A Bamboo Geodesic Dome (Geo-Dome)

What is a Geodesic dome?
It's the most economical structure one can make when comparing size and strength against the materials used.
With a Geo Dome you can make more with less!
Click HERE for the Wiki article to learn more.

This is the one that I made:
(I'm in there for scale)

I had sourced some locally grown Bamboo canes for free last year, it's tough stuff with some canes nearly two inches thick. They have been slowly drying and seasoning since then. A slow dry is ideal because it minimises cracking.
The Bamboo was to be the strut material.

There are many Dome Calculating tools available online.
Click HERE to see the one that I used.

This dome has a diameter of 5.66meters and a height/ radius of 2.83meters
It's circumference is 17.49m, the dome surface is 50.32m2
It has a floor are of 24.75m2 and a volume of 47.47m3

There are 26 joins, or hubs needing 26 sets of nuts bolts and washers.
The total length of Bamboo used was 113m

There are 30 x Short struts measuring 1.55meters (Red)
There are 35 x Long struts measuring 1.75meters (Blue)

The hubs were made using white PVC drain pipe available very cheaply at any builders supply.
The pipe was cut into 20cm lengths, 10cm overlaps fixed with a screw to either end of the
bamboo canes. The overhang of pipe was then gently heated with a paint stripping heat gun before being squashed into a flat spade and then drilled for the bolt hole.
This had to be done 130 times and was by far the most labour intensive part of the project.
Here is a photo of one of the hubs:


The Bamboo had a varied diameter so sometimes the pipe had to be heated so that it could be persuaded over the end of the Bamboo, other times a cuff had to be made from smaller waste pipe to increase the diameter of the cane sufficiently to get a tight fit.
This can be seen in this photo:


Also note that in the photo above you can see a pvc insert also made from waste pipe that helps keep the Bamboo strong when it is drilled and screwed to hold the PVC end joints in place.
Once all the struts were completed it was time for assembly. I worked from the top down starting by assembling the crown. It can be done alone and takes about 30 - 40 mins.

I am going to take my time in sourcing the cover so I can hopefully get it recycled and in the cheapest way. Truck curtain sides, disused event banners etc are a great source of heavy duty PVC of vinyl sheeting. If anyone knows of anything please let me know.


The frame weight is a modest 33.8kg and would be easily transportable with most cars and if you have a roof rack it'd even go on an old Mini! Here's a picture of it packed down:


This dome will be used at events to exhibit my Handmade Matt products and as a space to conduct workshops. Total cost so far is about £30.

Happy Dom'ing!

6 comments:

  1. Matt, I love this!! WOuld really like to build one myself, you have inspired me! Thanks, hope all is well with you!

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  2. You're an inspiration, mate... the diversity of things that spring from you is great!

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  3. Fantastic build, I love the way you've made the hubs. I'll definately be attending your workshops! Big love, Kris x

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  4. Fantastic Matt, This is something I would hope to do this year. Great to see your ideas implemented so well.

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    1. Also, did you ever source a cover and/or insulate the inside? Thanks

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