Step by Step Instructions on Building a Geodesic Dome Using Sonostar Hardcore Geohubs
Use the dome calculator to determine the correct length of the different size struts. If you're using Sonostar standard or Megahubs, you'll need to use our Sonostar's Geodesic Dome Calculator that automatically deducts the width of the hubs from the strut lengths.
The hubs were designed to be used with Schedule 40 PVC. This can be found at almost any hardware or irrigation supply store. Remember that 1/2" pipe refers to the inside diameter of the pipe and not the outside diameter which is actually about .84". That's important because that's the diameter the hubs are made for. For our metric friends, the .84" would refer to 21 mm, which is the outside diameter of the pipe you want to put into the standard hubs.
If you use our Megahubs, there are two build options:
1) If you insert the pipe into the hub arms, you’re looking for 1" PVC pipe which has an outside diameter of 3/4". Why? Because PVC pipe measurements are based on the airflow or water flow through the pipe, so the inside diameter is what the store is measuring.
2) If you choose to use 1 1/2" pipe to go around the hub arms (this will provide the strongest structure possible), you'll need PVC pipe that has an inside diameter of 1 1/2", which is exactly what the store will sell you if you ask for 1 1/2" PVC pipe. The metric equivalents for our Megahubs are 31mm for the inside diameter and 38 mm for the outside diameter.
If you bought the Basic Kit, cut all your struts before you begin. Use a PVC cutting tool to cut the pipe, or set up a cutoff saw. You can also use a Skilsaw with a fine-tooth blade, or a hack saw.
Color code all your struts with a stripe of colored electrical tape about 6” from either end. Follow the laminated color-coded map we include in each kit. Lay all your parts out beforehand and make a final count.
If you're gluing you dome together, be sure to have enough PVC primer and welding glue on hand to do the job. Nothing worse than getting to the end and discovering you're out of glue. Next, apply the primer to all your dome struts prior to beginning. Then apply the PVC cement to either the struts or the hubs, or both.
If you're using nuts & bolts, refer to the info sheet titled "Building a Sonostar Geodome using Nuts and Bolts". There's a lot of useful information there.
Some Additional Helpful Tips
***If you’re building a Frequency 6 dome, don’t confuse blue and turquoise, or red and pink length struts. When you print out the map diagram, some printers make the colors look very similar. Always check the letter codes for those colors, too.
Have fun. Marvel at the genius who figured out all the geometry. Tell your friends what you’re doing, and let them help – it’s a lot more fun with more people helping.