 4:58 pm

Hey Don, how big is your dome?

What I did for mine, and its was the least work most coverage way was to get several large 8os canvas drop cloths. My dome is 24' Diameter so I ended up with 6 12'x15' dropcloths. Add gommets along the long edges every 2 feet, and a total of 5 along the bottom edge, all 4 edges are hemmed and the top edge has a rope fed through it. Here's the part I'm not sure I can explain very well. You end up with 2 layers for your cover, with about 3" overlap from tarp to tarp. I have six tarps so each layer has three tarps to it. Every other tarp with be on alternating layers, so from the door you have top, bottom, top, bottom etc etc. The bottom tarps will have rope over them connectiong the top tarps. The rope for the bottom tarps will be hidden by the top tarps. YOu lace them together like shoe laces with lots of rope and pull them taught and tie off at the top of the dome. I know that's not the best desciption, I would post a pic but I just finished taking the dome down so I can transport it. I'll remember to take a pic this weekend while its up for the decorating party.

Anyhow, good luck 8)
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Postby capjbadger » Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:42 pm

Yahoo! The dome is done and up! 2v 8.5'
Took me 2 hrs 20 minutes to set it up for the first time, and that was with a major screw up. After finishing the first layer, I looked at my remaining struts and went "hey, shouldn't there be more of those short poles left?"
Turns out I had put the wrong poles on the bottom and had to switch them out for the longer ones. lol Live and learn.

Nothing like having it all put together and sitting on the top just chillin'. :D

I'll adding it to the POD come the 29th... :)
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Postby Elemental666 » Fri Aug 12, 2005 12:13 am

*slides a homebrew Chocolate and Honey longneck to cap*

Salute!

see you out there, somewhere, hopefully
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Postby robotland » Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:01 am

capjbadger wrote:Turns out I had put the wrong poles on the bottom and had to switch them out for the longer ones. lol Live and learn.

Nothing like having it all put together and sitting on the top just chillin'. :D

I'll adding it to the POD come the 29th... :)


Congrats and Welcome....And I've made the same mistake. It also helps to have TEN struts at the "equator", and not NINE....(I was on prescription medication, PBR and enthusiasm to make THAT mistake!)
See you at the P.O.D.!
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Postby phil » Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:21 am

My recollection is that the parade of domes is on Wednesday? I'm sure it's in this thread somewhere, but it's no leaping out at me.

Please let me know time and place of start, and Louise and I will try to photograph all the participating domes and put them on our Web site.

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