Constructing Geodesic Spheres on Google SketchUp

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Here is an extremely simple tutorial on how to construct icosahedral geodesic spheres using the free 3D CAD software Google SketchUp. It's so easy to do even a 2 year old could accomplish this.

The very first thing you need to do is to have Google SketchUp installed. You can download it for free at: http://sketchup.google.com/download/

Once installed, start the software

Set Conditions:
- Go to Edit > Edge Style > Disable Profiles
- Go to Window > Model Info > Units
- Set Format to Decimal > Meters
- Enable length snapping at 0.01m
- Enable display units format
- Enable angle snapping at 15.0 degrees
- Make all precision at 0.00m

Download the entire file for this tutorial (Includes SketchUp files)
If the first host doesn't work, try here
The file is in WinRAR format (similar to WinZip) and can be downloaded here

Step 1: Icosahedron - 1V Geodesic Sphere

The first thing we will do is construct an icosahedron.

An icosahedron is basically a 20 sided 3D shape made up of equilateral triangles. This is the standard format for most geodesic domes as it provides a minimum degree of difference in the surface area for each triangle face and the length of the edges (also known as struts).

It can also be called a 1V geodesic sphere. V means the number of triangle subdivisions on each side of the icosahedron.

Download the entire file for this tutorial

Step 2: 2V Geodesic Sphere

The next level is to make the basic 1V geodesic sphere more complex by increasing the number of triangular subdivisions per face to create a 2V geodesic sphere.

Download the entire file for this tutorial

Step 3: 3V Geodesic Sphere

We will now construct a 3V Geodesic Sphere.

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Step 4: 4V Geodesic Sphere

Now we will construct a 4V geodesic sphere. 

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Step 5: 5V Geodesic Sphere

Now we will construct a 5V geodesic sphere.

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Step 6: 7V Geodesic Sphere

Now we will construct a 7V geodesic sphere.

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    9 Discussions

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    frobiquet

    Question 6 months ago

    Your download links do not work...

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    mmilanova

    4 years ago on Introduction

    So, Im stuck on step 1, photo 10,11 ... I cant get the second face as you are showing here. My faces look aligned to the red line :(

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    eerambach

    5 years ago on Step 4

    This is so cool! Have you used Solidworks? My engineering club uses it, and I'd love to be able to design geodesic spheres on that software.

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    Imperarrickharris

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 1

    The blue cube? That appears when all the rectangles are selected, and made into a component.

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    Imperarrickharris

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 1

    Woops, I meant the rectangle in blue. Thanks for pointing that out. Let me know what else is confusing. Thanks!

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    rickharris

    8 years ago on Step 1

    Nope I am fairly familiar with sketchup but I can not follow your steps - sorry.

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    rickharris

    8 years ago on Introduction

    I am pretty confident that none of my bright 12 year old students could do this - However - Very impressive use of Sketchup