Build a geodesic dome
The Geodesic Dome is a lightweight structure using a minimum of materials. It is constructed by triangular elements, which are structurally rigid and splitting the stress evenly. Usually, it is used for greenhouses or temporary structures.
Step 1-6: Prepare your components (1-2 days)
Step 7-11: Assemble the structure (1-2 hours) —
Step 1 - Design your structure
There are several tools on the internet to help calculating the size of each individual beam. This is the one we used:
You can put in your dome size and it will calculate the required beam lengths for you.
In any case, we have to shorten the lengths a bit so that they work with our joints.
Short beams: - 64.5mm
Long beams: - 73.4mm
In this example, we are making a 2.5m high dome (5m diameter).
Step 2 - Make the moulds for your joints
Then drill the holes for the injection point and for the bolts to close the mould.
Step 3 - Prepare your plastic
Tip: Try to use finely shredded plastic to reach the injection machine’s full capacity.
Step 4 - Inject the joints
1 - Insert plastic to the hopper
2 - Heat up the plastic (8-9 min)
3 - Attach the mould
4 - Inject plastic
5 - Take the mould out of the machine
Repeat this process for each joint. Ongoing, while you're waiting for one mould to cool down, you can prepare the other mould for the next injection process.
If needed, here are some tips for injecting:
Step 5 - Finish your joints
P.S. Always keep the plastic flakes for future use during the process!
Step 6 - Prepare the beams
For our 2.5 m high dome, we need:
A: 1302 mm x 30
B: 1472 mm x 35
If you decided for another dome size, take the dimensions you’ve calculated.
Once you have all your beams cut into the right size, drill M6 holes at both ends of all the beams. Place the hole in the middle of the width and 20 mm from the edge.
Step 7 - Get ready for assembly
Gather the following tools and metal parts for for assembling:
- 2x 10 mm spanner
- 130x Bolts - M6 x 40 mm
- 130x Nuts - M6
- 260x Washers
- Hand Drill with M6 Drill Bit
Step 8 - Assemble (Concept)
Step 9 - Assemble (Part 1)
In this example, we'll start with the bottom level of the structure. Connect 10x 6-way-joints with 10x long beams into a decagon. Pay attention to keep all joints in the right direction.
Step 10 - Assemble (Part 2)
Step 11 - Assemble (Part 3)
For the fourth and last level, simply connect the remaining 5-way-joint with the 5 short beams.
Step 12 - Explore the possibilities!
Feel free to play around with this structure like removing some beams to create an entrance, or trying out other variations of the construction.
You could also use other materials (like recycled plastic) for your beams or add surfaces in the triangle spaces.
Have fun exploring!
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