Videos

Step 1: Geodesic Dome Media Pod

It's no secret that the Geodesic Dome is one of the strongest structures in the world in ratio to the materials used to create it, and also has outstanding acoustic qualities that can't be duplicated in ANY other design. This specific project was made to be a Chill-Out Chamber if you will, a place to go and play video games, escape from the children, and maybe even watch a movie in your own mini version of the Hollywood Cinerama Dome.

This structure is also Very Strong!, and the fully glued Media-Pod can hold the weight of a 200lb Man standing upon the top edges of the roof pentagon piece. And to think it's only made of Cardboard, Glue, and Paint!.

REMEMBER - Cardboard is a WONDERFUL THING!, in creating this Instructable I wanted to show what you can do with a big pile of discarded cardboard waste, and I think this is the Grand Dad of all uses for recycled cardboard. Scrap cardboard can be found in ANY CITY, ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD! so this project can be made by Anyone and used by ALL!

Build it and ENJOY!

Step 2: The Basics of Geodesic Design

The basic 3 frequency Geodesic Dome consists of only 2 geometric shapes, a Pentagon and a Hexagon. The Geometry of these two simple shapes when connected together transform themselves into one unique and beautiful structure, The Geodesic Dome.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

The Pentagon has 5 sides and the Hexagon has 6 sides. When these shapes are connected together they form a beautiful spherical structure.

Geodesic Dome Mathematics can be Very Scary and complex, I have taken all the scary math and done that for you, just follow my instructions and make the templates to use and you will not have to deal with the repetitive measuring of each piece of the Hexagon & Pentagon triangles.

This project will take some time if you want it to look as good as the one in my instructable lesson, or you can make a quick-and-dirty version and not paint it or make any cosmetic adjustments and get it done in 1-2 days, but a very nice one may take you a week or more of tinkering and tweaking to get it Perfect!.

When this project is complete and you have a chance to spend a few Hours inside it Blasting your brains out to some Hot Music.... Then you will understand what a Fantastic Project you have made!, It will grow on you and you will find yourself Adding More computers and sound equipment, pretty soon your wife will come looking for you.....and wont be able to find you for hours at a time, your children won't know you anymore, and you will want to move inside it permanently.

Be careful.............

Step 3: Making Templates

The two basic Hexagon and Pentagon shapes needed to create the Media-Pod are made from two templates I have designed with specific measurements on each side of the triangle. We will now start with the Pentagon:

1. The Pentagon has 5 sides, and is created from 5 individual pieces of cardboard that will be cut from a piece of scrap plywood (Any Thickness will do). The Pentagon template has three sides, two sides measure 12.55 Inches, and one side that measures 14.52 inches. You can round off the measurements to fractions if you want and it wont look any different if you are off by 1/16" or so.

2. The Hexagon has 6 sides, and is created from 6 individual pieces of cardboard that will also be cut from another piece of scrap plywood (Use the same thickness as the Pentagon Template). The Hexagon template also has three sides, two measure 14.84 inches, and one side measures 14.52 inches.

Note: both templates share one common measurement, 14.52 inches, this measurement must not change or be shorter or longer on both templates, they must both be the same. Otherwise the Hexagon and pentagon pieces will not fit together properly when you go to assemble the dome.

Lay out the Hexagon template by drawing a straight line across a piece of scrap plywood. Again, any thickness will do, I chose 3/4" Roofing plywood and that works fine. You will need to make or buy a large carpenters compass (Like the one I use), a dowel with a pencil and nail taped to it at the appropriate length will work, or you can buy a nice one at a home improvement store.

Continue to follow the instructions in the photos to lead you each step of the way in making the two templates needed to construct your Media Pod.

Step 4: Cutting Out Hexagon, Pentagon and Base Pieces

Start by collecting together large scrap cardboard sheets, preferably Refrigerator boxes or furniture packing boxes made from double walled strength cardboard.

If you can only find single walled scrap pieces, those will also work as well but flat straight sheets are best to start from.

Place the template down with the nails pointing downward into the cardboard scrap, now trace a line at the edge of one corner and move down to the farthest edge of the scrap piece and trace a similar corner.

Now connect the edges with a long board or ruler and draw a solid line between the two points. This will be your cutting line. Cut along that line to make strips to start cutting from.

Now things will speed up, you will need to make:

30 Individual Triangles from the PENTAGON TEMPLATE

84 Individual Triangles from the HEXAGON TEMPLATE

BE SURE TO MARK EACH TRIANGLE WITH LETTERS SO YOU WON'T MIX THEM UP AFTER YOU CUT THEM

PENTAGON TRIANGLES ARE MARKED "A, "A" and "B"

HEXAGON TRIANGLES ARE MARKED "C", "C" and "B"

THE "B" SIDE WILL ALWAYS BE THE SIDE THAT MEASURE 14.52 INCHES ON BOTH THE HEXAGON AND PENTAGON TRIANGLES

I know that this sounds like a lot of cutting but just keep telling yourself, "I'm Almost Done" "I'm Almost Done" over and over again, and after about 1 six pack, 2 Asprin and a lot of watching the Discovery Channel all day long while cutting cardboard...........You will finally be done!

Step 5: Attaching the Pieces Together

Now things will start to literally take shape, you will now start to connect those cute little triangles you spent all day cutting out into 6 Pentagon and 14 Hexagon shaped panels. You will need to get some reinforced shipping tape, a Spray Bottle, and a Hot Glue Gun.

Now we will lay out the triangles of the Hexagon or Pentagon shape you decide to make first, BE SURE NOT TO MIX UP THE PENTAGON & HEXAGON TRIANGLES AS THEY WONT FIT TOGETHER PROPERLY & YOU WON'T FIGURE THIS OUT UNTIL THE SHAPES START LOOKING WEIRD AND WON'T GO TOGETHER AT ASSEMBLY.

REMEMBER: ALL "A" SIDES FIT ONTO "A" SIDES & "C" SIDES FIT "C" SIDES, "B" SIDES WILL ALWAYS FACE OUTWARD TO THE EDGES OF THE PENTAGON OR HEXAGON.

Start by placing 2 "A" Sides together if you are making the Pentagon shapes first, then cut a strip of reinforced paper box tape that is long enough to cover the seam.

Spray the tape with water and place upon the seam and press firmly until it holds fast. Then place another "A" side triangle along the next "A" edge and tape this seam also.

Follow the pictures and continue working until you have assembled all the parts of each Hexagon and Pentagon.

Lastly, you will also need to make:

5 Individual Half Pentagons, No template is required, just use an assembled Pentagon as a template. This is the easiest component to make and is only used along the base of the dome.

Take these 5 Half Pentagons and put them aside until the Painting or Velcro stage when you will work on them again.

Step 6: Filling in the Voids & Painting

This next stem is not 100% necessary, and you can just move on to the next step and assemble the unpainted Hexagon & Pentagon pieces first, then paint the dome last if you want, but I found it is better to work on the individual pieces flat on the ground first as this makes less back strain bending around the dome to fill voids and painting.

If you chose to do this step now, follow the pictures in series:

Start sanding the seams with an orbital sander and 100# Grit sand paper, grind off all the excess hot glue that extends up over the seams.

Once you clean this up, fill the voids in the seams with caulk and work into the seams.

After this dries, then re-sand the seams clean.

You can choose to spray the parts now with Canned Acoustic Ceiling touch-up spray, this ads a nice pebble finish to the dome pieces and covers up any mistakes in finishing.

Spray a primer coat of a flat based paint ( I chose black ) and then paint by hand a thick gloss coat of whatever color you want to make your dome - ( I chose Black )

Once you have painted the outsides of all the 6 Pentagons & 14 Hexagons, as well as the 5 Modified Pentagon base pieces, you are done with this step.

Step 7: Making the Base Structure

Before we get along any farther you should now make the base that holds the entire dome structure together at the bottom. Without this base in place your dome would not be able to sustain any loads without collapse.

Start by getting an 8 ft piece of clear Pine, 3 1/2" by 3/4" thick, at the end cut off an angle of 72 Degrees with a 10" Power miter saw, measure down from the top edge (Longest point) 14 1/2" and make a line, from that top edge use a protractor to make another 72 degree line. (See Pictures)

This will be the small piece, and your template. Now make 4 more exactly like this one. When you have completed this step, Cut another 72 degree angle and measure down 23 3/4" at the longest portion and mark another line. From that line mark another 72 Degree angle on the board and cut exactly along that line with the same 10" Power miter Saw. (Using a Power Miter saw is Way Easier than hand cutting and far more precise)

Make another 4 of those long pieces using the first one as a template. Then attach them as shown in the pictures End-To-End, Small - Large - Small in sequence as shown. Place a liberal ammount of wood glue on the ends before you push them together.

Using a Stanley or Arrow Stapler - put 3 staples as shown evenly on the seams, make sure that the wooden pieces are firmly flat on a concrete surface when you staple the joints together.

Let the whole assembly dry overnight before you move it again, it will be quite strong when dried and should be fine to sand the seams or cut off any excess glue drips.

Move on to the Velcro phase next!

Step 8: Velcro Placement

If you want to skip this step - Go ahead as this step was added to make this Media-Dome portable to take apart and move to other locations, you can actually Hot Glue the seams up solid if you want. If you want to go portable - Read on.

Go and buy about 100ft of both "Hook" and "Loop" Velcro found at most yardage or upholstery supply stores, this should be black in color and 1" wide, this will cost you some money, but like I said when you want to move the Media-Pod, the mobile aspects of this can be very valuable.

Start by using the finished painted Hexagons and Pentagons as well as the Half Pentagon pieces you have created, the un-painted inside portions are where you will RTV Glue in the Velcro along the outer edges. Black RTV Silicone Rubber caulk can be purchased at Lowes & Home Depot in a typical Caulk tube.

Select the "HOOK" side of the velcro, this is the opposite portion of the Fuzzy hair looking "Loop" portion of the velcro, we will now cut pieces with angles matching the inside edges of the Dome pieces we are working with, (See Pictures).

I won't go into a lot of details about this step because we all had plenty of training in cutting and pasting in Kindergarten and can perform this task with minimal trouble. just follow the pictures I have shown and you will get it on the first try.

Step 9: Assemble the Dome

Now you will begin to assemble the structure, this is actually the fun part where you get to see the shape of the geodesic dome come to form. The base I used is painted black, but you don't have to paint the base if you don't want to. Also the inside sections of all the Hexagon, Pentagon and Half Pentagon pieces are painted flat black to save time latter.

Start by laying out the 5 Half Pentagon shapes as you see them in the first picture. Attach the 2" velcro strips to hold the pieces together.

NOTE: If you are going to assemble the dome permanently, you will temporarily duct tape the sections in place as you go and Hot Glue the pieces in, letting the sections harden and dry fully before moving on to the next section. You will then pull the duct tape off and Hot Glue under where the duct tape was holding the section pieces.

Keep going along Gluing or adding Velcro as each section is put into place, remember that no Pentagon will ever touch another Pentagon, so you can not really get confused. Just follow the pictures to see how it goes together.

Step 10: Making the Vent Cap

Since this is a confined space and you are a Human who must breath oxygen to survive it is important to allow for adequate ventilation to allow for this. The Vent Capt at the top of the dome allows for stale air to flow out of the dome and fresh air that is pumped in from the ventilation system to flow in. There will always be a positive air flow coming out of the top vents when the door is placed on the front, and the air pump is turned on, this makes for a very cool and pleasant environment.

Start by selecting any one of the Pentagon pieces, weather you have painted it or not is not important. Turn over the Pentagon and find the center of the pentagon, measure outward with a compass and start marking the 5" mark all the way around. This will make a 10" circle.

Next measure inward from the edge of the triangle sides to find the center point, this should be at about 3" from the edge. Mark that point on each triangle.

Use a 3" hole saw on a drill motor to cleanly cut out each of the 5 holes you will need, then you will need to buy 5ea 3" attic vents from a Home improvement store, these will need to me cut down to about 1/4" from the edge of the face to allow them to be almost flush with the inside of the cardboard when inserted.

After you cut all 5 vents down to size, put a small amount of caulking around the inner edge and insert them into the Pentagon. BE SURE TO NOTICE WHICH WAY THE VENT SLOTS ARE GOING, THEY SHOULD ALL BE THE SAME.

Then paint the outside to match the rest of the dome and you are done with this step.

Step 11: Making the Doorway & Door

You will now need to make a Doorway and Door to enclose your Media-Pod, it is not 100% required to have a Door, but it helps with the sound quality as the sound will bounce off the inner door and make for a better music experience.

The Doorway is Required for strength, and helps to make the shape more solid. Start with a large 4' X 4' Sheet of Door Luan skin, 13/64" thick, this is standard and is available as "Door Skin" at Home Improvement centers.

Place one of the Hexagons onto the door skin and trace around the hexagon to get a template shape onto the door skin. Then mark lines from all 6 points to find the center.

Use a Large Compass to make a 22 3/4" circle in the center, then use a Jig Saw to cut out the shape you have just made. Sand the edges smooth, and paint the door frame whatever color your whole dome is going to be.

Now a door is in order, make two circles on some scrap plywood, 1/2" to 3/4" thick, one circle will be 22 5/8", and the other will be 23 3/4" in diameter, Cut a radius on the outer edges of each to smooth out the look a bit. Face these circles against one another in the exact centers (Use the compass center holes to locate the exact center) Radius edges facing outward, screw the discs together and use liberal glue. Place a handle on the inside center of the door (The Inside center will be the small disk) screw into place from the outside (Large Disk).

Step 12: Adding Speakers

Speaker placement is very important, and good quality speakers are going to be part of the whole overall effect, I have chosen a good set of Logitech 5.1 Surround Sound Speakers, any type will do but any that run about \$200 should be adequate, if you already have a set of speakers, 2,3, or 4, those will do also but full 5.1 Surround Sound Quality audio speakers will work wonders.

The next important point to note is that the speakers must be at about ear level inside the dome to allow for Maximum penetration of the sound waves to cross reverberate and penetrate your skull. This may sound like some kind of Torture Cell, but the sound experience is absolutely unbelievable! when the speakers are tuned just right and are at the perfect height in the dome.

Mount your speakers onto the Pentagons that are about head level within the dome to the sides and behind your head, this can be done by using RTV Silicone and tape, this will harden overnight and you can then remove the tape. The wires coming down from the speakers can then be clipped to the walls with tie straps, and the wires directed towards the computer used inside the dome.

Step 13: Monitor Screen Mounting

Your Full Media Experience wont be complete without the monitor screen being installed, although you could just play music in there from an i-Pod, it's better to have a full blown Computer Sound system via any old laptop or unused computer that can be put into service. I am using my company Issued Dell Laptop for this, and I unplug it and take it on business trips when I'm on the road.

Since I don't want to look at some tiny lap top screen, I installed a Large 21.5" wide screen monitor screen and hooked it up to the monitor port on the back of my lap top. WOW!, What a Difference.

In order to mount the monitor screen on the inner wall of the geodesic dome, you will need to have a secure method to mount the monitor screen to the wall. I have developed just such a plan to do this, and it is fully adjustable, quite sturdy and safe.

Start by using some 3/4" Scrap plywood, anything you find will work, just stay away from particle board material as it does not have the needed cross strength to safely hold a heavy monitor.

Draw out 2ea 11" circles on each piece of wood and start marking off 72 degree sections to make a common pentagon shape, a compass will help greatly with this step and will also mark the center point as well, you will need to drill a 1/4" hole through the one full pentagon center point to latter add foam insulation.

Cut both of them out using a jig saw or a table saw, cut cleanly along the edge lines to make them both identical. Now you will take one of the pentagons and draw a line across the top two points (See Pictures) this is where you will cut off this section.

Now you will have one Full Pentagon, and one Partially Cut Pentagon. Take the pentagon with the cut edge and bevel this at 45 degrees, this will allow for the piece to swing up completely at any given angle needed to mount and adjust the computer monitor.

Take the full pentagon piece and lay it in one of the cardboard pentagons as shown in the pictures, you will align the wooden pentagon points with the cardboard pentagon seams, and try and adjust it to the approximate center.

Next, pump a liberal amount of Elmer's Wood Glue along the edges of the wooden pentagon, set this aside to dry up completely hard overnight.

Now you will use the 1/4" hole you previously drilled in this full wooden pentagon to pump in a small amount of Can Foam Insulation, this will harden inside the cavity void and become quite solid, making the whole assembly very strong and unbreakable. The wall mount will hold 25-30 Pounds without worry.

Now paint up this completed section and wait until dry. The second section will now be assembled, purchase some cheap 1" hinges at a hardware store, any will do, and align them to a pre drawn line you will need to make that extends across the top two points of the star of the pentagon shape (See Pictures).

Align the hinges, and mark holes for drilling. Drill holes and mount hinges to both wooden pieces, once the holes are drilled and the fit is determined you might want to unscrew the 2nd wooden piece and paint to match as it is hard to paint this piece when mounted on the wall.

After the whole hinge assembly step is complete, go and purchase a small wall monitor bracket (See Pictures) this will need to be a flush mount model that fits closely to a wall.

Mount the bracket as shown on the half pentagon shape, then mount the other metal section onto the monitor back, these are all universal fit and mount with 4 screws that are usually supplied with the bracket.

Mount the monitor screen onto the dome wall and adjust the angle of tilt by sticking a rubber door stop between the wooden parts of the monitor screen mount, this will easily allow for quick and effortless angle adjustment. Sounds quite simplistic - but it's impossible to get behind the monitor screen after it is mounted to view any complex bracketry you might need to adjust, so a rubber door stop works best and it can be felt in the dark to make adjustments if needed.

Step 14: The Ventilation System

This will be the last part to complete in making your Media-Pod, in order to make it comfortable inside with the computer and monitor screen adding extra heat to the inside of the structure, you will need to introduce cool outside air to replace the warm air being circulated by the electronics inside the Media-Pod.

Start the Ventilation system by getting:

4ea, 5" ABS Deck Drains

1ea, 4" PVC Tee

2ea, 12V Computer Cooling fans

1ea, Shop Vac Air Filter

4ea, 3 1/2" X 1/4-20 Bolts & Nuts

3/4" X 6" X 12" Pine Board

2ea, 4" Metal Foil Dryer Exhaust Vent Tubes - Needs To be 10" Long Each Minimum

Follow the picture sequence to show the assembly procedure when in doubt. Start with the 4 square floor drains, you will need to cut out the inner grate sections, these are only to allow for a framework to hold the cooling fans.

Mount two hollowed out grates between each cooling fan and hold together with clamps while you drill out the corners to allow for the bolt placement. Attach the bolts as shown.

Turn on the fans to be sure which way the flow of air is going, this is important as you will have to be sure the air is flowing INTO THE DOME and SUCKING AIR THROUGH THE FILTER.

RTV the Fan assembly into the tee so the flow of air will be going OUT of the TEE.

After the RTV Dries overnight, insert the 4" Round Deck Drain into the Shop Vac Air Filter, and glue up into the filter about 1/2".

Inser the remaining white drain into the top of the PVC Tee, use lots of white RTV Glue to hold this in place, let dry overnight.

Make the cap for the filter by cutting out two discs from some white pine, each disc should be 4" & 5" in diameter, router off one edge of each disc and place together and clamp with a small ammount of glue in between the discs. Drill a 1/4" hole through the center and mount a wooden knob handle.

Attach the 4" metal dryer vent lines to the air pump, Cut two holes 5" in diameter through the approximate center of two of the Half Pentagon base walls and mount the two Dryer Vent Covers as shown in the pictures.

Attach the dryer vent lines to the Vents on the dome walls, connect the electrical lines to a 12V power source, (12V Transformer connected to 115V Wall Socket)

Power up the Air Conditioner and get inside!!!!!!!!

Step 15: Conclusion

This entire INSTRUCTABLE Lesson on Building the Media-Pod was done with Thousands of words and 168 individual pictures, it's quite a project. You will find that it is WELL WORTH the effort, both for your Mental and Physical well being.

There is NO OTHER DOME ON EARTH LIKE IT!!!!! and I know by making the Media Pod you will learn many valuable lessons and discover new things in the process.

HAPPY BUILDING!

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge