How To Build a Geodesic Home Model

A geodesic dome is a spherical structure, ‘geodesic' meaning earth dividing in Latin. The outlines of self-supporting triangles are exploited in a geodesic model to give the highest structural advantage, thus theoretically making minimal use of resources. It brings with it the energy efficiency (maximum volume covered with minimum surface and improved natural flow of air) of a spherical based structure and also has better structural reliability and flexibility than rectilinear shapes. The arched form of this structure strengthens its reliability by creating a light form which can endure and withstand a lot of force than other models. Listed below is a step by step guide to make your own geodesic model with scalable plans.

Step 1

Definition. A geodesic dome is made up by fixing together a full grid of triangles. This helps to create a self-supporting structure which can stand on its own, without any outside foundation or base, making use of the most minimal quantity of materials which are easily available and abundant. A geodesic line is defined as the shortest distance between any two points on a sphere or similar structures.

Step 2

History. This idea was first postulated by a German engineer - Dr. Walther Bauersfeld. He is credited with the construction of the world's first projection planetarium, a structure sited at Jena, Germany, way back in 1922. The credit for using the geodesic dome concept for housing purposes goes to Buckminster Fuller, who registered his first patent in 1954.

Step 3

Making the triangles. Make two sets of triangles from either thicker paper or transparencies of the following measurements (maintaining the relationship between the sides is essential):


Side A

Side B

Side C

Side Combination

No. of Triangles(panels)













Add a foldable flap on each edge to facilitate joining of the triangles with glue

Join side C of six Set 2 panels to make a hexagon (six-sided figure) with the outer sides being all Side B. Build 10 such hexagons of 6 Set 2 panels with each hexagon making very low domes.

Join four triangles of Side C with 3 Side B vertices touching to make five ½ hexagons.

Join Side A of 5 Set 1 panels to create a pentagon (five-sided figure) with Side B making the circumference. Create 6 such pentagons. We are making the dome from the top down with one Set 2 pentagons making the top.

Join 5 hexagons to 1 pentagon at their Side Bs so as to make a less shallow dome shape.

Now to the remaining triangles, open Side B of the hexagons, connect 5 pentagons. Continue by joining 6 hexagons to the open Side B of the pentagons. Now, what are left are the 5 half-hexagons. Join this to the open sides of the hexagons and your geodesic dome is done!

Note: Making this model with struts instead of panels, would require you to make 30 A struts, 55 B struts and 80 C struts with the same length proportions. . It should be staked to the ground to prevent it from being moved by the wind.

While the whole construction mechanism might feel difficult and complex at first, in reality a geodesic dome is a simplified structure, requiring very little in terms of financial investment, raw materials and labor. It can be made out of different materials such as plastic, corrugated metal, fiberglass, etc and used for a multitude of purposes - cheap housing in poor communities, sheltering scientific equipment in adverse climes such as the Polar Regions (Arctic and Antarctica), mobile camps for military troops, etc.


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