October 02, 2017

Here's a little bit of the story of how this project came to fruition:

CRANSTON, R.I. — A 16-year-old Boy Scout and a high school math teacher on Saturday led a crew of volunteers in a project to design a safe play space for cats and small dogs in the city’s animal shelter.

Scout Anthony Cardi, who will be a junior this fall at Cranston High School West, chose to design a shelter for his Eagle Scout project as a member of Troop 6, Cranston. He wanted a space where cats and small dogs could enjoy the outdoors away from larger, more rambunctious dogs.
 
“He didn’t want a conventional building,” Pasquale “Pat” Genco, a math teacher at Davies Career and Technical High School, said. “When I mentioned this — his eyes lit up.”
By “this” Genco meant a geodesic dome: a 14-foot-diameter-by-8.7-foot-high structure built from 110 pieces of PVC piping.

The dome, which will be covered, is expected to comfortably fit about eight to 10 cats and small dogs. The dome will have two separate doors, Cardi said, so employees can carry the crated animals inside and close the first door before letting them out of their crates to enter the second door to join the other animals.

“This gives them a play area away from the bigger dogs,” Cardi said.
The project benefited from discounts offered by Lowe’s on the PVC piping, Cardi said, and from Sonostar, a California company, which sold them the dome connectors or “hubs,” which are sold as part of a dome building kit.

On Saturday, electric screwdrivers buzzed as his mother, Paula Cardi, snapped photos of her son and other volunteers building the dome.

Required Build Items:

  • Sonostar 3V Dome Hub Connector Kit: The kit includes only the hubs, nuts and bolts, and a rubber mallet.
  • 1/2" PVC from Home Depot
  • The Sonostar Standard Dome Calculator used to measure the PVC strut lengths.   
  • The color-coded build map, also generated from the Dome Calculator.
  • Some mesh material used to cover the dome shelter.
  • Zip Ties

 

The Dome Build Plan

Step 1: Prepare the build area. Set aside a small area of gravel. We also organized all of our hubs, nuts and bolts, and color coded struts. That way the build would be as simple as possible.

 

Step 2:We started building the dome from the bottom level to the top. I've heard others build their domes from top to bottom, curious to try that in our next build.

The cool thing about Geodesic dome kits is that as long as you have the math correct, you are free to build a wide variety of different projects. The only limit is your imagination (and of course the geometry)

 

Step 3: Next it was time to connect the struts to the dome hubs. Most slid in pretty easy, be sure to align the bolt holes. Some needed a couple whacks from the mallet but they all fit.

 

Step 4: As the geodesic dome got bigger and bigger, we started using step stools and ladders to be able the reach the top of the dome.

In the early stages of the dome build the dome may seem a little flimsy and weak, but this just makes connecting the hubs easier. After we completed to dome, the structure became very strong. 

 

Step 5: We used a little Eagle Scout ingenuity to make up some type of door that we could add to the dome. We think it turned out pretty good. I would recommend picking up a could extra 4-way dome connectors to make building a door easier.

 

Step 6: The dome struts alone weren't enough to keep they animals in so we picked up some mesh material and wrapped it around the dome. We are very happy with the result. We want to thank Sonostar, Lowes, and of course our Dads for making this project come together.