Product Idea |

Geodesic Dome

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I have always been interested in Geodesics and have constructed a handful of them over the years. However, I had never yet made one in LEGO form. Of course, a traditional geodesic design requires joints to be placed at the corner of each of the triangles where you have either 5 or 6 struts coming together which of course creates a big problem with LEGO geometry. Ball and socket joints could be used to create the three-dimensional angles required, but you have a problem with the two-dimensional angles. While Hexagonal shapes do exist in LEGO, there is no LEGO brick that support a pentagon. Of course there are ways to get around this, but it would create a mess trying to align all the struts in the same "plane". So the solution is to do something a bit odd in the world of geodesics, rather than have joints where the struts come together, place the joints on the struts themselves, in effect doubling up on each strut.

To do this you simply create flat triangles, which is very simple to do using hinges, and you line the struts with clips and bars so that they can connect to other struts. By always placing one clip and one bar in the same place every time, the mirrored strut will always connect perfectly, making this a relatively straight forward build. This is a 2V geodesic dome, meaning that there are two different lengths to the struts, which can be seen by counting studs, but is also represented by the two different colors blue and white.

This is a dome, so I have placed it on a base from the LEGO Art line, which provides you with a very attractive and sturdy base if you wish to place it on a table, or alternatively you could hang it on a wall. However, should you desire to build an entire geodesic ball, that would be fairly simple to do, all you would need to do is purchase two sets and combine them together (and use the two bases for another LEGO project).

You will notice that clips do exist at the bottom of the model that do not attach to anything. The clips from two of the struts are used to connect the dome to the base, which should provide more than enough strength to support the model as geodesic domes are incredibly strong and rigid. By placing these clips on the rest of the bottom it accomplishes two things. First, construction is simplified, you only need to build two different types of struts. Secondly, it allows you to create a ball if a second set is purchased. However, if you would prefer a cleaner look to the set, those unconnected clips could easily be replaced by 16 1x2 blue plates, and certainly LEGO could include these 16 extra bricks in the set for those who want a cleaner looking dome.

This set of course would make the perfect gift for any mathematician, fan of Buckminster Fuller, or any hippy who remembers ordering one of these domes from the Whole Earth Catalogue. I hope that you enjoy this simple, yet beautiful set.