greenhouse dome 98 - notes on last summer's tensegrity dome project (1998)

this geodesic framework is hemispherical, 32 feet in diameter, 16 feet high at the center.  made of 3/4-inch conduit pipe, it may be covered with canvas, polyester, and/or clear plastic, depending on the location and season, or for a large permanent weather buffer - leafy vines and spiderwebs!

[dome98.jpg 65k photo]

the geometry is based on a one-frequency dodecahedral tensegrity.  the frame is made of 3/4-inch EMT conduit pipe, 30 struts 10 feet long, 15 struts 8.7 feet long, and 6 short ground-anchor struts, all connected with 21 fine-thread 1/4-inch bolts.  total cost of materials for the frame is about $125 from any retail hardware store, and about two person-days of labor with hammer/anvil and power drill to prepare the strut ends and assemble them.

this is a small prototype to test the strength of this type of geometry, construction methods and materials.  so far, so good.  it's easily strong enough to walk on (if one steps only on the vertices, of course) and its maximum strength is yet to be measured.  for the next version i'll try a larger higher-frequency tensegrity with shorter struts.  ultimately, i hope to develop an inexpensive weather buffer for covering very large areas...

also see - small workshop domes - rebar dome - victoria's rebar dome - webliography - dome cat - metasofa community