"Frequently asked Questions"

"Question 'n' Answers"
and others

why me???who did it??

Note: Some facts and figures in the following may be oudated, inaccurate or just plain crazy.

I'm looking for a small (12-foot diameter)
> geodesic dome (within which to grow plants)
> that can withstand a Michigan winter.  I would
> like to buy the lumber here and purchase one
> of your connecting kits (stardome or other).
> Could you e-mail me advise?

Yes several of our domes should work well.
G.D.1 conector kit is same price as G.D.2 connector kit.
Prices are based on number of connectors and size, mfg. time and hardware qty. Star Domes have less hubs but more mfg time per hub and more hardware.
Priced lower-higher:
Garden Dome1
GardenDome 2 w/ Base Option
Garden Dome 3
Star Dome 1A, B or 2A, B (1A or 1B2, or 2A or 2B best for more light transmission)
2 x 2 S.D.1A = $365 (conn. kit)
2 x 2 S.D.B2 = $295
2 x 2 SD2A or B,  = $350

Use 2 x 2, 2 x 3 or 2 x 4. With a table saw you can cut 2 x 4s or 2 x 6s lengthwise to get the 2 x 2 or 2 x 3.
Except for the Octa-Domes that have less structure, 2 x 2 should be sufficient and will let more light in.
Use woven poly on the outside, possibly secured best with a wood lath nailed over it. Because of possibility of being buried in snow it must be attached well = tight. And less expensive clearer non woven film on the inside for insulation. Best would be the polycarb. You would purchase locally and install it yourself. Also hort. Coroplast, www.coroplast.com
These are approx. 12 ft dia:
Garden Dome 2 + Base Option
Garden Dome 3 + Base Option
Star Dome 2-B
Star Dome 2-B
Yours Truly

I am interested in your octa-dome for a garden tool shed. I have the
following questions:
What will the diameter at the floor be for a 12' diameter dome?
12 ft. hub to hub exterior; can be more or less if you need it to fit in an exact space.
What is the base option? (I'm guessing it's a short wall)?
There is a mid level hemisphere on the domes shown. The parts below the middle are optional = base option. For instance if you built up a brick or cement wall or put posts in the ground to lift it up, that will work well too. Really depends on height you need, but it is a good way to add height. Notice there is an inward pointing Base Option, and one that comes straight down shown on the Octa-Gazebo-Dome page. I Like the second one better as you get more floor area.
What has been the reaction of the local building
inspectors been  to dome out-buildings?
I think people ignore them, because their neighbors have giant RVs, big barns, satellite dishes etc. Anyway better safe than sorry. and if you have a neighborhood comittee I'd check with them. You can apply for an exception = "variance." We had one instance where the underlings would not give a permit, until the owners went to the Commissioner. When they found out he was a Nasa engineer and retired Air Force officer there was no longer any problem. Another case the neighborhood comitee did not want a dome in someones back yard, but on appeal the time limit to take action expired, so they got their dome.
 If I wanted to cover the entire dome with rigid
panels, what would  the cost be?
For a 12 ft. Octa-Dome + Base Option, about 12 4 x 8 sheets of whatever you use. Recomend Hardie panel [jameshardie.com] GAF and Gardner roofing products. I think a roof top with osb + felt + composite shingles, with an over hang for rain drip, and sides of Hardie panels or any siding, and small windows about $20 each would work very nice. Also you can pour a basic cement floor, (or make a deck/floor) and run an underground wire for a light/fan etc. The Base Option height is adjustable which make it nice to customize for your particular requirements.

 Being new at this, your price charts just confuse me.
Sorry they are confusing to us too!
How do I figure
> out what kind of dome is best for a community of 5-8 people in Minnesota?
 How energy efficient is the dome structure?  How much will it increase our growing time?  And, of course, how much will it all
cost?  And why should we use a dome instead of standard greenhouse construction?
Because you are bright, intelligent, upwardly mobile, adventurous, self sufficient people willing to try something new, and refuse to fit into a conventional mold, like the round peg trying to fit into a square hole.
> In other words, we need help figuring out if this is
> for us.
> Thanks,
> Faith
Why don't you start with a 20-25 FT G.D.3 dome and get another if you ever need it. Use the Connector Kit and pressure treated wood (or use a more environmentally correct wood reatment) bought locally. All you need is a drill, power saw, ladder, tape measure, ratchet- common tools, to construct the dome.
 It depends on how much you want to grow- what your projected needs are. Also your budget. But if your budget is limited (like ours), start off small and upgrade as time and money allows. Upgrade to coroplast (horticultural) or Thermoclear (brand) polycarb. glazing; soil heaters etc. Start off with 2 layers of poly film, woven type on outside and clear standard gh film on the inside of your wood dome strut; for insulating. You will need a good heater too. It might cost more than your dome. The C.K. is $350 + about $100 of wood.
 If you think the dome will be buried with snow, go with the coroplast [www.coroplast.com] or polycarb.
 You can have your dome super reinforced with the -X1 subdivision, with quick connecting option, which you will install when big snows hit (winter) and take out when snow melts, for more light inside the dome.
If a wood greenhouse does not sound like a good idea, steel will work and cost 80% of a comparable 2 x 4 complete frame kit; but no connector kits available for the steel domes.
 The G.D.3 has less ht. so it will heat easier. A fan at the top will circulate air.
 You can plan for solar heating too. See the Solar Power page.
 You will in fact enclose more interior volume with less surface area (where the heat leaks out)by using a sphere shape. Next best choice would be the elliptical dome and round house. This means less air inside to heat (or cool) the space for a given floor area. Of course your floor area will be round, but that's no problem.
 What size garden would you need for 5-8 people? What do you plan to grow? Your growing season would be similar to others in your area vs how much heating you will do.

I am a little confused with all the different prices for things; Can you tell me- how much it would
be for a complete package delivered to Tacoma, WA?; What all is included
and what is not included that I would need to get?

(Ref: 10 ft. G.D. 2)You can have (regular "wolmanized") pressure treated lumber for addt'l 15%
 Galvanized hardware would be addt'l  $45 (more permanently rustproof) Zinc plated is standard. Regular white/yellow pine with oil based sealer is standard included. "Nude"; w/o this (use paint or do-it-yourself) subtract $45 from your cost.
 You would probably prefer the 2 x 2 (lower shipping cost) or 2 x 4 wood dome frame. Redwood or other wood type is an option but costs more and I do not have prices currently.
 You may have 6 mil greenhouse plastic (non-woven) alone (least expensive option), or with the polygonal hub covers (plexiglass, any color) and hardware. It is clearer although blurry visibility.  Or, 10 or 12 mil woven "super poly" that is most durable, alone (by sq. footage) or in the Super Poly Kit with window channel, cinchstrap, hub covers, hdw., instructions
 For best insulation, use 2 layers one inside and one outside of the wood strut. For instance the woven poly on outside and clearer 6 mil film on inside.
You would need a ratchet and 1/2" socket, and hot glue gun and good staple gun to appply the films.A method to anchor the dome down using bottom hubs and struts to ground/foundation.
Also removeable foam board insulation for the several north facing triangles (not if you use 2 layers of film), a heater and
passive solar collectors to add heat, and grow lights if you need them. Maybe small fan for circulation. A few hours work putting up the dome (depending on ability) and 8-15 hrs for covering.
What you get:
Dome Frame- lumber, pvc cylinder connectors, hardware, door hub w/ struts and hdw. with handle, latch and hinges, step by step instructions with illustrations, paper dome model, guarantee satisfaction, liberal return policy, free email support.
Cover- Woven (10 or 15 mil) Super Poly or non woven (6 mil) plastic film by sq. ft. Or, in kit form precut in large manageable sections, with everything (incl. polyfasterner w/ instal-remove tools and cinchstrap lath) except hot glue and staples.

> I am looking to build a portable 30' diameter metal frame dome of the  fourth frequency. I was wondering how much it would cost for just the struts and hubs. If possible i would also like to know how much it would be for a frequency 3 dome.
[ref. structural steel square tube struts]
This is the "Garden Dome 4" design which makes a very nice half sphere:
250 struts and 96 hubs
Hubs = $2,500
Struts = $6,500
Shipping, by motor freight, $500 to $5,000
 There are 2 attach points for each strut end = 1,000 holes drilled in
the hubs, and 500 holes drilled in the struts.
The machining metal is the major
expense. There are 6 strut lengths each with a different joining angle.
 Steel parts would have a iron oxide anticorrosion finish.
Your strut sizes would be 1.5 x 1.5 or 2 x 2 inch square. The smaller
would cost less.
Aluminum would cost roughly the same. It weighs much less, raw materials
cost more, but is easier to machine, and does not need the anti-corrosion
finish. Steel would be much heavier and stronger. So it depends on the
domes purpose. Both materials can have various finishes, colors etc.
Your average strut length is about 5-1/2 foot for the 4 frequency dome.
It would take us 6- 8 weeks to complete.
We are currently doing an aluminum version, 40 ft. The strut extrusion is
square with rounded ends.
As for portability, the domes can be picked up and moved or dissassembled
piece by piece or in sections. For steel if in sections you would likely
need a crane for lifting because of the weight. As for assembly it would
take a crew of two or three 2 or 3 days to accomplish. Some scaffolding,
scissor lift etc. would be required.
 This is an estimate of price; details would be worked out in a final
proposal. We can also do on-site assembly or help with the first
assembly, consulting etc. Email consulting - no charge!
- - - - -
Garden Dome 3 type - would costs significantly less. The Main Dome
("3/8") has 46 hubs and 120 struts. The Base Option adds 15 hubs and 45
 - - - - -
Also we do not yet have any engineering analysis done on our particular
type of dome construction, however ever it is equal if not superior to
that currently used by the several dome home builders. Any engineering
data (for instance often needed to qualify for certain building permits
for permanent structures) would have to be done yourself.

Another option for the metal domes is round steel tubing, galvanized
electrical conduit in standard sizes. This method is a a good inexpensive
alternative. Hub cylinders would be used for connecting [not always applicable], which are metal
or pvc. Again the design depends on the purpose.
A reinforced round steel tube dome would be a "double dome". This would
be a strut tube on the interior a n d exterior of each connecting area on
the hub. For instance you have a 4 inch long cylinder, and a 1"  tube
attached on the inside and outside ends. Tube ends are flattened, bent
and drilled. This is a common practice for constructing domes, however
the hub cylinders are a unique system. The schedule 80 pvc with 3/8" wall
thickness would be strong enough for many purposes, and cost much less to
manufacture. So you could get down to the $2  - 3,000 range.
Refer to Steel Domes.

Ernie:  Thanks for your rapid reply!  I love the star domes and would like
> to grow them in every size.

Yes I love them too, and you won't find them any where else! In fact the sizes
could range from about 3 ft diameter to 60 feet; which would have 11.5 foot
long struts for the star arms.I just did a basic cost proposal for one, with
Super Poly cover installed, cement perimeter wall foundation, and brick paver
walkways that can be changed as needed. 2 x 4 pressure treated wood, the
thicker (schedule 80) pvc connectors, came out to be est. $19,500.

> I have a half-acre sloping lot in a lush
> jungle valley in Hawaii (behind Waikiki with an ocean view) which already
> has a 5-level tree house in a gigantic banyan tree ("The Biosphere Tree")
> which is the southeast aspect of the GAIASPHERE DOME, a living dome of huge
> timber bamboos, alive and used structurally......

As I am pretty familiar with dome connections
(http://www.gardendome.com/Patents.htm) I know that any strut material can
be designed and adapted succesfully with a variety of connecting methods.With
round tubes (bamboo, pvc) I would machine them at the proper angle, with a
round cut to fit cylinder hubs. Same for the rectangle and square metal tubes.
Then everything is bolted together, welded if necessary.

>Bucky made a big bamoo dome in an outdoor theatre in Ubud, Bali, which I would love to have seen...

There are several good shadecloth canopy materials, different weave thickness
of black and silver, and varieties (color patterns) of high tech awning


        They are known for superior structural strength with no interior walls or columns needed for supporting the
        roof; and for enclosing the greatest volume with the least materials = less suface area for more living area


        Then some areas inside the dome would need to be seasonally enclosed for extra heating, unless the whole
        dome is heated.


        Domes and dome people are known for alternative living and doing more with less. Originally domes were a
        big success because for a dome home 30% less materials can enclose the same area as a 'square' home, and
        the less surface area and shape gives better ability to heat and cool efficiently.


        >From $15k delivered and installed with the cover up to ? $60k+ with electrical, plumbing, proper foundation,
        heat/AC, fans, ventilation, solar power; dealing with engineering, architect, government, contractors etc. A lot
        of the cost depends on your basic dome type and materials, wood or metal, and cover type.
        About $65k for an aluminum dome "Garden Dome 6" type (196 hubs, 555 struts)
        [http://www.gtwn.net/~wgd/Gd6.html], 2 x 2 inch square struts, round aluminum connector hubs. Installed;
        with underground concrete anchor piers, and glass and/or polycarbonate glazing. A metal sheet hub cover
        plate may be required for reinforcing the hub connections; recommended for better tornado resistance.
         Wood domes naturally cost less.


        Probably, as lots of glass is recycled. Special solar control glass. Consult a glass expert. Glass with wire
        screen for safety may be required for overhead. Glass on lower areas and the polycarb. glazing like SPS brand
        on the upper areas might be best. It insulates better than glass too. http://www.spscorp.com/thermaglas.html


        It's a great idea!Another thing about domes are their aerodynamic shape - ability to resist tornadoes and
        hurricanes much better.


        A domes height is at or near the radius (= 1/2 the diameter) so then a 60 ft dome is 30 ft tall at the top (apex).
        But floor area and space volume multiplies rapidly with increase of diameter.The Garden Dome 3 chart shows
        this concept. http://www.fastlane.net/~ega/gd3_tables.htm
        With a 30 ft tall dome a second level floor - look out deck/platform can be used.

                -----Original Message-----
                 Depending on the dome size you need several of the dome types might work for you. Each
                has it's own characteristics and limitations.
                 Considering the Octa-Dome, max size would be in the 25 feet range. You would have large
                triangles, and you would likely adjust the dome size to fit the cover material for best economy
                of usage. For instance 10 ft length of poly film or mesh, screen etc. You are cutting triangles
                from rectangle cover material so this is a consideration.
                 The Octa-Dome has possibility for an "-X1" division type. This adds some extra struts for
                reinforcement and extra attach points for covering; would be ideal for the large triangles of the
                25 foot range.
                 Garden Dome 2 also in the max -25 foot range, but has more hubs and struts, more (and
                smaller) triangles that may be divided (X1,2,3) in various ways.
                 Garden Dome 3 could be up to 40 feet and I would recommend at least the -X1 struts
                added for this size. I have steel hubs for the lower ones on this size, but aluminum or the
                heavier duty schedule 80 pvc will work; used on at least the lower ground level.
                 Garden Dome 4 could be up to 50 feet.
                 The aluminum hubs will work best for larger domes. Aluminum and pvc can be used
                together, for instance aluminum (stronger) for the lower several hubs and sch. 80 pvc for
                upper hubs (holds up less weight).
                Aluminum and steel hubs cost more, in the $15 to $35 each range depending on type.  Steel
                hubs will have anti-corrosion finish.
                 You can also mix struts sizes. For wood struts, on a large dome 2 x 6 on the lower levels
                and 2 x 4 on the upper. Also 2 x 6 with 2 x 4 "X" struts, or 2 x 4 with 2 x 3 or 2 x 2 "X"
                struts etc. etc.
                 You would likely need special approval for building commitee/code people for erecting a
                dome (or any building) for commercial use. We can supply engineering format type drawings
                to help this process, $50 to $150 depending on dome type and what's needed. States have
                individual engineering requirements, so it would be left up to you to find out if you need any
                engineer review/inspection and locating one.
                 Domes can rest right on level ground or be built up on a cement wall, brick (cinder block)
                wall, etc. Underground cement posts can attach to lower dome hubs and/or struts  to anchor
                the dome.
                 For lowest expense, a 2 x 4 dome 30 -40 feet, covered with super poly will work well. Use
                the sch. 80 pvc and more permanently rust proof galvanized hardware (costs a litle more).
                Use the Poly fastener for more window openings, or triangle hub+strut hinged window
                frames. that can be opened and closed more easily. Alternative is poly carbonate glazing for
                the whole dome or just windows that can be hinged. Another is Coroplast horticulture grade.
                 The basic GD3 has less height for floor area, as it is less than a half  sphere dome.
                 Any of the domes can be made from  standard aluminum extrusion square tube, 1 x 1 to 2 x
                2 inch size; with the pvc or aluminum hubs. Another standard aluminum channel added can
                lock on glass or rigid glazing using spring tension clips.
                 So you have lots of options and price range.
                 Consider the Star Domes also. The Star Dome 2 is more than half sphere; height is more
                than the dome radius.
                This 20 ft. 2 x 4 one (jpg) is in Colorado springs.
                 Also we will be starting an automatic interest free monthly payment option if this will help in
                your purchase.
                 Ernie Aiken
                attachments: Star Dome 2C, Octa-Dome X1 photo and top view drawing.
                New dome designs based on our exclusive construction connection system.
                Patents pending with the U.S. Office of Patent & Trademarks.
                Worldflower Garden Domes, Inc.
                PO BOX 2103
                Georgetown, Tx. 78627
                Toll Free 1-877-999-DOME
                email gardendome@yahoo.com

                vicki  wrote:

                  INTERESTED.   VICKI

60 ft. Star Dome 1, "MMX" minus 60 Star dividing struts, the 1-A and 1-B types combined,
2 x 4 pressure treated wood, with oil based wood preservative (may be clear, white or a light gray) and galvanized steel
attaching hardware.
Schedule 80 pvc connectors.
The "star arms" are the longest struts, these will be approx. 11 ft. 6 inches

          Dome-  material +  mfg. labor
           Delivery -truck one way
   Foundation, local sub, concrete perimeter wall,
               + paver walks
         Installation, 4 + weeks on site*
                Equip rental
         Super Poly cover Kit installed
                 Total =

*Local laborers hired as required to expedite.
 Option 1. - 2 x 6 wood used on the stars, which are the main supporting structure. Double hardware and connector cylinder
length for added strength for this large size. Star pentagon struts are approx 8 ft, Star arms, 11-1/2 ft., Star Center struts, 6-1/2
ft. Additional cost = $1,275 All other struts remain 2 x 4

Option 2. All hubs aluminum cylinders. For the all 2 x 4 dome, additional $700. For the 2 x 6 + 2 x 4 dome, additional $1,200
( = $22,325) .

Option 3. Same dome but 50 ft. diameter. Basic total = $17,650

I have an educational institute discount, should your school be interested in a dome, 10%.

With 87 of the 21 foot tubes, the 40 ft. dome (GD4) can be made. In fact for less waste of materials = using more of the
available tube length, a 43 ft. diameter dome can be made, at no extra cost.
The strut lengths and quantities are:

     43 FT. GD4

Price $18,400 + tax = $19,918
Includes installation, anchor posts, cover plates and features discussed previously. After delivery, installation will take 2-3
weeks. Contract will need to be amendable, in the possible but unlikely event of price increase over the amount quoted.
 = = = = = = =
David wrote:
  Sorry for the late reply. I now own an original copy of domebook 2 and
  having a great time reading it. Tons of info! Believe it or not, I just
  purchased a domebook 1 and should have it in about 10 days!

  I got domebook 1 and shelter for $10 each from a junk dealer in vegas.
  What a stroke of luck! My dish biz is taking off and I plan to order a
  15ft gardendome 2 framekit with 2x2 struts real soon; (need a price
  quote) with shipping to 7xxx6 zip.

Great these old books are amazing. I've seen them at the library. My main original reference is the John Prenis Dome Builders
 Working on a 12 ft. 3 fr. dome (garden dome 3) I decided to develop it's potential as a Gazebo type with long vertical riser to
lift it up, or as a roof cap to a cement, brick or other basic wall with 10 sides. With this type a standard store bought door can
be framed in easily in the riser walls. Can even be triangled like the bottom of the Octa-Gazebo-Dome.
= = = = = = = = = = = =
 I have special features for quick disconnecting hubs and struts. I've probably mentioned this already. There's 2 basic types
that speed things up greatly and really good for repeated assembly/ take town. Parts and shop work takes more time so this
option is $30 to $100+ depending on qty. of hubs and hdw. (special order). They are different attaching hdw.. Other basic options are the thicker schedule 80 stronger pvc, for 3 and 4
inch dia. hubs (not for 1 x 2 wood) which costs more, galvanized vs. zinc plated hdw., treated wood (add 10%), metal hubs
and struts, other wood like redwood or cedar,  conduit metal tube domes. These round metal tube domes I am making
prototypes, work fine and will be bolted to the pvc or metal hubs. So you can see with all these items you almost have to sit
down with someone and explain everything. (maybe it is too much). Then you have different types of coverings, shadecloths,
greenhouse films... And hub covers...
  Shipping - lots of things can be shipped UPS, others motor freight or come here, rent a truck and take it home with you.

Here are some Garden Dome 2 prices:
Connector Kit+ for 2 x 4 wood.............. $217.00
Base Option C.K. for 2 x 4....................... 72.00
Option sch. 80 (gray) pvc, thicker
and stronger.....
Main Dome and Base Option.....add...........45.00
Super Poly Kit*...Main Dome and
Base Option ....(shipped seperately)..........444.00
Clear non woven standard greenhouse
film**...(shipped seperately).......................55.00
TOTAL =  $833
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
We need a delivery zip code for the shipping rate.
You may pay with 50% down payment and the remainder due at delivery time, in which case we will notify you of the delivery
date and amount.
We use a web based secure (SSL) e- commerce for credit card transactions, you will get an immediate email receipt. Phone to
give your credit card information toll free, 1-877-999-DOME. You may also pay by check or money order.
Mailing address:
PO BOX 2103
Georgetown, Tx. 78627
 = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
+ Includes parts and instructions for a hinged hub and strut triangle door which may be used or other doors (and windows) may
be adapted to the dome frame.
*Poly in large precut sections, polyfastener, cinchstrap, interior (pvc sheet) and exterior (plexiglass) hub cover plates with
attaching hardware. Super poly only not precut, by sq. ft (10 ft wide) to cover your dome -  $135 plus shipping. You may nail
on wood lath to the dome struts (in addition to or instead of cinchstrap) over the super poly as a securing reinforcement,
insuance against any pulling off from snow weight. subtract $35 for no cinchstrap (white pvc strip).
**6 mil in 14 ft by X length, not in precut sections, enough to cover the complete dome interior.
More options:
Galvanized steel hardware, more rustproof than the zinc plated, add $40.
Coroplast - see http://www.coroplast.com for more information. Horticultural grade, price approx. $18 per  4' x 8'sheet. You
would need several sheets, maybe 20 (an educated guess without calculating) to cover the whole dome. Can be used in
combination with super poly (on different triangles). Can be used as a hinged window; the material istelf has super hingeability;
just nail it to a strut and make a hinge-bend.  It has some good insulating propreties. You would get it direct from the factory or
from a plastic supplier, shipped to your location. It is easy to cut and install. There are also other brand names. It would cost a
few hundred dollars to ship precut triangles to Alaska from Texas- cost prohibitive.
Polycarbonate- twin walled with internal ribs, costly but clearer (lets in more light), more durable, tougher, better insulating.
Several brand names. Cut with a table saw. Could be used in the several top triangles where more insulation is needed as heat
rises and escapes. Price range beginning at $65 pre 4' x 8' sheet.
Polyfastener - $.65 per foot, can be used over several triangles for removing large triangle sections of poly film for better
ventilation. You might want for the film attached to the inside for easier removing. Put on two struts and roll up the film and
attach it to the 3rd strut with a cable tie (instructions show you how to do this) for an easy window. Enough for 2 windows is
supplied with the Super Poly Kit.
Black/Silver woven poly - by square foot - you can make a pond liner, might be good to line a hydroponic tank - many
uses. Use the black for its solar heat collecting ability. It is opaque, 12 or 18 mil thickness, black on one side and silver on the
other. We sell this, give sq. ft. for a price quote.
Also in silver/white and white/white. Silver can be used as a reflector = light collector.
Insulating foam board- the silver backed type, use in dome triangles as press to fit insulators on the windy side where most
heat is lost. Silver faced inside will add reflected light and supplement any grow lights. Buy at builders supply. Other types- you
can insulate the ground under the dome floor and make it a passive solar collector. Dig down one or two feet and cover the
area under the dome with one or two layers of 4 x 8 foam board sheets. A solar expert recommended this to me. Punch a few
holes for water flow. You can still use it for growing plants with shallow root systems. Some electric heating cables will keep the
soil warm for plants.  Greenhouse suppliers have these.
1.There are some old books you might find at libraries. There is tons of information on the www.
   2.You can use pressure treated wood, but it has some chemicals for anti mildew etc. that may be toxic to birds. Untreated
     you may treat yourself with a recipe from Organic Gardening. If you will have high humidity like a tropical garden with
     misters etc. aluminum would be best. Wood with rubberized paint will work well also. It is elastomeric roof coating paint.
     I put it on a dome 3 years ago and it has held up very well. It is the "white coat" but color can be added. It is brushed on
     and a coat of exterior grade latex paint that also has anti-mildew ability is sprayed on; so you have 2 waterproofing coats.
     Julie is trying it in the Big Thicket, near Beaumont and low humid swampy areas to see how it will perform there.  After
     several years if any struts show deterioration, these can be replaced with new ones.
   3.With an oil based wood preservative, as in Behr and Thompson's brands, a new coat every year or two as needed. With
     the elastomeric coat, touch up any areas that get scratched or scraped and exposes the wood. Check up on the hub
     connections as wood contracts/expands these may need tightened once or twice. This could be prevented with use of
     construction super nailing glue on the attaching hardware at initial assembly.
   4.There are different shade cloths and different methods of use. I like the silver or  black from Green-Tek different weave
     density for 30-60% shade. (Edgerton, WI 608-884-9494 fax 608-884-9459) Large sections can cover several dome
     triangles and attach with grommets to hubs and struts too if necessary. Large rectangle sections can be hung inside the
     dome vertically as shade curtains, or at angles attached to hubs.
   5.A good mister system will reduce heat substantially. With shade and ventilation, actual air conditioning can be kept to a
     minimum. A seperate closed air conditioned area for work or office would be ideal. To keep costs reasonable the whole
     dome inside does not need to be air conditioned, except for fans for ventilation, shade, misters and perhaps an additional
     water evaportive cooler.
   6.There is lots of heating information from the Garden Web structures forum (www.gardenweb.com). You would want to
     use passive solar collectors, and supplement with a gas fired unit(s) with thermostat control when temperatures merit.
   7.Photo voltaic systems that generate electricity is different than passive collectors. Passive collectors would be water,
     rocks, bricks, or the earth itself. Dark rocks or black barrels etc. I discuss on my Solar Power Your Dome page.
   8.Sure you can add supplemental electric solar generator  panels any time.  You would get a meter that reads what is not
     used and the electric company must buy back your unused portion. Same for windmill generators.
   9.We would be happy to deliver your dome and set it up. We are not a big company and have low overhead. Local
     contractors would be hired only as needed, for foundation, electrical, etc. But lots of this you can do yourself, after the
     dome is up. You would want to preplan for your door openings, foundation and plumbing, where your AC unit will be,
     basic electrical plan. You could hire a general contractor, do it yourself or ew can do it.
  10.Will discuss this later. Basically, a commision as a "rep" or retail/wholesale agrement with a contract. You take orders
     and we fulfill them.
  11.You can have a good professional cement wall for the perimeter of the dome = ground level, as tall or short as needed;
     or just enough to raise it off the ground. Probably several concrete anchor posts underground. A single layer of "cinder"
     blocks mortered and filled with concrete would be sufficient. You can plan for poured side walks or brick walkways that
     can be moved around- more flexibility. An areas for trees etc. will need to stay unpaved.
  12.Difficult to answer. The woven poly film is not by itself very insulating, neither is glass. You can add a layer of the clearer
     non woven film to the dome struts inside, supplementing the woven poly on the exterior, for an insulating dead air space.
     This will reduce light slightly more. Both materials will last for several years, and would be time consuming and a
     challenge to install, but costs less initially. I would probably go with as most of Coroplast that I could afford for upper
     levels; and the films on lower levels easier to reach for replacement in 5-7 years, easier to remove large areas for
     windows, several triangles at a time. Also as the warm air rises, the Coroplast insulates so will help with climate control.
  13.Scrap or old glass probably is not a good idea. You would need modern glass with better characteristics for growing
     under. Old glass does not cut well. But if you were getting large amounts of  glass that would cover whole triangles at a
     good price, yes.
  14.As a matter of fact there are many people who do water garden designs, ponds, fountains etc. I have some contacts but
     never had the occasions to use them yet. Julie' originated the Wildscape concept that was implemented with the Texas
     State Parks for areas of native plants conducive to an animal friendly environment. She's also done a lot of design work
     and managing garden center- nurseries and familiar with the aquatics. We have exhibits at Home and Garden shows and
     there are always peolple who specialize in water design. Under construction-
  15.The dome designs are quiet flexible. An office-living area can be incorporated, inside the dome or attached. It could be a
     seperate smaller dome attached. If you want to expand outward, domes can be connected in a number of ways- all in
     line joined or seperated by a walk way, a main central dome with 1- 5 other domes joined radially about- for the Icosa
     domes with pentagon features; or 5 domes in a pentagon shape, seperated by a walk way. With this final concept a large
     open area in the center will provide a great outdoor area surrounded largely by the domes. Also with a number of smaller
     domes, various microenvironments can be supported for particular animal and plant growth; tropical, rain forest, desert,
     etc. The San Antonio Botanic gardens does this with several structures. One is super humid,  another desert dry, etc.

Have you seen the Mitchell Park Domes? I have not myself but hope to some day. They are non the conventional geodesic
type.- http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/Biology/domes/
I am interested in your entire line of domes for several uses on our
> Montana ranch which will house our extended family (14 families) by year
> end.  We also are shopping for large greenhouse structures.  Please send
> what ever information you feel would be helpful in our evaluation of
> your products.

 Thank you for inquiring about our dome products. Although our domes make
wonderful greenhouse garden domes, their usefullness extends far beyond this
basic and obvious function. Especially for architectural development into
fully useable modernized, safe, secure, permanent living spaces. We welcome
any such developments by our customers. You will find our dome frames are
equal or superior to those on the market made by dome home manufacturers.
However we only supply dome frames of several types, and logistic and
installation support; any architectural development and design, interior
finish, engineering qualification etc. is left for the customer. So there is
full flexibility into how this might be done: by an experienced
do-it-yourself person familiar with construction techniques to having it all
done by general contractor and sub contractors.
 Please study the Garden Dome web pages, and order our $10 catalog.
 Some special unique features of our domes:
1.) The X1, X2, and X3 types add triangulated structural support. For
instance the "Garden Dome 3" type could be a 40 ft. dome with the main dome
triangles approx. 7 x 8 x 8 feet. The three methods of subdividing adds
structural strength and support for nailing triangles made from 4 x 8 ft.
sheets. for roof deck and interior ceiling panels.
2.) Domes can be "double domes". This is where for each strut on the
original dome, an extra strut is added interiorly for extra support
structure, extra space for insulation between interior and exterior. For
instance two 2 x 4s or a 2 x 6 and a 2 x 4 strut attached to a longer
connecting hub cylinder; can make a 10-15 inch space between roof deck and
ceiling panels.
3.) Wide range of materials, sizes, options, dome types. Eleven basic dome
types; pvc, aluminum or steel connector hubs; wood, pvc, aluminum or steel
frames with iron oxide anticorrosion finish; Connector Kits or complete
Frame Kits. All at reasonable cost.
As soon as I can, I will have the ground leveled and a concrete pad poured. >  Do you have information on the lug bolt pattern that could be used at the > time that the concrete is poured?   For either the Connector Kit or complete Frame Kit, wood or metal, I will assemble the base level first and send you these with measurements/instructions, and from this you can find your anchor bolt locations and entry (door) locations also.   Alternately you can just drill in the concrete the hole for anchor bolt, after the dome is assembled, mark the places, raise it up and drill away. If you have a 20 ft. round fndn. the dome will fit on it with room to spare The widest point is a few feet up. You may set the dome on boards or posts to raise it up, 4 x 4 or 4 x 6 and give a wall for metal flashing to be applied. If you want to do a 15 sided foundation, I can send a layout  that will match the dome base. >  > I have also noted that you offer "metal domes" and twin wall translucent > polycarbonate glazing.  I would appreciate information regarding that. Metal would be 1.5 x 1.5 inch square tubes and 3.5 and 4.5 inch round pipe hubs, Reynolds 6063 aluminum. Everything is bolted together with no welding required. It would be very rigid and strong.An aluminum extrusion for clipping on the glazing can be used with spring tension clips, or plastic glazing screwed right into the struts, with plastic or metal strips to cover the seams. With this type hinged triangle windows with auto actuator works well. Depends on the domes purpose. Aluminum costs considerably more plus more nuts and bolts required.  Thermoclear (ribbed twinwall)lexan type glazing is best for insulating, for heating for greenhouse in winter; guaranteed by GE 10 years and the best option. Comes in 'clear' bronze and opal tint. It's really tough, hail proof. 6 or 8 mm thickness. Starts at about $1.65 sq/ft. material cost + cutting triangles and installation. [roughly $2,000]  >  > I appreciate your offer to help with the doors.  Is there a standard design > available? Yes-http://www.fastlane.net/~ega/SD2b_Lou2_90x.JPG This is the 12 foot one. The redwood one, 14 ft. But with a 20 ft. dome the top star point need not be part of the opening.   I suppose that the best way is to build the whole dome and then > remove sections as required.  I would need to know exactly where to put the > door [s] so that I can orient the dome properly with the access path. You can see from the top views how the stars in question for door placement are 3 equally spaced at 120 degrees. This area can be framed in for a rectangle door, but not likely a standard size you could buy off-the-shelf.  >  > Finally, if one wanted to cover the dome with OSB sections so that it could > be stuccoed in order to match our home. Nail/screw on the panels, cover the seams with galv. strips+ rubber sealer. I can cut the triangle panels out, ready for installing. Consult the shot-crete spray on concrete folks how to best do this, instead of hand application. The equipment can be rented many places.  Also you may have noticed with the Star Dome 2 the height is greater than the radius; a 20 ft. dome it would be around 13 feet at the apex. >
Entries and windows are easily adapted to the domes. You can have a > > hub-strut geodesically triangled entry that comes with the Connector Kits > > and Frame Kits, or retrofit standard doors and windows from a local > > builders's supply. I can help with design options and basic drawings for > > adding alternate entries at no extra cost to you. > >   20 foot domes typically have 15 or 20 ground level edges, but might > have > > 10 (http://www.fastlane.net/~ega/sd1_b_top.JPG) > >   Several foundation methods are possible, from rock, brick, cement, > deck, > > or just put down sheets of opaque 25 mil woven poly. We have > black/silver, > > black /white and translucent (10 or 15 mil) polys. > >   Other options are schedule 80 pvc hubs with 3/8" wall thicknes vs. 1/4 > > for the std. sch. 40; sch. 40 and 80 aluminum hubs, for 2 x 2, 2 x 4 or 2 > x > > 6 wood. Also galvanized steel hardware (std. is zinc plated) is > available.
The polygonal hub cover plates are bolted on with a "long" bolt - one cover inside and one outside; with plexiglass (typically) of any std. color or coroplast (corrugated sheet, several colors)1/8" or 1/4" thick. [www.coroplast.com] These add a little expense, w/ 1/8" coroplast cheapest, good for holding on fabric at the hubs int. or ext. but it bends (not really too rigid) if screwed too tight.
AS well I
possibly need to seal (just to keep out light and muffle sound) the
outside possibly with pink insulation foam (noone will be able to see the
exterior). If I order a dome it will be the lightest material you
have (pvc or aluminum). Are there any glues that you recommend to adhere
stuff to pvc
pipe or whatever your domes are made of? Do you make or sell precut
triangles for such a purpose?
I would use the rigid insulation foam board of which several types are available; cut in triangles and placed over the dome struts. We can do this for you. Several construction glues/ rubber sealant types could be used.
How long does it take (& how many people) approximately to put the dome
(12 doot diameter) together?
The Octa-Dome, in 4 sections, about 45 min. + the outside cover and inside fabric, + hub covers. (one person)Probable would work, if you had a truck or trailer; 4 sections with the outside insulation pre-applied to most of the triangles.
The Garden Dome 2, in sections this way, would take twice or so longer; 16 vs 26 hubs etc. (compare top views).
Could the dome be made in 1/2s or 1/4s and then put together?
The GD2, 5 Pentagons and then 10 triangles between them. The Octa-Dome, 4 sections of 6 triangles.
I only have 4 days to install and want to build as much beforehand as
possible. I have to store all my building materials in a room across the
hall from the gallery and there are only normal sized doors to get in and
out of.
The sections can go through normal size doors.
My time is extremely short for installation of the show and I need to know
a guesstimate of time it would take and all of these things add up, if I
can't do them before hand or easily.
I appreciate your time and look forward to a reply. (I need to build my
model for my commitee in two weeks!)
Depending on what you need the dome can be aluminum square tubes and alum. or pvc (white) cyl. hubs; or regular white pine 1 x 2 or 2 x 4s, painted if you like. Or other finer grade wood that costs more, incl redwood etc.Also the 2 x 2 white hollow
Depending on what you need the dome can be aluminum square hollow tubes and alum. or pvc (white) cyl. hubs; or regular white pine 1 x 2 or 2 x 2s, painted if you like. Or other finer grade wood that costs more, incl redwood etc.Also the 2 x 2 white hollow pvc square tube would work good.
Your 1 x 2or 2 x 2 pine dome w/ pvc hubs will be cheapest, as priced on the Garden Domes web pages.
For quick connecting dome sections, the strut end has a preinserted "hanger bolt." This is a threaded stud with wood screw and machine threads on the opp. end. The machine thread stud sticks out, and goes through holes in the hub cyl. A 1/4" ratchet or other tool goes in the hub to tighten the hdw. This would cost a little more; and wing nuts for hand tightening quickly yet "a little" more (like $10.00).
Hollow strut dome connections all use machine screws which also can be wing nuts. There is more hdw. involved; they are more "permanent" and with higher material price and labor will cost 2/2-1/2 x the wood domes. For not much strength (comparatively speaking- it is still quite strong and rigid) required, the 1 x 2 wood dome will work. Height at apex will be 6 feet. Fabric can be clamped/ stapled on in addition to attaching at hub points. If your fabric can stretch, this will help a lot. Sections might need to be sewed together for a certain look/fit
I may have not gave you this image: ~http://www.fastlane.net/~ega/stress_test2.JPG <http://www.fastlane.net/ega/stress_test2.JPG>
That shows over 1,000 lb. placed on the 20' sch. 40 pvc hub GD3. You dome has less hubs (that can be a weakness at the connection) and more struts. Plus stronger hubs and the "MMX" hubs [ a play on words from Intel's multimedia chip] where 9 struts join, and longer bolts throughout.

Gene wrote:
I am interested in the 10' garden 2 dome with base to use for a
greenhouse in my back yard. I am a little confused with all the
different prices for things. Can you tell me how much it would be for a
complete package delivered to Tacoma, WA? What all is included and what
is not included that I would need to get? Thanks for your help.

Yes I'm sorry that it is a logistically mind boggling thing, with all the options and prices etc. Let me try to help.
You can have (regular "wolmanized) pressure treated lumber for addt'l 15%
Galvanized hardware would be addt'l $45 (more permanently rustproof) Zinc plated is standard. Regular white/yellow pine with oil based sealer is standard included. "Nude" w/o this (use paint or do-it-yourself) subtract $45 from your cost.
You would probably prefer the 2 x 2 (lower shipping cost) or 2 x 4 wood dome frame. Redwood or other wood type is an option but costs more and I do not have prices currently.
You may have 6 mil greenhouse plastic (non-woven) alone (least expensive option), or with the polygonal hub covers (plexiglass) and hardware. It is clearer although blurry visibility.
Or, 10 or 15 mil woven "super poly" that is most durable, alone (by sq. footage) or in the Super Poly Kit with window channel, cinchstrap, hub covers.
For best insulation, use 2 layers one inside and one outside of the wood strut. For instance the woven poly on outside and clearer 6 mil film on inside.
You would need a ratchet and 1/2" socket, and hot glue gun and good staple gun to appply the films. You might want a better lockable latch for the door.

For best insulation, use 2 layers one inside and one outside of the wood strut. For instance the woven poly on outside and clearer 6 mil film on inside.
You would need a ratchet and 1/2" socket, and hot glue gun and good staple gun to appply the films. You might want a better lockable latch for the door. A method to anchor the dome down using bottom hubs and struts to ground/foundation. Also removeable foam board insulation for the several north facing triangles (not if you use 2 layers of film), a heater and passive solar collectors to add heat, and grow lights if you need them. Maybe small fan for circulation. A few hours work putting up the dome (depending on ability) and 8-15 hrs for covering.
What you get:
Dome Frame- lumber, pvc cylinder connectors, hardware, door hub w/ struts and hdw. with handle, latch and hinges, step by step instructions with illustrations, paper dome model, guarantee satisfaction, free email support.
Cover- Woven (10 or 15 mil) or non woven (6 mil) plastic film by sq. ft.
Or, in kit form precut in large manageable sections, with everything (incl. polyfasterner w/ instal-remove tools and cinchstrap lath) except hot glue and staples.
What you get:
Dome Frame- lumber, pvc cylinder connectors, hardware, door hub w/ struts and hdw. with handle, latch and hinges, step by step instructions with illustrations, paper dome model, guarantee satisfaction, free email support.
Cover- Woven (10 or 15 mil) or non woven (6 mil) plastic film by sq. ft.
Or, in kit form precut in large manageable sections, with everything (incl. polyfasterner w/ instal-remove tools and cinchstrap lath) except hot glue and staples.
New images at
~http://www.fastlane.net/~ega/gd2_pics.htm <http://www.fastlane.net/ega/gd2_pics.htm> (bottom)
You can see where Julie is standing, chest level left & right hubs have a 90 degree vertical strut coming down, making a rectangle + top triangle for a door. The rectangle is triangled with an "X" - 4 struts and central hub. This is an optional (better in my opinion) no extra cost door if requested. Otherwise you get a 2 or 3 triangle door. [or you may engineer your own and subtract $65 from cost]
Shipping: 1 x 2 dome about $95 in 2 or 3 boxes UPS
2 x 2 dome about $175 in 2-4 boxes UPS or by motor freight-
2 x 4- by motor freight, need your zip code for this cost estimate.
Having said all this, We have a special promotion on our new and exclusive OCTA-GAZEBO-DOME for you to consider.
15% discount til Dec. 31, 1998
2 x 4 Octa Domes with an extra long Base Option, 10 and 15 ft. diameter. Down payment will secure your order.
Price includes everything for a completely enclosed dome that can be opened up as shown, or certain struts removed for a smaller door entry. Includes hub covers. Plastic films extra. Door hubs and struts extra. Connector Kits available. Schedule 80 pvc or aluminum hubs and other options available. Colored stain of your choice included. Price $525 plus shipping. Ready for shipment in 1-2 weeks.
10 ft. dia. 2 x 4 - $525
Pressure treated wood add $50
nude w/ no wood preservative - subtract $75
15 ft. dia. 2 x 4 - $665
Pressure treated wood add $65
nude w/ no wood preservative - subtract $90
15 ft. dia. 2 x 4 - $735
Pressure treated wood add $95
nude w/ no wood preservative - subtract $110
***Woven Super Poly Kits***
--10 mil--
For 10 ft dome = $198
For 15 ft dome = $241
Includes cinchstrap lath and polyfastener with install/remove tools
Hub+strut hinged door entry -
10 ft dome = $65
15 ft dome (both 2 x 4 and 2 x 6 domes) = $85
Hub+strut hinged door entry -
10 ft dome = $65
15 ft dome (both 2 x 4 and 2 x 6 domes) = $85
Images: ~http://www.fastlane.net/~ega/octa_gz_dome1.JPG <http://www.fastlane.net/ega/octa_gz_dome1.JPG>
~http://www.fastlane.net/~ega/octa_gz_dome2.JPG <http://www.fastlane.net/ega/octa_gz_dome2.JPG

I am desperately trying to locate a dome that will provide  covering and heating for a 16x30 pool.  I live in SE Arizona, and need to be able to utilize my pool year round!  PLEASE HELP!!

 We can definitely provide a pool covering. Some of the elliptical domes will work for your 16 x 30 pool shape. I don't have these on the web pages; but I have some cad drawings. Also a round 30+ ft. diameter dome will covre your pool with extra area around, if you have the space or just don't like the elliptical design. But the elliptical design will be shorter and easier to heat.
 You have a lot of options with covers and price range. Something really nice would be the aluminum dome with polycarbonate (greenhouse) glazing or the less expensive Coroplast [www.coroplast.com] translucent type. Less expensive are the wood, galvanized steel conduit or white pvc (fence) domes. Though not as permanent as the others, the wood domes of treated pine or cedar will last several years even in a moist atmosphere. You could essentialy make the greenhouse to cover your pool and use the woven poly film, two layers of film; combinations and upgrade in the future if necessary.

Marcelo wrote:
> Dear Sirs,
> I have viewed your site starting from an ad in MotherEarth News magazine.
> I would be interested in building a dome about 30/40'in diametre as a shelter/short term home in the country.
> I would appreciate your suggestions and a view of the connectors (PVC?).

 We have the least expensive dome building products that I know of. You can develop dome frames as  little or as
much as you like depending on you plans and budget. Even aluminum hub domes are reasonably priced.
 You have several options with  our domes, which can seem confusing but it gives you a wider variety to choose
1. Schedule 40 white high pressure type pvc hubs
2. Sch. 80 gray thicker, stronger pvc hubs
3. pvc hubs for various standard wood sizes, 1 x 2 to 2 x 6 or even 2 x 8
4. Aluminum or steel hubs
5. Zinc plated or galvanized steel (more expensive) attaching hardware.
6. Extended hubs for "double domes" - use two struts such as a 2 x 6 and 2 x 4 where normally only one strut
would be used. This gives a roof support structure and insulation space with interior ceiling panel support
7. Hollow tube domes- pvc square/rectangle tube for greenhouses, or aluminum extrusion and structural steel for
larger or heavy duty applications.
8. Galv. steel round pipe (conduit) domes with or without the cylinder hubs. Low cost alternative for a very
strong dome.
9. Other dome types and materials.
= = = = =
You can read about my dome invention at http://www.inventorweb.com/ under construction.
Some comparisons:
GD3 - 46  hubs,  120 struts, 240 attach points (2 per strut)
GD3 w/ 2 x 6,   same hub and strut qty. but 480 attach points
GD3-X1 - adds 75 struts
GD3-X2 - adds 75  hubs and 225 struts
GD3-X3 - adds  225 struts  to the GD3-X2
GD4 - 94   hubs, 250 struts, 500 atach points; 1,000 for 2 x 6 wood
(complete frame, not  counting doors, windows etc.)
The GD4 has 6 lengths of struts and 6 sizes of triangles, The GD3 has 3. So the GD4 type is more complicated,
will be more rounded and have more types of triangles to cover, but it is a nice exact 1/2 sphere. For 40 ft the
struts will be avg. 5.8 ft. ranging from approx. 5' to 6.5'
 We will probably make one of these next  month for a demonstration; a 2 x 4 model with double dome option. Would
be about a 40 ft. You could purchase this one or come to Austin to inspect.
 If I remember right, a  28' dia. can be made from 125 8 ft. boards - 2 struts per board. Say $9.50 per sch. 80
pvc hub (2 x 4) = $912 or $17  per alum hub for 2 x 4 = $1632.
Add another $2000 for lumber and roof deck + materials for your basic dome covered.

> Please send info re.: greenhouses.  Ours would be
> attached to existing
> house.  Thank you.
 Some domes are better for attaching right to a vertical wall. Then the whole half of the dome is joinde to the wall. The Octa-Dome and others similar with more triangles do this (octa- based as opposed to icosa- based). Of course with any of our domes the opening can be extended to a house opening. Some special adaptations would be required (simple or complex) and we can give you some drawings and design ideas.
 You used to get energy tax credits for adding solar heat to your house with a sunroom. Check with the IRS to see if that might apply to you.
 Some cities require special permits or inspection if adding an attached addition to your house. Check to make sure; better safe than sorry.

         I received your letter and request. This Star Dome 2 works out very
        The one in the gallery, 20 ft., has been moved and set up in Col.
Springs. We also cut out wafer board roof deck triangles from 30 4' x
8' sheets. It will have these plus a stucco type cover.  http://www.fastlane.net/~ega/sd2_gallery.htm
 A big advantage of the dome is that it is more than 1/2 sphere; and height rises relative to diameter before the roundedness closes in on you. In other words height is more than radius. You will want the 2C type for larger domes for added structure
especially if any kind of cover other than plastic glazing or film is used. Also the Star Centers for maintaining structural integrity under the weight of the wood and any cover.
  You will also need the schedule 80 pvc (3/8 wall thickness and stronger) or aluminum, or both together: aluminum for lower hubs for added strength, pvc for the uppre hubs. Also, you could retrofit with smaller dia. metal hubs at a later date (years later) should any of the pvc hubs show signs of bending too much- just insert a pipe section of right diameter
into the hub. Pvc hubs flex minimally. This is a good feature. Settled on a foundation this will be slight under weight loads or high wind, snow etc. conditions.
   What is the ultimate purpose of the dome? Consider that if  officials will inspect it as a permanent structure, you might ask them first about it. We are obtaining engineering related analysis for this purpose of structural approval by building commitees.
   Of course you may develop the dome into a liveable home and we encourage that for experienced people or serious do it yourselfers up for the challenge. We do not have architectural support. The DomeHome news group and domesteading list can help you with all questions in that regard.
  The 20 ft. dome is 2 x 4 with a 2 x 6 star for a lower window that will offset outwardly the window from the stucco. You can do this also with 2 x 8 wood, any triangle(s).
  I have $654 + $72 for SD2C with Star Centers, sch. 40 pvc. for 2 x 6 wood. This will be adequate if no weight or roof is added. Sch. 80 pvc costs more: $825 + $125
 Aluminum: 1,175 + $215
  Plus shipping approx. $125
  Domes could be larger with aluminum hubs, say 45 ft. practically. Your wood costs increase rapidly. Steel hubs can be done also. These are best for a home dome and are iron oxide coated for anti-corrosion. These cost yet more to make and machine etc.
 No extra cost for a custom size such as 37 or 39 ft.
  Each 2 x 6 strut is connected with 2 large fasteners at each end.
  You would need approx. 85 8 ft. boards, but I don't have the exact
number. And a 12 inch blade chop saw or one of the new type of sliding
chop saws; or radial arm saw. And air powered 3/8 drive ratchet would
most helpful (with compressor!).
          Time before shipment: 5-6 weeks. Down payment puts you on the mfg.
list for priority.
          Happy Holidays,
        Ernie ...

 The low cost method would be to purchase your lumber locally and build
your dome with one of our Connector Kits. The Garden Dome 3 type is most
economical for this size, and as hte 2 x 4s and -X1 type addition to the
Connector kit is ideal with not much added expense, I would recommend
it. I'm not too sure of the best method to make the dome rotate for
obervatory purposes; but 15 wheels or casters at the base hubs is one
method to consider.
 The 30 ft. diameter GD3 would be approx. 14 ft. at apex. Base Option
would add about 4-1/2 more feet.
=== Prices from the web pages ===
Connector Kit for GD3, 30 ft. 2 x 4 dome - $350
add $65 for the thicker stronger schedule 80 type PVC for this dome size
(Recommended) - $65
Add galv. steel hdw. (zinc plated is standard) - $55
Add -X1 option - $165
Add galv. steel hdw. to the -X1 option - $25
Any others such as Base Options, Star Domes etc. let me know.
Two base options could be added to the GD3 for even more of a dome
sphere, more height -
Ernie Aiken
You can see bottom level of the "Main Dome",  the geometric center,
bottom of Base Option (#1) and Base Option #2
--> Surface model is looking up from bottom about 10 degrees. Bottom
level is same as 3rd level (arrow) [but upside
down]with the 20 pentagonal struts stretched to reach the ground and
support the dome.  Dashed lines are internal bracing
points, wood or steel tube.
How this will work: should be no problem with 2 x 4s 15 - 30 Ft. The
larger you get, the more likelyhood you will need the
internal bracing, because of extra weight on connecting joints and
Cost involved- an extra base option added (15 hubs) and 150 extra long
screws (3") for the 30 lower hubs. For 18 - 30 ft.
domes go ahead and plan for the diamond bracing by adding lengthened
hubs (15) at these vertices as the cost for longer hubs
is minimal. You would drill holes on these yourself for the wood or
steel diamond struts added. Can sell the connector kit with
instructions for everything. I would likely make a full scale model
myself. You would want the sch. 80 pvc on at least the lower
hubs (30 or 45) and through-out if dome is large as  20 - 30 ft.
After looking at options this one is most ideal for this size; only 3
basic lengths of struts but gives you lots of roundedness.
This dome //GD3 Gallery// does not have the gnd level 'flattened yet'.
It would be cutting off about 1" for 10 struts with this (12
ft) size.
Star Dome 2 new images-
Proportion size comparison - 20 ft. dome and small lady
The dome will be covered with stucco- the open star is framed with 2 x
6s extended outwardly past the panels for a window.
http://www.gtwn.net/~wgd/pnls_star.JPG You can plane ahead for one or
more of these; extra cost is minimal.
It took about 30 sheets of 4 x 8 osb to cut the
I can nail down some prices for certain size and options. Of course if
any problems (not likely) developed with the 2nd Base
Option, you could always take it off; or add it on to the 1st Base Option later.

More Questions and Answers:
Part 1
Part 2

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