I'm building the canopy for my geodome right now. I'm making it from 16oz fabric reinforced vinyl tarp material, and I'm making the seams with a solvent based vinyl cement. This is mostly because I have no sewing machine, zero sewing machine skills, and I think this way is actually easier and stronger anyway.
I've come to the point where I need to make doors and windows/vents in the canopy, and some #10 industrial zippers seem like a cheap, ideal way to accomplish this. The problem is the zipper tape is a nylon weave that more or less needs to be sewn on to the vinyl. Referring to my earlier point about zero access/zero skills with a sewing machine, this makes for a bit of a problem.
So, I have a couple of ideas. One idea was using snaps to attach the door flap directly to the dome skeleton in the door area. I am not sure how strong this would be; probably pretty strong if I use heavy marine snaps designed for boat canopies and such and space them close together. This sounds less ideal than a nice zipper though, and I'm considering this a plan "B".
Another thought I had was taking my lengths of zipper to an awning place or shoe repair place and getting them to sew a 3" wide vinyl strip to the zipper tape, so I can then use my solvent cement to attach the zippers to the rest of the canopy. I like this idea, but it's sort of a pain in the rear, and it may wind up costing me a fair bit to have the sewing done (I live in a place where precious little is cheap to get done).
I'm getting a little stressed about this project, as there's not a ton of time left before departure day. I know I will make something work, but I've put a ton of time into making this dome nice and cleanly constructed, so it will have a slick, professional outer appearance; I would hate to wind up resorting to duct tape and nylon tie straps at the 11th hour because I didn't plan this particular detail. Does anyone have better suggestions than what I've listed above for making closeable doors/windows?
We wouldn't want to alarm the flock, they might start asking questions.