Introduction: Geodesic Dome From Laser-Cut Cardboard

About: We are a non-profit that solves problems for and with the poor in developing countries using design.

In this brief tutorial, we will show you how to build geodesic domes using cardboard or foamcore board panels. We manufactured our panels using a laser cutter with a 2'x3' area. If you are highly motivated, you could also create these panels by hand, using the same design template.

We assembled our domes using Makedo screws (, an amazing and re-usable tool for cardboard prototyping. If you're impatient to get building, you could also assemble your dome using zip-ties or binder clips.

NOTE that this Instructable is a draft! Help us make it better by putting your suggestions in the comments!

Step 1: Design the Dome Panels

We have designed panels for what's called a 2v-dome with 40 panels, and a 3v-dome with 75 panels. Cut from 2'x3' cardboard stock, the 2v-dome is 36 inches tall, and the 3v-dome is 54 inches tall. You can create an even larger 3v-dome with an additional bottom strip of 30 panels that will be almost six feet tall, but it isn't as stable as the other two domes.

Attached are the dome panels as a CorelDraw file. This is the format that works best with the printer driver for our Epilog Legend 36EXT laser cutter. Please request other file formats in the comments!

Step 2: Notes on the Dome Design

Our goal was to make the biggest possible geodesic dome using panels cut from 24"x36" cardboard using our 60W Epilog laser cutter.

We first considered a 2V 3/8th dome design, which has just 40 panels. Note that most dome calculators provide parameters in terms of struts and hubs.

See the attached Excel spreadsheet for all of our calculations.

Step 3: Inspirations

Step 4: References

1. Desert Domes reverse dome calcs

2. Geo Dome UK


  • estimate maximum strut length using example triangles in CorelDraw. Goal is to fit two triangles on each 24"x36" cardboard sheet, including 1/2" wide assembly tabs on each triangle face. this looks like 22.5 inches.
  • in 2V dome, using Desert Domes calculator, this max length is the input for the A strut in 3V dome, using Desert Domes calculator, this max length is the input for the C strut


  • assume three fasteners per intersection/strut
  • subtract three fasteners for every "base" strut
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