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Simple to snap together joints that make durable geodesic domes fun and easy to build. We need help to fund the injection moulds.
Simple to snap together joints that make durable geodesic domes fun, easy and quick to build.
Simple to snap together joints that make durable geodesic domes fun, easy and quick to build.
404 backers pledged £41,778 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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hubs = geodesic domes made simple

£41,778

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To pre-order the hub kit, full dome or hubs mini select the option you want below. 

Then, on the next screen; scroll down to the pre-selected reward, select your shipping destination and click the green ‘Continue’ button.

 

See the page below to read more about the project and see the other available rewards. Any questions just send us an email at: kickstarter@buildwithhubs.co.uk

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We’ve created hubs, which enable quick (under an hour, in fact about 20 minutes if you know what you're doing), easy construction of durable geodesic domes. Making domes accessible to anyone and everyone without the need for specialist skills, lots of tools, complicated construction or lots of money.

We’ve resolved the design but now need to create the injection moulding tools, which is why we’re here and we hope some of you can help.

hubs – key benefits

Getting involved – Beta Testers

Be first to get your hands on hubs and help us test our instructions, so we can refine our final kit. What would you use it for? What might you cover it with? What accessories would you add and what wood would you use? In time we'd love to have a community of people making domes with hubs, sharing their experiences and tips on creating and adapting domes for all sorts of different uses. We hope beta testers could be the people to get this started.

Getting involved – Dome Makers

We make hubs, can you make the rest? We'd love to build a network of people who have wood-working skills who could build and sell domes to people who are less practical. If you think that could be you – choose a Dome Maker multi-pack and and get your hands on hubs first along with the Beta Testers. With the two or three kit multi-packs you could test a dome and sell a dome or two. We'd love to get ideas and feedback on how a Dome Maker Programme could work best for you.

A few ideas and first steps 

Garden room, fruit cage, greenhouse, chicken run, children’s den, aviary, festival tent, hide? or even a lovely internal space... if you've got a big enough room.

Initially we’ll be focusing on a kit version with clear instructions (follow our simple guide to make your own sticks) which means that anyone can make a dome-based something. We intend to develop wider full dome products (garden room and fruit cage first) and associated accessories once the kit is complete.

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Why do we need funding?

So far all of our hubs have been printed using 3d printers, great for testing but not for mass production. We’re at the stage now where we’ve resolved the design and made it injection-mouldable, so we’re ready to create the injection mould tools. This is a significant cost but it will enable us to manufacture hubs at a cost which makes them viable as a product. And excitingly for us (finally!) it'll allow us to test lots of potential uses for the domes at the same time, as well as get some input from some of you hopefully. We've got some of the money for this but need a bit more to take the next step which is why we're here.


The journey so far

Chris has always liked geodesic domes and about 4 years ago he set about making one on his allotment with some old, discarded chestnut fence-posts, metal eyelets, coarse string, copious amounts of glue and a large jig. It was great fun and a real accomplishment but also really quite complicated. We thought, surely this could be a lot easier…?

We also thought that existing metal and plastic domes often look a bit out of place in natural environments. The chestnut fence-post dome looked great on Chris’s allotment and felt much more in keeping with its surroundings. And so the project was borne… how to make strong, durable domes both easier to make and a better fit for natural environments. Lots of prototyping, band-sawing (one thumb accident), head-scratching, cups of tea, starting over, 3d printer fixing and good old trial and error, and here we are...

Here are a few pictures of some of the steps along the way.

hubs mini – great for learning and testing ideas

Along the way we also created a mini version of the hubs to test configurations and building techniques. Imaginatively called hubs mini, it works with straws and you can get your hands on one in our pledges.

We're also interested in the potential of hubs and hubs mini working together as educational tools; build the model in the class-room and learn the background and principles, then the group can make the full-size version in the playground as a craft and design project.


How is hubs different to other geodesic connectors and structures?

Hubs manages to combine the ease of construction and simplicity of some of the hobby/educational kits with the durability of a sound, solid structure. 

Pushing the dome is like pushing a wall which never ceases to bring a smile to our face :) and it will last for many years out in the garden as well as being non-permanent. It's easy to put up and take down, so it can go with you if you move.

The hubs themselves also allow different angles, which means that you could alter and adapt the base structure after creating your dome. Fancy making the bottom legs longer? – you can, or creating an igloo-like entrance way? – that's possible too. One of our hubs mini pictures shows an example of a subtle alteration.

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Some examples of domes we've made along the way


Who's involved?

Timeline

Stretch goals!

We can’t quite believe we’ve reached our target already and we can’t wait to get started on next steps but if we can increase our total it will give us more choice and make more things possible.

We could put more impressions in the mould and choose to do a bigger run which would help to reduce the cost of the final kit. Or we could potentially create an additional ball joint fitting for another type of stick material – metal or plastic tubes for example. Exciting – hope you can help make it happen!

Pledges and rewards explained – with pictures!

Risks and challenges

Complications with the injection moulding process:
We've spoken to a five injection moulding companies to get their input on the challenges of the injection moulding process. They're confident that they can create the injection mould tools and have provided quotes to cover iterative process from our injection moulding ready design to final injection moulding tools. We also have David who has over 35 years experience as an industrial product designer to help and advise through the process.

Getting it right:
We've created lots and lots of prototypes and know what we want the final hubs to feel like – the combination of snap and tightness of fit, etc. We understand from the injection moulders that this is an iterative, subtle process. We hope we'll get there fairly quickly but we'd rather get the feel right than get the product out as quickly as possible. So depending on the how things go this process could delay things a little, but it'll be a better product for it.

Costs/availability of other parts:
All of the additional metal elements supplied in the kit are standard parts produced in high numbers, so we can reliably source these at a known cost. Where the sticks are concerned we've made a number of domes to date and have a good sense of the time and cost of the producing the sticks for a dome. We've capped the number of full domes per staggered delivery date so we can manage any potential demand here. We also have firm quotes for packaging.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.59

    Just for the love of domes, and a note of your support our website. Every little bit of support helps, so thank you. Buckminster Fuller would be pleased, we hope!

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    28 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $16

    A 3D printed hubs mini with balls joints and a straw

    A note of your support and our thanks on our website + a single 5 way hubs mini to play with.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About $24

    A sample hub
    (Including ball joints and metal work)

    Support us and get a feel for hubs before you decide to buy.

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    9 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About $32

    Hubs mini – STL file

    Print your own and print as many as you like. See the pledges overview for more.

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    16 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $64

    1V dome – garden grow-space?

    Don't have enough space for a full dome but still keen to make something with hubs? This kit contains eleven hubs which is enough to make a 1V dome from 0.5m to 2m in diameter. You could make a smaller grow-space or a children’s den perhaps, and it could also be a good gift.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £45 or more About $71

    Hubs mini – 3D Printed (high quality SLS)

    Everything you need (including the straws) to build your own mini 2V geodesic dome using straws. Great as an educational toy and also as a tool to test ideas before building the full-size version.

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  7. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £60 or more About $95

    Beta Tester's kit – EARLY BIRD!

    Get the kit first and help us refine the instructions. An un-boxed but functionally complete hub kit and a saving of £70 on the expected RRP of £130 (for the final hub kit).

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    Reward no longer available 50 backers
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  8. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £70 or more About $111

    Beta Tester's kit

    Get the kit first and help us refine the instructions. An un-boxed but functionally complete hub kit and a saving of £60 on the expected RRP of £130 (for the final hub kit).

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £80 or more About $127

    Final hub kit – EARLY BIRD!

    Get the final kit in all its nicely packaged glory after we've refined the instructions. A saving of £50 on the expected RRP of £130.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £90 or more About $143

    Final hub kit

    Get the final kit in all its nicely packaged glory after we've refined the instructions. A saving of £40 on the expected RRP of £130.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $159

    Combo –
    Beta Tester's kit + hubs mini

    Get the 3D printed hubs mini including straws in September. Great as an educational toy and also as a tool to test ideas before building the full-size version.

    Get the Beta Tester's kit in November and help us refine the instructions. (An un-boxed but functionally complete hub kit; everything you need but the sticks.)

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge £105 or more About $167

    Beta Tester – Fruit cage kit

    As the Beta Tester's kit above but we'll include enough bird netting and pegs to make a 4m fruit cage, then it'd be great to get your help perfecting the approach for a fruit cage.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge £120 or more About $191

    Dome Maker's multipack – 2x beta kits
    (A saving of £140)

    We're also looking for people who can make and sell domes in their local area. Get a couple of kits to experiment with and help us define the Dome Maker programme.

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge £120 or more About $191

    Combo –
    Final hub kit + hubs mini
    +
    Get the 3D printed hubs mini including straws in September. Great as an educational toy and also as a tool to test ideas before building the full-size version.

    Get the final kit (everything you need but the sticks) in January 2016 after we've refined the instructions.

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge £140 or more About $222

    3V Alpha Tester's kit – enough hubs to make a 3V dome!

    Note: the hubs were designed for 2V and we haven’t tested making a 3V dome, but it should be possible and we’d love to learn from the results. The kit contains; six 5-way hubs, fifty-five 6-way hubs, 360 ball joints and all metalwork for each hub.

    Thanks to Stretch Goal 1, 3V Alpha Tester’s kit backers will also get six extra 5-way hubs and two extra 6-way hubs – this means you can adapt your 3V or create two 2Vs with plenty of spares.

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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge £160 or more About $254

    2 x Final hub kit – EARLY BIRD!

    You could keep one for yourself and give the other one to a friend. Or create conjoined domes. Or a sphere. A saving of £100 on the expected RRP of £260.

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  17. Select this reward

    Pledge £175 or more About $278

    2 x Final hub kit

    You could keep one for yourself and give the other one to a friend. Or create conjoined domes. Or a sphere. A saving of £85 on the expected RRP of £260.

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  18. Select this reward

    Pledge £180 or more About $286

    Dome Maker's multipack – 3x beta kits
    (A saving of ~£200)

    We're also looking for people who can make and sell domes in their local area. Get three kits to experiment with and help us define the Dome Maker programme.

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  19. Select this reward

    Pledge £230 or more About $365

    Beta Tester – Full 4m dome including sticks

    Beta Tester's hub kit, plus standard pressure treated roofing batten sticks, so we can get the kit out to testers as soon as we can.

    Note that the wood will be functional rather than beautiful but can be painted, covered or changed at a later date. Ball joints are pre-attached so you can help us test it in its ready to snap together form. You could have your dome up in under an hour. A saving of £220 on our expected RRP of £450 for the hand split chestnut version.

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  20. Select this reward

    Pledge £375 or more About $596

    Full 4m dome including sticks
    – EARLY BIRD!

    Final hub kit, plus hand-split chestnut sticks with ball joints pre-attached, ready to snap together. You could have your dome up in under an hour. A saving of £75 on our expected RRP of £450.

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    Limited 9 backers
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  21. Select this reward

    Pledge £400 or more About $635

    Full 4m dome including sticks

    Final hub kit, plus hand-split chestnut sticks with ball joints pre-attached, ready to snap together. You could have your dome up in under an hour. A saving of £50 on our expected RRP of £450.

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    0 backers
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  22. Select this reward

    Pledge £430 or more About $683

    Full 4m dome – Fruit cage option

    As above but including bird netting and pegs and a saving of over £100 on our expected RRP of £550.

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    2 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)