Intro: How to Build a Dodecahome
The Dodecahome is a dodecahedron chair that was specially designed for homeless people who do not have access to shelter but it can have many more uses. It can be used for whatever you want it to be used for. It includes a solar panel on the top and side, a fan for hot days, and a lazy Susan type base so that it can turn to avoid weather or go to the sun.
Step 1: Design the Chair
Like any project you do you need to start by sketching it out. It is important that you have it to scale and that you have picked out how big your final product will be. Make sure you make sketches at multiple angles and write down what supplies you will need in order to build. This will help you to visualize what the final product will look like.
Step 2: Make a Prototype
In any project you want to make a prototype so that you can get a feel for what it will look like. It is better that the prototype is up to scale but sometimes that doesn't happen but that's okay. This can be made from small items that you find around the house. As you can see we chose to laser cut our pentagons and then we used a water bottle cap glued to a wooden rode and placed that into a mini pvc pipe so that it could mimic the spinning factor that our big one would have and then we just used a circular piece of plastic we found as the base.
Step 3: Make a Supplies List
Think of all the supplies that you will need in order to build. Then make a list of what things you need to go to the store and buy and what things you already have. The supplies you need depends on how big you want your final product to be and what you want it to look like. For the entire product we used ply wood, fiber glass, hardener, epoxy resin, zip ties, caulk, water proof paint, solar panels, wiring, a dc fan, regular padding, fabric, and cloth.
Step 4: Get Your Supplies
Now that you have a list of the supplies you need you can go to the local hardware store and get all that you need. Before you go you should research what you're going to get and pricing so that you can go in and out and get exactly what you need so you can get them and get right to work. Also be sure that all your pieces work together, you do not want and AC fan with a DC battery unless you have an ACDC power adapter.
Step 5: Design a Building Plan
Before you start building, you should design a schedule to work by. This will help you finish your project on time. You should make sure that you make your goals for each work day realistic. Do not over book yourself and do no put less than you think you can do. Also make sure you add an extra hour of wiggle room between each new task just in case you run into problems.
Step 6: Sketch Out Your Pentagons
Depending on how you make your pentagons, this can look different. For us we decided to laser cut ours using a laser cutter so sketching our pentagons for us was using gravit.io to make the print. However if you are going to cut your pieces using a saw than you will want to measure and draw them out on the wood you are going to cut. Also when hand cutting them you want to be very careful as you do not want to mess anything up.
Step 7: Poke Holes on the Edges of Your Pentagon
Before you actually start building you need to make sure that the pieces fit together. To do so you need zip-tie the pieces together. This will also show you how the final product will look. Make sure that all the zip-ties are pointed in the middle so that after you fiber glass than you can get them out. The holes will allow you to put the zip-ties through. For us we put the holes in our design so they were laser cut when we cut our actual pentagon.
Step 8: Zip-tie the Pentagons
Now that you have the holes along the edges of your pentagon use them to zip-tie your pieces together, make sure you don't pull the zip-ties all the way tight until you have all the pieces on, other wise it can seriously mess up. Also make sure that all the zip-ties are pointed inward so that when you get to the step where you need to lay down fiber glass strips it will not mess them up.
Step 9: Pull Your Zip-ties Tight
Now that you have put all your pentagons together and loosely zip-tied pull the zip-ties together tightly so that all the pentagons are touching and in the correct spots that they should be in. Make sure they are in the right spot and correctly spaced so that when you place the fiber glass strips it doesn't mess up. Start by tightening the pentagons at the bottom and work your way up.
Step 10: Fiber Glass the Seams
Get your roll of fiber glass out and cut strips to fit all the edges.This will help make a water proof sealant. Once you have cut the strips, mix the epoxy resin and hardener, you should stir it for at least a minute, once you have mixed this you must work fast other wise it will jelly up and become unusable and you do not want to waste your supplies. Also don't get too much at once because you want to make sure that you are able to use it all at once. When doing this you want to use gloves because the epoxy resin and hardener can cause serious chemical burns. I would recommend doing this step with a friend or two so that it will go along quicker and more efficiently and also if you are using rubber gloves to layer them up to have extra protection. Also be sure that you lay the strips flat on the box because other wise it will not dry flat and it will look like it is done roughly.
Step 11: Paint With Waterproof Paint
You can use what ever color paint you want. We chose white but whatever you want will work. The paint must be waterproof because if you leave it outside you do not want weather to get in the way and ruin your project. We used housing paint which worked very well. You're gonna want to paint in a well ventilated place so that you will not breathe in too many chemicals. You also need to do a couple of coats of the paint so that it does not look sloppy.
Step 12: Make Your Lazy Susan Base
First you need to cut out two small square that fit the inner circle of your lazy Susan. Next cut out one big square that fits the outer circle. Next you will need to cut a hole the size of your base pipe into the two smaller squares. For this we used a drill press but you can use whatever you want just make sure that you don't make a sloppy circle. Next fit the 2 smaller circles onto the pipe. You should use a rubber mallet and alternate between hitting the squares in the center and having those on the table and hitting the end of the pipe. This step works a lot better if you have a partner to hold the pipe for you. Then screw the bigger square on top of those two. Make sure that the top square is centered perfectly. Next get your lazy Susan and screw the inner circle the to base. The outer circle will get screwed to the top in a later step.
Step 13: Double Up the Bottom
If you cut out twelve pentagons then get the the extra one and cut and inch off each side so that it fits inside your dodecahedron. If you only cut put eleven the cut out a twelfth one but make it an inch smaller. Than using wood glue, glue the pentagon to the bottom piece. This will add extra support to the base. Once this has dried use epoxy and hardener to fiber glass it on so that it will stay for sure.
Step 14: Build a Small Box
You will need a small box to place the resistor and battery in that connects to the solar panel. It can be as big or as small as you want it but make sure that everything that needs to go in there fits in there. We made ours a 7x7 cube. However you don't want this to be too big because it needs to be able to fit on your dodecahedron.
Step 15: Wire Solar Panel and Fan
Before you attach your solar panels you want to make sure that you can properly wire it with the battery, resistor, and fan. Once you have done this attach your solar panel to the dodecahedron. For us we place one on the very top and one on the back angled up so it can get the most sunlight possible. There will also be the lazy Susan aspect so if you're scared that it won't get enough light to power then you can spin it. Also attach your small box where the battery and resistor will go. We attached ours to the side because if you attach it to the bottom then it will cause the wires to tangle up and you don't want that to happen.
Step 16: Attach to Base
Now that you have your dodecahome built, painted, and wired you need to attach it to the base. To do so you need to screw the base into the bottom pentagon. To do so screw into the outer circle and it should be able to spin now. Try it out by going inside.
Step 17: Add Cushion
You don't want to be uncomfortable so add a cushion to the bottom of the chair. To do so get a piece of butcher paper and trace the base on to it, then add an inch around the edges. You need to add an inch so that when you sew it, it still fits. Once you have done this get your fabric and pin it to the butcher paper and cut the fabric as close to the edge of the paper as possible. When cutting fabric you want to make sure that the scissors stay on the table so you do not end up with rigid cuts. When you're done with this sew it, but leave a small hole for you to stuff it and then finishing sewing and put it in your dodecahome.
Step 18: Enjoy Your Chair
You did it! You built a dodecahome! This was a new project created by us, and you did a really great job! We hope you get a lot of good use out of it and enjoy! Thanks for following our project!