Fun, Breathable, Cheap, and Easy Dome Cover

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Fun, Breathable, Cheap, and Easy Dome Cover

Post by lerandrice » Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:29 am

Hi! I just wanted to share my favorite dome cover solution that ended up working really well.

When I first built my 17' geodesic dome for our small camp I struggled to find any good ideas for a cover that was breathable, easy to install, and looked cool. I tried cutting custom sections out of tarp and used grommets to place it through the dome's union bolts, tried different square tapestry configurations, and painter's tarp. Those versions either never really fit well, were difficult to make, took up a lot of room, didn't breath and got hot, or we're just plain boring to look at. Then I got the idea to try round tapestries.

I just bought a bunch of round 6 ft tapestries (only $7 each!), put a grommet through the middle to anchor to the dome union bolts (which I face outward when assembling the dome) and then sewed in some loops to the outer edges of each tapestry to be able to attach thin bungee line (also super cheap that you can buy in 100' rolls) which was used to pull the tapestry to the neighboring union bolts to hold its shape. I ended up calling each tapestry a "scale" because it made me think of dragon scales.

This ended working out better than I thought and hit all my requirements. One person can install the whole cover in 10 minutes, it breaths incredibly well, provided excellent protection from the sun, and looked awesome! It all packs away in a medium duffle bag too, which is way less room than anything else I tried.

You can remove one or two scales whenever you like very easily, like to see the stars or when the wind dies, and just pop them back up super fast when needed. You can also mix and match to any pattern you like, or add a few new scales with different patterns if you see some ones you like years later. Very versatile.

When the wind picked up I was surprised at how well the scales stayed on. There was only one time when a wind storm came up and blew some of the bungees off their bolts but this actually turned out to be a good thing. When the wind gets too strong and some of the scale bungees come off it turns the scales from a sail into a vented opening so the wind passes through, avoiding damage to the scales and preventing the dome from ever getting lifted up.

Just thought I'd share the idea!

(Note the pics from Eclipse festival in Oregon a few years back)
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Re: Fun, Breathable, Cheap, and Easy Dome Cover

Post by BBadger » Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:52 pm

That's a nice solution and looks good too!
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Re: Fun, Breathable, Cheap, and Easy Dome Cover

Post by burner von braun » Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:55 pm

I've never dealt with a dome personally, but it seems to me that your covering technique is a great way to solve several problems at once Lerandrice. Thanks for sharing!

It appears the topmost pieces may be the last ones to be put in place. Do you ever have issues climbing the lower portion that is already covered in order to attach upper sections? Or perhaps you go about it differently?

oh ...and welcome to eplaya!

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some seeing eye
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Re: Fun, Breathable, Cheap, and Easy Dome Cover

Post by some seeing eye » Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:03 am

Thanks for your contribution!

If you have some detail photos, of the strut anchors and the rigging, that would be a fine addition.

And it's news to me there are round tapestries, who woulda known?

I'm kind of a dome geek, among my vices; but it has been close friends who have done Aluminet, vinyl, billboard, Reflectix, Dacron, cotton, parachutes, and I'm sure a few more materials. Yours may be tops in aesthetics and cost.
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Re: Fun, Breathable, Cheap, and Easy Dome Cover

Post by Miura-7 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:04 pm

Things I enjoy reading! Problem & Solution. Now that would be a good category.

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Re: Fun, Breathable, Cheap, and Easy Dome Cover

Post by lucky420 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:34 am

Beautiful cover :coffee:
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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