Domebuilding: Day Three

January 18th, 2009

That’s a lie — my worker-elves and I spent some extra days collecting, cleaning and marking bamboo.  Lightbar eats more bamboo than a giant panda!  I need 170 sticks to complete the 5/8 dome and I’m still about 80 short.  But with what I have, I’m about done with Stage Five of the plan.

(Incidentally, that link is only one of several places online where you can find Bucky Fuller’s original plan transcribed.  Somewhere my mother has copies of the original Domebook that first published it.)

I also built the stilts described in the instructions, using an excellent bamboo knot that Lam taught me:

Thanks to Andy & Bax for the fluorescent orange 550 cord, and for stocking duct tape in obscure colors like white.

Now the dome has begun to assume a spherical shape on top, while still flopping out on the sides.  It resembles a limp octopus, or one of my wife’s sculptures.  But I can finally visualize just how big it’ll be.

To prevent the tarp from sagging and collecting rain, I added five more struts at the top.  Each one bisects a hexagon vertically, and then all five intersect in the top pentagon.  It’s really lovely how lashing more bamboo to this just makes it more spherical.

The duct tape is holding just fine so far, although we’ve still had no rain.  Really it’s excellent weather we’re having for the middle of January, but it’s cold and windy as hell.  When I put Stage Three up on the stilts it kept blowing over.   But now it’s free standing, and beginning to feel rigid.  I’m looking forward to that magical moment when I make the final joint and the whole thing becomes stiff and strong.

I don’t think I’ll be able to climb this dome without a bit of reinforcement.  And I won’t need to, but I can imagine a dome just like this, but built with thicker bamboo, that would make a wonderful jungle-gym.

One Response to “Domebuilding: Day Three”

  1. ouroboros Says:


Leave a Reply