Geodesic Dome Completed
The dome's frame is constructed out of 3/4" EMT (Electrical Metalic Tubing) commonly available at your local home improvement store. We used 35 pieces of tubing (10 foot each) to create the 65 struts. We settled on building a "2 V" dome with about a 8 1/2 foot radius. There are two different size pieces required for this type of dome frame -- one is 5.3 feet and the other is 4.7 feet. We chose this size to minimize waste pieces of conduit and reduce the total number of cuts required (Each 10 foot tube is only cut once).
The cover is made of heavy-duty silver tarps. They reflect sunlight well and are stronger than the standard blue tarps. I used a bit of geometry and created a plan for cutting large pieces of the cover out of multiple tarps and then gluing them together. We used a professional grade vinyl cement to glue the seems together.
We've assembled notes from our construction process, as well as provided a geodesic dome calculator to simplify design planning. If you are considering camping in the desert, then I highly recommend building a geodesic dome tent.
We performed our "test flight" of the dome in the Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada in May 2006. The dome worked very well. It took us just under 2 hours to setup the frame and strap down the cover. The structure ventilated quite well and we remained rather comfortable even though the mid-day temperatures reached 105F. The Avalons used a small solar powered evaporative cooler to keep cool in their dome.
We still have a bit of finishing work to do on our cover before I'll consider this project completed. In the meantime our dome will be setup again outside our workshop trailer and we'll use it for muchly needed shade space for lounging and building projects.
We've finally posted a more thorough documentation of our first geodesic dome project! View the links below for more information constructing geodesic domes.