This is the process that I used to build the struts/framework for the hemp dome.
The next step is to build the forms, which we have not yet done, because we are trying to design a way to incorporate mostly hemp products.
The next step after that is to grow the hemp (or import it, but growing it is our goal) and then to process it, then to mix it with a lime binder, and fill the forms that will then create the panels for the official.
This is the beginning of the process.
Step 1. Design
I was able to use a few different stand alone software’s (CAD programs) and I also got some of those programs from this site for free;
www.desertdomes.com < priceless resource!
I found it to be very time consuming using basic hand tools, and semi-time consuming even with proper shop tools.
The basic tools you will need is.
- hacksaw with a metal cutting blade
- drill with a 9/16th metal drill bit
- Measuring tape
To save time and get more precise measurements and cuts you may want
- 12 ton (or better) shop press
- drill press
- reciprocating saw
- A series of clamps, preferably pipe clamps and vise grips.
Now for building the struts. I used the clams, a vise, and a reciprocating saw to cut the struts. You will first design you size and shape, and then you will cut your struts to length.
After you cut the struts, the you will smash them flat. I used a 12 ton shop press from Harbor Freight, but you can also use a hammer.
After you flatten both ends of the struts, then you will use the 9/16th drill bit, and I personally used a shop press and a multi-size bit, but a hand drill will work as well.
Just as a tip, you want to measure about a half inch to three quarters of an inch from the end of the strut to mark you hole, a make sure it’s dead center.
It has been tested by many people and the curved ends rather than straight ends, are better for strength. Ref Burning Man Forums
You can see me in the process, with my specialized jig and my vises that I set up, to get this process as accurate as possible.
More about the jig an the process can be found in this video; http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/15750021
The end result will be a very light weight, and extremely durable, steel conduit frame for a geodesic hemp dome structure.
Step Two: Assembly
This is the dome framework completely assembled.
These are some more pictures of the scale model that my daughter and I built, and then we used a small action figure to demonstrate the process of applying the hemp to the forms.