Geodesic Tent


(1992) The geodesic tent was originally going to be an experimental liner for the research dome. Again my wife Cynthia stepped in and made a case for using high quality tipi canvas. She had noticed how much work I put into my dome projects and didn't want any more aluminum foil quality stuff.

This dome was a lot of work for me, partly because I had to learn how to operate a sewing machine- a 1934 Singer that did not backstitch. The canvas was tightly woven 14oz. cotton and the thread was wiry polyester. The finished tent weighed 40 lb

We had a great time with it, setting it up in several states. At state parks and festivals it looked huge among the manufactured camping dome tents. We lived in it for 6 weeks when we moved to North Carolina. With a floor mat made of Astrofoil bubblepack insulation we made it through many frosty nights. A bowl of coals from the campfire warmed things up. Later we burned charcoal in a small metal grill. There was good ventilation: all my domes have holes in the top with raincovers. Without a hole in the top moisture will accumulate. We used the tent again when we returned to Vermont to build our house, and slept in a small dome tent inside the big canvas one until the temperature dropped too far below freezing.

The most portable frame we used was made of little pine trees with carved ends and a hub made of vinyl water hose.

When we arrived in NC I was excited about tents, and tried a few experimental frames.

Leicester, NC November, 1992


Lake Powhatan State Park, Asheville, NC 1993


Peculiar gazebo frame was an experiment. We hung a polyester outer cover for the tent from the top half of this sphere as a sunshade. It was a playful project that provided me with some amusing dead ends.
Mars Hill, NC 1995
The tent as it stands today, a shelter for a lawn mower, motor scooter, cement bags, etc. It has been through a few winters. The original thinwall conduit frame with shallow cone hubs adapted from the light gauge shields I used to fill the holes on the plydomes has finally given me an adequately rigid tent frame.

It is one of life's little surprises that my method of finishing the "Self-Strutted Geodesic Plydome" , which I got into because of my difficulty in finding a hub design suitable for my domebuilding, would yield a simple and easy to fabricate hub for frame domes. I used this on the ferrocement zome I put on the front of our house.

This is the frame without the tent. I tried 2 other hub types while we were traveling: the first were polycarbonate "stubby stars" that fit inside the metal tubes, and were held in place by cotter pins. These were rigid enough, but not strong enough. The second type was made of 6" pieces of vinyl water hose with a bolt through them and discs to stiffen the assembly.They were held fast to the struts with hose clamps. These were strong enough, but sagged. This third hub design is less portable, and is screwed together with sheet metal screws; it is both strong and rigid enough to hold the tent snugly even with snow. The conduit will bend before the hubs will fail.
Disequilibrium tensegrity frame of sticks and cord.



Sphere CottageHome Triacon Small Dome 24' Plydome Triacon 42' Plydome Chrysalis Big Top Geodesic Tent Research Dome 18 Research Dome 18 Sphere Cottage Foil Dome Home Small Dome 24' Plydome Small Dome 42' Plydome Chrysalis Small Dome Geodesic Tent Research Dome 18 Research Dome 18 Foil Dome Sphere Cottage Home

Created: February 2, 2001
Last Revised: March 6, 2006
Steve Miller, 2001