My interest in geodesic domes started in 1998. I had a residence designed in 2003 and the geometry has fascinated me ever since. I’m here because of recent breakthrough that makes this joint possible. Let’s have some fun talking about what other possibilities are out there.
Does anyone out there like gardening? I have several friends who are serious about it and there first comment was, “What a great little greenhouse.” From there the subject turned to an early spring potting shed that you could set up near the garage or in it if you choose. Maybe even on the deck near the plants in the house. With a tarp on the deck, and clear plastic over top, you can keep soils and fertilizers dry and minimize the mess while working right next to where the potted plants live. Then the dome can go away, or stay there as a spring and summer sun and water hanging station. Plants like to get out of the house now and again and you can’t hurt this frame with weight or water. The light weight and portability lets you move it around the yard so it doesn’t kill the grass and there is a suggested method for temporary usage that lets you take it apart and set it up pretty quickly. You can also build it any size you like to fit the garage, the deck, or the yard. With a cover over the top, you can hang a light bulb or small heater for the cool spring nights while those peppers and tomatoes are getting big enough to plant. Cold frames are another option. The ¼ frame assembly covered with plastic is super light and easily moved and easily anchored to protect from late frosts in the spring or early frosts in the fall.
Useful, Decorative Displays
Let’s talk about decorative possibilities in the garden. If you build a dome frame, 15 feet in diameter you could incorporate vines, potted plants, flowers, and vegetables all in a limited space that would be easy to adjust for light and watering. By sealing the frame and attaching a hose you could fill it with water and drill a hole wherever you wanted a drip. Don’t want the hole? Put a small screw in the hole and you’re back in business. You could build a water feature the same way by cutting a slit in one of the top sections and letting the water fall into one of the many plastic pools that are sold for that purpose. To drain the frame all you have to do is remove the plugs you put in the base segments. When properly glued together, this frame will support 35 lbs./sq. ft. That is a lot of vines or potted plants. If you make a mistake, you can replace segments with ABS pipes and couplings.
Let’s get away from the garden and talk about fun for the family. Dad and the oldest child or mom could build a five or six foot dome for the 3 to 5 year old. Put pillows on the floor and it’s a neat jungle gym for little people. Throw a blanket over it, and it’s a playhouse. There are no small parts to swallow, no sharp edges to snag clothes, no paint of any kind to worry about. Special instructions for this application will let you disassemble the dome to put it away or move to another room. Remember, you can make this any size you want and you can also create a full sphere. When properly glued together, the structure floats. You could use it at the beach either in or out of the water. You have to think about this though. When it’s properly glued together to be waterproof, you cannot take it apart easily for storage or transportation. If you live at the beach, this is a new toy to explore as a 9’ diameter sphere.
Watch the Little Ones!
Safety is an important consideration for mom and yet she doesn’t like to say no all the time. How about a playhouse in the back yard with a cover that screens out UV and a tv camera that lets mom see what the kids are doing. You could put the same cover over the pool and add a microphone for additional safety. Use the same cover over the hot tub and give mom and dad a little privacy, but you might want to disconnect the camera and the microphone. This is very friendly material with a long history of use and ready availability. You add the creativity. Dad might want to build one in the garage for that spray paint project or attach Christmas lights for a different decoration. The dome and the sphere have a five point symmetry that lets you create stars all over.
Some Serious Stuff
We’ve had some fun so far but are there serious applications we should consider? How about triage facilities for disaster situations where you want wounded patients waiting somewhere that isn’t contaminated with dust, dirt, and wind born debris. How about a temporary clean room for a hazardous material clean up site? How about temporary shower facilities for a fire fighting crew? Add a few more units for eating, sleeping, and first aid. The same frame that contains the same volume, made out of any other material will be many times as expensive. This material is easy to disinfect and is not subject to rot rust or mold while in storage. The limits are only in your imagination and when the Geodesic Dome idea finally overcomes it’s current biases, the potential is enormous. This little joint makes a great idea possible. Any questions?