Instructables
Picture of How to build a PVC geodesic dome
Who wants to camp in a boring tent when there are so many other options? A Geodesic dome makes a nice hut-like structure that, when covered, is a great shelter for camping (or partying).
 
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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
dome-3.jpg
dome-1.jpg
This dome can be built with three tools- PVC pipe cutters, a bandsaw, and a drill press. A handheld drill could be used, it will just take a lot more time.

Make sure you use ratcheting pipe cutters- there's a few hundred cuts to do.

Materials List:

For the hubs
30'         1" Schedule 40 PVC pipe (There will be waste)
130       1' Schedule 40 couplings
26          1/4" x 2" hex head bolts
26          1/4" hex nuts
52          1/4" washers

For the struts
35          Long struts   (53 5/16" for an 8' high dome)
30          Short struts   (46 7/16" for an 8' high dome)

If you want to make a dome of a different radius or do the calculation yourself, here's the formula (all units need to be in inches). Six inches need to be subtracted from each strut to compensate for the length of the hubs.

For the long struts:
strut length = (dome radius x .61803) - 6

For the short struts
strut length = (dome radius x .54653) - 6

Pipe choice:
I used Class 200 pipe (thin wall) for the struts. The dome is light, cheaper, packs into a couple of duffel bags for transportation, and is plenty strong to hold up tarps, lights, and a flagpole. If you feel this is not strong enough, you can use Schedule 40. It will just be a lot heavier.


Total cost
The final cost of the dome, including the tarps used to cover it, ended up around $200. If you shop around for the couplings online, you can save almost $100 from the average home improvement store price. I got all 130 connectors for $53, and the company that I bought them from, http://www.pvcfittingsdirect.com/, offers free shipping on orders over $50.



adambates_25 days ago

Do citizens of the US tend to feel nervous if ever, heaven forbid, their flag is not flying within 5 metres of their location?

gorth6 months ago

You could save money by making a coupling on the end of the pipe by heating the end then forcing another pipe lubed with something into the end about 1 inch or so. There's an ible' that teaches you how to do this but I don't remember the name.

j79jon8 months ago
Just what I have been looking for. I want to construct a dome for 6 laying hens to be moved around the grassy yard. I am 88 but still garden and build things. Will cover it with chicken wire with tiewraps. I may use schedule 40 for the ground rounds and thin 200 for the rest struts.
mikeasaurus3 years ago
Party dome, Bucky would be proud!

I want to build one for a movable chicken coop for about 6 laying hens for eggs to move around the grassy yard with a small roost and house for nest and comfort I am 88 but very active in the garden. Will tiewrap chicken wire for cover. Just what I was looking for. Thanks a lot.
stephenf1 year ago
Nice, but where's the door?
ilpug2 years ago
You could do this much simpler if instead of building hubs you just heat formed all the ends of the pipes flat and drilled a hole.
jdimare ilpug2 years ago
could you elaborate on this process further?
ilpug jdimare2 years ago
Take your pipe and heat the end above a flame or a heat gun, Do it outside for good ventilation. Right when the pipe starts to turn color, remove it from the heat and squish the end in a clamp or a vise for like 15 seconds, then dip it in cold water. That crimps it flat. Then, drill a hole through the flattened end. Now, instead of making brackets, all you need to do is line up the holes in the flattened ends of each set of five pipes and stick a bolt through it and tighten. Much faster and simpler, not to mention cheaper and easier to store, because there are no hubs whatsoever.
Great dome - I like the prefab nature of it, doing the work up front for easy deployment in the field. Love pvc as a lazy-man's material, cheap and easy to work with. It looks pretty sturdy too - nice job.
tinker2342 years ago
wow thanks a good way to do this is goon crag list or free cycle and find some PVC also construction sites different lengths and sizes can be used could i make it fold up with hinges so i can throw in a long bag
Gwizzz2 years ago
Nice dome. I built a similar small dome about 5 ft high from 3.33 ft lengths of 1 inch PVC conduit. To make the hubs I softened the ends with a propane torch and then flattened the ends at a slight angle to account for the dome curvature. Then I drilled the holes and connected together like you did with a bolt. Its been setting outside for over ten years doing various garden jobs. I think I will do an instructable inspired by yours.
mhamshar3 years ago
something doesn't add up you say you need 30' of schedule 40 PVC. but you say that you need 130 4" pieces. 130 x 4 = 520 520/12= 43 1/3' . or am i reading something wrong. thanks in advance
player27563 years ago
Thank You! This just solved a riddle I was trying to figure out! Going to build this in a couple weeks!
do you think this idea could be used with metal conduit ?
Yes...

http://www.buylifetime.com/products/blt/pid-101310.aspx

Of course it somewhat removes the DIY element... :)
dome.jpg
SCrid20003 years ago
That's pretty sick! Well done.