How to Build a Wood Geodesic Dome

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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
  • Protractor
  • 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.

References

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