Monday, July 18, 2011

How you do make a geodesic dome?

Well, I've been asked about the math on how I'm doing the domes...  There's a lot of math stuff out there, some simple, some NOT AT ALL simple regarding this.  I'm not really a math guy, and I only got though one semester of Geometry and never did any Trigonometry or other math higher than that.  So if I can figure this out, you probably can too, provided you know how to use a ruler, a calculator, and a protractor or compass.

I'm a "quick fix" / concept guy, so I'll see if I can do a quick and dirty on this.

Basic geometry:

Triangle - Three sides
Pentagon - Five sides (all same length)
Hexagon - Six sides (all same length)

Equilateral Triangle - all three sides are the same length and all three angles are 60 degrees each. (totaling 180 degrees)

Basic Dome stuff:

1V or frequency 1 dome is made of  15 equilateral triangles:

2V or frequency 2 dome is made of 30 triangles that form tented pentagons and 10 equilateral triangles:

3V or frequency 3 dome is roughly 1/2 of a "soccerball" pattern, with 30 triangles forming tented pentagons (black on a soccerball) and either 45 triangles or 75 triangles that form tented hexagons (white on a soccerball):

The reason for the different numbers for the 3V dome is because a soccerball shape does not cut evenly in half along the triangular sides, so you divide slightly more "3/8" or slightly less "5/8" than half a sphere.

Some basic math for a 3V dome:
E (edges) = pick a number.                   Say 3 feet
P (pentagon) = E times .08696      or    3 x .08696 =   2.6088   This makes the sides of the triangle shorter
H (hexagon) = E times 1.0224      or     3 x 1.0224 =   3.0672   This makes the sides of the triangle longer

The base of your dome will have 15 sides. And in this case will be approximately 7.5 feet tall and around 14 feet across.

You don't have to use triangles, but it rounds out your dome the higher frequency you have.  You can have a 3V "flat sided" dome, using only flat hexagons and pentagons or a flat 2V if you use flat pentagons and equilateral triangles.  It can be up to you.  There are MANY possiblilites; just do what I did and Google images for geodesic domes and click pics and follow the links!  You can also mine Youtube as I did for more information.

I could write an entire book on just the stuff I know, which barely scratches the surface of this.  It's as simple or as complicated as you're willing to go with it.  I say start small, make lots of models, measure carefully, have fun, don't quit and have an open mind.

If you want an easy project to get the feel of how to make a 1V model, get some heavy paper, some tape, a ruler, a compass and/or protractor and some scissors.

Make 15 equalatteral triangles and tape 10 together in a row.  Connect the two ends to make a ring.  Connect the other 5 to make a tented pentagon (tentagon?).  Place the "tentagon" on top of your ring and tape the edges. 

Congratulations!  You've got a mini-dome!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

F#@*$%! COWS!

We've figured out why we eat cows:  BECAUSE THEY DESERVE IT!

Seriously.   They're big, stupid and destructive.

All property improvement has been halted until we can get a fence around the "Domestead", and we've got to find a way to keep our idiot bovine food... ahem, - I mean friends - from climbing the edge of our culvert and pulling the damn thing apart. 

This is what it used to look like:

It doesn't look so good now.... We had a heck of a time getting the Subaru off the land without getting bogged down.  There's a good chance that by the time we get back up there with cow-go-the-heck-away stuff, we won't be able to get ON the land either!  Grrr.

They also did what we didn't expect: climbing directly on top of and over and along the berm, tearing down a bunch of dirt and undoing many hours worth of work from just 5 days ago. 

They did a job on the dome too.  Trampling the earthbags... 

and pulling off the lathe holding it together:

By the time we get back up there, even more damage will probably be done, so we've decided to stop digging until we can get some pickets, barbed wire and electric fencing up.  Grrr.  We knew they could go wherever they wanted, but we had no idea they'd trample over everything, even if it wasn't exactly cow-friendly.  Stupid cows.

Monday, July 4, 2011

5 days... and we've had enough...

We had planned on spending 6 full days on the property getting stuff done, but after only 5, we're tapped out.  We're trying not to spend much money until the wife finds a new job, so we're doing it on the "Cheaper."  We are already pretty frugal, but we've pared down a bunch more and we aren't eating out, staying at the KOA or buying any building materials that aren't absolutely essential.

So we've been sleeping on the property, in the new Subaru -that we paid cash for ( it's more comfy than anticipated) and eating stuff brought with us.  Kinda like camping out, only with 12 hour days of digging and other assorted infrastructure projects. 

It's been around 100 degrees by 10am when the wind isn't blowing and the bugs are at their worst at this time as well.  I never thought I'd wish for the crazy ass Wyoming wind early in the morning.  Around 2-3pm the clouds gather in the distance and we get wind, sporadic rain and usually lightning.

Like the sign says:

 Prickly Pear Flower - we dug up a cactus in April and put in it on our balcony (which gets constant sunshine and can reach temps of 100+) and it was flowering when we got home!)  Come fall, hopefully we'll be able to harvest us some prickly pears.

 Clouds, shortly before a rainstorm hit.

Adirondack Chair and table built by husband using recycled pallet wood and oops paint.

 We dug up a bunch more scrub and sagebrush and we used the dirt to fill in the berm some more.  We're also digging down and leveling out the ground so we've got more room to work with.  (Also, more room to turn the cars around without doing a million-point turn.)

Love the desert

View of the berm from the dome.  That's a lot of diggin' 

We also started the circle for the homedome that we'll be digging out later.   The purple circle is the future toilet room and the orange pallet is the future shower room.

Front side of the berm with dirt fill  (The berm is 4 to 6 feet high in places!)

More front fill on the berm 

Both botanical cells are now installed and ready for top soil and plants 

Pentayurt test with extra plywood.  Success. 

So after 5 days of being dirty, buggy, sweaty and physically exhausted, we called it good for now and decided to come home a day early.  We got the berm up to level (and forgot to take pics) so we're out of "easy" stuff to work on until we can start building more.  There's always plenty of digging to do, but our bodies will only co-operate for so long before we have to rest. 

The worst part is that even though we know how much we've done, there's little visual impact and there's still so much to do that it's easy to get discouraged. 

(look it up)