Constructing Geodesic Spheres on Google SketchUp

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Introduction: Constructing Geodesic Spheres on Google SketchUp

Here is an extremely simple tutorial on how to construct icosahedral geodesic spheres using the free 3D CAD software Google SketchUp. It's so easy to do even a 2 year old could accomplish this.

The very first thing you need to do is to have Google SketchUp installed. You can download it for free at: http://sketchup.google.com/download/

Once installed, start the software

Set Conditions:
- Go to Edit > Edge Style > Disable Profiles
- Go to Window > Model Info > Units
- Set Format to Decimal > Meters
- Enable length snapping at 0.01m
- Enable display units format
- Enable angle snapping at 15.0 degrees
- Make all precision at 0.00m

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Step 1: Icosahedron - 1V Geodesic Sphere

The first thing we will do is construct an icosahedron.

An icosahedron is basically a 20 sided 3D shape made up of equilateral triangles. This is the standard format for most geodesic domes as it provides a minimum degree of difference in the surface area for each triangle face and the length of the edges (also known as struts).

It can also be called a 1V geodesic sphere. V means the number of triangle subdivisions on each side of the icosahedron.

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Step 2: 2V Geodesic Sphere

The next level is to make the basic 1V geodesic sphere more complex by increasing the number of triangular subdivisions per face to create a 2V geodesic sphere.

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Step 3: 3V Geodesic Sphere

We will now construct a 3V Geodesic Sphere.

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Step 4: 4V Geodesic Sphere

Now we will construct a 4V geodesic sphere. 

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Step 5: 5V Geodesic Sphere

Now we will construct a 5V geodesic sphere.

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Step 6: 7V Geodesic Sphere

Now we will construct a 7V geodesic sphere.

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    8 Comments

    So, Im stuck on step 1, photo 10,11 ... I cant get the second face as you are showing here. My faces look aligned to the red line :(

    This is so cool! Have you used Solidworks? My engineering club uses it, and I'd love to be able to design geodesic spheres on that software.

    The blue cube? That appears when all the rectangles are selected, and made into a component.

    I have no idea which triangle your referring to in step 10

    1 reply

    Woops, I meant the rectangle in blue. Thanks for pointing that out. Let me know what else is confusing. Thanks!

    Nope I am fairly familiar with sketchup but I can not follow your steps - sorry.

    I am pretty confident that none of my bright 12 year old students could do this - However - Very impressive use of Sketchup