Chris, Doer of Things (ctuck) wrote in burning_man,
Chris, Doer of Things

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Geodesic Dome

As I build (with the help of others, this is a group project) and work on the dome I will be taking to Burning Man, I am taking some photos and putting them together with the steps I am taking. I hope that this will be useful for other people that may be making a dome. I am following the instruction that Micah found at: Materials List:
  • 65 - 10' x 3/4" EMT Conduit (found at Home Depot or Lowes for $3.97/10') {This will yeild 30 - 67.6" short struts and 35 - 76.3" long struts)
  • Atleast 6 Hex Tap Bolts 5/16" x 2-1/2" (Full threaded, coarse)
  • Atleast 26 5/16" bolts
  • Atleast 52 5/16" washers
  • tape (electrical or duct) in two different colors
So, this is not a cheap little project, cost for materials:

Here you can see the conduit, this is the long struts cut to length.
The first step in prepairing all the materials is cutting the struts.

A pipe-cutter, saws-all, or chop saw can be used to cut the pipe. I choose the chop saw.

Make sure you use protective eyewear and gloves if you choose to use power tools.

The second step is flatten the ends. It will want to look a little like this when it's done: -<==>-
Remember, to flatten one edge, and flatten the other egde at the same angle. If not, you get struts that will not fit flat against others in building.

I tried using the metal press that we had. It was a little tough to the press done on the conduit.
I suggest staying with the sledgehammer technique described in the article I mentioned at the top.

We used a metal hammer. This is how one of ours looked like in the end. I would shoot for about 1-1/2" of flat area.

the third step is to create the hole through the flat section of the strut.
I first tried using a drill press. This worked fine. It did leave a little fringe. So does the chop saw, so keep a grinder handy.

In the end, I found the hole punch was a much faster and cleaner solution. It is unlikely that a lot of people will have access to unit like this.
I would shoot for a drill press, but a hand drill will work well too. I went with a 7/16" hole, to allow for the struts to move around a little in construction.

That is all for that day. We didn't finish all our work today. I have a feeling that next weekend will complete all the materials. It will be construction time after that. We want to build the dome twice before we take it out to Burning Man. One to just make sure we can, and the second for laying out the campsite.

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