Geo Dome Project

Author: Robert C. Newkirk, Jr.

We are going to build a 13 Foot 2V Geodesic Dome Greenhouse. The problem is that we do not have a lot of money to build it. So, here is the challenge. We are going to try to build the Geodesic Dome frame and cover it with 6 mils Greenhouse plastic for under $300.00. I will document my progress with pictures and I will provide a detailed list of the cost of supplies.

We needed to come up with some dimensions for the Geodesic Dome. I looked at many different Geodome calculators on the internet and the one that I liked the best was at The only thing is that they do not tell you the unit of measure. I know from trial and error that the unit of measure on his website is in Feet! Paul Robinson is the owner of this website. He is who I consider the best when it comes to Geodesic Dome construction! Take a look around his website or search for him on! He has many enjoyable video's about Geodesic Domes!

The Start of The Project

We started with (10) 2"x 6"x 92" Pressure treated boards that we purchased from Lowes. Cost per board was $5.35 ea. We had them cut to fit into the car. They were happy to do this for me! I had each board cut at 49". The reason why I chose this dimension is that I will get 4 struts out of each half of the board. I also purchased (1) 3" x 5 feet Pvc Pipe for the hubs. The cost of the pipe was $9.49 I like Lowes better than Home Depot because the store is so much cleaner, the lighting is so much better, and the associates are so much nicer. They are always greeting people with a friendly smile and they always take the time to help you!

How we used the Calculation Tool

As we mentioned before we used the Geodesic Dome calculator at The first step in using the calculation tool is to enter the radius of the Geodesic Dome. Since we are building a 13 Foot Geodesic Dome the radius, we are going to enter in the calculation tool is 6.5 and then click on the calculate button. Here is a screenshot of the number that I have entered into the calculation tool.

***** Here Are the Results *****

Our Calculations Explained

For Strut 'A' the calculation tool gives you a length of 3.55 in feet. We converted this dimension to inches and we came up with 42.625" inches.

For Strut 'B' the calculation tool gives you a length of 4.01 feet. We converted this dimension to inches and we came up with 48.25" inches.

The reason why we chose to make a 13 Foot Diameter is that this size would use the least wasted material. Allow me to try to explain my thinking: A 2" x 6" x 8'-0" foot pressure board is 96" inches long. If you add the length of Strut 'A' and Strut 'B' together you get a result of 90.875" inches. The overall length of an 8 Foot Linear board is 96". You have 5.125" inches left over. consider this to be the least amount of wasted material.

Here are the number of struts that we need to make the Geodesic Dome!

Angles On The Struts Explained

For Strut 'A' If you are using a chop saw 90 degrees is set at 0 degrees. You will want to rotate the angle to the left direction and set it on (90 degrees - 74 degrees =) 16 degrees.

For Strut 'B' If you are using a chopsaw 90 degrees is set at 0 degrees. You will want to rotate the angle to the left direstion and set it on (90 degrees - 72 degrees =) 18 degrees.

Let's Begin Building The Geodesic Dome

Step 1. Adjust the blade on your table saw high enough to cut through the 2" x 6" x 96" board. Set your fence 1.25" over from the edge of the blade. We are cutting all 2" x 6" x 96" boards into 1.25" strips. You should get 4 strips per board. After cutting the strips rotate the strips and cut off the access. Each stripe of wood should be 1.25" high x 1.25" wide.

Step 2. Cut each strut to the proper lengths. You need (30) 'A' Struts 1.25" x 42.625" and (35) 'B' Struts 1.25" x 48.25". After you cut each strut to it's proper length then cut the angles at the end of each strut.

Step 3. Cut the 3" x 5'-0" Foot Pvc Pipe into (26) 1.25" wide slices. These slices will be for the Hubs. It is a shame that we are only going to use a little more than 2 feet of pipe. If you can purchase this pipe in smaller lengths then I suggest you do so. This will lower the cost of the project by a few dollars.

Step 4. We will need a way to connect the hubs to the struts. I am going to use 8" Zip Ties. This project will need about 130 of them. These come in packs of 100 so I will need 2 packs with some left to spare.

Step 5. We need to drill a hole at each end of the struts for the Zip Ties. The hole has to be big enough for the Zip Tie to feed through. I measured 5/8" over from the bottom of the strut angle to drill my hole. The photo on the right shows what the hole looks like from the top view of the strut.

Step 6. Now it is time to start putting the Geodesic Dome together. Take one of your struts and one of your 3" PVC hubs. Get a Zip Tie ready and feed the Zip Tie through the strut and attach it to the 3" PVC hub and tight the zip. It should look like this!

Step 7. Make sure that you use the color Dome diagram as a guide to assemble your Geodesic Dome. Follow it carefully because at times it can get a little confusing.

I was to excites to get the dome builit. So I dug out a section in the snow and started assembling the Geodesic Dome. I used a step ladder to help support the struts while I put the dome together. It might be a good idea to have a person to help, but if you don't you can go at it alone like I did!

Finally, it all came together! It took a couple of hours to assemble the dome. Probably would have been faster if I had some help. I still need to try to level the dome and make sure the zip ties are nice and tight. At the moment I am very happy and satisfied with the project so far. I still need to figure out a way to put in a door and make some windows to help control the heat. Once I figure out where the doors and windows are going to go I need to add the plastic.

How much did this project cost?

(10) 2"x 6"x 96" Pressured Treated Boards. $5.35 each. Total without the tax is $53.50.

(1) 3" x 5'- 0" PVC pipe. Total without the tax $9.49.

(2) Packages of 100-piece Zip Ties are $5.97 each. Total without tax $11.94.

(1) Amazon's Greenhouse 6 Mil Plastic. Total without tax $77.82.

My Grand total for just the frame and plastic covering is $152.75 before Tax. This does not include the cost of the door, or the door frame! I will talk about the door and the door frame in the next step 8.!

According to You will need approx. 24 feet x 24 feet piece of plastic to cover the 13 Foot 2V Geodesic Dome. Depending on how cheap you can find it. Amazon has 6 Mil Greenhouse Plastic, but it is a little bigger than I need. I found 24W x 25L for $77.82. This is the closest size that I can find. Here is the Link for the plastic Click Here! For more information about plastic! You could go a little cheaper and get a different size like 3.5 Mil, but there are usually no UV ray protectors in it, and it will not hold up to heavy snow or tropical weather. You might get a couple of seasons out of it, but it will not last as long. Home Depot has 3.5 Mil HDX Plastic sheeting 10 Foot x 25 Foot for $10.98 ea. If you decide to go this route you will need (2) Rolls for the Geodesic Dome! Here is a Link for the details on the 3.5 Mil HDX plastic sheeting at Home Depot! Click Here!

The Door Frame

Step 8. I could not find much information on how to put a door in a Geodesic Dome on the internet. I did find some videos, but they didn't reveal any detailed dimensions on how to actually construct or install them. I can only show you what I did. I can not go into detailed information of how I constructed it because I tried several attempts and the finished product is what it is. I will tell you that it will weaken your dome. I still need to find a way to support the frame where the door is in mine, Geodesic Dome!

Adding the Plastic Cover Day 1

Step 9. I recommend adding the plastic cover on a calm day. The wind can become your enemy really quickly. I added the cover all by myself but things can go a lot smoother if you have a partner or someone to help you! This step took me a lot of time because I was alone, and second, lining up the plastic and adding strips of wood to the plastic and frame consume a lot of time! The plastic cover was probably the most difficult part of the project, especially the door. I had to cut and piece the plastic in several places.

The plastic I used was from an old greenhouse that failed during a snow storm. I didn't have enough to cover the whole dome so I was cheap and used 3.5 Mil HDX plastic that I got from Home Depot. I do not recommend using the HDX because it is very thin and I know that it will probably rip with the first gust of wind. All I have left to do is cover the door! I think that I am going to use plastic screening instead of plastic sheeting. I will worry about adding windows to ventilate the heat when the weather starts to warm up! I am going to use wood pallets for tables inside the dome!

The Geodesic Dome Survived!

3/24/2020 Last night we had about 6 inches of heavy snow dumped on us. I was surprised to see the Geodesic Dome was still standing! This dome held up to 6 inches of heavy wet snow, but to be honest with you I don't know how! The hubs inside of the dome were screaming for help! There was a heavy stress load on hubs and struts. I will need to add some kind of support to brace the struts and hubs inside of the dome. I guess luck was on my side for once in my life! (LOL)