Geodesic Dome Construction (Tips and Tricks)

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

Postby kampkalamazoo » Thu Nov 10, 2005 4:55 pm

Reg Chao- This link is to a site describing, in detail, the construction of a 12' rad. 3V 5/8 dome....

http://burningman.rengeekcentral.com/Dome.html

(Courtesy of tara's Desert Domes.)
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Postby regionalchaos » Thu Nov 10, 2005 4:59 pm

kampkalamazoo wrote:Reg Chao- This link is to a site describing, in detail, the construction of a 12' rad. 3V 5/8 dome....

http://burningman.rengeekcentral.com/Dome.html

(Courtesy of tara's Desert Domes.)


Yea, I've read through that page a few different times. I'm all excited to start working on mine! One of my house mates and I decided we will have to have a big camp out party in Spring / early Summer in order to test out the dome :D
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Postby regionalchaos » Thu Nov 10, 2005 5:09 pm

kampkalamazoo wrote:Reg Chao- This link is to a site describing, in detail, the construction of a 12' rad. 3V 5/8 dome....

http://burningman.rengeekcentral.com/Dome.html

(Courtesy of tara's Desert Domes.)


Also, This page makes me a little sad, seeing as how he only had to pay 2.26$ per 10' stick for the EMT. :(
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Postby robotland » Sun Nov 13, 2005 5:41 am

Yep...that's how much I paid for my 3/4" for the Snowman domes, long ago. Prices here are hovering at about $5.20 now.
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Postby regionalchaos » Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:43 pm

I built a model this weekend out of straws! It should serve as a key when laying out the actual deal, and it helped me get a better visual of the dome and the process. For some reason I was thinking just doing 3/8 of a 3V would be cool, but now I can clearly see 5/8 is the way to go. If only it wasn't going to cost another hundread tho! Oh well, should be worth it I guess..

Anyway, here is a pic of my model! It is to approximately to scale at 1 inch = 1 foot.

Image
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Postby regionalchaos » Wed Nov 23, 2005 4:17 pm

Woo Hoo! I bought my first 400' of EMT. I'll need another 490' or so still. The neat part is that they sell red and blue EMT as well as the silver. So I purchased all the material needed for my C struts, and they are all fire alarm red :D

I'm cutting as we speak!

Edit: also, it seemed like a good buy @ 4.70 per 10'
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Postby capjbadger » Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:26 pm

regionalchaos wrote:Woo Hoo! I bought my first 400' of EMT. I'll need another 490' or so still. The neat part is that they sell red and blue EMT as well as the silver. So I purchased all the material needed for my C struts, and they are all fire alarm red :D

I'm cutting as we speak!

Edit: also, it seemed like a good buy @ 4.70 per 10'


Sweet! Pre-colored? Lucky punk... :D
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Postby robotland » Thu Nov 24, 2005 5:57 am

Yeah...I've never seen pre-colored EMT either. Looks like it's gonna be a whopper. Am I going to have to start taking notes for the "Parade Of Domes 2006" ALREADY?!?
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Postby regionalchaos » Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:56 am

Moving right along!

I went out last night to a buddy's metal shop and started squishing!! He has an arbor press (it's big, 2 ton or 3 ton maybe?) and everything went relatively quickly. I just took 20 struts out to see how things went. Every Thursday night it's an open shop and about a dozen people were there working on different projects. I know where I'll be on Thursday nights this winter!
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Time to dust this baby off again!

Postby robotland » Thu Jan 12, 2006 7:29 am

Just thought I'd pass along a few observations about domebuilding that came to me whilst knocking together the geodesic hull of a vehicle for this year...I'm a proponent of the hammer-and-anvil school, squashing my struts by hand and then drilling out with a pilot hole followed by a stepped bit, and while boring the holes yesterday I was painfully reminded about the hot, sharp bits of steel that a stepped bit generates. They're curly, and infiltrate into the weave of coarser fabrics where they lie in waiting to poke you later- Or just burn you on contact. And avoid the desire to deburr the hole immediately- It's just another burn waiting to happen. Break up the hammering and the drilling, since they're both very hand-and-wrist intensive. (I'm four months post-op from carpal tunnel surgery, and wary of threats to my good hand!) If you're drilling with a stepped bit in a handheld power drill, brace your arm against your body to reduce torque on your wrist- The bit jamming in the metal can crank your wrist around painfully. Remember that Eplaya junkies aren't the only ones who get repetitive stress injuries!
A new revelation: (To me) Is IS worth taking the time to grind the sharp points off of the struts. No more "bucky bites".

Now GO....make me something for the Parade of Domes 2006.
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Postby falk » Fri Jan 13, 2006 9:31 pm

Look for Roper-Whitney punches. Very expensive new, but you might pick up a decent one used on eBay. Picture a paper punch, but with long arms like a bolt cutter. Ten times faster than a drill press. No hot metal shavings -- just a little metal disk that drops out of the bottom of the punch.

I only wish mine had arrived in time for me to use it.
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Postby regionalchaos » Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:12 pm

I liked using the arbor press. The lever was at should height so it was relatively ergonomically correct. The smashed ends are nice and even. I smashed between 40-50 struts a night (almost every thursday). I now have all my struts (~175) cut and smashed.

My buddy has a drill press right in the same shop, so I'm hoping on just using that to take care of the holes. I haven't used a drill press before, I'm looking forward to it! :wink:
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Postby Almost » Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:35 pm

I miss the squishing and drilling....

I'm in the throes of sewing a fitted cover for my dome out of canvas....I'd forgotten just how big it was. not easy to wrangle that much fabric in my kitchen.
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Postby regionalchaos » Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:50 pm

Almost wrote:I miss the squishing and drilling....

I'm in the throes of sewing a fitted cover for my dome out of canvas....I'd forgotten just how big it was. not easy to wrangle that much fabric in my kitchen.


No shit... I'm planning on using triangle patches to cover my dome. I think I'll try and get billboard vinyl for the patch material.

Is your cover all one piece? Several that will be stitched together? How heavy is it? What size is your dome?
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Postby Atar » Sun Jan 15, 2006 4:43 am

Hey there guys. I was looking at all these dome pages and figured something out after hearing these things are so strong. How about placing a platform on the roof? I found a computer drawing in one of the earlier pages and since I can't draw for the life of me I just opened it in paint ;) I hope you will get what I mean. The end result would be kindof heli-platformish. All the sidestruts that are vertical to the ground would connect to the center. You could make the platform with either tarp (instant hammocks!) or hardboard.

Image

Would that work? Are there any calculations possible to figure out how much weight those connections can withstand?
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Postby capjbadger » Sun Jan 15, 2006 5:20 am

All depends on what size conduit you're using I suppose. My dome is 3/4' Freq 2, and it can hold 300lbs per vertex easily.

I know Robotland (sorry. I've met you and am totaly blanking on your real name. :) ) stacked a few domes kinda like that with a platform and it was rock solid. I had a small platform on my dome as well (some 3/4" ply over one of the top triangles).

You shouldn't have any trouble at all. I think you'd be very hard pressed to break a dome.

As for hard numbers and calcs, from everthing I've read, figuring the strength is very hard and a rather new science. My theory is since the joints are actualy try to fly apart at any one time, the sheer limit of the bolt used will be the limiting factor. Spend the extra on good bolts. :)

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Postby robotland » Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:47 am

capjbadger wrote:All depends on what size conduit you're using I suppose. My dome is 3/4' Freq 2, and it can hold 300lbs per vertex easily.

I know Robotland (sorry. I've met you and am totaly blanking on your real name. :) ) stacked a few domes kinda like that with a platform and it was rock solid. I had a small platform on my dome as well (some 3/4" ply over one of the top triangles).

You shouldn't have any trouble at all. I think you'd be very hard pressed to break a dome.



My real handle's Steve, or Planet Steve to be precise...A friend nicknamed me years ago, after noting that I had enough scrap and crap and funk and junk to construct my own planet. "Planet" or "Robo" are fine, too. Jes' don' call me late fer dinner.
Regarding the "Snowman", and dome platforms- I designed the "fiesta deck" for the Snowman (so called from its resemblance to three stacked balls of snow) by the seat of my pants, and have no clue whatever about measurements of stress. But I had eight or nine folks up on it without a wiggle. The first incarnation started when I decided to put a 6' rad. dome on top of the 9' base-dome- I added special right-angle junctions that bolted to the five vertices of the top pentagon of the base-dome and that each had two struts that bolted to two of the ten spots around the "equator" of the top-dome. To prevent wiggle, I added horizontal struts from those equatorial points to the "North Pole" of the base-dome....And then realized that I could add a platform. 3/4" conduit would bend under the load, so I used conduit clamps to fasten on 2x4" radial beams and then covered those with several experimental surfaces...More 2x4s, cut to form a pentagonal deck like some fancy picnic table kits, plywood, plastic pallets...The final version had wedges of scrap plywood with 2x4 sections screwed and glued on, that lay onto the conduit and were bolted together for safety. Then I added a 16' hybrid stairway/luge track that featured a boat chair on runners. Wheee! Scary ride, with the runners soaped up! At week's end last year, Dragonfly Jafe was kind enough to give the wooden bits a ride (on the Tongue Car!) to the burn platform for sacrifice, so I didn't have to drive 2,000 miles home with the stairway poking me in the side. This year, a much lighter and more portable dome-structure-vehicle-hybrid is in the works. And I want to try the Parade of Domes idea again, with a little more organization on my part- Ironically, ditching MY contribution will probably make that possible!
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Postby Almost » Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:38 pm

[quote="regionalchaos"]
No shit... I'm planning on using triangle patches to cover my dome. I think I'll try and get billboard vinyl for the patch material.

Is your cover all one piece? Several that will be stitched together? How heavy is it? What size is your dome?[/quote]

12' tall 24'wide 3v dome

I was planning on cutting the fabric into pentagons 6 of the small ones, 5 of the larger ones and sewing those together, using canvas drop cloths for it. I imagine the wieght to be about 40-50lbs all said and done....leaving 4-5 enterance points at the bottom I was going to turn into feet to make the thing look like a turtle.

I was going to go with individual triangles but that leaves a lot more seams and I did want to take my dome regular camping, so some sort of water resisitance would be good.

I used entirely eyebolts to assemble it, putting the eye on the inside for hanging things, (hammocks) and using the extended bolt on the outside to slide grommets over for the cover...makes it look like a mostly bald porcupine. EL wire to come to give it that pentagon turtle shell design.
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Postby Atar » Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:11 pm

Do you have any pictures of that Planet Steve? 8)
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Postby robotland » Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:41 am

Yes...But I'm still hashing out how to post pics to eplaya from here. I can email you something, though, once I've waded through the pics again.
(*technopeasant*)
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Postby regionalchaos » Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:29 am

robotland wrote:Yes...But I'm still hashing out how to post pics to eplaya from here. I can email you something, though, once I've waded through the pics again.
(*technopeasant*)


You can use free image hosting sites like photobucket.com or imageshack.com to post your image. Then you can link to it from your post on eplaya. I use photobucket, and it provides the img tag text for you so that you can just cut and paste it.
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Postby Atar » Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:30 am

Hey there, I just dropped you a PM with my email adress. I'll probaly be able to help you with those pics.
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Postby regionalchaos » Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:30 am

I want to see a picture of the snowman domes! :D
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Postby robotland » Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:05 am

I PROMISE that today, as a Cabin Fever Project, I'll dig up some dome pics. Gimme a while- I've got Digital Camera Disease, which compels me to take 2,418 shots where one or two would suffice.
Good luck on the ticket site today, fellow domebuilders!
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arbor press availalbe for dome pressing

Postby paulajean » Mon Jan 23, 2006 12:16 pm

Hi all,
I've got a 4-ton arbor press that I used last year to press my EMT ends. I'd love to pass it on to another burner. Check it out at http://www.craigslist.org/eby/tls/127404192.html. You'd need to reply quickly because I've already received a lot of interest from craigslist. I know I can't sell things here, so you have to get more info on the link. But I'm passing it on for only what I paid for it. Not much. Thanks.

Also, I used outdoor shade cloth from OSH for my covering and it worked well. We left some gaps in the top of the dome to let heat escape and then loosely hung tapestries to block the sun and make the dome prettier on the inside.
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Postby regionalchaos » Sun Feb 19, 2006 7:40 pm

Image

176 struts. Cut, Smashed and mostly drilled (1 more shop night needed). :twisted:
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Postby robotland » Mon Feb 20, 2006 7:21 am

Very patriotic!
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Postby typewriter » Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:56 pm

Hello,

A few years ago I built a dome with the help from some cool people on here. So, I thought I would at least share some input back into the collective by posting the pictures and story of building it.

Its a frequency 2 dome, made using 10' tubes available at home depot. This version uses the whole 10' length with no waste.

So hopefully this will help some people. PEACE!

http://www.spacefillingcurve.net/projects/dome.html
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Postby regionalchaos » Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:01 pm

Here it is!

Image

It's about 14' tall and 23' wide.

We set it up last Saturday. The fiancée and I had a potluck brunch for friends and family, burner and non-burners a like. A lot of people helped to set it up. It took about 4 and a half hours to get up. On sunday I tore it down (didn't want the kids to hurt themselves or bend struts climbing it), that only took about an hour and a half!

Main lesson learned: Don't use crescent wrenches, get a socket set power drill adapter and use deep sockets.

Now I really do have to make a cover for it. FUCK! I kinda don't want to do anymore work on it...
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Postby geekster » Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:12 pm

We have one just about that size in our camp. We built it different. We built the top first and went around the bottom adding sections. It isn't as hard as it seems. Lift up one side, prop it on a barrel, add sections, move the barrel around, etc. Basically you end up just going around and around with the barrel until you are done. It kinda helps make it go quicker because you can have a boatload of people working on it at ground level, you can have only one or two on ladders.
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