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This file explains about the Temporary Wooden Rib Support System which supports the American Ingenuity prefab panels until concrete is applied in the panel seams and on the entryways, dormers, link, cupola, etc.

Rib Support System

American Ingenuity’s Prefab Home Kits are erected using a system to temporarily hold the panels in place until the seam concrete, concrete on the entryways, dormers, cupola and link has cured and the entryways and dormers are framed in. The system is dismantled upon completion of the dome and the 2x4s are recycled as part of the interior framing. Shorter 2×4’s can be used to frame the second floor perimeter knee wall. Behind this knee wall, electrical, plumbing or ducting can be run or the space can be used for storage.

The dome prefab panels can be a Do It Yourself project or a builder can be hired.  Either the owner builder or the builder can hire the Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise the kit assembly.

The Rib System consists of using your own 2x4s, bolts/nuts/washers purchased from Ai and steel hubs on loan from America Ingenuity to assemble a free standing framework which matches the geometry of the dome.  Or Ai can cut, drill and paint the ribs and ship the 2×4’s on the truck with your building kit.

  • The rib system dictates exact panel placement.
  • As the building kit is being assembled upon the temporary wooden rib system, extra 2X4s or 2×6’s for larger domes are used to support the panels and the steel hubs.
  • The steel hub rental charge is a $1,610 deposit with the hubs being kept for five months. After that the rental fee is $20 per month. The bolts/nuts/washers are purchased from Ai and are not returned.  If the hubs are returned to us intact within the five month period, the complete deposit is returned. Thereafter, we subtract $20 for each additional month the hubs are kept and we subtract money for each hub that is missing and return the deposit difference to the client. The hubs are returned to Ai via UPS or common carrier at the client’s expense. Please box the hubs in a sufficient number of boxes to assure that the boxes are not too heavy for the trucking company employees to move around.  When boxes are too heavy or improperly taped, they rip open during transit with hubs lost along the way.  Please reinforce all interior sides of the boxes with extra cardboard to toughen the sides.
  • The Rib System is bolted together from your 2x4s (or 2×4’s purchased from Ai) and color-keyed hubs on loan from Ai.  The preferred method of assembly is called the “Bottom Up Method” where the riser legs are installed first.  Call or email us if you would like to receive a document describing the rib assembly.
  • The advantages of using the Rib System Option are:
    • With a Rib System in place, a crane can be used to set 1 row of panels in one day.
    • Since the Rib System reflects the dome geometry, a panel cannot be inadvertently positioned incorrectly.
    • The Rib System is utilized for all the different dome size assemblies.

Q: Can I purchase the 2×4’s for the rib system precut and the holes drilled in them?
A:
Yes. Due to fluctuating prices on the 2×4’s please call us for pricing. The pricing will be for the 2×4’s precut to the proper length with a predrilled hole. The 2×4’s that are used are lightweight wood, not pressure treated. We ship the precut, predrilled 2×4’s on the truck with your building kit. Remember these “supports” are temporary there is no wood in the shell to interrupt the insulation or to rot or for termites to eat.

Q: I would like to have the rib system assembled by the working consultant. Will the working consultant cut the 2×4’s to length, drill the holes and assemble the wood skeleton? A: He could.  But it would be most cost effective to purchase the precut ribs from American Ingenuity and have them shipped on your truck with your kit.  Or Ai can email the cutting specifications for them to be cut on site.  Click on Kit Assembly Consultant learn how he is best utilized.

Q: How many 2x4s are needed for the rib system? A:  The 15′, 18′ need 75 – 2×4’s.  22’ and 27’ need 75 – 2x4s eight feet long. The 30′, 34′, 36, 40′ require 135 – 2x4s eight feet long. The 45′ and 48′ require 135 – 2x4s ten feet long.

Q: Can I remove the temporary supports too soon?  A: Yes you can. The dome shell is not self supporting until all the panel seams are concreted with two layers of concrete and all the building options have been concreted and the entryways and dormers framed in.  The Assembly Manual that is shipped with each kit contains complete details.

Q: Why can the dome shell be self supporting with no need for interior load bearing walls to support it?

A: Manufactured geodesic dome home kits are constructed using a triangular network to form a spherical shape. The triangle shape is the strongest shape known to man and with the seam areas acting like steel beams.  (seam areas are about 3″x5″ with overlapped, locked steel mesh and onsite concrete applied. Concrete averages two inches thick). The geodesic dome construction method using triangles, provides for a free-span, self-supporting structure requiring no internal supports such as roof load bearing partition walls. This allows for maximum flexibility of floor plan design and utilization of interior space.  Suspension rods with top plate can be installed in the seams during kit assembly to support second floor areas.   If there are not second floor framed walls to hide the suspension rods, some rods may be visible.  During finishing the exposed rods can be covered with PVC or wood.

As an architectural form, the dome is one of the strongest structural forms devised and built by man. Domes that were built centuries ago enclose many of the great cathedrals of Europe. Domes are structurally superior to rectilinear enclosures. The partial sphere is an aerodynamic shape that is very stable in high winds and can withstand heavy snow loads. For these reasons, residential domes greatly exceed the structural requirements of the major building codes in the United States.

The dome, or partial sphere, is a geometric form that encloses the greatest amount of volume with the least amount of surface area. Historically, massive domes constructed of stones, brick or concrete were common in ancient Greece and Rome. In modern times, Buckminster Fuller was the first to formulate geodesic principles for constructing a spherical surface by triangular subdivision.

Q: What methods are used to lift the panels?

A: The methods used for lifting the panels includes; Man lifts, Small cranes and Highlifts (all terrain scissors forklifts often used by roofers).

Monthly rentals on transverse lifts also called Boom Lifts, Horizontal Boom Fork Lifts, Roofing Lifts, Shooters are available from National Rental Chains like US Rentals, Hertz Equipment Rentals, United Rentals, etc. The companies can be found in the telephone book

Ai now has lifting spikes that can be borrowed for a $100 deposit.  It makes the attachment of the panels to the hoisting mechanism easier.

Tools and Materials needed to assemble the Rib System:

  • Set of steel scaffolding to reach at least the dome height plus three feet (the dome height can be estimated by taking one half of the diameter of the dome.)
  • 9/16” wrenches and ratchet
  • 46 hubs, 255 bolts, nuts, and washers (borrowed from American Ingenuity) (three frequency domes 30′ – 48′)
  • 15 diagonal braces: 2x4x8’ studs
  • Vertical support for under each hub.
  • Precut and color-coded wood ribs (2×4’s used are lightweight wood, not pressure treated).
    • The 40′, 45′, and 48′ rib system requires 135 – 2×4’s
    • The 22’ and 27’ need 75 – 2×4’s
    • If you do not want to buy the 2×4’s and cut them to length, color code them and drill the holes,  purchase them from American Ingenuity. Due to the fluctuating cost of 2×4’s pricing is determined at time of purchase.
  • Two pounds 12d or 16d common nails
  • 400 Galv. 2 ½” deck screws – if three freq dome
  • 60D Nails for top of Support boards
  • 3 – rolls soft steel Tie Wire

 

27′ Dome being assembled with rib system
34′ Dome being assembled on top of full basement
The rib system has been assembled using the steel hubs and 2×4’s.
The riser wall and one row of triangles has been installed onto the rib system.

16.43 custom Colby dining room 001

With the savings on the dome kit,

beautiful flooring and kitchen cabinetry can be purchased

Ai’s dome shell kit price is one fourth to one half less in cost than the shell materials cost for a wood dome, monolithic dome or conventional house (exterior walls, roof trusses, plywood, tar paper, shingles, 3 1/2″ thick insulation, siding, soffits, gutters, shell and ceiling/exterior wall – wall board, etc).  Besides saving on your shell materials cost versus the materials for the shell of a conventional house….you receive more with the Ai Dome Home….greater energy efficiency (insulation comparable to 11″ of fiberglass batting), greater strength and lower maintenance because the exterior of your dome home is concrete with no wood in it or on it to rot, to burn or for termites to eat.

Why is the Ai Dome Kit so reasonable in price?  Mainly it is because of the simplicity of Ai’s component panel, the panel being manufactured in a factory and the philosophy of our company that each client pays for only what they need; i.e. building plans, engineer seal cost, energy report is paid by only those who need it.  To learn more about our philosophy, view Philosophy.  To learn more about Ai’s panel composition, view Composition.

Q: Do you have an engineering statement about your dome panels that can be submitted to my building department?

A:  Yes, to view the statement click on Engineering.

To view a building plans sale pricing chart, view Plans Discount.

Ai’s Building Kit and Option Pricing does not include the costs for the Building Plans, Engineer Fee for alternative foundation design other than slab, Engineer Seal on the building plans (if needed), Energy Report (if needed), 2×4’s for the temporary wooden rib system, Semi-truck Shipping, Fork Lift rental to unload the truck at your site or the cost for a hoisting mechanism to lift the panels into place. 

Please view Kit Assembly Consultant file and scroll down the page to view the yellow and blue charts showing estimated labor costs, hoisting mechanism costs, etc.

The money you save by purchasing Ai’s Building Kit can pay for all of the above costs.  For example if you purchase a $30,000 building kit from American Ingenuity,  the shell materials for a conventional house can cost at least $10,000 to $15,000 more especially if you build the conventional house energy efficiently with 2×10 walls and 10″ thick insulation.  Ai asks you to make a comparison chart comparing what you receive in the Ai kit compared to the contents of a log home kit or conventional house kit or Deltec kit.

The most successful dome kit assembly occurs when the home owner or the home owner’s builder hires the independent Consultant to supervise the Kit Assembly. Once the shell is erected, then you or your local contractor hires local subs to finish the conventional jobs of plumbing, electrical, framing, flooring, cabinetry, window and door assembly, etc.  To learn more about the Consultant, view Consultant.

To learn more view:

Rib Support System

Shipping

Dome Construction Overview

The following are items not provided with the Ai dome building kit that are needed on site to assemble the panels, finish the seam concrete between the panels and finish the building options concrete (entryways and dormers), etc.

  • Mortar Mixer (4-8 cubic foot capacity, do not use a cement mixer)
  • Bags of Portland Cement (to fill the seams between the panels and apply on the entryways and dormers)
  • Cement trowels
  • Sand: Masonry Sand or Stucco Sand…no rocks in sand.
  • The following is based on the dome having two entryways, four window dormers, one door dormer and no cupola.
22′
4 yds
2 frequency dome
27’
5 yds
2 frequency dome
30’
8 yds
34’
36′
8.7 yds
9.2 yds
40’
10 yds
45’
11 yds
48’
12 yd

For each additional entryway, add these cubic yards of sand: 22′ – 2.6, 27′ – 0.4, 30′ – 0.4, 34′ – 0.4, 36′ – 0.5, 40′ – 0.5, 45′ – 0.5, 48′ – 0.6.

For a cupola, add these cubic yards of sand:  22′ NA, 27′ NA, 30′ – 0.4, 34′ – 0.5, 36′ – 0.5, 40′ – 0.5, 45′- 0.6, 48′ – 0.6.

For additional door dormers on any size dome 0.3 cubic yards of sand.

CEMENT

The cement used is Portland, type I (the most common) or type III (Ai recommends this type…acquires its strength early). When cement is mixed with sand, aggregate and water, it becomes concrete or mortar. Bags of cement are typically 94 lbs.   

The following is based on each dome having two entryways, four window dormers, one door dormer and no cupola

DOME SIZE  bags of Portland cement

22′
30
2 frequency dome
27′
40
2 frequency dome
30′
70
34′
36′
78
83
40′
90
45′
100
48′
106

For each additional entryway add these bags of cement:  22′ – 2.6, 27′ – 3.5, 30′ – 3.7, 34′ – 4, 36′ – 4.1, 40′ – 4.5, 45′- 4.8, 48′ – 5.1 

For a cupola add these bags of cement: 22′ NA, 27′ NA, 30′ – 3.9, 34′ – 4.3, 36′ – 4.4, 40′ – 4.8, 45′ – 5.2, 48′ – 5.4.

For an additional door dormer on any size dome add 2.5 bags of cement.

  • Suspension Rods and Top and Bottom Plates (can be purchased from AI)
  • Shovels
  • 5 gallon buckets
  • Wheelbarrows
  • 25’ Tape Measures
  • Ladders 16’ and 32’
  • 2×4’s for the temporary support system.  The 2×4’s are cut to specific lengths, holes drilled for the bolts and each end painted red, white or blue.  Ai can cut them to length, drill the holes and paint each end.  For pricing call our office:  321-639-8777.
    • The 34′, 36′, 40′, 45′ and 48′ each require 135 – 2×4’s.
    • The 22′ and 27′ each require 75 – 2×4’s.
  • Additional supports for the temporary support system – around 20 – 8′ 2×4’s and 33 – 10′ 2x4s for smaller domes.
  • Steel Scaffolding
  • Work Platforms:
    • For work platforms greater than 6’ long use a 2×4 under a 2×10 platform.
    • You will use scaffolding brackets, 10d duplex nails, 5/16” lag screws, 2×4’s 10’ long.
    • The work platform can be extended around the dome by overlapping another 2×10 and adding another post.
    • Nail overlapping platforms together.
    • Each platform will hold one person.
    • Be sure to use safety rope and a harness.
  • In the Kit Assembly Manual is complete Tool, Material, Utility listing.
  • Rental of a hoisting mechanism
  • On your Order Form there is a listing of items that come with your kit with quantities: for fibers, admixtures, bonding agent, cans of expanding foam, metal dispensing gun, cleaner for gun, C-rings small and large, C-ring pliers, two steel cables, etc.  Due to spillage and loss at job site, our clients tend to purchase additional quantities of these items that are shipped on the truck with their kit.  This saves on later shipping costs.
  • Labor to install the cement in the seams, entryways, link, cupola, and dormers. View Kit Assembly Consultant to learn more about this.
  • Labor, Joint Compound and Tape to finish the interior shell wall board seams.  Primer to prime the shell drywall.
  • All interior items (excluding the interior shell wallboard which comes with the Building Kit):  Plumbing, Electrical, Framing, HVAC, Bathroom fixtures, Lighting Fixtures, Kitchen Cabinets, Appliances, Foundation, Flooring, Stairs, Lift or Elevator, Windows, Doors (exterior and interior).  Due to the wide assortment of these items and varying price points, Ai does not believe you should pay shipping on items that you can purchase locally.  View Dome versus Stick Built to learn more.

Hoisting Methods

The methods used for lifting the panels includes: Man Lift, cranes and Highlifts (all terrain scissors forklifts often used by roofers).  To view more on hoisting methods, click on Lifting.

Monthly rentals on transverse lifts also called Boom Lifts, Horizontal Boom Fork Lifts, Roofing Lifts, Shooters are available from National Rental Chains like US Rentals, Hertz Equipment Rentals, United Rentals, etc. The companies can be found in the telephone book.

The panels for the domes are best placed using a man lift or crane that is capable of lifting 300-400 pounds, 25 feet up and 25 feet out.

With a four-person work crew, use of a temporary wooden rib system and proper bracing of the panels, a row of panels of a 40′ dome can be placed in about a day of crane time.

Man Lifts or cranes can be rented by the day, week or month. Sometimes larger domes with three to five entryways, the rental of a crane for one month maybe most cost effective. Besides lifting the panels, the crane can be used to lift buckets of cement. Cement is used to fill the seams between the panels and to stucco the entryways, dormers, link and or cupola.

Wooden Rib System Is Needed As Temporary Support During The Dome Kit Assembly

American Ingenuity’s Dome Building Kits are erected using a system to temporarily hold the panels in place until the seam concrete and concrete on the entryways, dormers, cupola and link has cured and the entryways and dormers are framed in. The system is dismantled upon completion of the dome and the 2×4’s are recycled as part of the interior framing. For example, around the perimeter of the second floor a two foot tall knee wall is built. 2×4’s not tall enough for interior framing can be used for the knee wall. Behind this knee wall, electrical, plumbing or ducting can be run or the space can be used for storage. View Rib.

The Rib System consists of using your own 2×4’s (that have been cut to length, holes drilled and the ends painted red, white or blue (or you can purchase them cut, drilled and painted from Ai…call 321-639-8777 for pricing) and the steel hubs on loan from America Ingenuity to assemble a free standing framework which matches the geometry of the dome.

  • The rib system dictates exact panel placement.
  • Once all the seams, entryways, dormers, link, cupola, etc. have been concreted, entryways and dormers framed in and the concrete has cured, the rib system is disassembled, the hubs are returned to American Ingenuity and the 2×4’s are recycled as interior framing.
  • As the building kit is being assembled upon the temporary wooden rib system, extra 2X4’s are used to support each steel hub.
  • The advantages of using the Rib System Option versus the Radial System Option are:
    • Since the Rib System reflects the dome geometry, a panel cannot be inadvertently positioned incorrectly.
    • The Rib System is most suitable for accurate assembly.
    • The hub rental charge is a $800 deposit with the hubs being kept for five months. After that the rental fee is $20 per month. If the hubs are returned to us intact within the five month period, the complete $800 deposit is returned. The hubs are returned to Ai via UPS or common carrier at the client’s expense.
    • The Rib System is bolted together from 2×4’s and color-keyed hubs. 

Tools and Materials needed to assemble the Rib System (complete list is in the Manual):

  • Set of steel scaffolding to reach at least the dome height plus three feet (the dome height can be estimated by taking one half of the diameter of the dome.)
  • 9/16” wrenches and ratchet
  • 46 hubs (borrowed from Ai for three frequency dome), 255 bolts, nuts, and washers purchased from Ai
  • 15 diagonal braces: 2x4x8’ studs
  • Chain and couplers to make the lifting harness which is used with the lifting spikes
  • Precut, holes drilled and color-coded wood ribs (2×4’s used are lightweight wood, not pressure treated)
    • The 34′, 36′, 40′, 45′, and 48′ rib system requires 135 – 2×4’s
    • The 22’ and 27’ need 75 – 2×4’s
    • If you do not want to buy the 2×4’s and cut them to length, color code them and drill the holes, purchase them from American Ingenuity. Due to the fluctuating cost of 2×4’s, we estimate the cost when ordered.
  • Two pounds 12d or 16d common nails and 60d nails (in top of hub support)

 The American Ingenuity dome building kit does not include doors and windows. There is such a variety and varying price points possible, we leave their selection and local purchase up to each client. The floor plan you select will determine how many entryways or dormers you will have. Within the entryways and dormers {eye brows}, you or your framing subcontractor installs a vertical wall to frame in what ever standard doors or windows you have purchased locally.

No interior items are included except for the dome shell wall board. Ai believes you should not pay shipping on conventional items that you can purchase locally such as: foundations, basement wall kits, second floor joists, stairs, plumbing, electrical, framing, flooring, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, lighting fixtures, etc.

The component panels do not come with any paint on them. Ai does not add any color to the concrete. On site concrete is applied to the seams so if Ai painted the panels or added color to the concrete it would not match your seam concrete. The concrete shell is primed and painted after the entire building kit is assembled. The painting should include a concrete primer and two coats of good quality paint. Ai dome owners recommend Ames products to prime and paint the dome which can be purchased at Ace Hardware and True Value for similar Home Depot and Lowe’s paint pricing. When on Ames site click on Local Dealers to find other suppliers in your area. The dome can be painted any color, tan, blue, green, etc. preferably a light to medium color to reflect the sunlight. The following gallon calculation is for each coat of primer or paint.

PAINT: APPROXIMATE GALLONS REQUIRED FOR EACH COAT

Dome Size:
22′
27′
30′
34′
40′
45′
48′
Exterior Surface:
1,036
1,484
1,611
1,994
2,645
3,255
3,652
Gallons of Paint:
7
10
11
14
18
22
25