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:
85 .5” x 10’ galvanized steel electrical conduit
100 2” x .25” bolts
100 .25” nuts
200 .25” washers
6 cans of spray paint in red, blue, green, yellow, purple, black
Tools needed to build a geodesic dome:
Press or vice
Optional ladder or sawhorses
Before you begin, watch our video that shows you how we made the struts from electrical conduit:
and our video that shows you how we made the dome:
Let us show you exactly how it’s made- Watch this step-by-step video where we show you how to build your very own geodesic dome
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
STEP 10. Enjoy!
Download a .pdf map of dome assembly :
Watch the video to see exactly how to make a geodesic dome-