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Do you have any designs for construction of a geodesic dome greenhouse?

This is a question from Gavin: I want to build a geodesic dome greenhouse. I've looked at a range of sites online and have yet to find one which gives satisfactory and usable plans. Every site I've looked at seems to have something missing, or glosses over certain aspects of the designs. I'm wondering if you have any designs for construction of a dome, or if not, if you have any pointers as to potentially useful web sites.

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The best looking technique I've seen is by this guy:

He sells kits and plans I think:

The reason I like the look of it is that he starts off by planing all the wood to 10 degrees (from memory... double check), that's a clever technique because it means you don't need to worry about one of the angles. Also you are making the triangles, and screwing them together side to side, so there are no hubs. Hubs are tricky to make, the angles are complicated, and they need to be very strong. I also like this greenhouse dome because it's so nicely covered, again because you're making the triangles.

The other technique I recommend is steel tubes, crushed and bent slightly at the ends, with a hole drilled through... like this:

These are really strong, use minimal nuts and bolts, but are a bit tricky to cover neatly.

There are dome calculators online, I tend you use this Reverse Calculator, because I'm more concerned with the length of the struts than the radius of the dome.

One of the tricky things is minimising wastage, so ideally your various strut lengths should add up to just under your raw material length... or certain combinations of strut lengths.

Domes come in all different frequencies, higher frequency = more triangles = smaller triangles = more struts = more different lengths = harder to make

1d (the d is the frequency) domes are easy to build, all the struts are the same length, and all the hubs are the same... 2d domes are harder, 2 different strut lengths, 2 different hubs 3d+ domes get harder and harder to build

I'd stick to a 1d or 2d dome first, make some matchstick ones, get you head around how they work, then build a big one.

Hope that helps

Answer from Matt Terry

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Hi Matt / Samuel - not sure which is the correct name as different names at top and bottom of your post...

Thanks very much for your input. I'm looking at building a 3v dome using wood. Also intending to make this hubless. 4 m. diameter and sitting on old railway sleepers as a base. Already bought the wood - 50 mm cross section - and limited by this coming cut to fit the van the timber supplier used to deliver it, so unfortunately, some wastage inevitable. I'll check the site out and fingers x'd. Unfortunately, the sites I've checked so far all seem to leave some salient piece of information out, and none of them have exactly the same design, so difficult to cross-reference these to produce a complete design. I'll let you know how it goes. Got a good level of practical skills - grew up on a ...(more)

GMM gravatar imageGMM ( 2015-01-08 12:41:00 +0000 )edit

I had a friend who built one, looked pretty good, so might be able to rustle something up. But wonder what your application is, we kinda figured that it was more of a play thing than a serious greenhouse, but we were more interested in growing vege's in -20 C temperatures, and wasn't very suited to that kind of application.

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Any input appreciated. Re it being a greenhouse, this is a fairly standard use for domes. Can be clad by either polythene or polycarbonate, or even glass. Where I am, summers are very hot and winters mild to cold, but not like northern Europe or US, so for this time of year, perfect.

GMM gravatar imageGMM ( 2015-01-13 09:31:40 +0000 )edit
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2015-01-06 04:45:34 +0000
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Jan 10 '15