I use a variety of dome calculators online because I don’t know how to do the math required to calculate it on my own. Mostly I use the calculator provided by a fellow Tennessean at ZipTieDomes. If you want a PVC dome, then you can save yourself a lot of trouble and buy his inexpensive hub kit to really save yourself some work. His calculator is really useful because it also calculated coverings. You can find it here.
I am not going to go in to too much detail in this article. For one, I think its pretty common sense to figure out how to make struts for a bamboo dome if you really want to make one yourself. Secondly, I plan on turning this into an eBook because I am looking to add to my Amazon Author Page.
Making the Bamboo Dome Struts
I made the poles in batches to easy boredom and simply construction
Cut and Tape
I used a chop saw to cut the bamboo to length based on the numbers from my calculator. I tended to cut out of the center and I wanted the cuts to be at or near a node. The closer the end is to a node the stronger and less likely to split the bamboo strut will be.
Once they were cut I painted the different lengths to mark them for easy assembly. In this case I had three lengths, with a substantial difference in size between the longest and the shortest. To save time and pain, I only painted the middle strut.
Next I made a jig to position the drill one width of duct tape from the end of each pole. I wanted to wrap each end in tape to try to keep the ends from splitting. Unlike my conduit dome from Doomsday Preppers I wanted to be able to take this dome down and reuse it so I took the extra step.
I drilled a small hole at each end of each strut, taking care that the holes were on the same plane on each strut.
Wire and Tape
Next I stuck a 18in (ish) length of aluminum electric fence wire through the hole, centering the wire and bending it toward the end. This made a set of ties so that I can twist the wire around my slice of pvc pipe to make a hub. I really like the design they use a zip tie domes, and would copy it if possible, but due to the wildly differing sizes of bamboo poles that I have, it just wouldn’t work (even if it would be better.).
Lastly I wrapped the ends in tape, going once around the bamboo alone, and then a couple wraps containing the tie wire. It is my hope that this will keep the wire from pulling out and splitting the bamboo.
All in all its pretty simple, it just took a couple days of time and a near revolt from my wife as she did NOT like wrapping tape around lots of bamboo struts.