How To Make a Geodesic Dome
Of all the structures and habitats that people make using Makedo, it is probably the Geodesic Dome that gets people talking the most.
In an email we received from Robert in Canada, he asked us how a Makedo Geodesic Dome he had seen was constructed.
"…how did they manage to get the triangles to stay together? What would be a big help, is a photo of the inside."
Continue reading to see excerpts from our reply to Robert’s enquiry, as we explain how the Geo dome was built.
Experimenting with different panel shapes and sizes. Image credit: @grajohnt
The trick to attaching panels together is to fold the edges back, and then Scru these flaps to each adjoining panel forming a rigid spine. This means that your measurements for each panel have to include a little extra to accommodate the folded portion.
You will find that this creates a very firm connection… it is a technique we have also used for many other creations.
For most joints on the dome, you’ll probably only need two or three Scrus along each edge.
Partial construction. Image credit: @grajohnt
The Geodesic Dome can be constructed using the folded flaps pointing inside, or outwards... depending on how precise your cutting is, this will mostly be a stylistic design decision. One thing to keep in mind is that you need quite a few triangles to create a sizable structure! So be sure to have plenty of cardboard at hand.
Most of the examples shown here use this construction technique, with the folded edges facing outwards. By creating crisp folds in the cardboard and facing the folded edges outwards, the forces acting on the structure actually work to strengthen the Makedo connections.
We now recommend that cardboard domes made with Makedo use this approach... try it out and see what you think!
There is an excellent guide on Instructables that was put together by the guys at designthatmatters.org.
Many other online tools are available to calculate panel sizes for domes of different diameters and construction methods.
Here are a few to get you started:
We would recommend making a scale version (roughly a4 size) out of paper first, to confirm your proportions. Some people also use Google Sketchup to help visualise the design before moving on to the proper material and Makedo parts.
Building a cardboard dome is a fantastic project, and there is much fun to be had both during and after construction. Don’t be surprised if the kids (and maybe Dad too) are reluctant to come home afterwards… these domes tend to be quite cozy and welcoming.
We look forward to seeing how your own cardboard dome/igloo/structure turns out!
See all the Geodesic Domes at the Makedo Hub.
Image credits (in order of appearance)
1-8: Design That Matters here and here
9: MakerMeet IE
10-11: Uploaded by Anna Maria
12-14: Grade 8 students, St Marguerite d’Youville Catholic School
15: @BMSLibraryNews (twitter)
16: Tanaka Satoshi, Japan
17-19: Kevin Honeycutt