AI Dome Review, more than you might think.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by HK_User, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Testimonials American Ingenuity dome owner quotes and photos:
    July 12, 2018 Testimonial from an Aidome owner in Texas:

    I am glad for the use of such a secure dwelling. I purchased my Aidome building kit in 1995 and have been in the safest structure I could hope for short of a Monolithic Poured Bunker. My trip with Dome building did not start with Aidomes.

    Instead it started years before I made my purchase, my Dome adventure started in the Military when I had so little money to pay my living expenses. Rent was fixed but the monthly cost of utilities could swing wildly depending on my location, roommates and the weather in my location.

    I looked at this as a simple problem of supply and demand. Utilities were not a constant so it became my job to peg a way to limit the swings in my finances. Living without AC in the Coastal regions of the south was not fun but pick the right spot and the sea and surf could offer relief in the summer. In the winter a wood burning fire place required a lot of work but I had a known reserve and a way to control cost.

    This sounds pretty simple and a way to limit the Grid’s impact on my lifestyle was needed. Except I could be transferred at a moments notice and all my reserves and plans would go out the door. Even an inconsiderate roommate could blow your budget and my credit rating. I once shared a place on a nice southern Island. It was heated by kerosene and this was one way to control cost. It takes planning and a bit of work to make it from one pay day to another using kerosene but with self-control and a willingness to sleep with a load of wool blankets you can save a lot of money. Unless you go on an operation and your roommate runs out of fuel and you come home to a large electric bill due to said roommate using the electric oven to heat the rent property.

    A major expense slammed my check book when I returned home. At least the other roommate knew what to do and we convinced the third person that he needed to seek other quarters. This and other experiences over the years suggested there must be a better way.

    Of course, the structure you live in is the base of your expense and another item is the location as well as the geographical plot. After years of roaming the world I returned home to a warm and dry area. Shade trees were not for me as the proof of my travels that weather itself can destroy trees, be it cold, drought or a fire all your plans could be changed by Mother Nature.

    I knew a little about Buckminster Fuller and his many experiments. His inventions were based on geometry and the use of the geodesic dome as a lifestyle that controlled the cost of living be it private or commercial.

    The geodesic dome was my choice for a well-built storm-resistant structure. And the search was on for what I hoped would be the last structure I would live in. Plans were found for a DIY dome. These were complete plans with information on how to cut the foam and what to do during assembly. The problem I saw was the labor-intensive construction and the piecemeal way of assembly. Given one bad storm in the middle of the assembly process and the dome could be gone with the wind.

    With this knowledge I shifted to a design of a Monolithic Dome. I did find a company to build a Monolithic Dome and thought that was the way to go. Half way through the Monolithic Dome build I concluded the Company I had contracted for the build did not have an Engineering Staff and it was more time and trouble than I could control from 285 miles away. I did complete that dome and decided I needed a better design so back to the Geodesic Dome.

    I contacted Aidomes and found a lot of information and help. Being careful I went to their Headquarters and liked what I saw. A model dome was on site and their factory was close too. The system would allow a contractor familiar with concrete construction to build a dome with the aid of schematics and a fully developed construction manual. Information was provided about cost, building styles and thermal efficiency. Thickness of the geodesic panels can vary and are selected by the owner in a best described as you “Get What You Pay For” in home comfort and cost of utilities.

    Sure, I had a few problems along the way but that was with the Contractor and the need to have 8 foot vertical walls due to the Deed Restrictions. AI helped in each stage from scheduling the delivery to being available for consultation as needed. We had to modify the Schematics a couple of times but with the prints in a AutoCad based system that was promptly taken care of.

    I now have a 45 foot structure like no other I have seen. A full Cupola with casement windows which provides complete ventilation. The Concrete skin of the panels have proven their worth over the years. I live in a Hail Zone and the homes that were built with conventional shingles have been replace 3 times. Only steel roofs and those with concrete tile have survived. Even then some damage was experienced by my neighbors. Yes, I am happy with my choice 23 years later.

    1. Buckminster Fuller | American engineer, architect, and futurist
    Alf60 and snake6264 like this.
  2. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    @HK_User do you like these better than monolithic domes?
  3. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    I decided on the Geo Dome due to the ability to plan expansion and as a way to choose an accurate height.
    Ganado likes this.
  4. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    When I got back, I wanted to build a Monolithic Dome but the wife wouldn't even talk about it, called them "Alien homes" (sounds better in Russian). I am still convinced that we should have went forward with it but if you have ever been married - well - one fights the battles one can win.

    Looking over these...I am a bit confused as it appears these geodesic domes use 'super insulated concrete' walls also which is exactly like the Monolithic domes do so I am not sure what is the difference?
  5. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    The Geodesic uses preformed panels that are assembled on site, the mono use an inflated envelope which is first sprayed with a release agent on the inside then the inside is sprayed with a foam and then concrete. The form is removed and the exterior is sprayed with concrete. Composition of the mix varies as does the steel reinforcement.

    The Geo panels are constructed by an experienced work force in a weather proof environment and cure at a known rate.

    The Mono domes are built in a kinda sorta controlled environment on the building site that can have a lot of variables due to time, temp, wind and work crew.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  6. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Yeah, I knew how the mono domes were built. One of the problems it getting a crew that has experience building them, not as easy as it sounds because not that many built compared to stick built or prefab built.

    Now, I do remember hearing, granted it was long ago, but there were problems with water leak with the Geo domes. Has this been resolved?
  7. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    No leak problems with the AI Domes because they use their own hand made geodesic shapes that fit and then the geodesic shape is formed by a geodesic beam hand filled on site with a cement product that uses a A&B mix that adds strength and adhesion to the panels. As long as you follow the plans!

    Monolithic domes can leak like a sieve if you do not cut the window dormers properly, just something not advertised by the Monolithic folks.

    Both Styles must use an elastomeric roof coating.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  8. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I have seen wood frame geodesic homes ,labor intensive I'm told .
    IMO a novelty in most places but in certain environments the most practical .
    Had I unlimited resources I think I'd like to make a 200' geodesic aquaponics green house with several levels .
    Old pipe dream .
    HK_User likes this.
  9. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Yup wood frame geo domes are the worst of the lot.
  10. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    Had an old work partner a few years back, he built a dome house. It came in a kit he said. The manufacturer sent out a company rep to walk them thru the installation. He said it went together pretty easy. He said the rep told him of a doctor that bought 2 of them and built them side by side somewhere out in the desert on the west side of the country, with a hallway connecting them. The doc had it shingled with white shingles, then on the top in a circle he finished the shingles off with brown shingles. Think 38 double D's..Sounds like the doc had a sense of humor .
    HK_User likes this.
  11. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    If it were me, I think I would make a template of a pie shape and curve for panels all the way around on the ground on site .
  12. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    I always wanted to have orange flood lights aimed on the dome and black crepe paper for the pumpkin ribs for Halloween.
    SB21 likes this.
  13. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    May as well bite the bullet and build an observatory .
    Zimmy likes this.
  14. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    AI Domes website - Geodesic Dome Home Prefab Kits

    Monolithic domes website - Monolithic Dome homes, schools, churches, storages, gyms and more | Monolithic Dome Institute (there are dozens of these south of Anchorage - a small community's worth)

    Timberline Geodesic Domes - Timberline Dome homes, an outfit that has been around for decades

    Natural Spaces Domes - Environmentally friendly geodesic dome homes - Natural Space dome home kits. Another outfit that's ben around for a long time

    Thinking about building a geodesic dome? Don't. -- a cautionary tale of building a wooden dome....
    HK_User likes this.
  15. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Notes on the above, all correct diagnose of that design.
    And the reason the AI domes are manufactured of non organic items.

    Now understand the inside is still the same as any stick built even if you use metal framing.

    That being said, I recommend any wood that is touching concrete is treated.
    Zimmy likes this.
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