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.