How To Build A Geodesic Dome

How to Build a Geodesic Dome

What is a Geodesic Dome?

Geodesic domes are one of the strongest, lightest structures you can build. Due to their unique design, they are wind, hurricane and tornado resistant. Geodesic domes can be used as extra storage, a greenhouse, or as a living space. It takes about 3 hours to put one together and about 15 minutes to take it apart. The parts are readily available at local hardware stores, and it the cost for this 19 ft x 9.5, 278 sq. ft dome is about $300.

These instructions will allow you to build a dome that is 19 ft wide x 9.5 ft high.

Supplies Needed to Build a Geodesic Dome:

Metal saw

Drill

Press or vice

Socket set

Optional ladder or sawhorses

 

How to Build A Geodesic Dome: Supplies

How to Build A Geodesic Dome: These are the bars we made and painted for our dome

STRUTS ANGLE COLOR
30 X “A” 2′ 6.86″ (30 55/64″) 7.27° RED
30 X “B” 2′ 11.66″ (35 21/32”) 8.49° BLUE
60 X “C” 2′ 11.576″ (35 9/16”) 8.47° GREEN
70 X “D” 3′ 1.664″ (37 21/32”) 9.35° YELLOW
30 X “E” 3′ 3.044″ (39 3/64”) 8.59° PURPLE
30 X “F” 3′ .044″ (36 3/64”) 9.00° BLACK 

 

STEP 1. Cut parts to length

Measure and cut parts to the lengths provided above. Be as accurate as possible. Your accuracy must be within a quarter of an inch.

How to Build a Greenhouse

These are the bars we made for our geodesic dome

STEP 2. Flatten the ends

Flatten 1.5” of both ends of the pipe so they are square to each other, using either a press or a vice. Do not use a hammer to flatten he ends, as it will split the metal.

DIY geodesic dome

STEP 3. Bend the angles

Bend the ends at the angles provided above in the same direction. Your angle should be to the nearest degree.  You want to be as close as you can. Some inaccuracy here is okay, the pipes will give a bit as you bolt them together. Use an angle finder, protractor, or cell phone app to measure the angles. A vice or the homemade jig shown in the video can be used to bend the angles.

 

STEP 4. Drill the holes

It is important to drill the holes after you bend the angles, as the length of the strut shortens once the pipes are bent. The distance between the center of each hole is provided below. Drill your holes with a 3/8” drill bit to provide extra space for assembly. This does not affect structural integrity.

 

30 X “A” 2′ 4.86″
30 X “B” 2′ 9.66″
60 X “C” 2′ 9.576″
70 X “D” 2′ 11.664″
30 X “E” 3′ 1.044″
30 X “F” 2′ 10.044″

 

STEP 5. Paint

Paint each strut to protect from the elements, and to color code it to aid in the assembly process.

make geodesic dome

Painting the bars for our geodesic dome

 

STEP 6. Layout

Using the map provided, layout 3 rows down starting at the top of the dome. Then begin assembly. Once you have 3 rows assembled, layout the next 2 rows. Continue until all parts are assembled.

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Start by placing your bars like this. Use the .pdf pattern we have available to download. It shows you what to do.

 

layout from plans or pdf for geodesic dome

This is what your layout will look like if you use the plans on our pdf

STEP 7. Assembly

Starting from the top of the dome, follow the pattern and begin bolting the struts together. Building from the top down eliminates the need to work above head and using ladders. Saw horses can be used to support the structure as it is being assembled. Each bolt should have 2 washers and 1 nut. As you build, only bring each joint to hand tight until the V underneath it is completed. Then, tighten completely. Be sure not to over tighten, but remove any gaps between the flat ends of the struts. Once you have tightened a joint, tape it with duct tape to cover any sharp edges that may tear the plastic cover.

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You will insert the screws like this when you assemble your dome.

geodesic-dome-plans-free

This is how to join the bars for your dome

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Sideview shows how to join your geodesic dome bars

 

 

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Wrap the tape around your joints like this.

 

STEP 8. Door

Remove any section of the dome where you want the door. Use those struts to build the door. Use Zipties as hinges. Be sure not to remove too many struts as it will affect the structural integrity.

 

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geodesic-dome-at-home

 

STEP 9: Sheeting

 

You can buy a 32’ x 32’ sheet to cover the dome in one piece. Or, you can buy a roll of 20’ by 100’ and cover the dome in 2 pieces, crossing one piece over the other.  Before you unfold your sheeting, pull it over the top of the dome. Two people, one on each end, then unfold the plastic over the dome. If it’s a windy day, you will need more than two people. Ropes will help hold the plastic down, until it is secured to the base of the dome.

 

geodesic-dome-sheeting

 

 

 

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Plastic clips can be used to secure the edges of the sheeting to the base of the dome. Or, it can be taped or screwed to the struts. To ensure a good seal, pick up the edges of the dome and pull the plastic underneath, and secure it from the inside.

 

Cut plastic to match the framework of your door, and attach it  to the framework with either clips or tape.

 

When taping the plastic sheeting, wrap the tape around the strut at least once, and then attach tape to the plastic sheeting.

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