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    Avalon Member Hughe's Avatar
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    Default Geodesic dome house.

    Hi all,

    My single man house project has been coming well. I'm at the 50% mark. Things that only delays this project are personal laziness and isolation from time to time.

    The top one is a scaled down dome I built few weeks ago. I'm confident that after building one or two domes, I'll be able to build a real dome out of custom wood strut I make. I plan to build three domes: one for a single bed room, another for workshop and living quarter, the last for small power station cover.

    Most Permaculture farmers build Earthbag houses if they can. It has practical advantages indeed. Frankly speaking pure Earthbag house is simply labor intensive and somewhat obsolete technology. I decided to get rid of using heavy machines for the house project when I started. Then, I realized digging ground to supply all soil for Earthbag house with shovel and bucket is too much for me. 40kg to 50 kg per Earthbag. If I had big property, I could have tried it.

    So I started looking for another building technology that I can use. There was Geodesic Dome by Buckminster Fuller. When I found it, I had flash of intellectual enlightenment. LOL. Constructing a perfect sphere that spreads impact to whole surface is simply brilliant. Also it does not have a single supporting column.

    There are web sites and commercial dome software that helps to design dome. Entering dome radius and shape in the program automatically generate all data: element strut sizes for creating triangles, hub or joint size, exploded assembly diagram on 2D. I'll personally recommend it who has interest in Geodesic dome.

    I chose the hard way though: pencil and paper, couple books, a pocket calculator. Even though I'm using Geodesic dome software, I like to understand the dome technology thoroughly.

    What I've learned is symmetric model has one serious flaw, which is if one component is in wrong place the entire structure become unstable. When you build a Geodesic dome model, swapping two different strut means you need to find the mistake or rebuild it again. The advantage is same pattern repeats itself to create whole structure. Once you master pattern manipulation by few trial and error, dome building becomes very simple and in consistence. Then size becomes irrelevant. Mastering a dome with radius 50cm make you build any size of domes practically. This is beauty of symmetric model. Only variation is the strength of strut and joint material.

    I'll keep uploading pictures of dome models and real domes later on.

    3rd model. a geodesic dome model. I didn't calculate the joint size.




    2nd model, tensegrity structure







    1st model, tensegrity structure





    Last edited by Hughe; 28th April 2013 at 01:18.
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    United States Avalon Member Ba-ba-Ra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    I lived in a Buckminster Fuller dome house for 10years that my late husband build himself. Loved it. Too bad he isn't still alive, he could give you some pointers. It was a 3 BR, 1-1/2 bath in N. Calif. The bedrooms were down below and then the dome started from the 2nd floor.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Ba-ba-Ra; 28th April 2013 at 16:08.
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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    Monolithic. No Sheetrock. No fear of fire ants or termites. No dry rot.

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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    Hughe, I know you are fascinated by the structural properties of creating a dome home but take some time to think about this project from the inside, too. "I plan to build three domes: one for a single bed room, another for workshop and living quarter, the last for small power station cover."

    Now I hate to cook and I assume your combination workshop and living space, means kitchen littered with work tools. saw dust, whatever. Of course, my perfect kitchen would only require a counter top, phone and take out menus, but if you plan to cook, I doubt any building inspector would approve this plan. Please take the time to visually walk through your place and see how you would use it from the moment you get up.

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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    I was at one time considering to do the same. But it was in theory only as i do not have the resources it takes.


    My idea was this:








    I was playing with the idea of having a concrete foundation, possibly slightly elevated from the ground.

    The frame would consist of stainless steel. The frame would be covered by a polycarbonate or it could also be wood. From the inside the frame cover could be plasterboard (or also wood) and between the two there would be adequate isolation material.

    Two floors, second floor only partial (half floor), pillar in the middle that could also serve as chimney if need be or/and a main ventilation duct. Around the pillar a stair case would be made or the stair case is made on the sides of the dome and is actually a progressive upwards inclination ledge. Large window (or set of windows) right across the the "ending" of the second floor. There would be as little walls as possible in the entire structure (only as much to ensure the basic privacy, then again...depends on who u live with or if u live alone..etc)

    Living are would be in two floors, total of about 200 square meters with the estimated final price of around 500EUR per square meter, unfurnished. Cost of land, taxes, permits (and such), architect...also not included.

    Bellow picture is a real life, actual size, example of the frame only





    Bellow picture is my "drawing", what i had in mind at the time





    I did make one geodesic dome..out of cart-board paper.


    Making the dome yourself would be quite an undertaking. Unless you are skilled in hand crafting and have some construction knowledge and experiences.

    I saw some kits for sale. You buy a kit and put it together yourself or they do it for you.

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    Default Update

    Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Dome House





    I consider Buckminster Fuller as Nicola Tesla in modern architect. But I'm afraid collective humanity hasn't ready for his great vision yet. Why? Housing companies ignore this wonderful technology and schools hardly teach it to students for decades.

    9/06/2013

    The 4th model. I applied real strut assembly method for real-size dome building in mind.
    I spent two days to make hundreds of metal connectors out of thin sheet metal.

    From start to finish




    A real dome, 30 cm in diameter.






    @Kor

    I agree. It depends on how to approach Geodesic Dome. Technically speaking building Geodesic Dome after few models should give enough experience to build real dome house provided the person has some trade skills. Also there are few websites such as http://simplydifferently.org/ that provide a simple design program and building instruction. http://www.domerama.com/software/geodesic-software/ has list of free / commercial dome programs that are available.

    I used Geodome to design and study Geodesic dome, which is open source software.
    Some screen shots




    A dome calculation output example
    Quote 210 struts total, 5 different lengths

    strut count length a0 a1 length2 cut length
    A 90 4.941 12 12 4.943 5.068
    B 70 4.836 12 12 4.839 4.964
    C 30 4.181 10 10 4.183 4.308
    D 10 4.842 7 16 4.845 4.970
    E 10 4.103 15 4 4.105 4.230

    Notes:

    length: distance from vertex to vertex
    a0, a1: bend angles at the two ends
    length2: distance between bolt holes (accounts for bends)
    cut length: total strut length, including margins
    I have full confidence of building a dome house but I want to understand every aspect of Geodesic Dome technology so I've been taking some time off.
    Last edited by Hughe; 9th January 2014 at 20:09.
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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    I don't know about arquitecture and engeneering, but would like to make a sugestion: It may be interesting to study the possibilities of using bamboo in the building of the dome house. Bamboo is a plant with so many fantastic qualities...
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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    I built a second dome model for studying. Next one will be a real size dome.







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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    Excerpt from http://www.desertdomes.com/links.html
    I removed broken links.

    Quote Geodesic Dome Sites

    2v Dome Sites

    Step-by-step Photobook of a 2v Dome
    The Nebraska Dome - 2v dome fabrication and setup. This site even has a section on eating
    How to make a 2V newspaper dome
    Cardboard Domes - MonkeyHouse Geodesics
    Design and Implementation for a Geodesic Dome
    Earl's 2v Dome

    3v Dome Sites

    24' 3v Dome - Includes pictures and step-by-step instructions

    4v Dome Sites

    Earl's Recharge Dome

    Cardboard Domes

    More Cardboard Domes - Step-by-step instructions

    Concrete Domes

    Dome of a Home - A concrete dome in Florida
    Domes made out of alternative materials
    Beezer's PlayDome Page - Tire Domes

    General Dome Sites

    Howard Cohen's Dome Deck Plans - Step by step instructions!
    Jeff Deifik's Dome Plans - Step by step instructions to build 16ft and 24ft domes!
    David Anderson's Monkey House Geodesics - David's site is back up, and moved to a new location!
    Mathworld's Geodesic Page
    Earl's Geodesic Domes - Has some really useful information on modifying dome geometry to allow for doors
    Applied Synergetics Home Page
    Hexayurts - Made with cardboard, and perfect for Burning Man!
    Zometool
    Detail Plans for a Geodesic Dome Observatory
    Geodesic Structures by Steve Miller - This site also includes plydomes
    Geodesic Domes at Kibbutz Lotan
    Links to geodesic and alternative building
    René K. Müller's Extensive site that also covers other types of structures

    Geodesic Dome Companies

    Pacific Domes - Conduit frame domes with exquisite coverings
    Professional Dome Plans
    American Ingenuity Domes
    Geodesics Unlimited
    Monolithic Dome Institute
    Last edited by Hughe; 13th March 2014 at 05:06.
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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    Architect's hat on ( ), and I will only try to point out different elements that you may want to consider while at the initial stage:

    To start with I would like to quote Wikipedia (I know, it is fashionable right now not to trust Wiki's info) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geodesic_dome

    The first dome that could be called "geodesic" in every respect was designed after World War I by Walther Bauersfeld, chief engineer of the Carl Zeiss optical company, for a planetarium to house his planetarium projector. The dome was patented, constructed by the firm of Dykerhoff and Wydmann on the roof of the Zeiss plant in Jena, Germany, and opened to the public in July 1926.
    The geodesic dome appealed to Fuller because it was extremely strong for its weight, its "omnitriangulated" surface provided an inherently stable structure, and because a sphere encloses the greatest volume for the least surface area.
    [...]
    Fuller hoped that the geodesic dome would help address the postwar housing crisis. This was consistent with his prior hopes for both versions of the Dymaxion House.
    Residential geodesic domes have been less successful than those used for working and/or entertainment, largely because of their complexity and consequent greater construction costs. Professional experienced dome contractors, while hard to find, do exist, and can eliminate much of the cost overruns associated with false starts and incorrect estimates.

    Although dome homes enjoyed a wave of popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as a housing system the dome has many disadvantages and problems. A former proponent of dome homes, Lloyd Kahn, who wrote two books about them (Domebook 1 and Domebook 2) and founded Shelter Publications, became disillusioned with them, calling them "smart but not wise".[13] He noted the following disadvantages, which he has listed on his company's website:

    - The shape of a dome house makes it difficult to conform to code requirements for placement of sewer vents and chimneys. Off-the-shelf building materials (e.g., plywood, strand board) normally come in rectangular shapes therefore some material may have to be scrapped after cutting rectangles down to triangles, increasing the cost of construction. Fire escapes are problematic; codes require them for larger structures, and they are expensive. Windows conforming to code can cost anywhere from 5 to 15 times as much as windows in conventional houses. Professional electrical wiring costs more because of increased labor time. Even owner-wired situations are costly, because more of certain materials are required for dome construction.

    - Air stratification and moisture distribution within a dome are usual, and these conditions tend to quickly degrade wooden framing or interior paneling, however a 40 year work/study program by a company called New Age Construction in Alabama has revealed that the addition of a cupola eliminates the moisture condensation that is common in domes with no cupola through passive ventilation and elimination of pressure.

    - Privacy is difficult to guarantee because a dome is difficult to partition satisfactorily. Sounds, smells, and even reflected light tend to be conveyed through the entire structure which if planned correctly can be a bonus.

    - As with any curved shape, the dome produces wall areas that can be difficult to use and leaves some peripheral floor area with restricted use due to lack of headroom. Circular plan shapes lack the simple modularity provided by rectangles. Furnishers and fitters usually design with flat surfaces in mind, and so placing a standard sofa against an exterior wall (for example) results in a crescent behind the sofa being wasted. This is best overcome by purpose-built fittings, though it adds to cost.

    - Dome builders using cut-board sheathing materials (as was common in the 1960s and 1970s) find it hard to seal domes against rain, because of their many seams. Also, these seams may be stressed because ordinary solar heat flexes the entire structure each day as the sun moves across the sky. Subsequent addition of straps and interior flexible drywall finishes has virtually eliminated this movement being noticed in the interior finishes.

    [...]

    ~~~

    That is not to say that you cannot make the domes you envision. Anything that appeals to you I am sure you will find the way to make it happen. But from a very practical perspective you need seriously to think about everything that will be involved in the construction, not just the support structure.

    I am stating all of the above only because I do understand the appeal of the complex yet simple looking design of the construction. I have been in your position at one point, but I ran the whole process in my mind, and it turned out to be unjustifiably more complex than expected.

    The monolitic dome suggested above is a good option for obvious reasons, but again, the shape relative to the utilization of the space inside remains an issue.

    Such structures are really very useful for building greenhouses, temporary shelters, and of course spaces with the necessity of no support inside, as is the case with stadiums, public halls, etc. But in that case the structural aspect is by far much more complex and elaborate than just using wooden struts.

    It is a nice and enjoyable mental exploration.
    I hope you will give yourself the time and the space to think this through from all sides.

    Otherwise, I will be happy to see photos of your standing real-life domes.
    Last edited by chocolate; 13th March 2014 at 13:14.

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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    @chocolate

    Thanks for the comment.

    Provided shelter, food, and energy are free or easy to get, people can enjoy freedom in true sense.

    A house that costs $40,000 to $50,000 sucks up bigger amount of money in ten to fifteen years. This is outrageous situation but it's normal. Being depend on food, house, and energy one never get free. That's why they use money and fear to create manufactured monopolized energy, housing market in world wide. Literally governments and few corporations own everything for modern humans need to survive.

    One has to make a choice for new life or stay with the rest. Building a house is technically illegal nowadays due to so many laws unless one has all certificates. I'm positive that building a decent house under few thousands of dollars is feasible, and the maintenance cost of the house is zero dollar for utility is achievable. Buckminster Fuller envisioned this type of shelter decades ago. But the world didn't embrace his idea for humanity.

    There are alternative solutions such as Michael Reynolds' Earthships. The house provides everything for water, food, and power year round.
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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    Hi Hughe!

    I am totally with you behind the idea of affordable home/energy/society.
    I only wanted to point that the dome might give you more problems than not. But that doesn't mean it is impossible, or that there aren't alternative ways. Because there are.

    I had in mind starting a separate space for such discussion, because I don't want to interfere with any particular space already created and specific.
    I need some more time until I figure out how to make it in the best possible way.

    I hope to manage to be helpful there.

    In the meantime, I am a supporter of the free choice of ideas, as you have presented here!

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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    @chocolate

    Definitely.

    SimplyDifferently.org
    This site provides wealth information about traditional mobile shelters: Tipi, Yurt, Dome vairants, Wigwam, Zome



    Permaculture folks love Earthbag house, which I was going to building in the beginning.
    Cost reduction compared to conventional house is 1/10 to 1/15. Proven archicture over thousonds years.


    Lloyd Kahn's Shelter is considered classic of alternative housing. The second edition is on sale for some twenty dollars at Amazon.com.
    Last edited by Hughe; 26th March 2014 at 11:18.
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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    I spent about $600 for materials of the house, $1,000 for various tools.

    It seems time is irrelevant to me. Most of time I look for a solution that reduces expense rather than saving time.
    I've been building medium duty tools for two weeks - table saw, drop saw - so that I process wood with precision.
    I'll apply soybean oil to finished wooden strut of the dome for water proof. Water proof chemical in hardware store is not cheap.

    Earthship Volume 1, 2, 3 by Michael Reynolds arrived yesterday.
    On the back cover of Earthship Volume 1
    Quote IMAGINE...living in a home that cost you nothing to heat or cool
    IMAGINE...building this home yourself
    IMAGINE...growing own vegetables year round in this home
    IMAGINE...no utility bills
    IMAGINE...easily available "limitless natural resources" to build this type of home
    IMAGINE...a more earth friendly civilization
    IMAGINE...EARTHSHIPS
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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    ..........
    Last edited by Redstar Kachina; 4th April 2015 at 23:34.

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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    I think applying knowledge of the following books make anyone or a group build off-grid house less than 1/10th to 1/20th cost of conventional one.

    Quote Earthship Volume I
    How to build your own
    Michael Reynolds
    1990

    Earthship Volume II
    Systems and components
    Michael Reynolds
    1990

    Earthship Volume II
    Evolution beyond economics
    Michael Reynolds
    1990

    Earthbag Building
    The Tools, Tricks and Technicques
    Kaki Hunter, Donald Kiffmeyer
    2004
    For free society!

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    Avalon Member Hughe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    A house that's under few thousands dollars of expense to build, provides reliable, secure off-grid living so that even the grid falls, the occupants live well.
    Buckminster Fuller tried to revolutionize conventional housing of general public in North America using geodesic dome technology for decades. But his
    attempt for humanity failed cause the U.S government, corporations, and general public wouldn't welcome it.

    Individuals such as Lloyd Kahn were early adapter of geodesic dome but they are simple copy cats without creative thinking and great vision.
    Most of them apparently walked away dome housing and some spoke negative opinion how geodesic dome are impractical since then.
    Hilarious! What would they suggest for potential housing problem in modern countries which literally make working class as debt slaves forever?
    "Let's back to old times."
    "Build a tiny home or mobile shelter and live free in Nature."

    I made an emergency shelter last year. I began to spend a night for two days of work in my village house since late February 2014.
    Honestly I wouldn't recommend this primitive lifestyle to anybody. Recreational outdoor camping is a choice. When it becomes day to day reality,
    life becomes extremely challenging.


    I gonna build two geodesic domes, floor radius 3 meters to decide which one is better: wood and steel pipe.
    I've built upgrade/conversion kits for power tools to do precise cutting and looked around local hardware suppliers: table saw, mini table saw for small grinder, cross cut saw, hydraulic press.

    I'm stick to the original goal which was "Reduce total cost as possible as I can."
    It's tempting to buy few hundred dollars of tool, i.e. table saw. But I'm resisting to accept the norm "Money talks. Save time."

    I might use Blender as designing tool later on. It has a plugin that imports DFX file generated by DomeMaker Pro.
    DomeMaker Pro in Windows XP


    Blender 2.69 in Debian Wheezy, imported 3v 5/8 icosahedron dome


    Rendered dome


    3v 5/8 icosahedron dome I built last month


    Floor radius formula of 3V 5/8 Icosa dome
    The book doesn't explain how to get the angle theta for floor radius.


    I had to do extra work. Here is I found the angle theta.




    Last edited by Hughe; 19th April 2014 at 20:34.
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    New Zealand Avalon Member Carmen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    The next house I build will be a Pahs house, designed by John Haght. (I think that's how it's spelt) Pahs stands forPassive Annual Heat Storage. These houses temperature is 21 degrees Celsius summer and winter so no need for any heating or cooling.

    It is also round, but is mostly buried under earth with large windows facing the sun.
    Last edited by Carmen; 19th April 2014 at 21:21.

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  37. Link to Post #19
    Avalon Member Hughe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    Since I changed wood to metal pipe for dome strut, I've been dealing with new challenges. I started playing with less than 1 mm of margin of errors in metal fabrication work.



    Metal thickness increased by 40 times. It seems play time is gone. I need to have a hydraulic press for flattening the end of pipe struts, diameter 26 mm and thickness is 2 mm for now. Last two days tested cutting, bending, flattening of the pipe I bought for 3 meter dome.



    The brand new 3 ton hydraulic jack got broken a week ago. Due to serous design flaw of the first press, I suspected the jack broken by exceeding the limit.


    It's the second press. I'm working on rebuilding new press that fixes major flaws I found yesterday during test operation.


    The final version will like the below press.
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  39. Link to Post #20
    Avalon Member Hughe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Geodesic dome house.

    I've built few devices. Processing and building metal parts have little room of errors. The margin of error I experienced is below 0.5 mm that slows down literally pace of the project.

    2 tons hydraulic press station for pipe press
    Combination of 3rd version of hydraulic press and pipe alignment device






    Jack stand tripod




    Pressing and drilling holes on 210 struts had finished by July 18, 2014.




    9.6 mm bit, 3.0 mm bit, and a syringe with tapping fluid.
    Last edited by Hughe; 18th July 2014 at 22:51.
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