I am a
> little confused as to what quick connectors are and
> how your PVC hubs work. I think your garden dome 3
> sch. 80 might be for me but I am the kind of person
> that needs to see a picture. Do you have any pics of
> completed or process of construction pics of the 2X4
> w/ PVC hub system? I just question the durability of
> PVC in a load bearing capacity.

What do you plan to do with you dome, what size, what
kind of construction, weather etc.?
 The pvc hubs with wood constructions are the least
expensive.
 Aluminum hubs will be approx twice price of pvc.
Quick connects are ideal for repeated
dissassembly/assembly and  use various hardware and
hub modifications to make connecting quicker, for wood
domes.
 The thing with domes is the synergy effect or shared
stability between parts, so no part in itself has to
be super strong. The pvc is plenty strong for most
applications. see
http://www.gardendome.com/sd2c_gallery.html
http://www.gardendome.com/garden_dome_3_gallery.html
http://www.gardendome.com/domegallery2.htm

Construction process-
http://www.gardendome.com/gd2_greenhouse.html
also see
http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/srchnum.htm
see # 5,996,288
Ernie



> Many years ago I built such a geodesic dome using
> stamped steel hubs which were predrilled and
> inserted into wood 2x4's. Is that similar to the
> connector kit you sell? Thanks,
> Peter

 The steel connector plates [Star Plates] are still available for
the icosahedron dome. I honestly believe my connector
hubs are an improvement, for many reasons. The main
one is easy opption of the "perpendiclar bisector"
[X1] struts, and also all hardware is included in the
Connector Kits. The Icosa-Dome X1 Connector Kit for 2
x 4 wood is $144 + $15 UPS.
 There are other low cost domes, such as the
"Tetra-Dome X1 + VBO" that a standard door can be used
with, and the oct-tet pyramids. Four 4 x 8 ft sheets
can cover the octa pyramid with 8 ft edges (8 x 8 ft
base) that is ideal for polycarb glazing. Another 2
sheets can cover a 2 ft Vertical Base Option.
http://www.gardendome.com/oct_tet1.html
Ernie



> Thank:
> But I like to know if it is possible that your
> company bring me better
> price because I receive a other good offer.
Hello, If you can get as good product for less, then
please do so. I cannot offer one person one price and
another a different price. All must be fair and equal
to everyone.
Ernie

Right now I'm looking for
> plans for a small shed that
> would  fit into a largish suburban environment.
> Your ico-dome looks
> interesting,
> but I'm leaning towards a similar design using
> starplate hubs.  I wonder if
> you could comment on your design in comparison with
> that.
> I also am intested in your company's charitable
> activities.  Could you let me know more about this?

It's always good to hear from people who can think
out of the box mentality and interested in domes.
 About the Star Plates. It's a pretty good deal
i.m.h.o. but limited in applications. I have an older
set, but never put it together. The instructions are
good too. I wrote about it some on the domegroup.org
email list.
 Here are some points to think about-
Starplates:
1. You buy lumber and saw 90 degrees ends or keep as
you but it, ~8 ft, and drill through the thin 1-1/2"
end for carriage bolts that you need to purchase, 50
5/16ths 4-1/2" bolts/nut/washers. (THis posssibly is a
big point of weakness - hole drilled through the
strut)
2. The new Starplates have 10 holes, so you can make
the Perpendicular Bisector struts, equal to my
Icosa-X1 design, but with different connection method.
You would need the Simspon metal 4-way connector or
similar too, + more bolts. My Icosa X1 Connector Kit
for 2 x 4s is $144 + $12 UPS.
X2 - $243 + $20 UPS
X3 - $486 + $30 UPS
 With the Connector Hubs we use, you saw the angled
ends with a power saw, drill a pilot hole in each end,
so there is some initial measuring to do, and drill
short pilot hole for 5/16ths lag screws placed through
hub holes as described in my "Improved Dome Joint"
Patent. The pvc hubs are plenty strong, and the
compression strength of the Arch in a 3-way grid is
created. Several Dome Home companies use variations n
the cylinder connector method.
- http://www.gardendome.com/garden_dome_3_gallery.html
A nice feature is versatility, in that any and all
dome types (and other things) can be made with the
Connector Hubs, relatively inexpensively.
 For the Icosa Dome, X1, X2, and X3 types can be made.
Do this for adding struture and strength and struts
for attaching roof materials.
 The Triakis (shallow pyramids) Icosa can be made, and
Rhombic Triacon with its large flat faces, so the
Icosa shape becomes hidden among the pyramids.
 Icosa-Dome of useable size has ~8 x 8 x 8 ft
triangles. For covering with panels made from 4 x 8
sheets, use the X1 subdivision is least. The 4 x 8
sheets are cut diagonally to make right triangles that
can be nailed right on to the 2 x 2 or 2 x 4 struts.
 http://www.gardendome.com/rhombic_triacon.html -
inceases interior space, and possibility of a standard
rectangle door retrofit into a lower hexagonal area.
 But for a "Garden Shed" the Tetra Hut, Tetra-Dome X1
and Cube-Octa Simplified dome are also good.
 Thus far we have donated a Garden Dome 3 20 ft to a
childrens home in Arkansas, and the 25 ft Octa-Dome 6
to the Green Corn Project in Austin. It's not yet
complete; their community garden location is going to
have homes built on it so they will need a new place
for the dome. see
http://www.gardendome.com/nl/newsletter25.html
Ernie
http://www.gardendome.com/TETRA_HUT.html
http://www.gardendome.com/tetra_dome_vbo_demo.html
Tetra - Dome X1 + Vertical Base Option -
http://www.gardendome.com/tetra_dome_x1.html
http://www.gardendome.com/cube_octa_dome/x1_a_vbo.html



Can your connector kits be used to build a dome to be
> utilized as a home?
> What would be the cost for a frame kit for a 35 or
> 40 foot diameter dome. What would you suggest as a connector kit only for
> the above?
Hi. thanks for writing. It's good to hear from people
interested in domes. A few people have used our domes
for additions to homes and to live in as homes. These
are do-it-yourself people with domes that did not
require any special architectural or engineering
certifications that I know of. However it is not wise
to try to circumvent the building codes that are there
for your protection. You can hire an architect who
will get the engineering requirements, and draw up
your foundation, electrical, framing etc. plans; if
that is what you need to build. If you are outside of
strict zone and code regulations, you can build a dome
from scratch as a home and I hope you have some
building experience or are willing to learn. IT's
perfectly feasable but if you want something turnkey
and fancy then you would look at the famous dome home
companies. It is possible to obtain some blueprints
from many of them and build from your own ingeniuity
(various dome construction techniques), or their
designs(various dome construction techniques- hub and
strut and panelized, precovered triangle panels) . It
just happens that our building design with the
patented connector hub is good and does not cost a
lot, and ideal for do-it-yourself. I would use the
aluminum connectors and do the X1 type dome for a
home. Also, 2 x 6 construction is best.
 For instance, the Class 2 Icosa 4 frequency dome,
that no one ever uses but is a great dome, 1/2 sphere,
make "X1" and option for double (inner) dome for max
insulation, or GD2-X3 inner dome etc. Custom retrofit
doors and windows, preplan for electric and plumbing
per your floor plan requirements. Add on a riser wall,
that can be a basement under the dome. A 35 - 40 ft
will give you 1500 - 2000 sq. ft. and some extensions
with doors and windows, for deck or patio/porch.

Yes the GD4 is a great dome too, for a half sphere
dome. Use X1 for roof support and for covering with
right triangles!
See: http://www.gardendome.com/gd2x1_plan.html
and
http://www.gardendome.com/dt/dt.html

http://www.gardendome.com/cl2_4v_icosa.html

http://www.gardendome.com/Class_2_Icosahedral_Domes.html
http://www.gardendome.com/dome_types.html
http://www.gardendome.com/codes.html
etc.
Around $7-10,000 for the 2x4 to 2x6 frame kits 35 - 40
ft. with aluminum connectors and galv. hardware,
shipping ~$1,000 - $2,000 from Austin.
Alum. connectors will have an industrial epoxy coating
finish.

The GD3 EZ X1 will be a good dome in the 30-40 ft
range. One is being built in NC for a large
greenhouse, 30 ft.
http://www.gardendome.com/gd3_wbase_x1.html

http://www.gardendome.com/gd3_x1_half.html



please
send me a quote for the largest size of Garden Dome 6
(80ft ?). However, coverage of 100ft diameter would be
preferable. If you have any other domes, apart from
Garden Dome 6, that can cover 80ft-100ft please quote
me for those also- remembering that, if possible,
100ft diameter coverage is the preferable of the 2
sizes.The largest
size of sheet material I have for use as exterior
coverage is 8ft by 4ft so please do not exceed 8ft as
a strut length on the quotes

72 feet diameter is the largest size you can go with
the Garden Dome 6 = 6 frequency type dome, and keep
the longest strut under 8 ft. You will need to go with
higher frequency to acheive dome size with triangles
with longest strut 8 ft.
 It's no problem to make the higher frequency domes.
It's just that I never imagined anyone would need one.
The size limitation would involve many factors such as
strength of the [wood] struts, weather conditions,
covering, type of hub connectors, function of the
dome, how tall it needs to be. In all cases I have a
disclaimer that basically says, the domes are
(legally) not certified for anything in particular as
for usage. In practice the domes have functioned
beyond expectations, with pvc and aluminum connector
hubs, and standard size construction lumber. Many of
the dome designs have not been built, and none that I
know of with wood, larger than 30 ft.
w/ 8 ft max strut limit:
7 frequency icosa dome - 85 ft 246 connectors - 39 ft
height. 10 of 21 rows of triangles (could be shorter).
Connector Kit cost - sch 80 pvc connectors for 2" x 4"
or equal wood - $2,700 + shipping

8 frequency Icosa Dome - 97 ft
10 of 24 rows of triangles
Height - 34 ft.
hub qty = 261
Cost - $2800 + shipping



I work for an Elementary school in Victoria.  We
> are looking at
> doing a big polyhedra activity for public school we
> in March.  Do  you
> have any suggestions on activities the kids could do
> using domes.
As you may know looking at the gardendome.com site, I
have lots of geodesic/polyhedra things to offer. To
summerize a bit:
Wood domes can be made cheaply, more so if you can use
the Connector Kit.
  Steel tube domes require us to make the complete
frame, so you get the complete frame kit - lots of
tubes depending on dome type. Some smaller ones can be
shipped by UPS in 1-3 boxes (such as the Star Dome 1A
Geo-Sphere, 4 boxes -
http://www.gardendome.com/sculpture_domes.html

Star Connectors allow you to use pvc or other
materials for the dome struts. There is more measuring
details involved, and hole drilling in the struts.
Star Connectors are comparable in labor work required
to the complete steel tube frame, but less weight and
less for shipping. The 3/4" Icosa Dome Star Connectors
[50 separate pieces (= # of struts X 2)] is $218
including UPS see NL# 23
http://www.gardendome.com/nl/newsletter23.html

The complete 3/4" tube Geo-Sphere , 7 ft diameter is
$1200 + UPS. With smaller size, and/or 1/2" tubes,
$900.



  I live in Springtown... I am in dire need of
> expansion around my place. I
> am supporting a family of 6 people.
You could do the "under $900" domes- 2 or more,
connected if necesary, set them on the vertical raise
wall or other masonry wall. It's possible that for
dwellings that even out in the country, the county
people will not let you build just anything, so you
had better ask. Of course the domes will work
excellent, but do not have architect or engineer
certification for any particular use.
 If there is no problem building the domes to live in,
attached or separate from the main house, you would
want the heavy duty pvc or aluminum connector hubs.
 You would want the "X1" type to help nail on the
triangles, making them smaller right triangles, etc.
Then add the door, windows, roofing, insulation,
interior panels, and you have a good start at
something actually liveable. Add on as time allows,
wiring, plumbing, interior walls etc.
 Use the Connector Kits and saw your own lumber and
roof panels.
The GD3- since it is not quite half (~90% of Radius),
it is a "little" more than half ("5/8") with the Base
Option. With the Vertical Base Option, it could
probably safely be up to 8 ft tall + dome height.
See- http://www.gardendome.com/gd2x1_plan.html
http://www.gardendome.com/gd2x1_plan.html
Ernie


> If the frame of 20 '   GD2  is 2X6  with sch 80 PVC,
>  would I still need X1
> or  X2   for adequate strength, if covering is half
> inch plywood ?
 For the 20 ft GD2, triangle sizes are approx. 6 x 5.5
x 6 ft. The large triangle height is 64" (10 large, 30
small triangles). This means using 4 x 8 sheets, you
have to cover triangles with 2 pieces. They might as
well be half triangles, that are 90 degree triangles.
It does not mean you have to use X1 struts, but it
would be an obvious advantage. IT is true that you
could cover most of the triangles, with the 48" side,
and splice on the rest of the triangle tip, but you
would need to reinforce the splice. And you'd have
lots of odd angled waste pieces of your sheets. The
right triangle method is better for efficiency and
easy, plus any waste of your sheets is rectangle, so
can be used for the Vertical Base Option, or other
wood projects,
 With the 15 ft GD2, triangle height is ~48" so it is
a good dome for efficient use of both 8 ft strut
boards and 4 x 8 sheets for covering.
 With efficient use of 10 ft boards, 2 struts per
board, diameter is ~18 ft. With the 20 ft diameter,
you'd have some 2 x 6 waste, but useable for other
projects. My guess is that purchasing 65 2 x 6 x 8 ft
board would be better than 33 2 x 6 x 12 ft. (there
are 35 Long struts, 30 Short struts, on the GD2).
 Possibly go ~19 ft and limit Short struts to 5 ft, to
use 10 ft lumber for those 30 struts. Sorry if this is
confusing. I figure you are concerned about cost,
efficiency, and waste, as I am.
 I'll send the cover panels drawing. For covering big
triangles, I'd be concerned about the plywood bowing
too.


I may be forced to vacate my apartment within
> the next year.  I am permanently disabled and on a
> fixed income.  I
> am investigating alternative housing for me to live
> in for at least 2 years, perhaps permanently, to be
> located in New England.  Obviously, I need a four
> season building or two -
> one to live in, one to store belongings in.  Please
> send me
> more information.
 A geo-dome will make a good alternative housing for
your needs. Make it with one of our Connector Kits or
Frame Kits with or without the precut triangle roof
panels, depending on how much you can do yourself or
have others do on your building site. We have many
domes with good possibilities, depending on the size
you need. You'll need to plan on a foundation,
electrical, plumbing, heating, etc. depending on your
requirements. With our do-it-yourself kits, you can
develop as little or as much as you need, as time and
money permits. You could have a dome frame/shell for
under $1,500. Use a Connector Kit and buy your wood
locally. Such as a 18 to 25 ft GD2-X1 + Vertical Base
Option, $554 + $50 for UPS for a 2 x 4 dome sch. 80
Connector Kit.
 Add OSB roof panels nailed on, peel n seal or other
roof cover, rigid foam insulation in the inside
triangles etc
http://www.gardendome.com/tetra_dome_vbo_demo.html


Please send a quote on a
> tetra dome 20ft greenhouse with option to add on
> later?

Here's some info on the Tetra-Domes. With the
Tetra-Dome, there is the top half and bottom called a
Base Option which can be the geodesic triangled type
or vertical type riser wall type. With the Vertical
Base Option added to the Tetra-Dome top, height is
added making useable space, while keeping the 8 side
foot print for more floor area than the square foot
print of the geodesic Base Option.
 The Geodesic Base Option adds significant height a
certain measure relative to the dome diameter, while
the height of the Vertical Base Option is fully
adjustable to any practical height, say 2 to 8 ft.
Both types are adaptable to the Tetra-Dome Matrix
design for adding on additional units by connecting
openings at square areas. A screw/nut/bolt and metal
fitting will connect the hub-to-hub mating junction
where two tetra-dome units of the Matrix connect, for
wood domes.
 The T.D. can have both the X1 or X2 (or, X1+1)
subdivisions, and joined in the Matrix with pyramid
point - to - point struts.
 For the 20 ft diameter, measured across opposite
pyramid points- You can do this with 8, 10, and 12 ft
lumber. The Cube or longest struts are nearly 12 ft.
Compare to the ~17 ft diameter with the 10 ft long
struts -
http://www.gardendome.com/nl/newsletter24.html

 For the 20 ft diameter, you need the X2 boards and
extra hubs and hardware to reduce triangle size, for
supporting the covering. On my dome, the X1 boards are
2 x 4 and X2 (X1+1) are 2 x 2 = 2 x 4s cut in half
lengthwise on a table saw.
 
 Anchor with cement poured in a hole in the ground,
and anchor screw or rebar into the bottom hub where
anchor holes are located.

 Use the 13 mil Super Poly Covering. 10 x 150 ft
should do the job. ($345 + $35 UPS) Use a board or
other rigid lath over the installed poly, or
Cinchstrap, and Polyfastener for windows / removeable
sections.

Windows will give you ventilation. One large and 1 or
2 small windows is plenty. You might need some shade
cloth in the summer.

I used a garden sprayer to apply oil wood
preservative, then a few weeks later brushed on an oil
based white stain. The good quality white elastomeric
on new dry wood does a good job too. It should last
10+ years. With clear oil preservative, just repaint
or respray periodically.
 I have Tetra-Dome X1 [top] sch. 80 pvc Connector Kit
for $169. For X2, additional 4 hubs and hardware
including 4-way Strong Ties, $244. Add 15% for UPS
shipping.
 We can do the whole 2 x 4 dome frame and send to you
via Roadway. $1600 + shipping approx. $500 depending
on destination point. Super Poly Kit with hub covers,
etc. $650.



 I am interested in building a 55' dia dome in
> Colorado. I want to use it for
> a greenhouse, with a small pool inside. I will
> attach a few rooms to the
> outside of the structure. We have snow and cold, so
> I would like to cover
> the dome with polycarbonate.

You could do a Garden Dome 6 type, 555 struts that you
can make with the Connector Kit. Make it ~48 ft to
keep struts under 5 ft, and use 278 2 x 4 x 10 ft
boards. You can delete the lower level of triangles
for a shorter dome, easier to heat. You might want X1
subdivision struts to support the covering under wind,
snow and ice. $2,205 for the 196 sch. 80 pvc hubs and
$3,167 for X1 hubs and extra hardware for 250 added X1
struts. If you make 55 ft dia., some struts are closer
to 6 ft.
With the 6 frequency Icosa Class II dome, you have 410
struts, and only 146 Connector Hubs. Struts are in the
5.5 to 7 ft range for the 55 ft diameter.
So will be $1642 for the sch. 80 pvc hubs for a 2 x 4
dome; and X1 hubs and added hardware, $2,357
Add 10% for UPS shipping. See
http://www.gardendome.com/Class_2_Icosahedral_Domes.html

For precut polycarb. Thermoclear type twin-wall. Would
be approx. $25,000 for the triangle glazing panels,
installation materials and labor not including
installation.
You can use standard lumber size for redwood.  2" x 4"
would be ideal.
For venting, you can have the cupola with automatic
thermally actuated vents, and/oror electric exhaust
fans with thermostats in the cupola and/or mounted in
the glazing triangles.