Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
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,, offers free shipping on orders over $50.

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