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Dome Sweet Dome

I work in a lab with neural implants, and I love combining cool technology with enriching Ann Arbor's culture. I co-founded the local hackerspace (All Hands Active) and started a Burning Man inter-city theme camp (a little more on that, later).

The latest project is to build a 16ft-radius GEODESIC DOME out of electrical conduit, 1.5inches thick. Why? Because these structures (designed by Buckminister Fuller) are architecturally unique in this town, remarkably sturdy, an awesome piece of DIY work, multi-purpose, transportable, and would be a great asset to any event in Ann Arbor that had the space to host it.

More importantly, though, is HOW will it be used? I want to build and install this dome at: A2 Maker Faire, Detroit Maker Faire, Figment, and Lakes of Fire - all of which are local events that support creativity, community, celebrating the arts, and DIY building.

At Lakes of Fire, it will be a space for Detroit DJs, decorative lighting, and dancing. At Figment or the Maker Faires, it can be a jungle gym -- fun to climb, and halfway up, we would rope cargo netting to protect from falls.

What's more exciting is how people will want to use the dome - I want this to be readily available for others in or around Ann Arbor. My own plan for the next stage of this dome (if funded and built) is to turn it into a LARGE INSTRUMENT -- string bungee cords across the dome that will trigger sound (electronically and/or mechanically) when tugged and clambered upon.

Other people may want to use it for parties, fundraisers, gatherings, performances, hanging hammocks or swings, cover it or leave it open.

How will this thing get built? If sufficiently funded, we have a great crew who has A LOT of experience building big projects, including a 30' x 12' monkey hut (imagine a long archway) and a 10,000 sq ft maze. We initially banded together as a camp for Burning Man (a 1-week temporary city in the Nevada desert).

However, this year we aren't going to that event and are instead focusing on ways to foster creativity in our home region. A very gracious man from A2MechShop has allowed us to use his band saw, hydraulic press, and drill press to cut, flatten, and drill the ends of our conduit. The flattened ends will be bolted together to construct the dome.

We chose specs that make the dome stronger, easier to climb, and results in minimal waste when cutting the 10ft conduit lengths. We have space outside to do test builds and a bus to transport the disassembled dome.

Funded by Ann Arbor, MI (April 2012)