Raising a Geodesic Dome

raising a geodesic dome

Raising a geodesic dome is an exciting process that involves careful planning, precise measurements, and teamwork. Our geodesic dome structure comprises interconnected triangles, which distribute the structural stress throughout the framework. We chose a 2 x 8 Dome Pre-cut Complete Shell Kit with single pane triangle skylights since we live in Hawaii, where the weather is perfect and won’t get any snow; therefore, there is no need for a 24” wide super-wall nor the 2 – 3 pane windows.

While the construction crew was working on the foundation, our container arrived from Minnesota with all the goodies inside. The container company gave us three days to unload the shipping container, and fortunately, we found a few helpful neighbors to help us unpack the dome components. It’s a back-breaking process, and we were so grateful that they came back until the end. We feed them well and paid them for their hard work. I’ll tell you, you can’t expect anyone to work this hard for free. It’s just not fair!

Because we had no other option but to unload the container at the rental house, we still had to deliver the parts to the building site. We used my minivan for smaller pieces and rented a truck for the riser walls, skylights, and large and heavy components.

Let’s Get Technical

The heart of our geodesic dome is the Super-Lok connection hardware system that is self-aligning and simple for any “novice” dome builder to assemble. All we had to do was slip the sleeve tongue into the hub slot and pound the bolt in place, securely locking the two together. No need to tighten, no re-aligning, no adjusting. As simple as that.

Here is how the dome framework reacts to loads with the super-strong connection system: The dome framework transfers all roof loads directly to the dome’s base. These loads get added to each other on the way down. The lower part of the dome can take 6,000 – 10,000 pounds of pressure at each lower connection point. This means the weakest link in the ”chain” can handle this pressure.

Since we are on The Big Island of Hawaii with regular hurricanes and earthquakes, the Ultra-Lok connectors are up to the task of withstanding and supporting heavy winds and severe shakes during earthquakes. I can testify to these claims from experience during the 2018 volcanic eruption with thousands of tremors, a few powerful earthquakes, and several powerful methane explosions on our property.

When a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the south flank of Kilauea Volcano, many of our neighbors’ homes were damaged badly. Windows and glass doors were shattered, foundations were cracked, roofs collapsed, and walls fell. But our dome was standing tall without a scratch. Not a single crack on the 20-foot-tall triangle skylights nor in the foundation. Unfortunately, the dome wasn’t lava-proof. LOL!

By Stella

Related Posts