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In all the mail concerning tube & rope domes, I have not seen any mention of the path the string takes through all the tubes. There must be an optimum path to minimize the amount of rope used. Those of you who have done one have any thoughts on the matter? Do you try to use one continuous piece to minimize the weakness that knots inevitably introduce (not to mention the hassle of tying lots of knots) or use a series of pieces tied a strategic points?

Offered by Scott.

Weakness is rather irrelevant, because once the framework is constructed you'll have to cover it with some hard material like concrete. I had "descreet construction" in mind, where I can "sneak" a very small amount of building material to any location and have a dome up that day. Start with the outside, and work in. Most of the dome can be made from "rings". So start with 10 long pipes on the outside, and ring them together with a simple slipknot, then tie another knot (square knot). Make it snug, but not excessively so. Add more layers using rings as much as possible.

Occasionally, you may have to put 2 strings through 1 pipe. So make sure your pipes are thick enough (or rope thin enough) to accomodate this. I've never had to put 3 strings through 1 pipe, however. And really thick rope probably isn't necessary unless building a real huge dome. When it's done, it might not seem that great until to apply downward pressure to top of the dome. It will press against the ground and the whole thing will even out nicely. Another idea is to skip the pipes, and use flat strips of metal with holes drilled in each end. Like:

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Then you could bolt the thing together and bend it around if you need to. If I can find some small metal strips I may try a model of this. Pipes & strings requires a lot less work, though. Putting all of the pipes on one single string might cause trouble. I think you'd still have to tie knots at almost every corner anyway. So in the "hassle" of having to tie a lot of knots, you're still building a dome rather quickly, and with pretty bare materials. I think you can pretty much tie it together any way you want, do like you said and try to minimize. Hope that helps.

Offered by Joe.