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March 08, 2017 3 min read

Featured Build: Barsky Builds

A Shout out to Howard Barsky for the build

Check out http://greenhousedome.blogspot.com/ for more from Howard.


Steps to build a geodesic dome using PVC

Site Preparation

Before starting the site preparation, I did a temporary assembly (at my home) of the base ring to verify the diameter.

One of the reasons for building this dome is to replace a small (ugly) wooden greenhouse that was built by a friend of the caretaker. I wanted to locate this dome (which I hope will be very nice looking) to be visible from our main deck, but not ruin the distant view.

All the property is on sloping ground, so the site preparation has to be planned carefully. This is where I had the help of two local workers. (Chano and Jose) who were already doing some repairs on other parts of the grove.(see photos).  

Preparation for building a PVC greenhouse dome

My 4x4 Honda and trailer was a great aid (with me driving), from moving the excavated dirt, and bringing in the blocks and gravel. Fortunately, my caretaker had a pickup I could borrow for trips to pick up the cinder-blocks and gravel from a great supplier of rocks, bldg mat'ls, etc. (South West Boulder & Stone), 3 miles away in the town of Rainbow.

The ground is ready for the base dome level to be built

LUCKILY, even with all the careful planning, I re-measured the space and discovered it was too small.

What Now?

So now how the hell do you pull out rebar that is 2 to 3 feet deep in the hard earth?

Using a method suggested by the people at the tool rental place, I had a small steel piece formed at one of the local welding shops...slipped it over the rebar and lifted the bars using the scissor jack from my VW (see photo).

Rebar added to my dome

Finally, after a few hours of enlarging the space, we installed the first layer of the cinder-blocks to check the diameter, then re-installed the protective plastic barrier.

Cinder b lock foundation for my geodome

I decided to use, for the planned base, 3 staggered rows of 6x8x16 cinder blocks.. laying flat with the 6-inch height.. therefore building an18" high base. I didn't use cement, but we drilled down thru every other block and drove rebar deep into the ground below to make the whole base stable.

Adding a moisture barrier on my geodesic dome

I tried to create a moisture barrier on the high side of the slope using the plastic cardboard held in place with rebar.

The Home Stretch

After completing the base, we assembled the base struts to verify the base was the proper size and attached the base struts to the base with plastic clamps.
Upon realizing there would be a lot of airflow through the cinder blocks into the interior, I bought a roll of galvanized metal and covered the complete interior and the exposed exterior of the blocks.

Also, decided on the placement of the door opening for the entrance at interior floor level, and cut blocks to provide the opening.

At this point, my son Michael and I were so excited at the progress, we couldn't resist assembling the first row of struts (which we had cut and identified that morning). Notice the containers of cut and identified struts.

Prepping my PVC for my greenhouse dome

Final geodesic dome build

This was now Saturday afternoon and we could have done more, but we had promised to wait till Sunday morning for Daniel (another son) and his two sons, Matt & Brian. to complete the dome assembly.

The Next Day...

Assembly was started Saturday afternoon, but here was the work done on Sunday by the family, Mike, Dan (sons)  Matt and Brian (Dan's sons, my grandsons).

and here we go on Sunday

geodesic dome step by step instructions

using a drill to build a pvc geodesic dome

Using the hex-head self-drilling screws worked very well.

Building a geodesic dome using nuts and bolts

Going to need the ladder soon for the connections

you might need a step ladder to build your dome

Putting the LAst few PVC struts on our geodesic dome

The Finished Sonostar Geodome

L to R.. Son Mike, Grandson Matt, Grandson Brian, Son Dan, Me


Amazing!!, it only took about 3 hours to complete the assembly.
as you can see, we wound up with a perfect interior height.

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