Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

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Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by alexcaste » Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:20 pm

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone could help me in covering our dome. We have a 25' diameter 3v 5/8 dome that ideally we would cover in white spandex. However, given the size of the dome I calculated between 100 and 150 yards of material. (please correct me if i am wrong in this - math was never my strong point) In the calculation I am also including about 5-10 yards extra for errors and also to cover a center (floor to cieling) colum that will be in the center of the dome.

I chose white spandex because there will be blinking lights inside the dome and I wanted these to be seen against the fabric from the outside.

My question is:

1) do you know a cheap place I can buy white spandex to cover this?
2) do you know of a better cheaper material that can achieve the same effect?

Thanks =)
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:00 pm

1 Rose Brand Fabrics
2 Boat/construction shrink wrap, not reusable
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by MrBeardy » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:42 pm

I've considered covering the bottom layer of my dome in spandex, but opted for stretchy bed sheet covers from the thrift store for nearly free instead to cut costs and it has about the same effect....maybe even more breathable though. I use a parachute to cover the whole thing and then when back at camp in the day I roll up the sides so it is more breathable and gets cooler airflow. Seems to have done the trick and at night any lights in it illuminate the sheets and parachute fine(probbaly would even more if the lights were setup in a more backlite manner). Good luck and curious to the responses. Whatever you do do not have any slack in your covering or it will not only drive you nuts but also likely rip apart if it catches on a connecting node(which Irecommend be covered with cloth to prevent anyways).

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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by alexcaste » Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:20 pm

some seeing eye wrote:1 Rose Brand Fabrics
2 Boat/construction shrink wrap, not reusable

In regards to the boat construction shrink wrap. Do I need a heat gun to apply this? How do you apply this on the playa?

I assume doing a construction shrink wrap like this makes the interior extremely hot during the day, am I correct or are there ways to do this and keep the interior cool?
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by LowePro » Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:41 pm

Your math checks out IMO. There's a lot of info here:

www.domerama.com

and if you put Dome Cover in the the search box on Eplaya you'll get lots of hits. Dome covering is an art with many techniques and opinions so you'll have to sift through them and see what will work for your expectations, budget, and skill level. Read read read.... If you can use a sewing machine, that's a big plus for many of the techniques. Still, sewing big panels of Spandex can be quite difficult. Cotton or other non-elasticky material will let lights shine through just fine and is much easier to sew. We've had luck with Drop cloths and muslin fabric. Don't forget you need door(s) and ventilation.

Brainstorm--you could ask a local hotel if they have some old white sheets and start with that as your raw material?

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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by GreyCoyote » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:51 pm

Tyvex or other housewrap works well if you dont plan on using it very long and can tolerate the snapping, thrumming and drumming noises when the wind hits it.

The best material is canvas duck, but this may not give you enough transparency for what you descride. Rayon cloth might be your best bet. It stretches and is pretty transmissive to light. The only downside is its a bit of a bitch to sew and takes a loose, expandable stitch that can be problematic for many machines to apply.
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by alexcaste » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:08 pm

GreyCoyote wrote:Tyvex or other housewrap works well if you dont plan on using it very long and can tolerate the snapping, thrumming and drumming noises when the wind hits it.

The best material is canvas duck, but this may not give you enough transparency for what you descride. Rayon cloth might be your best bet. It stretches and is pretty transmissive to light. The only downside is its a bit of a bitch to sew and takes a loose, expandable stitch that can be problematic for many machines to apply.
Do you have a link for Rayon Cloth? Or is this just the same as Rayon fabric?
Have you used the Tyvek before? Why does it make so much noise?
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by GreyCoyote » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:39 pm

alexcaste wrote:
GreyCoyote wrote:Tyvex or other housewrap works well if you dont plan on using it very long and can tolerate the snapping, thrumming and drumming noises when the wind hits it.

The best material is canvas duck, but this may not give you enough transparency for what you descride. Rayon cloth might be your best bet. It stretches and is pretty transmissive to light. The only downside is its a bit of a bitch to sew and takes a loose, expandable stitch that can be problematic for many machines to apply.
Do you have a link for Rayon Cloth? Or is this just the same as Rayon fabric?
Have you used the Tyvek before? Why does it make so much noise?
FWIW: Rayon cloth is the same as rayon fabric. Those terms are synonyms.

As to the tyvek, yes, I have used it, but not in the long term. I used it as prototyping fabic for a sectional cover. It was cheap, dimensionally stable, and could be easily cut and sewn on a standard commercial machine. It worked great for this use, but the drawbacks were quickly evident: all that noise, and the complete lack of any breathabiliy.

I tossed the tyvek after a few weeks (it had served its purpose well), and replaced it with canvas. But there really isnt any reason it would not work on the playa as long as the limitations are understood and you are not expecting it to last for many weeks of use.

As to the noise factor, its just an artifact of any "hard" fabric. It slaps and drums very noticably, unlike a "soft" fabric like canvas. (basically its related to the lenfth and density of e fibers. Long, high density fibers are notorious for noise, while short, soft fibers like cotton tend to be much quieter)
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:08 pm

Tyvek is a very paper-like fabric... That might be part of the reason. Or maybe I'm just crazy and these two facts are not interchangible.
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by alexcaste » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:03 am

So first thanks for all of the help so far on this. Really trying to keep the price down but everywhere I look it seems I will be spending at least 1000$ on any fabric i buy. Does this sound reasonable?

Looked into Tyvek and it looks like a great deal and might work but ours is a sound project and I am worried about the wind slapping that I keep hearing about. Is it so bad that it will interfere with amplified sound? Plus it does not seem that breathable and I fear it would make the dome a sauna in the day time.

I would love to have something a little more breathable like canvas or muslin but can not find anything cheap. The diameter of the dome is 25.1 feet making the circumference about 78 ft 10 7/16in with each gore having to be about 19 ft 8 10/16in tall.

I looked into canvas and just omg where can i find 150-200 yards of canvas for less that a 2000? I looked into muslin and got the same thing.

Are there any suppliers that you know of that I can use that I can get a relatively good deal on this. Right now the covering of the domes is costing almost as much as the covering the interior of the dome with led lights. This doesnt seem right to me but this is my first time doing this - please educate.
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by GreyCoyote » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:34 pm

The covering material will about equal the material cost for the frame. Its just the nature of the beast.

As to suppliers, here is my favorite: www.bigduckcanvas.com

Look at the 10.10 oz army (shelter) duck. In the size you need, it should be less (by a goodly bit) than $1000.

Good luck! :mrgreen:
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by trilobyte » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:50 pm

+10 to what GreyCoyote said - the covering is usually at least half the cost of the project.

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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by GreyCoyote » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:11 pm

Btw: tyvek has nightmare acoustics as its a hard, reflective surface.

A dome is a spherical reflector. You will need very little power to swamp it. Make sure your sound guys pinks it off-center or the spectrum will be completely and hopelessly wrong. Put the mike at chest level and 6 feet from the center. Even then its a compromise, but will be closer to workable than the focal center.

Canvas is softer acoustically
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by alexcaste » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:47 pm

GreyCoyote

Thanks for the info. I put in a call to BigDuck and we'll see how it goes. Also, thank you for setting me straight on what the normal costs should be because I was going a little insane. Its hard to judge if something is a good deal or not when you have no frame of reference.

I am using the Dome Cover Calculator (http://www.domerama.com/calculators/cover-pattern/) in order to calculate amount of material as well as cut and sew pattern. Please let me know if this is good to use or if you have something better.

My next question however comes to grommets and securing the covering to the dome. Since I am most likely going the canvas (but if not then definitely fabric route) now are there any tips that you can give me regarding covering the dome so that the covering is snug and not loose.

I was planning on putting grommets into the fabric and seeing if i could line up the grommets to joints of the dome (where the arms come together - dont know if there is a special word for this). Is this good or too much work? Should I just slip the cover over and secure to the bottom or do that with some securing via zip tie through a hole punched in.

BTW I thank you very very much for answering these questions and hope that each of you can come and enjoy the fruits of this labor on the playa this year
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by LowePro » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:58 pm

People often call the joints "Joints" or "Hubs"

Domerama is a great resource and it has some discussion of how to fasten coverings different types of fabric to domes.
A 3V 5/8 has a lot of hubs, so maybe you could get away with a grommet on every-other hub and save some labor. Grommeting is not my favorite work.
And get ready to start sewing. A lot. For reals.

As you're progressing, I'd definitely recommend a test-erection of your dome and fit the cover over with spring clamps and see how it lines up, then mark the spots where you want grommets. And think about how your nuts and bolts will go thru the hubs. If you don't have a grommet at every hub, you don't want the nut sticking thru and poking into the fabric or it will tear a hole as the wind blows.
Last edited by LowePro on Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by SBgalaxy » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:12 pm

I am looking for someone to sew my dome cover for me... is there anyone in the Bay Area that does this?

If not, I will go DIY and I really appreciate this thread. It's looking like it will be DIY. I think the canvas sounds great... does it do well providing shade and dust protection? Does color matter for the shade?

Maybe we could go in on a bulk order?

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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by GreyCoyote » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:41 pm

You want the cover to float on the frame. If you try to pin it directly to the frame using grommets at vertexes, you will have trouble. This looks good in theory, but you can never get those to line up perfectly again. Never. Understand the cumulative tolerances of just the bolt holes in the struts can make the dome vary by more than an inch in diameter and three in circumference. And the cover is shrinking.expanding with humidity and temperature. That is a LOT of movement that you can not control from erection to erection. (hehehe. He said "erection. Cool... C.f Beavis & Butthead)

You want a cover that will ALWAYS work, and deploy quickly. So a well-engineered dome cover fits the dome like a ball cap fits your head. It just sits there. The shape of the cover matches the shape of the dome. If you look at the monkey motions the tarp guys go through to "cover" a dome with uncut vinyl, you will see many beers consumed and many cussings made. In the end there are a million random bungies and on-the-fly anchor points holding it all down... and it still wants to be a kite. Compare that to an engineered cover. It goes up in about 10 minutes. Gravity does the job perfectly. You toss it up, fluff it out, and connect the zippers. Up she goes. All you have to do is connect it to the anchors and you are done. Its a ball cap. :mrgreen:

The latest cover I did only has ONE grommet: at the very top. That grommet serves only to align the cover during erection. It isnt structural at all. Its just the locator and frees up your hands while you are on the ladder. If it comes out, no biggie.
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by LowePro » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:54 pm

I'm liking the option with no grommets, instead using sewn-in webbing or straps as anchors as GC mentions.
But I'm not clear what GC means by an "engineered cover" with zippers. Is that something home-made or did you have to purchase it? If home-made, what design did you use, especially where the zippers are installed? Thanks all.

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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by GreyCoyote » Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:04 pm

It is homemade of 10oz duck, fireproofed and water-resistant. Its cut into 10 gores. I wrote the code to calculate the sections and then optimized it for the material size. A 20 foot dome took 66 yds of 60" wide canvas. The result was stunning (ahem... IMHO. HEHEHE). :mrgreen:

The hemisphere consists of 10 gores. 6 gores are sewn into a single panel, and the remaining 4 are sewn into the second panel. These panels interface via two #10 zippers that run from peak to base continuously.

Assembly is a snap. Literally just 10 minutes to pop the cover onto the frame. You can do it in the dark, drunk if you wanted to (I have!).

If anyone wants a printout for your particular design, PM with the details of your dome and I will run the numbers and make some suggestions. Free, of course, unless you count the beer you will feed me on the playa, while admiring your finished design. :mrgreen:
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by some seeing eye » Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:02 pm

Stretch Shapes in SF may be able to sew covers. It is not their main business, and not on their website.
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by GreyCoyote » Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:23 am

some seeing eye wrote:Stretch Shapes in SF may be able to sew covers. It is not their main business, and not on their website.
And SS would likely be a quicker turnaround. A cover is a LOT of work. It can be done in the home, but its a multi-weekend project. Either way, you best get a movin' if you want it before the gates open. :mrgreen:
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by alexcaste » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:42 am

While I was looking into canvas I came across the idea of football mesh and was wondering if anyone had ever used it or what your thoughts might be on it?

https://www.nickoftime.net/p-1917-white ... abric.aspx

I know that it won't be weatherproof and the holes will allow dusty in. But as a wind break and sunshade this would work?

Second question I have unrelated to material is the covering shape itself. I was thinking of maybe not covering the dome completely. Instead covering only the sides of the dome and leaving the top open. Basically the dome would look a bit like Patrick Stewart's head (Capt. Picard) but I figure this might cut down cost allowing me to use better fabric which would cut both wind and dust down a bit more. Yes the dust will come in over the top but it wont be directly blowing through. What are your thoughts on this?
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by LowePro » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:04 am

That football mesh is a very interesting idea and not something I've seen before, personally. The price looks good.

We use camo netting, it is also porous and doesn't provide 100% cover, but it's very breathable and despite the holes, it does still cut back on wind and dust (not as good as a solid-fabric dome, but not as hot either). If it rains, all bets are off. It would depend on your desires and expectations, but the football mesh seems worth exploring to me. That type of fabric is probably stretchy and might take a special stitch to sew properly and get a good fit, do some research there. Good news is you could probably zip tie thru the mesh to anchor down loose fabric flaps.

As for your second question, covering the sides of the dome will give you some wind and dust deflection, while the cover on top gives you shade. Shade is pretty important so you might still want covering on top of the dome.

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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by LowePro » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:37 am

PS you may already be on it, but there's some dome info in another recent thread that might be helpful:
viewtopic.php?f=277&t=69235&hilit=dome

I'm really intrigued by this football mesh because that price is *cheap* and it comes in a pretty wide piece of material. Wonder if the stretch could be used to your advantage to give you a margin for error and keep a snug fit?

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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by alexcaste » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:50 am

My gf actually cam up with the idea. We weren't going to be able to weatherproof the canvas anyway so the rain was something that we were going to have to deal with no matter what fabric. We were also thinking of maybe putting a couple rings of tyvek in between the jersey and the structure. This would cut the wind and dust down even more, still allow for breathability. Basically a ring at floor level and then one or two more spaced evenly up the side on the dome.

GreyCoyote:
What numbers would you need to give me plans for your dome cover? Also, is this the stretch shapes in SF that someone (maybe you) are talking about that might do dome covers?

http://www.stretchshapes.net/content/14 ... hshapesnet
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by GreyCoyote » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:27 am

Alex: First I need to know what fabric you will be using so I can engineer the right amount of stretch. i also need to know the exact outside circumference of the dome measured at the equator. Then I need to know the height from ground to apex, and the circumference of the base ring. Finally I need the measurement from the peak down the outside to the ground. Also helpful is the frequency of the dome, the total number of struts, and if you used an online calc to compute the strut lengths, the URL of that calc.

After that, its easy. :mrgreen: But the precision of the measurements are darned important. Garbage in = garbage out.

Oh: and either a fax number or email addy (via pm, please) where I can send the results, unless you want it posted here in public.
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:03 pm

Another fabric to consider is Dacron (polyester). It is used for sailcloth. It is what SS uses for dome covers. Comes in colors and is fairly rain repellent, making for multi season use, some versions are UV resistant for many year use. @greycoyote, I like the zipper idea! What gauge zipper, how long segments, and where is a good source for the ends when cutting a roll to dome length?
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by GreyCoyote » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:19 pm

@SSE: if you look around carefully there are some really long zippers out there on a limited basis. Sometimes you have to ask because they are not listed in the on-line catalogs. And they can custom-build whatever length you want if you have the leadtime and $$$ available. Zippers are just teeth and tape, and they come off a machine in continuous lengths that are cut apart and finished with stops and pull-tabs, etc, so its just a matter of intercepting them before the standard cutting process.

We have used 16 footers from The Zipper Lady. These are #10 separating zips, but there are also #5 available.

The cool thing about using zippers is you can layer them up, ie, if you need a 30 footer, install the first 16 footer, back-up a foot, and install the second in an overlapping manner.

Honestly however, I am thinking of using velcro on the next cover. Zippers have only one failure mode, and there is no recovering from this on-playa. A velcro closure would allow reattachment after failure, and the "failure" is non-catastrophic. :mrgreen:
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by FIGJAM » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:33 pm

Fabric stores and upholstery supply will have zippers on 100ft. rolls in several sizes..........and the heads to go with them.

You buy it by the foot. 8)
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Re: Seeking Cheap White Dome Covering Material

Post by GreyCoyote » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:37 pm

Figjam: most of these are not separating zippers, which take special tooling to properly terminate. But if you do find separating zips in long rolls like this, PLEASE holler at me, as this would really be the ideal solution for my covers! :mrgreen:
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