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How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse
How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse
How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse
How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse
How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse
Table of Contents
Introduction Why a Greenhouse? Why a Geodesic Dome? What Do I Use to Cover the Dome? My First Experience Building a Geodesic Dome Dome Construction Location and Permits Geodesic Frequency 2V, 3V, 4V Tools and Supplies Cutting Struts Compound Angles Build Your Own Locking T Starting the Dome: The Pony Wall The First Row The Door The Top Vents Insulation and the North Wall Heating Installing SolaWrap™
How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse
and my fingernails were always short and dirty but I finally had a beautiful garden! Then all in one night it was gone… not to the frost. Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 4 . or wind like in years before but from the elk coming in during the night! They trampled my pumpkins and ate everything. “Stop me from killing again!!!” Yet I still attempted gardening outside. yes peeled.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Introduction When I would receive house plants as gifts I would take them straight to my sister’s house and say. My back ached. I got heat exhaustion. and that the increased cost of diesel fuel will be passed on to you. they even peeled. insects. this will not only mean higher food costs but a rise in the cost of almost everything. the husks off my ripened corn and ate the cobs while they were still on the stalks! My next Garden was a Greenhouse Dome with Solawrap™! • • • • Why Why Why Why a a a a Garden? Greenhouse Garden? Greenhouse Garden Dome? Greenhouse Garden Dome with Solawrap™? I’ll tell you why… Why a Garden? We grow a garden to grow food that is: • • • • • • And Best of all because… Free Free Free Free Free Free from from from from from from food borne illness outbreak or pollutants transportation costs threats of unavailability cancer causing chemicals. pesticides and herbicides. and GMOs natural disasters half a world away preservatives pumped in your fresh food and wax coatings Really fresh produce explodes with flavor! When you consider almost everything that comes into your home had to ride in a truck at some point.
or a Back brace!! Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 5 .slate. see these sources: http://www. If you pay attention. Water filled tomato warmers. A container of ice cream is down 6 or more ounces. and other pests • wind-constant or unexpected strong gusts • lack of water • or poor soil So they don’t have the extra expense of: Pesticides. But it’s not just the cost of produce. Soil tests. companies are keeping the prices as usual. Fungicides.backwoodshome.npr.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse For an article on the rising cost of food. Knee pads.org/2012/07/25/157371037/the-ripple-effect-from-rising-food-prices We could go on and on. last year one head of Romaine lettuce cost $1.39 as of Fall of 2012. but downsizing product amount. Seed starting kits.html http://www. Google “Rising Food Costs” and see what you come up with. html http://www.com/articles2/silveira112.29. Fences. It is now up to $2. Frost protectors. Shades.direct sunlight • deer. Pest control covers.html?_r=0 http://www.com/2012/07/26/business/food-prices-to-rise-in-wake-ofsevere-drought.com/articles/business/moneybox/2011/02/the_invisible_food_crisis.nytimes. Sensors or repellent. raccoons. Tillers. Why a Greenhouse Garden? Greenhouse owners don’t worry about: • weed seeds blowing in • harmful insects • uv rays. but the price has remained constant. Here in New Hampshire. Weed mats.
naturally insulating • Also decreases building material costs Build to Any Size • Fits your space requirements • Relaxing It’s a wonderful place to hang out! Light Dispersing in All Directions • With no shadows plants can grow from ground to ceiling which doubles or even quadruples your growing area Natural Strength • Arches. use them!” -Buckminster Fuller Because domes are: Tornado and Hurricane Resistant • Aerodynamic Resistant to Heavy Snow • Slides off Energy Efficient • Natural curved surface allows air and energy to circulate without obstruction Surface Area Minimalistic • Heat has less surface area to escape through. hexagons and triangles are naturally the strongest shapes Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 6 .Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Why a Greenhouse Garden Dome? “Don’t fight forces.
com/honeycomb-pattern.aspx?ProjectID=176 Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 7 .Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Studies on the geometry of honeycomb pattern explain that no other shape can create more space with the given material. http://www.sciencefairadventure. the bee needs to consume 6 to 7 grams of honey. these insects are born engineers and economists! http://www. Wow. The more triangles used in the design.html The geodesic dome’s strength is due to the fact that triangles are very stable shapes. It is difficult to break or distort a triangle because compression at one joint is balanced by tension along the opposite side.com/ProjectDetail. the more solid the structure. A comb of 100 g weight can hold in it up to 4 kg of honey! Producing wax is a laborious process.benefits-of-honey. For each gram of wax produced.
000 lb (2.html Self Supporting StructureTension pushes against each strut Light Weight. The interior of the structure was totally destroyed. A dome is • earthquake. In 2003. but the dome itself remained standing. allowing the eggshells to support more weight. Several monolithic domes in Florida survived direct hits by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The weight spreads along the curved walls to the wide base. and survived with only slight charring of the exterior foam insulation. are strong because they exert horizontal as well as vertical forces to resist the pressure of heavy loads. Flexible and Moveable Earthquake Resistant • Picture a bowl turned upside down onto a bed of sand the sand may shift but the bowl remains intact.300 kg). tornado and hurricane resistant (FEMA rates them as “nearabsolute protection” from F5 tornadoes and Category 5 Hurricanes). Several monolithic domes were in the path of the 2005 and 2006 wildfires in Oklahoma and Texas.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Domes. The strength of the egg is within its dome shape. That’s a 200-pound person! http://www. The staff members at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto were successful with one unbroken egg supporting a 90 kg person. Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 8 . even those made of eggshells. bomb.edu/~mk411573/discrepant/ discrepant_event. No single point of the dome supports the whole weight. a monolithic dome government building in Iraq survived a direct hit by a 5.csun.
Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse http://www.ning. The curved surface of a dome provides a natural circulation of internal air. Geodesic shelters have been installed in all extreme climates and temperatures and they have proven to be the most safe.masterdomes. Ingber -The Architecture of Life. http://awakeproductions.com/profiles/blogs/geodesic-domesfacts-n Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 9 .htm “We just came through the craziest wind storm I have ever been through since living in Alaska. gusts up to 130 mph. We have no power and we lost four trees. This enables heating and cooling to occur naturally.” -Donald E. A dome has approximately one-third less surface area to the outside than a box-style structure. Scientific American Magazine.com/domemech. but the greenhouse [dome] is unscathed! Now we know we really do have bubble wrap on steroids!” -Kim Robuck “The spherical structure of a dome is one of the most efficient interior atmospheres for human dwellings because air and energy are allowed to circulate without obstruction. effective & efficient shelter possible. January 1998.
Dome Greenhouses Light transmitting How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Why a Solawrap™ Covering? Solawrap™ covering is: 83% light transmission means your plants are getting enough light. These 24-30 year old coverings are still being used today. 83% light diffusion. We know this because each roll of SolaWrap™ is stamped with the production date. called thermal resistivity. The thermal resistivity of single walled polycarbonate is 8. The SolaWrap™ is then applied to structures using a patent pending PVC channel locking system. Long lasting There are greenhouses in Europe that have had the original covering of SolaWrap™ on for 24-30 years. Double blown polyethylene is 4. It measures the temperature difference across a structure when a unit of heat energy flows through it in a unit of time.7. Studies suggest that plants grown under diffused light finish faster than those grown under direct light. the highest in the industry. Insulating This product is produced in Germany where they use a more accurate measurement of insulation. how much does a material resist transferring temperature. Watertight The beading on the edges of SolaWrap™ is applied using a patented system that ensures extreme strength. This system is watertight when installed correctly. The standard light transmission of glazed polycarbonate is 60%. SolaWrap™ is 27. or more basically. Strong Solawrap™ is so strong that it can support the weight of three men even after four years of wear in Kuwait! Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 10 .9. Light diffusing Diffused light is the best light for your plants.
Less expensive than glass or triple walled polycarbonate And Scientifically Constructed Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 11 . If a structure were completely rigid. Often natural forces can change direction and quickly intensify.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse The scientists that developed Solawrap™ Flexible Structures made with flexible material are more able to withstand dynamic forces. it would not be able to sustain this kind of outside pressure.
Since both air and polyethylene have comparable specific heats. so locking air bubbles in Solawrap™ minimizes heat transfer. Each bubble acts as an individual step within the wall slowing heat transfer. Extreme temperatures travel faster through solids than gases. since the coefficients of heat transfer are so low. It diffuses light. they will occur very slowly.Dome Greenhouses Why bubbles? How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Polyethylene has a very low heat transfer coefficient and a fairly high specific heat capacity. 2. This performs two functions… 1. However. In Solawrap™ each bubble takes in light. Air in a confined space is a good insulator because it has a tendency to resist temperature changes. which increases plant energy production. Trapped air acts as an insulator preventing 60% to 95% of heat loss. That protection is amplified by adding a layer of plastic to both sides of the film. Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 12 . the change in the temperature of the same masses of air and plastic will occur in relatively similar manners. then refracts or bends it hitting the bubble next to it. This means more leaves can photosynthesize for the plant which makes the plant grow and produce more without putting extra stress on it. Because Solawrap™ bends sunlight around corners it hits all the leaves not just the top ones. which it collects even in low lighting conditions. Air also tends to have a low heat transfer coefficient and high specific heat capacity.
The light is scattered (diffused) making it seem like the light is coming from everywhere because the light is bouncing off the tiny water droplets in the air. I’ve been in the construction world most of my life and have always marveled at how Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 13 . Arizona and attended many events in the Walkup Sky Dome at Northern Arizona University. Arizona and my wife taught for ten years in the Mountain Meadows Primary School dome in Overgaard. My First Experience Building a Geodesic Dome During my life I have been in contact with several geodesic domes. Arizona. In each of these communities everybody was encouraged to “go to the dome” in the event of a natural disaster. just as the people in New Orleans were encouraged to go to the Super Dome during Hurricane Katrina. I’ve watched my kids play high school sports in the Round Valley Dome in Eager. The Solawrap™ bubbles act just like water droplets in the air between the sun and the plants diffusing the sun’s rays. I grew up in Flagstaff.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse This diffusion is like driving in dense fog with your bright lights on.
so I was worried that it would be a long trip that might end in disaster. yes six angles (three angles on each end of the strut). Since there is no foundation and these structures are portable or temporary. They were more sure of my ability than I was! I lived in Alaska. Lumber isn’t made like it used to be. I was simply amazed at how easy it was to construct this structure! As long as I stuck to the plans and used the proper strut when called for. But I’ve got to tell you. you may not need any permits. we had a 40-foot dome sitting in their backyard. Each strut requires six. After hand picking my lumber. do it! Also whatever size dome you decide to build. my son’s in-laws decided they wanted a greenhouse dome built in their backyard. I never dreamed of building a geodesic dome due to the complexity of the structure. after completing the framework of this dome. and they lived in New Hampshire. are built. they decided they wanted a 40-foot diameter dome. I wondered how I could ever figure the dimensions and angles that are required for such a task! Luckily for me. and help here and there by other family members. and cut the proper angles on each end of the strut. After meeting with them. Then make sure your site is level. which are the strongest man made structures on earth. You want your dome to be in the open as much as possible so it can receive all the sun that it can. Next. So after studying the plans my son and I set out to conquer this huge task. my sense of accomplishment was unbelievable! Dome Construction Location and Permits The first thing to do before you begin to build your dome is to check with your local government and see what kinds of permits are required to build a dome. If this means bringing in fill dirt or taking fill out. I have built entire homes in the past and the sense of accomplishment is great. After many meticulous hours of cutting my struts. building a geodesic dome was something I could definitely do! Three days with my son helping me after he got off work.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse geodesic domes. it was time to cut my struts to length. Now. make sure your building site is a few feet wider than the dome so Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 14 . the only difference between a 15-foot and a 40-foot dome basically was the length of struts. So one of the hardest tasks to this project was to find 2x4’s that were straight as possible with no twist to them. we were finally ready to begin building the dome. select the location of your dome. Each angle has to be cut as close to the angle required as possible. Because I had done some remodeling for them in the past they figured I could easily build them a geodesic dome. First I thought. “I can’t build a 40-foot dome!” Then it hit me. I was in total shock! All this time in the back of my mind I was thinking maybe a 15-foot dome.
A small dome only requires a 2V. what is that? A dome’s frequency is the term used to refer to the amount of triangles in your structure. I don’t suggest a 3V frequency for this reason. If you attempted to build a 40-foot diameter dome however. Therefore. If you plan on building grow beds in your dome this pony wall will make it easier due to its vertical nature as oppose to building against multiple angled walls. Plus covering these huge triangles would be next to impossible. Huh?! My dome’s frequency. In order to get your lengths to feet and inches a simple conversion needs to be done. but the only problem with a 3V is the base of your dome wouldn’t be flat. do all your underground work before you start construction. 3V. This means there are only two different sizes of triangles in your layout. The 4V has 6 different sized struts. if you build a 20-foot dome it will be 10-feet high. 3V. and the base of your dome is flat. I would recommend your grow beds to be 3-feet high this way you don’t have to bend over to garden! Keep in mind that whatever width of dome you decide on your dome will be half that in height. and 4V. I would suggest using a 4V for anything larger than an 18 foot dome. Then to get your lengths that each strut needs to be. With that said. I also highly recommend that you build a 3-foot high pony wall to put your dome on. you simply enter the diameter of your dome and it gives you the lengths using the metric system. A pony wall is a small vertical wall that you will build the actual geodesic dome on top of. This will help you when you begin to design the inside of your dome. An icosahedron is the shape of the geodesic domes we are building.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse you can move around without tripping over any obstacles. If you want to run a water line and electrical line to the dome. Here is an example: Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 15 . 4V So time to choose your dome’s frequency. A 3V would work great. The angles that each strut need to be cut are given in the section labeled “edges/struts & bending angles”. For example.simplydifferently. http://www. 13-feet if you add the 3-foot pony wall. I used a 4V for my first 40-foot dome. Geodesic Frequency 2V.org/GeodesicDomeNotes?page=3#4V%20 Icosahedron%20Dome This link will take you to an incredible dome calculator for all the different frequencies. let’s start step by step and build a dome. and the number of each strut length. I would suggest not using a 2V for anything larger than an 18-foot dome. The most basic frequencies are 2V. using the 2V frequency your triangles would be so large that you would have to use much stronger lumber to handle the span of your triangles.
Now the .com for around $40.5724 left over is your fraction of an inch. the 9 is how many inches you will cut. Boards that curve either on the face or the Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 16 .7977 needs to be multiplied by 12 in order to convert it to inches. because you will be referring to it on the job site.00) because you will need to cut very precise angles. Below is a reference to help make this go quicker: I would recommend printing your plan out in color and having it laminated.77 degree angle (round to the nearest 10th).6875 .250 .1875 . (http://www. Tools and Supplies Gather your tools first.375 .875 . multiply the lengths by the amounts of each length you need. To determine the amount of wood you will need for your dome.amazon. you will need a miter saw that can cut at least a 60-degree angle.5 .9375 How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse If your dome diameter is 30 feet. The .125 . For example you may have to cut a 47.) You also need a digital protractor (I found mine on-line at Amazon.625 . The 3 is how many feet it will be.com/DEWALT-DW723-Miter-Saw-Stand/dp/ B00005RHPY ). you can’t set your saw accurately without the protractor.8125 . I used a Dewalt miter saw that has the cutting stand. (Most of your larger saws will cut 65 degrees. but you will thank yourself over and over again for taking the time out.5724.7977= 9. If you are thrifty you can try to determine the best way to reduce waste by using different length 2X4s for different strut lengths.0625 . as well as the side from one end to the other. then your frequency will be 4V.4375 .5625 . This may take a while.Dome Greenhouses /16 1 1/8 3/16 1/4 5/16 3/8 7/16 1/2 9/16 5/8 11/16 3/4 13/16 7/8 15/16 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = . Your “A” strut length will be 3.75 . You must round this to the nearest 1/16th of an inch. This will give you a rough estimate of how many linear feet you will need. You’ll need go to your local lumber store and pick out the straightest boards you can.3125 . The cutting stand was very helpful.7977. The ideal strut is straight when you look down the face of the board from one end to the other. 12 X .
Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 17 . If you can. Let’s say your plans call for a strut 25-inches long with both ends having a 17-degree angle on them. Each strut has an angle cut on each end. and will not fit against the other struts as you are fitting the joints together. The higher the frequency. This means the use of jigs or stops. you can accurately keep track of how many and which kind you have. but can be bent under pressure to fit. Boards that twist like a spiral will give you the most trouble. avoid buying boards that twist even slightly. You are now ready to cut your struts. Set your protractor against the saw to ensure your angle is correct. Something else that you will thank yourself for is labeling every strut with its letter AS you go. These boards do not straighten out easily. the better. the more strut lengths you need. A structure with this many angles does not need any outside factors making things more difficult.Dome Greenhouses Cutting Struts How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse sides are not ideal. The less human factor you can put into cutting and angling your struts. If you label as you cut. which I will explain in more detail as we go on.
Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 18 . All you have to do is make your first cut. you would set your saw at 17 degrees on the table (don’t tilt the blade). forming a very long trapezoid. and measure your 25-inches from long point to long point. cut your first end of the strut. After checking and double checking. flip the strut over.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Laying your strut flat on your saw.
If you want to finish quickly. you may choose to use a jig. If you use one. you would want to use a tape measure and measure and mark each strut. and then save time as you’re cutting because you don’t have to measure over and over. you’re under the gun and only have a certain amount of time to finish. be sure to measure every once in a while to make sure you didn’t bump your jig or stop too hard. Since you will have multiple length struts to cut be sure to cut all of one length before you go to the next strut length. you spend a little more time setting it up.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse If you are using a stopper. However. every board you cut bumps your stopper just a little bit. There are pros and cons to using a stop or jig. This can cause your struts to be less than uniform. What you do depends on what you value. Mark each length with the same letter as you cut. Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 19 . If you have time and want to be as precise as possible. so you don’t have to measure each one later on when you are putting the dome together.
You must adjust the angle of your blade to match the angle of the strut. it is now time to cut your compound angles on each end. THIS IS IMPORTANT: Before you set your blade to the proper angle. Slide your strut to where it touches the blade when the blade is down. you will ruin your strut and will have to cut another. This allows your saw to cut the same angle that is on the end of your strut. If you do not do this step. Do this by setting your table angle to the proper degree.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Now that you have all your struts cut to length with the proper angle on each end. Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 20 . Since the end of your strut has an angle on it you will see that there is an angled gap between the blade and the strut. UNPLUG YOUR SAW!! Now take your strut and set it on-edge on the saw against the back wall of the saw.
whichever the plan calls for and make sure your blade is set at the angle of your strut.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Compound Angles It is now time to mark the center of the edge of your strut with a pencil. measure each to find the exact center. If you do not do this. which is ¾ of an inch. since boards are not perfectly uniform. However. Normally the “A” struts have one end that is a 60 degree and one end that is a 54 degree. The ends with 60 degree angles are to connect into hexagons and the 54 degree ends are to connect into pentagons. Since you will be using 2 inch material. you will end up with arrow points that are not in the center of some boards. Make a mark at the end of your strut at ¾ of an inch. Divide that in half. Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 21 . Set your table at either 60 or 54 degrees. the thickness of your strut is 1½ inches (not a full two inches).
Repeat this process to cut the other edge of the strut. just make enough of a cut so you know you are cutting at the center mark. Now. make sure you cut the mark with the edge of the blade. Clamp the jig or stop down so it doesn’t move. That is what you want.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Now. flip your strut end to end and cut the other end. go ahead and cut the angle on the strut. it will cut a little off your jig or stop (that is the thickness of your blade). Go back to the strut that you started cutting and make sure it didn’t move. Holding your strut in place. your angle could get off. You also will find that when you make that first cut. plug your saw back in. If both ends of your strut call for 60 degrees. If you use the center of the blade. NOTE: Since your blade has a thickness to it. Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 22 . bring your strut up to the blade and without cutting the strut completely through. This is where your jig or stop comes in. bring up another 2x4 and gently slide your jig or stop to where it butts up with the strut.
You may need to ask your local hardware store for help. If your point is even on both sides. the second side of the arrow point isn’t necessary. This will help when you get ready to put the covering on your dome. Look for stains that do not release toxic chemicals. To stain. you know it is right. Then you can use a long-handled roller brush to quickly paint or stain many boards at the same time. I would suggest using Redwood or treated wood for the base since it will be on or close to the ground.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse When done. the tilt of your blade moved and you didn’t have it locked down properly. If not. As soon as that surface is dry. Re-align the blade then continue. lay flat a sheet of painters plastic on your driveway or in your garage. stain or varnish your struts with whatever you want on the inside of your greenhouse. Lay your struts out side by side. take your finished struts and run the top edge through a dado blade on your table saw. so that your plants are chemical-free. rotate all the boards in Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 23 . the first angle and one side of the arrow point. your strut should have an even point on each end that kind of looks like a fence picket. Your base or beginning struts only need two angles on each end. Lastly. Since one side is on the ground or on blocks. Make a 3/8 inch wide by 7/16 inch deep groove. Paint.
cut a 2X4 the same length as your strut along with the compound miters. After accomplishing this. The battery screw gun of course screws the struts together. Obviously. They sell a weatherproof. water-proof. you can go on-line and purchase the “T” lock from HarvestPathway. Run your 2x6 through the dado blade on the table saw. Repeat the process until you run out of material. It is smart to paint or stain the same length struts in groups. mildew. (two on each end to make it look like a picket post). Be sure to stain and varnish your “T” locks since these will be out in the weather. Then set your dado blade so that your tongue is 3/8th inch deep. set the saw so that the top of your “T’ is about ¼ inch thick. mold and insect resistant thermally modified wood called Cambia in the “T” lock form. To make the “T” lock. or varnish this wood. buying this product saves lots of time and in all honesty a lot of heart ache. If you feel overwhelmed with this step. Your pipe wrench will assist you to straighten them as much as possible. pipe wrench and a ratchet strap. Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 24 . Now with a second table saw set up with a regular blade. so you’re not mixing piles. Starting the Dome: The Pony Wall Now you are ready to start building. Now you have a 2x6 that is pointed on both ends.com. stain.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse the same direction and repeat painting with the long-handled roller brush. This locking system ties your covering into your struts with a great deal of friction. You don’t have to seal. To make your own locking “T” take a 2x6 and cut it the same length as your strut then put the proper angle on both ends. Repeat for as many coats as you desire. Build Your Own Locking T Since my locking system is a tongue and groove system. Then lay your 2x6 flat and run your wood through the saw cutting off the “T”. You no longer need them. and your “T” locks are complete. Now your 2x6 isn’t quite a 2x6. stack them and you’ll be able to keep every length separated. The only tools you need now are a screw gun. Pre-drill your “T” lock so you don’t split them when you fasten them to your dome. When the struts are dry. Sometimes you will have to twist your strut to make it fit the best you can because the wood isn’t perfectly straight. What’s great now is that you can put your saws away. Then flip your 2x6 and do the same on the other side. you will have a 2x6 with a tongue on the edge. you will need to make or buy the “T” lock.
These studs should be cut at 33 inches in order to get a 3 foot pony wall. If not. you will split some struts. Try to hide your screws so they will not be exposed. and use two screws per end. When pre-drilling. but you will not need to cut the arrow points into them. put it in before it is too late. use this letter for the bottom of your pony wall. Now you are ready to screw your base diameter together. Cut at least two vertical struts per side of the dome. For example Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 25 . Remember that if you want to use a big water tank (black. to absorb heat) in your dome. The bottom of the pony wall will use the same sized struts as the base of the dome. Look at your plan and whatever letter is used for the bottom of the dome. You will be using 3-inch coated screws. or anything that may be too large to get through the framework. I would suggest pre-drilling your struts. measure from joint to joint to make sure that your base diameter is right. Once the pony wall is completed you can insulate it using house insulation. Once you’re finished.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Build and insulate your 3-foot pony wall. The angles and lengths will be the same. drill your holes just above where your angles begin.
When you get to the point at the very top where you are tying the last struts together. Try pushing the joint of the connected hexagon or pentagon away from the center of the dome. Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 26 . The First Row The simplest way is to build your dome one row at a time. But remember that wood is not perfect and it is very difficult to make every joint so that there is no gap. You want to get your joints to fit as tight as possible. your dome will still fit together. It will make things easier as you build up. THEY ARE NOT! You just have to move and manipulate the struts until they fit. DO NOT use a saw to make any adjustments.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse if you are building a 30 foot dome you will measure from outside point to the opposite outside point and get 30 feet. you might find that one or two of the struts seem too long. You will also realize that the structure aligns itself as you build. If you end up with gaps here and there don’t worry.
Sometimes it is difficult to get your joints to come together. BE SURE to get the kind with wheels you can attach to the bottom. Depending on the size of your dome. Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 27 . It’s so much easier to roll your scaffolding than it is to drag it. I then ratchet the two struts till they come together.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Your dome will GROW with every strut you install. in this occasion I sink a couple of screws and attach both ends of a ratchet strap to the two screws. you will need to get some scaffolding.
You can use whatever size door you like. frame it in with 2 x 4s or 2 x 6s. but try to find a spot where you cut the least amount of struts. Standard doors are usually 6’ to 6’6 tall and 2’6 to 3’ wide. After you have measured and cut out the space. Keep this in mind for your measurements unless you plan to build your own door. Your dome will hold itself together.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse The Door You will need to cut space for a door out and frame it in. I installed my door on the south wall opposite of my water tank. leaving as many joints intact as possible. Find a spot convenient for a door that is not on the north wall. Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 28 .
you now need to decide where to put the vents or windows. north and south wall. You can go on-line and purchase automatic vent openers that are filled with bees’ wax and open and close automatically depending on the temperature. I put in four. Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 29 . I also framed in a ceiling vent as well so my dome would have a chimney effect in the summertime.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Vents After the completion of your dome. one on the east. west.
When temperatures drop in the evening. and the tank of water below it. For my reflective shield I used regular foil bubble wrap insulation that you can purchase at your local lumber company. put a water tank or container (the size will depend on the size of dome) below your reflective shield. Now step back and look at the awesome dome you just built! Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 30 . the sun will reflect off of the foil insulation into the water warming it up during the day.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Insulation and the North Wall Heating The heart and soul of a geodesic greenhouse is the reflective shield on the north wall. This creates a passive solar heating system. The concept is simple. Then cover the northern part of your dome with this material. the water will release all that stored heat and keep your greenhouse warm. Next.
5 mil.Dome Greenhouses Installing SolaWrap™ How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse You now have to decide what to cover your geodesic dome with. Once you have applied it you will never want to go through the process again! You could go to a glass company and spend a ton of money! Plus glass is porous and very hard to keep clean. rating on it has a 5-year warranty. There are a few polyethylene products out there designed for greenhouses. But you don’t have a whole lot of strength in this material. SolaWrap™ is a German made product that the Europeans have been using for over 30 years. The bubbles provide a insulation value equal to two pane glass windows. the bubbles are 5 mil and the inner layer is 3 mil. This material is strong. I would highly recommend a polyethylene material I am using called Solawrap™.V. and the U. Plus it is very strong and light weight. Not to mention the added weight to your dome and the safety issues. You could run to the nearest hardware store and buy a roll of 6 mm clear plastic that is very inexpensive. but again it is very expensive and it yellows preventing light from entering your dome. The main benefits to this superior material is that the bubbles difuse the sun in such a way that there are no hot spots in your greenhouse and your plants will grow straight up. You could use a polycarbonate. that is if the wind doesn’t get to it first. You actually have many options. The thermal resistivity (how slow heat escapes through a material) is 27 which is 3-5 times better than anything else on the market! Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 31 . It looks a lot like “bubble wrap” that we use for packaging in the U. but it’s still very expensive and hard to keep clean.. and you will be changing out the plastic after one year or so. Plexiglas would work. The outside layer is 8.S. It’s not quite as heavy as glass. and it has three layers. but it’s much larger.
Next. Remember to lap your Solawrap™ just like you would roof a house with shingles. When I covered my dome I found that I didn’t have to cut Solawrap™ for each triangle. My philosophy is: If you don’t have to make a penetration in your covering. Now there is a distributor in the U. don’t. In the past you could only get Solawrap™ out of Germany or Canada. Water runs down hill so make sure your laps are laid the proper way. Then I cut my next section of Solawrap™ to overlap what I had just laid down. I set my Solawrap™ with a staple gun using just enough staples to keep it in place.com for full rolls and more info and pictures of domes. Go to SolaWrap.S.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse I personally have been inside a greenhouse in Germany that has had this product on it for 25 years! It was hard to tell the difference between the newer material and the 25year old material. I noticed that I had a pattern of struts that ran parallel with each other. So I measured enough Solawrap™ to cover that run of triangles. Be sure to install your “T” lock as you go. So I just “T” locked where my Solawrap™ Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 32 .com for partial rolls or HarvestPathway. I did have a few triangles that needed to be covered individually.
that is totally up to you. I know you will enjoy your greenhouse for years to come and treasure the unique building experience for a lifetime! Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Page 33 . If you want your dome to have “T” lock on all your struts. Congratulations on your decision to build your own geodesic dome greenhouse.Dome Greenhouses How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse overlapped.
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