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Desert Domes
Buckminster Fuller Institute

Cómo construir un domo

Un domo is an almost spherical structure based on a network of struts arranged on great circles (geodesics) lying on the surface of a sphere. The geodesics intersect to form triangular elements that create local triangular rigidity and distribute the stress. It is the only man made structure that gets proportionally stronger as it increases in size.

Advantages of domes
Domes are very strong, and get stronger the larger they get. The basic structure can be erected very quickly from lightweight pieces by a small crew. Domes as large as fifty meters have been constructed in the wilderness from rough materials without a crane. The dome is also aerodynamic, so it withstands considerable wind loads, such as those created by hurricanes. Solar heating is possible by placing an arc of windows across the dome: the more heating needed the wider the arc should be, to encompass more of the year.

Today there are many companies that sell both dome plans and frame material with instructions designed simply enough for owners to build themselves, and many do to make the net cost lower than standard construction homes. Construction techniques have improved based on real world feedback over sixty years and many newer dome homes can resolve nearly all of the disadvantages below that were more true of the early dome homes.


El domo es una cúpula geodésica. Estos son, normalmente, semiesferas hechas con triángulos que forman pentágonos y hexágonos. La primera cúpula geodésica fue construida por el Dr. Walter Bauersfeld en 1922. Buckminster Fuller obtubo la primera patente para una en 1951. Este sistema es bueno para hacer edificios. Son inexpresivos, duros, resistentes y de fácil construcción y ensamblaje. Aquí os mostramos una forma de construirte tu propio domo con tubos de acero.

La propuesta es para un domo de 10 metros de diámetro.

The edge lengths listed above can be measured in any way you like (including inches or centemeters); what is important is to preserve their relationship. For example, if you make edge A 34.86 centemeters long, make edge B 40.35 centemeters long and edge C 41.24 centemeters long. This dome has a radius of one: that is, to make a dome where the distance from the center to the outside is equal to one (one meter, one mile, etc.) you will use panels that are divisions of one by these amounts. So if you know you want a dome with a diameter of one, you know you need an A strut that is one divided by .3486.

You can also make the triangles by their angles. Do you need to measure an AA angle that is exactly 60.708416 degrees? Not for this model: measuring to two decimal places should be enough. The full angle is provided here to show that the three vertex of the AAB panels and the three vertex of the CCB panels each add up to 180 degrees.

AA = 60.708416
AB = 58.583164
CC = 60.708416
CB = 58.583164

1. Make seventy five triangles with two C edges and one B edge. These will be called CCB panels, because they have two C edges and one B edge. Make thirty triangles with two A edges and one B edge. Include a foldable flap on each edge so you can join your triangles with paper fasteners or glue. These will be called AAB panels, because they have two A edges and one B edge. You now have 75 CCB panels and 30 AAB panels.

2. Connect the C edges of six CCB panels to form a hexagon (six-sided shape); the outer edge of the hexagon should be all B edges. Make ten hexagons of six CCB panels. If you look close, you might be able to see that the hexagons are not flat, that they are a very shallow dome.
Geodesic Domes - As created by Buckminster Fuller
3. Are there some CCB panels left over? Good! You need those too. Make five half hexagons in which the three B vertex touch and four of the six C edges touch.
4. Connect the A edges of five AAB panels to form a pentagon (five-sided shape); the outer edge of the pentagon should be all B edges. Make six pentagons of five AAB panels. The pentagons also form a very shallow dome.

Geodesic Domes - As created by Buckminster Fuller

5. This geodesic dome is built from the top outward. One of the pentagons made of AAB panels is going to be the top. Take one of the pentagons and connect five hexagons to it; the B edges of the pentagon are the same length as the B edges of the hexagons, so that is where they connect. You should now see that the very shallow domes of the hexagons and the pentagon form a less shallow dome when put together; it is starting to look like a 'real' dome already.
6. Take five pentagons and connect them to the outer edges of the hexagons. Just like before, the B edges are the ones to connect.
7. Take six hexagons and connect them to the outer B edges of the pentagons and the hexagons.
8. Finally, take the five half hexagons and connect them to the outer edges of the hexagons.
Congratulations! You have built a geodesic dome! This dome is 5/8ths of a sphere (a ball), and is a three-frequency dome. The frequency of a dome is measured by how many edges there are from the center of one pentagon to the center of another pentagon. Increasing the frequency of a geodesic dome increases how spherical (ball-like) the dome is.

Now you can decorate it. How would it look if it were a house? How would it look if it were a factory? How would it look under the ocean or on the moon? Where would the doors go? Where would the windows go?

If you would like to make this dome with struts instead of panels, use the same length ratios to make 30 A struts, 55 B struts and 80 C struts.

The first geodesic dome was built by Dr. Walter Bauersfeld in 1922. Buckminster Fuller obtained his first patent for a geodesic dome in 1951 (patent number 2,682,235). Geodesic domes are a good way to make buildings. They are inexpensive, strong, easy to assemble and easy to tear down. They can even be built, picked up and moved somewhere else. Domes make good temporary emergency shelters as well as long-term buildings. Perhaps some day they will be used in outer space, on other planets or under the ocean. If geodesic domes were made like automobiles and airplanes are made, on assembly lines in large numbers, almost everyone in the world today could afford to have a home.

Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Trevor Blake (box2321@box2321.com). All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce and distribute for non-profit and educational use.


First of all, you need this simple formula:

dome radius = strut length/strut factor

which is the same as:

strut length = dome radius * strut factor

Strut Strut factor 3/8 5/8 Sphere
A .34862 30 30 60
B .40355 40 55 90
C .41241 50 80 120
4-way connectors 15 15 0
5-way connectors 6 6 12
6-way connectors 25 40 80


Largest geodesic dome structures

Many geodesic domes have been built and are in use. According to the Buckminster Fuller Institute Web site, the largest geodesic-dome structures (listed in descending order from largest diameter) are:


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