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Slow Geodesic Dome build  RSS feed

 
Paul Andrews
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Location: Cornwall UK
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Hi All

I have actually started work on building my Geodesic Dome greenhouse for the allotment. I have been talking about it for years and waiting until I had enough money to buy all the materials etc but to be honest I am never going to get it built if I wait until everything is in place so I have decided to just start building it anyway.

When it is finished it will look like this



We have built the base this weekend. The base is quite complicated. There are 15 base boards made up of three different types. Each of the base boards need to have a 12º angle at each end and along its top edge. 5 of the board also have to slope to the right and 5 to the left.

A couple of days ago I bought the wood and cut all the boards to length with the right angles on the ends. Then I set about cutting the tapers with the 12º angle along the top edge. I did this on the table saw by setting the blade at a 12º angle and setting the depth so it just cut through the board. I then used another board on top of the one being cut, offset by 32mm to give me the correct taper (I hope)



All the boards cut



I cleared the ground of grass and weeds and started fitting the base boards yesterday. Using a stake in the centre of the dome as a datum point for both level and radius it was not too difficult to assemble the base although I will need to tweak it a little when I have an extra pair of hands



Now we need to start making the jigs for making the 103 triangles that make up thee dome. We will make triangles as and when we can afford the materials but I hope to have the dome made by the end of the summer.

I will keep you posted

paul
 
Paul Andrews
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I am trying to do a little bit towards this each day or at least several times a week and as it is nice weather I thought I would make a start of the templates for the triangles.

There a two types of triangle that need to be made. One type makes pentagons and the other type makes hexagons. I need to make 30 pentagon triangles and 69 hexagon triangles so an accurate jig is essential.

You start by cutting one of each of the triangles from plywood. Then you clamp a piece of 2 by 1 along each edge basically making a finished triangle as it will go in the dome. Once you are happy with your shape you hen fix anther triangle of 2 by 1 inside your first triangle and screw and glue this inner triangle to the plywood. this is your jig.

I have cut the plywood but I am getting the first bundle of wood tomorrow so will try and get the jigs done then



paul
 
Paul Andrews
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Things are moving on now and it all seems a little less daunting.

I was expecting it to take about 10 minutes to make a triangle but I can do them a lot quicker than that and that was the first ones I have built and I haven't really got a system going yet.

It took me about 30 minutes to build 6 triangles and then assemble them into a hexagon panel.

This is fantastic as I was thinking it was going to take weeks to build a dome but if there is the two of us and we have a system I reckon we could do a dome from start to finish in a few days and a day installing.

Anyway. I am pleased with the potential speed at which I could build a dome if I had all the materials at hand. I have run out of screws now so have to knock it on the head but I am keeping a note of everything I need so when I am building future domes I will know I have all the materials and supplies on hand before we start.

I am getting excited now



paul
 
Paul Andrews
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As you have seen in the previous post I have completed the first of the Hexagon panels so the next step was to complete a Pentagon panel so I could be sure they would go together before forging on and making the rest of the triangles.
There are only 6 Pentagon panels to make and now I know they work and everything fits together and my two chop saws are set to the Pentagon angles I will press on over the next week or so and make all of the pent triangles.
Here is a picture of the two jigs needed for building this dome. The tall one is for Hex triangles, the other is for Pent triangles.



Making the triangles is simple once you have the templates built and checked for accuracy. You start by cutting the correct angles on one end of each of the struts. then you clamp the struts to the template and screw the struts to each other and saw the projecting ends off.
I will add a photo of this later.
As I am finishing each triangle and before I take it off the template I mark the apex of the triangle as this makes it fool proof when assembling the panels.
Here is a picture of the finished Hex and Pent panels before putting them together to test their fit.



You wouldn’t normally make the panels up like this before covering in plastic but as this is the first dome I have built I wanted to make sure everything lined up and the two panels fitted together.
Here is a picture of the Hex and Pent panels fitted together.



To give you an idea of the hight of the finished dome there is another Hex panel to go below the Hex panel in the above picture. The picture above does illustrate the curvature nicely.
So now I have to get stuck in to making all the rest of the triangles and covering them with plastic.
Ultimately there will be a detailed step by step article on the Geodesic Dome Page of this Blog
More soon
paul
 
Paul Andrews
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Paul Andrews
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Miles Flansburg
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We are watching you progress Paul, don't get discouraged about replies!
At the bottom of the page it says that about 150 folks have looked at the thread!

Keep up the great work!
 
Paul Andrews
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Thanks Miles
Just felt like I was talking to myself
Paul
 
Miles Flansburg
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Nothing wrong with that , I talk with myself all the time. I am a great listener, and very interesting...
 
Judith Browning
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Looking forward to the next installment I wondered how the plastic will be attached and if it might leak between the sections? I know that shouldn't matter in a greenhouse, I just remember visiting some leaky domes in the seventies. Thanks for sharing your progress with us!
 
Paul Andrews
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Thanks Judith
The triangles are covered in 2s and 3s. The plastic is stretched around the frame and stapled on the faces that will be hidden when the panels are assembled. This reduces the number of seams at a stroke. When the panels are assembled we put a bead of silicone on the joints to seal them and then when the dome is completed we put a UV resistant tape over the joints as a back up

Paul
 
Paul Andrews
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Things are still moving along with the dome but I haven't bothered to post anything because I am at the boring stage of just making lots of triangles. We will soon be at the stage where we will be covering the triangles with plastic and then we will be ready for assembly

Paul
 
Troy Rhodes
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Is the wood a rot resistance species, or some kind of pressure treated for contact with the ground?

Exciting to watch. Pretty fascinated by geodesic stuff.


troy
 
Dillon Nichols
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I've been scrounging about for scrap wood to put a roof over my WVO storage zone, and finding lots of perfectly usable chunks of 2x4... as long as you don't need them to be long. Hadn't thought of it from this perspective before, but a dome this size could be a good fit for this scrap.

Two chop saws to avoid switching the angle back and forth must be nice!

I'm also interested to hear about the wood selected.

Is that your Pajero in the background?
 
Paul Andrews
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The wood I am using is tanalised 2x1 roof baton but for future domes I am going to use un treated 2x2 and cut it is half as this will half the amount of cuts, half the amount of saw dust and radically reduce the amount of waste.

Yes that is my Pajero. Well it is in fact a Shogun but it is the same thing.

That is another project I should be working on instead of farting around with geodesic domes

paul
 
Matthew Gorham
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Nice dome,

mine is almost enclosed

My_Dome
 
Paul Andrews
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Nearly finished all the triangles just a few more to make and that is the bulk of the woodwork done.



I ordered the plastic cover today which should be here tomorrow.

Then I need too get busy covering the triangles in plastic ready to actually build the dome next weekend if the weather is good.

paul
 
Matthew Gorham
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Nice, cant wait to see it go up.
 
Paul Andrews
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In the last two hours I turned these



into these.



38 triangles. So that is all the triangles including the custom ones that go around the door done.

The plastic didn't arrive today but that is OK. As long as it is here by the weekend I will be happy

paul
 
Paul Andrews
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All the triangles have been sanded to accept the plastic and I have started covering the panels in plastic. I am going to knock it on the head because it is difficult on my own so I will need Jules to give me a hand with covering the panels.



I am now off down to the allotment to start prepping the base so we can start erecting the dome next weekend.

paul
 
Jd Gonzalez
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looking forward to see that baby up and running!
 
Matthew Gorham
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Yeah, can't wait!!!
 
Dillon Nichols
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Looking good, getting close to done!

Will the dome have a single layer of plastic on the outside of each triangle, or also a second layer on the inside? Seems like it would lend itself well to double-walling that way?

How's the Shogun treated you? I used to have a Delica, L300; loved it, but sold it when the head started to go. Was always jealous of the Superselect II that the 4M40 equipped Shogun/Pajero/L400s got, though.
 
Paul Andrews
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Thanks Dillon

We will be insulating the North side and lining it with white reflective plastic. I suppose we could do a double skin but I think we may end up with trapper moisture between thee two layers.

The Shogun is the next project after the dome. It is the only vehicle we have that can tow the Airstream so we need to get it back on the road asap.

We also have a Delica L300. It was mine but my Wife started driving it because her car -shogun- was off the road and now she wont give it back.



paul
 
Dillon Nichols
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Ya, I would imagine moisture between layers would be an issue. The only technique I know of to mitigate that is to circulate air between the layers, which seems like it would be more challenging with the dome than a more conventional shape. Painting the wood would also be advisable...

Really nice L300. Mine got replaced with an Elf 150, which is pretty awesome, and works better for my current needs... but I still miss the Delica. Guess if you want it back you'll have to build up the Shogun to be even nicer...
 
Paul Andrews
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Had a bit of a nightmare getting the base perfectly round yesterday in the rain.

It is a 15 sided circle and the know the measurement from the centre to each of the 15 points needs to be 2250mm but try as we might we could not get all points to this figure and ended up chasing a bulge around thee base. It turns out after much head scratching that the head of the nail used to hook the tape measure onto was too big so the tape was under reading by 5mm. it doesn't sound like much but trying to make a solid circle 5mm smaller all round just ain't gonna work. once we discovered this and made allowances it when together.

So the base is now round and level and painted. I tried to drive some stakes down into the ground but they would only go about a foot into the ground so i am going to make up some steel stakes to anchor the dome down.



This size dome is quite efficient when it comes to wastage. This is thee kind of waste we get from making the triangles.



paul
 
Paul Andrews
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Everything is go for erection of the dome today. I will post pictures as soon as it's done

This is how it looks now



Paul
 
Paul Andrews
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Paul Andrews
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Paul Andrews
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Finished the door this evening between the showers



Paul
 
Seva Tokarev
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Congratulations, and thanks for sharing your progress!

Is it build in accordance to [url=http://geo-dome.co.uk/domeshop/article.asp?Uname=296]this plan[/url]?
 
Paul Andrews
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[quote=Seva Tokarev]Congratulations, and thanks for sharing your progress!

Is it build in accordance to [url=http://geo-dome.co.uk/domeshop/article.asp?Uname=296]this plan[/url]?
[/quote]

Thanks Seva

I used plans from the same place but I bought my plans a few years ago and it is a GD15 which I think has now been superseded by [url=http://.geo-dome.co.uk/domeshop/article.asp?Uname=273]GD18[/url].

Paul

 
Paul Andrews
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Just done a quick write up of the the day we built the dome

Find it here

Paul
 
Seva Tokarev
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Paul,

I have read about geodesic domes before, and was intrigued by their concept, but haven't ventured into building one myself until I ran across your post, two or three weeks ago.
Now, 32 of 40 triangles are ready (I am building a self-designed proof-of-concept 6-feet radius V2 using mostly scrap wood.)

After that, I was planning on 20-ft tunnel

Speaking of which, what was your experience with geo-dome.co.uk? The site looks a little abandoned.

Paul Andrews wrote:Just felt like I was talking to myself


Turns out speaking to yourself can motivate someone thousands miles away and several months later. Thanks for that!
 
Paul Andrews
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Seva Tokarev wrote:Paul,

I have read about geodesic domes before, and was intrigued by their concept, but haven't ventured into building one myself until I ran across your post, two or three weeks ago.
Now, 32 of 40 triangles are ready (I am building a self-designed proof-of-concept 6-feet radius V2 using mostly scrap wood.)

After that, I was planning on 20-ft tunnel

Speaking of which, what was your experience with geo-dome.co.uk? The site looks a little abandoned.

Paul Andrews wrote:Just felt like I was talking to myself


Turns out speaking to yourself can motivate someone thousands miles away and several months later. Thanks for that!


Thanks Seva

I would love to see some pictures of your dome.

I think Paul and geo-dome.co.uk is in the process of restructuring the website at the moment so there are a few links that don't work and pictures that don't appear but he is still going and plans and support will continue to be available.

The dome tunnel looks interesting for sure

Have you seen the video of him building a 12 metre dome?

Paul
 
Seva Tokarev
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Paul Andrews wrote:
I would love to see some pictures of your dome.


Don't thinks my dome deserves a thread of its own, but here are the few photos of the latest stages of frame build: https://goo.gl/photos/oPe6oUoVHX1tn6Hp7.
As of now, lacks foundation, door, and covering.
P7313220.JPG
[Thumbnail for P7313220.JPG]
Dome frame almost done
 
Jesus Martinez
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Seva Tokarev wrote:
Paul Andrews wrote:
I would love to see some pictures of your dome.


Don't thinks my dome deserves a thread of its own, but here are the few photos of the latest stages of frame build: https://goo.gl/photos/oPe6oUoVHX1tn6Hp7.
As of now, lacks foundation, door, and covering.


I think if you gave your design, it would be good. I bought the plans fro geo-dome.co.uk and plan on doing a tunnel.
 
Seva Tokarev
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Jesus Martinez wrote:
I think if you gave your design, it would be good. I bought the plans fro geo-dome.co.uk and plan on doing a tunnel.


If you are speaking of my dome, rather than Paul's, there is no design per se; I just calculated rib lengths and angles between sides for a basic 2V dome using basic geometry.
It was meant as a proof of concept rather than a real thing; you may notice that the structure is lacking a decent foundation, and the low triangular door is vary inconvenient.

Now, however, I am building a real thing, which seems to be the same as you are building -- the tunnel from Paul Robinson in UK. There are a few of quirks, like some angle measures missing from the foundation plan, and the author wouldn't respond to my support requests; but otherwise I am glad with design so far, well worth $40 I paid for it.
 
Paul Andrews
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A friend came over with his drone and filmed a little footage.



Ignore the idiot in the hat

What do you think?

paul
 
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