Geodesic Dome Greenhouse - Part 8 - ASSEMBLING THE DOME!

Introduction: Geodesic Dome Greenhouse - Part 8 - ASSEMBLING THE DOME!

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This next part in the dome series shows the dome being assembled and the "utility" shed building process.

Below is the transcript for the entire video:

Once again you’re treated to an extra-long video about building the dome!

The structure went up in a day!  I started off the morning by laying out all the pieces around the perimeter knee-wall and bolting everything together.  This helped to create a firm base to build on.

A fellow aquaponic grower and dome lover, Steve, volunteered to help erect the dome.  This was one job where having an extra set of hands was extremely helpful.  We found it was easiest to connect two legs together with a hub, and then set them into the base unit.  When the bolts were placed in the hubs, each section was able to stand on its own without any supports.  Once we figured out a system, the entire assembly process was relatively smooth.

A couple of the bolts would get stuck going through the struts, but a little persuasion would get them in.  Once each triangle section was installed, we would connect each one with a horizontal strut.  This simple action made the side wall rigid enough to support my weight of leaning against it.

It took a little bit of thought on how to assemble to the second level, but we decided the best way to assemble it was the same way as the first tier:  Steve would support the assembly from the ladder and I would align it with the hub and run the bolt through it.

The horizontal strut was a bit trickier but I was able to lean a ladder against the dome and hold it into place.

The third tier went together just as smoothly.  The dome was self-supporting and there was no problem leaning against the structure to assemble the struts.

By the end of the day, the dome was now visible from the road and a few of the neighbors would stop by to see how we were progressing. 

We finished late in the evening using flashlights….here is how it looked when it was completed.

Here’s a little time-lapsed segment of the dome being assembled.

On October 30th, we had a freak snowstorm that decimated the region.  We were without power for a week while the town and line crews cleaned up the roads and utilities.  The project was put on hold…

Once we recovered from the storm and most of the snow melted, it was time to go back to work.  Even though the dome was standing on its own, I stilled needed to adjust a few of the hubs and tighten the nuts.

The next part of the project was to build the walls for the shed area.  One of the biggest problems with working in the fall is the rain and snow, along with the constant freeze and thaw cycles.  This turns any disturbed dirt in to mud.  I decided that it was best to build the walls up by the house and set them in place with the tractor.

When building a prefab-type building, it’s critical to make sure each section is square and accurate.  Once each wall frame is squared up, I would secure it with a few angle braces to keep it from racking.  After all of the studs were nailed in place, I would again check to make sure it was still square and then install the sheathing.  Since the walls are placed so close to the ground, I installed treated plywood sheathing along the bottom 16 inches of the wall to help prevent rot and insect damage.

The excess sheathing is marked and cut off to the appropriate length and then nailed into the studs.

My good friend, Ford, helped me lift the walls and carry them to the greenhouse site.  Each section fit perfectly into place.  Ford was also kind enough to hold the wall in place while I secured each section together.

After all the walls were in place, I finished installing the remaining sheathing.

Even though the dome structure probably could support the weight of the shed roof, I felt it was best to add a support beam across the length of the shed and cantilever the rafters over the dome.  The rafters are attached to the dome, but they have almost no load bearing weight against it.

There are 35 rafters, all custom cut with the correct angle to match against the dome.  Any of the excess is then cut off, and the scrap is then used as blocking between the rafters to keep them from racking.  The roof decking is then laid down, cut, and secured.

Once again, that’s the end of another segment.  I invite you to join our Facebook page at the link below for building updates prior to these video releases.  Thanks for watching!

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    6 years ago

    Outstanding and very entertaining. As a retired builder, I can see you really know what you are doing. This would not be an easy project even for experienced builders. Let me ask; If you had it to do over again, would you still have gone with a geodesic dome or would you have gone with a more conventional design? I ask this in view of the spherical shape in regard to covection currents, air distribution, heating and cooling, cross flow ventilation, condensaton gathering in odd places...the considerations of how well the building shape fits the intended use.


    Reply 6 years ago

    This design has worked well, I really enjoy the shape and how it's laid out. I really wouldn't go any bigger than this since the sphere starts to get really large. Also, from a commercial view, it's impractical since nothing is nice and square which makes it difficult to have "production line" style growing. We're currently in the process of setting up a new 26x144 greenhouse. This is a traditional hoop house....just far more economical to set up. You can follow along at Thanks!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    The dome structure is cedar and the knee wall section is pressure treat.