The geodesic dome was invented by engineer Buckminster Fuller in the 1940s. The lightweight structures can be modified for greenhouses, playhouses, storage sheds, or a variety of other home and garden applications. The wood geodesic dome is formed by a series of pentagons connected with homemade connectors. You can complete a 12-foot geodesic dome in about a day.
Things You'll Need
- 40 pieces of 1-by-2-inch 8-foot wood
- Sharpie marker
- Waterproof sealant (1 gallon)
- 10 6-foot flat perforated metal straps
- 25 coarse thread bolts 1/4-inch diameter by 3/4-inch length
- 25 1/4-inch hex nuts
- 250 1 1/4-inch drywall screws
- 250 No. 8 washers
- Box of 10-foot-by-100-foot 6-mil plastic sheeting
- 2,000 5/16-inch staples
- Staple gun
- Bench vise
- Drill hammer
Cut the 1-by-2-inch wood into 30 pieces 42 inches in length and mark these "A " with a Sharpie. Cut 35 pieces 48 inches in length and mark these "B" with a Sharpie.
Cut the 6-foot flat perforated metal straps into 10 strips with 10 holes each and mark them "C;" 50 strips with seven holes each and mark 20 of them "D" and 30 of them "E;" and 27 strips with 13 holes each and mark these "F."
Level a 12-foot square area where you intend to build the dome.
Bend the connector strips with a vise to a 25 degree angle. Bend the "C" strips twice, at hole 4 and hole 7.
Bend the "D" and "E" strips once at hole 2.
Bend the "F" strips twice, at hole 4 and hole 10.
Place two "D" strips on top of each other. Attach the end hole of these strips to hole 5 of a "C" strip with a bolt and a nut. Repeat until all "C" strips have two "D" strips connected to them.
Place five "E" strips on top of each other. Connect with a nut and bolt in hole 1.
Place three "F" strips on top of each other. Connect with a nut and bolt in hole 7.
Attach the five-way connector arms to an "A" piece of wood using two screws and two washers. The screws should be placed in holes 2 and 6. Label the arms of the five-way connectors clockwise 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Attach two four-way connectors to end of two "A" pieces labeled 1 and 2. Make sure they are attached to adjacent legs. Repeat for all five-way connectors. Attach two six-way connectors to "A" pieces 3 and 4.
Attach one piece of "B" wood between the connectors on the outside of the pentagon. The centers of the pentagon will be slightly raised, and "A" piece No. 5 has no connector at this point. Repeat for all pentagons.
Assemble the middle of the dome by connecting a six-way connector on one pentagon to piece 5 (and the two "B" pieces) on another pentagon. Repeat until all pentagons are connected in a circle.
Assemble the base of the dome by attaching "B" pieces between the bottom pentagons using two four-way connectors. Repeat until all 10 "B" pieces that form the base are complete.
Attach the remaining "B" pieces to six-way connectors between each pentagon to finish the top.
Make a door and roof by disconnecting the "A" pieces from one side pentagon. Attach the star shape to the roof with the remaining connectors.
Coat the wood dome with waterproof sealant.
Tips & Warnings
- For long term use, anchor the dome into the ground.
- Weatherproof your dome and create a greenhouse by covering it with plastic.
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