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Step 3: Frame Construction

I initially planned to build the dome from the bottom down, lifting each side to the next row. After seeing how heavy a single hexagon was, though, I scrapped that I idea and went with a bottom-up build.

The first row went very fast, and the second wasn't much worse. It did get a bit confusing remembering where each strut went (the diagrams on sites like are indispensable) but it wasn't bad once I got a feel for how the structure worked.

In the close up of a screw being put in, note that the strap itself is bent out from the wood, so that the point of entry of the screw into the wood is farther away from the center than the hole in the strap itself. This is what pulls the strap tighter when the screw goes in.

Having a second person on hand was important after the second row so that one person could hold the piece(s) in position while the other screwed in the straps. We started preassembling a few pieces at a time and lifting them up together so that we didn't have to do so much work up in the air. The last big piece was two conjoined hexagons that we lifted up and attached all around the edges. After that, all that was left was the center of top pentagon. I attached five struts radiating out from a central hub, and then I carried it up the ladder and poked it through the hole to rest a bit off center on top. It took a bit of work to get all of the spokes butting up against all of the right hubs, but once they were in place everything fit perfectly and I was able to screw them all in without pushing or pulling on anything.

Having the whole frame complete was very satisfying.