Free Group T-Shirt

How To Build A Geodesic Dome: 268 Square Feet for $300

how-to-build-a-geodesic-dome

Geodesic dome is one of the strongest, lightest structures you can build. Due to their unique design, they are wind, hurricane and tornado resistant. Geodesic domes can be used as extra storage, a greenhouse, or as a living space. It takes about 3 hours to put one together and about 15 minutes to take it apart. The parts are readily available at local hardware stores, and it the cost for this 19 ft x 9.5, 278 sq. ft dome is about $300.

These instructions will allow you to build a dome that is 19 ft wide x 9.5 ft high.

geodesic-dome-plans
How To Build A Geodesic Dome : Step by step instructions

How To Build a 19′ 268 Square Foot Geodome

 

Supplies Needed to Build a Geodesic Dome:

85  .5” x 10’ galvanized steel electrical conduit

100 2” x .25” bolts

100 .25” nuts

200 .25” washers

Free Group T-Shirt
Free Group T-Shirt

6 cans of spray paint in red, blue, green, yellow, purple, black

Zipties

Plastic sheeting

Plastic clips

Duct tape

Tools needed to build a geodesic dome:

Metal saw

Drill

Press or vice

Socket set

Optional ladder or sawhorses

 

geodesic-dome-supplies
How to Build A Geodesic Dome: These are the bars we made and painted for our dome

 

diy-geodesic-dome
Supplies you will need to build your geodesic dome

Let us show you exactly how it’s made- Watch this step-by-step video where we show you how to build your very own geodesic dome.

Editor’s Note – our original video got lost in space!! So instead I found this great tutorial with some excellent advice [via ghog62]. Follow along, these guys use wood beams instead of colored pipes, but it’s the same idea! Our guide below will help make things clear.

 

STRUTSANGLECOLOR
30 X “A”2′ 6.86″ (30 55/64″)7.27°RED
30 X “B”2′ 11.66″ (35 21/32”)8.49°BLUE
60 X “C”2′ 11.576″ (35 9/16”)8.47°GREEN
70 X “D”3′ 1.664″ (37 21/32”)9.35°YELLOW
30 X “E”3′ 3.044″ (39 3/64”)8.59°PURPLE
30 X “F”3′ .044″ (36 3/64”)9.00°BLACK 

STEP 1. Cut parts to length

Measure and cut parts to the lengths provided above. Be as accurate as possible. Your accuracy must be within a quarter of an inch.

how-to-build-a-greenhouse
These are the bars we made for our geodesic dome

STEP 2. Flatten the ends

Flatten 1.5” of both ends of the pipe so they are square to each other, using either a press or a vice. Do not use a hammer to flatten he ends, as it will split the metal.

how_to_build_geodesic_dome_4

STEP 3. Bend the angles

Bend the ends at the angles provided above in the same direction. Your angle should be to the nearest degree.  You want to be as close as you can. Some inaccuracy here is okay, the pipes will give a bit as you bolt them together. Use an angle finder, protractor, or cell phone app to measure the angles. A vice or the homemade jig shown in the video can be used to bend the angles.

STEP 4. Drill the holes

It is important to drill the holes after you bend the angles, as the length of the strut shortens once the pipes are bent. The distance between the center of each hole is provided below. Drill your holes with a 3/8” drill bit to provide extra space for assembly. This does not affect structural integrity.

30 X “A”2′ 4.86″
30 X “B”2′ 9.66″
60 X “C”2′ 9.576″
70 X “D”2′ 11.664″
30 X “E”3′ 1.044″
30 X “F”2′ 10.044″

STEP 5. Paint

Paint each strut to protect from the elements, and to color code it to aid in the assembly process.

make geodesic dome
Painting the bars for our geodesic dome

 STEP 6. Layout

Using the map provided, layout 3 rows down starting at the top of the dome. Then begin assembly. Once you have 3 rows assembled, layout the next 2 rows. Continue until all parts are assembled.

how-to-build-a-geodesic-dome-layout
Start by placing your bars like this. Use the .pdf pattern we have available to download. It shows you what to do.
layout from plans or pdf for geodesic dome
This is what your layout will look like if you use the plans on our pdf

STEP 7. Assembly

Starting from the top of the dome, follow the pattern and begin bolting the struts together. Building from the top down eliminates the need to work above head and using ladders. Saw horses can be used to support the structure as it is being assembled. Each bolt should have 2 washers and 1 nut. As you build, only bring each joint to hand tight until the V underneath it is completed. Then, tighten completely. Be sure not to over tighten, but remove any gaps between the flat ends of the struts. Once you have tightened a joint, tape it with duct tape to cover any sharp edges that may tear the plastic cover.

how-to-make-geodesic-dome
You will insert the screws like this when you assemble your dome.
geodesic-dome-plans-free
This is how to join the bars for your dome
make-geodesic-dome
Sideview shows how to join your geodesic dome bar
how-to-build-a-geodome
Wrap the tape around your joints like this.

STEP 8. Door

Remove any section of the dome where you want the door. Use those struts to build the door. Use Zipties as hinges. Be sure not to remove too many struts as it will affect the structural integrity.

how-to-build-a-geodesic-dome-assembly

geodesic-dome-at-home

 STEP 9: Sheeting

You can buy a 32’ x 32’ sheet to cover the dome in one piece. Or, you can buy a roll of 20’ by 100’ and cover the dome in 2 pieces, crossing one piece over the other.  Before you unfold your sheeting, pull it over the top of the dome. Two people, one on each end, then unfold the plastic over the dome. If it’s a windy day, you will need more than two people. Ropes will help hold the plastic down, until it is secured to the base of the dome.

 

geodesic-dome-sheeting

 

 

 

geodesic-dome-how-to

Plastic clips can be used to secure the edges of the sheeting to the base of the dome. Or, it can be taped or screwed to the struts. To ensure a good seal, pick up the edges of the dome and pull the plastic underneath, and secure it from the inside.

Cut plastic to match the framework of your door, and attach it  to the framework with either clips or tape.

When taping the plastic sheeting, wrap the tape around the strut at least once, and then attach tape to the plastic sheeting.

how-to-make-a-geodesic-dome

geodesic-dome-cover

geodesic-dome-instructions

STEP 10. Enjoy!

Download this .pdf map of dome assembly here: //www.diyprojects.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/dome_drawing.pdf

 

Check out How To Build A Geodesic Dome: 268 Square Feet for $300 at https://diyprojects.com/build-268-square-foot-geodesic-dome-for-300/

Check out this other geodesic dome tutorial – This one was built using only PVC and Zip Ties! [via zip tie domes]

 

Like this post?

Be sure to like us on Facebook (button below) so you can be the first to know about latest project updates as well as great DIY articles.

Pin It so you can come back to it and follow us on Pinterest to get latest project pins.

Let us know in the comments below! Your feedback matters. The more interest we get in posts, the more likely we are to do more like that.

Chrinco.com is a startup company based in Central Florida with a vision to change the way people shop for insurance.

Comments

      • AvatarFrank says

        August 26, 2014 at 8:36 pm

        Alright, I watched the videos and I downloaded the PDF, but the one thing you never addressed is the drilling. On the site you say to bend the ends of the conduit to create the “tabs” and then to drill the holes according to a list of measurements, which I assume is the distance from the end of the conduit. In the videos, this is never mentioned and skipped over. As matter of fact, according the first video, you tell us to drill the ends using the drill press and the wooden jig and then bend the end to the correct angle per the color of the pipe. I understand the pipes/struts are layered, but placing the holes further in would be the same as shortening the struts. So my question is was it later realized that pre-drilling ALL the holes at one inch from the end is acceptable or do we have to bend and then drill for the struts to assemble and fit properly? Seems to me that drilling the struts while flat and then bending them would be easier and possibly more accurate. By the way, I have a book to make a geodesic dome from wood or cardboard, but the conduit is much easier and LESS work. Nice project and good videos.

  1. Avatar says

    November 11, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Very cool piece of technology and excellent video!

    I can see all sorts of uses for a structure like this.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Karl

    • AvatarStephanie says

      November 11, 2013 at 11:12 pm

      Thanks. Yes, it would. I was surprised how quickly we could put it together, and we tried it twice. Both times, we made it in under 3 hours, with only two people doing assembly.

      • AvatarValerie says

        January 29, 2014 at 3:49 am

        3 hours from start to finish or just to assemble? If that’s the whole thing, I’m impressed and hope to make one soon. Ty

  2. AvatarDave says

    November 11, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    First off iI have to say I watched the video while riding in a truck with the driver listening to heavy metal music. Uff da. I need to watch again to hear it. It looks cool and I will be building one with my son. He is homeschooled and this will make a great lesson for him! My only criticism for you is, I have been a carpenter for over 12 years and I haven’t yet found a tape measure that reads in decimals. If the tolerances are up to 1/4 inch why give measurements of 2′ – 11.664″ etc.? Most of your readers will probably be DIYers that might not be able to figure that equals approximately 2′ – 11 5/8″. My suggestion would be to re-label your measurements in fractions of inches that your “homeowner/DIY-er” would find on a cheater tape measure that labels the fractions for them. If I couldn’t figure your decimals myself I would probably pass your instructions up and continue searching easier ones. Thanks

    • AvatarStephanie says

      November 11, 2013 at 11:35 pm

      We definitely will. It was a lot of fun to make the struts, but having them arrive in a box would definitely have its benefits.

    • AvatarRalph says

      May 10, 2014 at 3:22 am

      Larry – I can put together a kit for you. Email me at ralphedge at yahoo if you are still interested…I do different sizes of domes as well.

  3. AvatarTom says

    November 11, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Nice job! A little of the directions seem to be left out. When too use certain colors, etc. Maybe those are in the written plans, I haven’t gotten that far yet. All in all, a VERY useful video!

    • AvatarStephanie says

      November 12, 2013 at 3:17 am

      Thank you! We really appreciate you letting us know, also for pinning this. We will have more great content coming in over next couple of weeks. Hope you enjoy

  4. AvatarKen says

    November 12, 2013 at 12:44 am

    In your vidio use said ” the jig for the bending of the angles would follow in the vidio”. Where is it? I like the idea of building it. I pl
    an of building one for myself in the near furture.

    • AvatarStephanie says

      November 12, 2013 at 3:16 am

      Thanks for your inquiry, Ken. We had an unforeseen delay on that video clip. We will be posting it to the site tomorrow. Appreciate your patience. Would love to know what you think of it as well. Super to hear you want to build a geo dome. Send us pics, we’d love to post them

    • AvatarStephanie says

      November 12, 2013 at 3:11 am

      Thanks for asking about that, Dave. We are adding an additional video clip tomorrow with a segment that covers the struts. Would love to hear what you think.

  5. AvatarRobert says

    November 12, 2013 at 4:21 am

    A little more detail on using the saw horses to support the partial dome would help, the time lapse video went too quick to see it. It is unclear what part the vise grips play, or if the framing hammer is needed to be carried around. The jig video may make it clear. Nice explanation on the options for the plastic. I assume that the “steal” conduit is EMT, so paint is for identification mostly since the galvanizing will protect it; if the holes are sprayed where raw steel is exposed by the drilling and forming of the ends. Professional grade video.

  6. AvatarTeri LeDantec-Boswell says

    November 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I’ve been so frustrated about the cost of purchasing a greenhouse for 4-Season Gardening; your video came to my rescue! May Great Spirit continue to bless and guide you, gifting you with abundance along your way. Your DIY Educational Seminars are worth ‘suitcasing’ and taking on the road! If you’re ever in the Chicagoland area, please give us a shout-out! I’d pay $300 to take home a DIY Greenhouse Kit!!

  7. AvatarJim Donaghy says

    November 13, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Thank you for this great info. It seems a little lite in a few areas but useful. I would like to know how to adjust the size,I realize the length of the strut does this but is there a site that explains or give sizes to calculate these? Thank you for your great effort in demonstrating the build.

  8. AvatarBig Bob says

    November 13, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Awesome!!! Vid showing jig made of two angle iron pieces cut from a bed frame is priceless. I think I will try to round and smooth the flat ends to avoid the taping procedure. I appreciate “Survival Life” for the link to see your handy work. Thank you for your hard work and literally GIVING it away!

  9. AvatarDan R says

    November 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Caution regarding the practice of using the heel of your hand to tap down the strut into the angle jig. Repeated sharp blows can give you a numb hand due to nerve damage. I see the condition in older, experienced carpenters. Invest in a cheap dead blow hammer and save yourself some nerve damage.

  10. AvatarJim Donaghy says

    November 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Jim again,is there any answer to adjusting the size. Where can I get an accurate formula? Thanks for any help.

  11. AvatarWayne Adams says

    November 19, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Hi,
    Am I missing something or is there no access point once it’s covered? This would be awesome for my UTV if I could get it in! 🙂

  12. AvatarAnthony G says

    November 20, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Just an FYI on the PDF. The quantities of struts all show that 30 of each are needed as compared to the list you put on the webpage. Here is the corrected quantities with a conversion from decimals on the lengths.

    STRUTS LENGTH ANGLE COLOR

    30 X “A” 2′ 6.86″ (30 55/64”) 7.27° RED
    30 X “B” 2′ 11.66″ (35 21/32”) 8.49° BLUE
    60 X “C” 2′ 11.576″ (35 9/16”) 8.47° GREEN
    70 X “D” 3′ 1.664″ (37 21/32”) 9.35° YELLOW
    30 X “E” 3′ 3.044″ (39 3/64” 8.59° PURPLE
    30 X “F” 3′ .044″ (36 3/64”) 9.00° BLACK

  13. Avatar says

    November 22, 2013 at 5:26 am

    This is a great project and you have done an excellent job in your step-by-step. Please consider changing the measurements from decimal to fractions of inches. I have no idea what 2′ 11.576″ is on a tape measure.

  14. AvatarJuan says

    December 4, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I’m a bit perplexed as to why there are so many different lengths and angles for the struts. I thought the beauty of a geodesic dome was that all struts and angles were the same. What am I missing here?
    Regards,
    Juan

  15. AvatarLoren says

    January 18, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I am interested in the geodesic dome as a hunting shelter. Could you send the assembly map for the dome showing where the different colored struts attach. Do you have 3-D Cad model? Can this be scaled up to 25 foot diameter? What would the strut lengths be and would the new angles be (would the struts have to be 3/4″ conduit?

    • AvatarStephanie says

      January 20, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      It would make a great hunting shelter. We had not thought of that. The map is a .pdf file you can download and print. It has the color code on it. Are you asking for something else? Happy to provide what you need. Please just let us know. Thanks.

    • AvatarStephanie says

      January 20, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      No, we do not have a CAD model. If enough people ask for one, it might be possible. Checking on the 25 ft scale as well as your other questions and will let you know. Thanks again.

  16. AvatarGary says

    March 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Hi thanks for a great video – my question is how are the angles changed when the dome size increases? Or are the struts just increased?
    Thanks again

      • AvatarGary says

        March 29, 2014 at 8:23 am

        Hi

        I’m from South Africa so I only know the metric …sorry. But I would like something with around a 8 to 10 meter floor diameter, I would like to use it for a classroom for our Montessori school. Also to cover it with something more peramant than plastic, I have seen glass and plywood – how is that attached and sealed? Thanks again

        • AvatarGary says

          March 29, 2014 at 8:31 am

          Sorry around double that size in your video …I was trying to be clever and convert the size and got it wrong

  17. AvatarMichael says

    April 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks so much for all the info on this structure, I plan to use larger diameter pipe and have it setting on 3ft high walls as a cabin!

  18. Avatarrobin says

    April 9, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    well done best i have seen How to make a dome. For my project i will convert all measurements to metric. I would like to make a dome with a diameter of 22 feet so i need different lengths and angles. anyway thanks for this awesome effort you made

  19. AvatarJerry says

    April 11, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    I like your dome plan and want to build one myself.
    The only question I have is about the placing of the colors of the struts. If they just go on at random then what’s the reason in painting them different colors? Also why the different strut sizes if they just go anywhere?

    I need a chart showing where the colors go.

    Other wise I like the plan.

    Thanks Jerry

  20. AvatarChristopher Alan Fields says

    May 9, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    If I build one, I’m not painting the conduit, it is already galvanized. I’m also considering building one with pvc, or conduit, using hubs from zip tie domes. I have used pvc that has sit outside for years, without any visible degradation.

  21. AvatarRoger Dio says

    June 11, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Hi Stephanie,
    Very much impressed and thankful for the dome building video you made and so graciously shared for free. Praying that you have that health,strength and time to come up with more projects that is so beneficial to so many.

    Can I seek your help for complete guide or detailed instruction how to go about assembling struts into a complete dome, that I bought from Ebay a couple of years ago but which did not include any assembly manual and Seller not responding to my request for help.

    If I need to pay a reasonable fee, will be very willing, in exchange for your invaluable help and time. Kindly, send your reply to my email.
    Thanks so much,
    Roger

  22. AvatarTadasJA says

    July 22, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Is there some sort of quick way to find out how much piping and in what parts I have to cut it for a decided dome height ? we ca work out the junction amount after that

  23. AvatarArthur Ogawa says

    August 14, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Notes:
    1. When drilling the second hole, the drill jig should reference off the existing first drill hole, for accuracy. (The jig for the first drill hole could reference from the end of the flattened end, as you have done.)
    2. Deburring the drill hole would help at the construction step.
    3. When bending the flattened end, the jig need only consist of two pins separated by about a half inch, making a jig that is easier to load and unload. The jig could have a third pin that shows how far to bend the part, making for high reproducibility.
    4. It is probably not critical to try to compensate for the effective shortening of the frame member as the flattened ends are bent. The amount of shortening is a minor effect.
    5. The joint created with the 1/4-inch bolt allows a bit of creep when the structure is stressed. You can reduce this effect by “potting” that joint using epoxy. The finished structure will ring like a bell. You may decide to forego the work involved, though.
    6. The door itself could be improved by incorporating triangles in its structure. Why not give it a trapezoidal shape with a diagonal member for rigidity?
    7. Anticipate that, in a blow, the cover may separate from the frame, or the entire structure may rise. Wind pressure may be substantial in your location.
    8. For your covering, a 12.5-oz Polymax fabric (available in a 12-foot width from Farmtek.com) may prove to last a lot longer than greenhouse plastic. In some areas of the country, UV light, heat (>100F), and ozone in combination, form a harsh environment. This material is now my preferred one for exterior fabric coverings.
    9. If people or animals will spend time inside the structure, the “black sun effect” along with solar heat gain will be a concern. Consider a radian barrier as an interior covering, along with proper venting of the space between outer and inner cover. Super R Plus radiant barrier (with permeability, radiantbarrier.com) is one material I have used.

  24. AvatarRose Taylor says

    September 8, 2014 at 10:01 am

    We have wanted to build a dome over our pool for years, but could not come up with the angles! We have trees around us that like to dump their leaves in water! I want to sew screening to fit so we get the sun and air but not the leaves!
    Your site is the very first that did not ask for money before giving up info! Thank you so very much for helping us compleat our dream! Now to do it!

  25. AvatarJD says

    November 17, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    One of the big draws of a geodesic dome to me is its tremendous structural strength. However, usually I see them constructed from much stronger pipes. Do you have any idea how much your conduit dome can support either on top of it or hanging on it from the inside?

  26. AvatarJohn Vance says

    November 20, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Concerning my earlier post asking about the correct number of pieces of conduit. I re-read all the previous posts and saw the posting of Anthony G. last November 20th. I assume his information is correct. However, I have another question. Has anyone figured out a way to install vents so that the interior of the dome doesn’t get too hot during summer months? Also, FYI I’ve found that you can order a 6 ton press from Harbor Freight for about $75. FarmTek has great prices for nuts, bolts and washers and they have a wide number of choices on greenhouse film. I’m ordering a roll that is 32′ wide and 100′ long that has a four year guarantee so I should be able to replace the original covering two more times.

  27. Avatarchelsea says

    December 16, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    does this need extra heating in a Wisconsin weather setting? i would assume so but i’ve read that the sun is enough is this true? How easily does the plastic tear?

  28. Avatar says

    January 11, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    This is so exciting, we’ve been looking for something to better cover the koi pond in the winter. This looks perfect. We can use it for veggies in the summer and move it to the pond in winter. Thanks much for posting this.

  29. AvatarPIGLETTWTERRETS says

    January 27, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Doing the math i assume you are cutting three of each piece of struts from one 10′ piece of conduit.I am going to build this in the spring.Thanks for the ideas the pdf and the plan will be very handy.
    This could be used to keep the pool warmer and add some privacy.Of course it will have to be vented.

  30. Avatar says

    January 31, 2015 at 3:12 am

    Well, I have to hand it to you guy’s at DIYReady.com, this is by far the best geodesic dome greenhouse construction guide that I have ever come across, and I have been a full-time greenhouse professional for over 6 years, particularly within the educational sector of greenhouse gardening for many online websites and media organizations. I was impressed with the amount & quality of photos, in addition to the simplicity of design, of the entire guide.

    Keep up the good work guys, and I will keep following & sharing these pages with my loyal networks.
    – Whitney

      • Avatar says

        April 5, 2015 at 5:27 pm

        Hi
        Great ideas and cannot wait to put the fantastic ideas you have shared into action.

        I am writing from UK.

        There are only 20mm galvanised steel conduits here, more than the half inch you have suggested. Can we still continue with these different measurements?

  31. AvatarTerese says

    March 6, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    You mentioned clips instead of tape to hold the plastic on the dome.
    What kind of clips would u use?

  32. Avatar says

    April 9, 2015 at 2:36 am

    Hi,

    THANKS FOR THE GREAT IDEAS, VERY PRACTICAL. I HAVE BOUGHT THE NECESSARY ITEMS AND READY TO COMMENCE. HOWEVER, THE PDF FILE YOU HAVE IS ONLY FOR A 9 FOOT WHEN THE DOME YOU PROPOSED IS 19 FOOT? The struts are also different for a 9 foot dome when you compare with a 19 foot dome as illustrated in your website. Thanks for your help, need advice asap, urgent!!

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: