About this project
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
Some examples of domes we've made along the way
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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