Building SIPsmart: Raising the Dome

Reader Contribution by Michael Morley
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Michael Morley is posting regular updates about his progress building a unique green home with structural insulated panels (SIPs). This is an update from March 29, 2010. You can find previous posts here.

The crew started putting up the ARCX dome triangles last week and — working around the rains — got some good work done. All of the seams in the ARCX panels form great circles. This configuration helps align the panels as they go together and also signals that we are still on layout.

We had some trouble Friday fitting a couple of panels above the windows into place. We tried several times, and they would not come into the final position properly. I was disappointed because there were five people on the job, and I had planned to get a lot done.

I checked all the math over the weekend and the geometry was correct, so I thought it might have been the sequence that we installed the triangles in. I remembered that for the last installation we had allowed quite a bit of

flexibility by not screwing off all the panels completely. By shaking and moving the panels, the wayward panel would want to come into the correct position.

Today dawned a beautiful day and we tried a different approach. We completed a diamond-shaped rhombus first, because when one of these key shapes is complete the panels can only be in the correct position. It worked well and we got past our problem and are putting up a lot of panels. The first photo shows some of the west side in place and the second photo shows the panels going up on the east side.

By the end of the week we will have a good part of the frame installed, and I hope to produce a time lapse video to put on the site. I would welcome comment and questions about this project.