Dome Plans is a book for builders, not dreamers. If you're
planning to construct your own dome, the detailed shop drawings
and terse suggestions will be well worth the asking price.*
As Hill dryly remarks, when describing his penchant for rounding
dimensions to the nearest thirty-second of an inch, This
level of accuracy may seem extreme, but its my experience
that people are capable of making all the necessary mistakes
without help from sloppy dimensions'."
"Mother Earth News" January,
* The comment that
it's "well worth the asking price" reflects
the original 1990 price of $34.95. Regrettably, we are unable to
continue to develop and deliver the plans for that price.
A personal license is now $54.95 for unlimited personal use and a commercial license is
$184.95 plus a modest royalty.
who has ever been intimidated by the desire to build a geodesic
dome will be relieved to know that the cavalry has arrived.
A recent publication from Jeffrey Hill of Precision Structures,
Oregon, titled Professional Dome Plans, has brought
the other-worldly science of building geodesic domes down
to earth where it belongs firmly within the abilities
of the do-it-yourselfer.
Beginning with a few explanatory
pages of terms and materials, Hill heads straight to the heart
of the matter, offering precise scale drawings of 39,
45 and 50 domes and their riser walls. These three
sizes account for approximately 80% of all residential dome
construction. And to satisfy the builder who has a desire
for a dome size other than the three drawn within the book,
or who wishes to use nonstandard size lumber (the dome plans
in the book all use 1 1/2" thick lumber), Hill has been
considerate enough to supply tables that list precalculated
parts for 49 sizes of dome, from 12 to 60 in diameter,
and 12 simple formulas for calculating most parts for any
The simplicity of the book
suggests careful thought from Hill. The drawings are clear
and easy to understand, showing the assembled panels and their
plywood skins, and separate cutting lists for the individual
parts, as well. These drawings illustrate all the boards and
their angles as they would appear lying flat on a radial arm
saw table, lending a perspective that makes cutting the compound
angles nearly foolproof.
What it all adds up to in
the end, is a book that cuts through the complex geodesic
math, reducing it to the unimportant obstacle that it is,
clearing the way for the important task of building a dome."
"Canadian Workshop" March,
* "Canadian Workshop"
changed its name to "Canadian Home Workshop" in
May of 1998. It's still the same great magazine, just with
a new name.
to give a simple understanding of a complex building procedure,
Professional Dome Plans is a collection of drawings and diagrams
that aims to make dome building self-explanatory. The book
is written for those who understand woodworking, but a solid
grasp of geometry will also be helpful.
Jeffrey O. Hill is a former
plant manager at Oregon Dome where he helped produce commercial
and residential domes. To Hills credit, the plan book
is thorough. After introducing the methodology of building
a dome, three featured dome plans are shown. A foundation
view, a top view and an elevation are diagrammed, each with
a key to understanding the building formulas. These plans
are for domes measuring 39 feet, 45 feet and 50 feet in diameter.
The book is divided into
several topics: terms, which define the major components and
parts; format, or how the plans are set up and in what order;
and assembly, which describes raising a dome. Though the book
could have been written a little more clearly, Hill calls
it a basic book that really takes all the mysteries
out of dome building.
Following the dome plans,
standard pentagon and hexagon construction shapes the
two components essential to domes are diagrammed individually.
Drawings also show how to include a skylight into the pent
or hex form.
Riser wall plans (riser walls
sit under a dome if more height is needed) are next, followed
by a chart for constructing 49 different dome sizes. A solid
understanding of geometry will help if you are building a
dome a different size than shown in the book, though Hill
says the book makes it easy for anyone to build domes
without an advanced math degree.
To make the plans easier
to read, they are diagrammed lying flat on a radial-arm-saw
table. According to Hill, this makes cutting the compound
angles of the plans virtually foolproof."