Introduction: Constructing Geodesic Spheres on Google SketchUp

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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

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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

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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

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We will now construct a 3V Geodesic Sphere.

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Step 4: 4V Geodesic Sphere

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Now we will construct a 4V geodesic sphere. 

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Step 5: 5V Geodesic Sphere

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Now we will construct a 5V geodesic sphere.

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Step 6: 7V Geodesic Sphere

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Now we will construct a 7V geodesic sphere.

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Comments

mmilanova (author)2014-04-23

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 :(

eerambach (author)2013-07-16

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.

rickharris (author)2010-08-13

Or where the cub comes from in step 11

Imperar (author)rickharris2010-08-13

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

rickharris (author)2010-08-13

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

Imperar (author)rickharris2010-08-13

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

rickharris (author)2010-08-13

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

rickharris (author)2010-08-13

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

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