Friday, April 18, 2014

How to build a geodesic dome out of metal conduit

I have postponed this project for so long and finally have a chance to build one after collecting all the tools to make the job easy.

Ques:  Why build a geodesic dome?

Ans:  My main reason to build a geodesic dome is for my dogs.  I didn't want to spend $200 to purchase a dog kennel.  I thought by building one out of geodesic design, that, it should save me money and earn a new skill.  But the use for geodesic dome doesn't end their.  I also, wanted one, just to have an outside room to chill at, a greenhouse, and a shed.  There are so many use for geodesic domes, and its a plus because they can easy be taken down and take with you on your next place, specially, I'm renting a house.

The Plan for Dog Kennel
The plan is to build a 2V geodesic dome and wrapped the bottom half part with a roll of wire fencing.  Covering it with a tarp that's secured with grommets or zip ties.

The Tools I've purchased for this project

  • 12 Ton Press
  • 5 Speed Drill Press 
  • Safety Glasses
  • 18 Volt Cordless Drill
  • Titanium Drill Bits
  • Titanium Nitrate Step Drill 
  • Pipe Cutter
Materials Needed
  • 1/2 Galvanized Metal Conduit (35 Quantity)
  • Tarp
  • 1/4 x 2 nuts, bolts and washers
  • Round swimming Pool Cover
The Plan:  To build a 2v dome. 
The Size:  8ft 7in in diameter
I bought 35 of 1/2 metal conduit, cut them to size.  Strut A is 4.7 (You will need 30 of these struts) and Strut B is 5.3 (You will need 35 of these struts).  Struts are the frames for the geodesic dome.  In this case the 10ft metal conduit is the frame and is cut once to have two different size struts (leaving you with less waste materials).  2V, means two different struts size.  So if you are building a 3V dome, it means that you are using 3 different size stick or struts.  

The first thing you want to to do is to cut your metal conduit pipes.  Then you want to flattened each end. My calculations was already included to have 1.5" of area to flattened.  So don't forget that if you are using a different size.  Make sure to include 1.5 inch for flattening and drilling holes   And then drill a hole about 3/4" away from the ends.  

Putting it together
My experience, its better to build, bottom to top.  I tried the top, with a 1V dome, and it was a mess.  Won't do that again.

It's really hard to avoid using  They have a more detail explanations of building and they have a dome calculator.
$5 Pipe Cutter from Harbor Freight, it cut all of my conduit with out problems

I got this to drill the holes at the end of each struts, but ended purchasing a drill press to speed up the process.  I ended using this cordless drill with a socket attachment to tighten the bolts.

Titanium step drill bit, this made drilling the holes without having to use a spare.  It works with the cordless drill and with the drill press

the pipe cutter still in packaging.  $5 from harbor freight

Pressed conduits or pressed struts

I marked each end with a template.  3/4" inch from the top. 
Mark for the holes.

Pressing the conduits struts

12 Ton Press from Harbor Freight

1V dome.  Although the plan was called for a 2V dome, I wanted to test my work.
This is a 1V dome using 25 of my B struts.

I just hand tightened, planning on disassembling it to build the 2V dome.

1 comment:

  1. My husband and I made a Geodesic dome to go camping. I think that tents are so boring, but a dome looks good and is very tough. We used class 200 pipe for the struts. The great thing about a dome is that it is very lightweight, can be packed into a couple of kit bags, and causes a stir wherever you pitch it.


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