May 7, 2007

Holy Buckminster Fuller! Dad Makes Playdome At Home


OK, I am officially in awe. DT reader AJ just sent photos of the freakin' geodesic dome he just built for his 2-year-old daughter. Here are his simple tips for cranking out your very own dome in no time:
1) be good at math.
2) have lots of scraps of Coroplast ["the leading manufacturer of corrugated plastic"] on hand.
3) load up your DXF file into your Esko Kongsberg i-XL24 die-less cutting and creasing table. [update: i-cut can do PDF files, too.]
4) press PLAY.
5) line up around 480 of those Mr. McGroovy-style cardboard rivets [3/triangle side, plus a few for the port holes].
6) assemble in your living room or play room.

AJ's email after the jump:

I've been thinking about building one of those Mc Groovy castles for my 2 year-old but your post on the geodesic domes got me inspired. Plus the dome fits our family aesthetic better.

I'm good at math. I have lots of scraps of Coroplast. Most importantly. I have a Kongsberg i-XL24 with and i-cut system here in my office. I know you're familiar with CNC routers, don't know if you are familiar with this machine. It has a router for materials up to an inch, but also can carry a variety of other tools like oscillating knives and crease wheels.

The XL does take DXF files, but i-cut software also does PDF's. We're mostly Mac based here, and I just do everything in Illustrator and save it that way.

So after about a week it's done. I was originally gonna put it in my backyard, but the weather wasn't cooperative around here this weekend. For the time being it's in my house. The kid loves it. She thinks she's camping.

Didn't have time to get photos in daylight but the Coroplast is slightly translucent and it is a great light to be in when the sun hits it directly. Plus I cut portholes and "lensed" them with some orange polycarbonate scraps I had.

I don't think I'm being overly idealistic when I predict the AJ Dome will usher in a new era of global peace and understanding among all the passengers here on Spaceship Earth.

[update: I added some new pics of the dome to the daddytypes flickr pool.]

Previously: Welcome To The [Cardboard Geodesic] Playdome, Under Construction


Holy shit!


/me wipes tear from eye

Re: rule #1 - darn!!!

[yeah, that's where I got stuck, too. if only there was a way to make a geodesic dome in Excel, I'd be fine. -ed]

Freaking awesome. I'd just like to add that an excellent source for free small Coroplast pieces is street corner spam signs ("Work from home and lose 100 lbs in 14 days!") and election signs. In the former case, you're helping clear the urban landscape of illegally posted bills, and in the latter, you're diverting waste from the landfill.

When can we come over to play?

Holy crap. I'm assuming that's Thingamababy's AJ, in which case my already high esteem for him just jumped up to 11. Dayyyyyyyy-um!

[different AJ, actually, but both are at 11 in my book -ed.]

Hey AJ, can we get some plans up? And I'm not talking about DXF files, since it's just me and my handsaw here. But that would a fantastic to have in the backyard.

Good job, and can we see some more picts?

for a very simple guide to building your own dome, check out:

Gawd I wish I was good at math. Someone's gotta get smart and put together some templates or something so the rest of us knuckleheads can look like heroes to our kids.

Go to to see other domes built by kids. The book shows how to construct nine kinds of domes from cardboard. The construction techniques are simple and the results are spectacular.

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