At first I was thinking small and mobile, but the more that I researched the subject. Well now am thinking sedimentary or semi-mobile and moderate in size. I'm currently looking at what is classified as a 4v structure and being about 32 feet across. Although a 4v could be any size, you see with this being my first ~ Am thinking of copying another person's build. Another reason for this size is so that I would have ample room for building and/or repairing many things on the ground level while being in the shade. In the top of the dome there should be about 12 feet or so of unused space, where I could create a 2nd floor for some storage and maybe a kind of bachelor's pad ~ like a place to act as an office and a place to sleep at, without having to rough it to much.
Now about roughing it. In my life time I have been forced to live on the street, four separate times, mostly from the economic problems at those particular times. One of those occasions I was able to put together a make-shift tipi and I loved it. It was kind of like living inside of a chimney. It was very comfortable, with a fire right next to you. A comfortable bed roll to sleep on and insulate you from the ground, with a double layer of canvas tarps all around you and the fire. Also a partial canvas tarp strung between poles above you for rain or snow melt protection and heat retention (this is called an ozan). It could be below zero degrees outside with a storm raging and the winds howling, while still being very nice and warm inside.
I am certain that there are many differences between a tipi and a dome, but as of yet finding a problem with either I am not. For if the dome is insulated enough, kind of like the quilted Swiss ski dome cabins that are heated with a small stove (yes I found them on the Internet), well I really don't see that much of a problem. Also if I'm semi living above the shop, well tools and supplies should have difficulty growing legs and walking away.
OK, there are two websites that have been incredibly help full in making this decision and they are:
~ www.byexample.com as these people have built a 3v style dome for many Burning Man gatherings, and for general camping in the American desert southwest. From what they have posted on their website about living in Arizona. Their website has many other interesting projects and simple living ideas as well.
~ www.desertdomes.com also are associated with many Burning Man gatherings. This site has many tools to help you decide on a style and size of dome that you want. Also instructions that will help in constructing domes. Now in links to other sites is a link that leads to Earl's Recharge Dome, a 4v dome with a 32 foot radius (yes the one that I'm thinking of copying). Earl gives the complete breakdown of the number of struts, made of 3/4 inch electrical conduit tubing and the correct lengths of them all. Along with suggested construction techniques of the 6 different color coded and lettered struts. Also with a colored picture of the dome showing how to put the full size dome together. As well as instructions on how to go and build a model that should make putting the full size dome together a little easier.
Now as the title of this post suggests, I believe that it will now be closer to my 65th Barf-day, or about 7 years from now that I can say good-by to a personal internal combustion engine. At least that should give me a more relaxed time frame to make the shift to pedal powered transportation. Also available moneys might not be so tight while making the switch. An interesting side note is that in this self same time frame I will need to re-new my driver's license. So it seems like things are beginning to fall together in my favor after all at last.
Oh if anyone is interested in the material list, well that goes like this:
Strut letter color code number needed hole-to-hole length total pipe cut length
A yellow 32 4' 0" 11/16" 4' 2" 3/16"
B red 32 4' 8" 13/16" 4' 10" 5/16"
C blue 62 4' 8" 11/16" 4' 10" 3/16"
D green 72 5' 0" 3/16" 5' 1" 11/16"
E purple 32 5' 2" 8/16" 5' 4" 0/16"
F orange 32 4' 9" 7/16" 4' 10" 15/16"
So yes I do have a plan to follow, one that someone else has already done. There by aiding me in building my first dome. Am thinking that more will follow after I make the first, time will tell.
So as the misty swirling fog of uncertainty lifts,
a path few have taken is revealed ...