DomeMaker 3D Help

Main Window

DomeMaker 3D Isometric.PNG

Platonic Solid

The platonic solid is the basic underlying polyhedron that will be used to make your dome.


This is by far the most common polyhedron utilized in the construction of geodesic domes. It has 20 triangular faces. You can see what it looks like by selecting “Icosahedron” in the Platonic Solid dropdown, choose a Frequency of 1 and press Draw. Drag your mouse over the icosahedron model to view it from different sides.


This polyhedron has some interesting properties but it is not used in most geodesic domes because it is less strong and requires more uniquely shaped triangular panels than the icosahedron. Experiment with it to see if you find a useful application for this structure.


The Frequency of your dome determines how many times the basic patch (single triangular face of the underlying platonic solid) is subdivided. To get a feel for how frequency impacts your dome, select “Basic Patch” from the Segment dropdown, change the frequency and press Draw. The higher the frequency, the more panels are required to create the dome. The reason dome makers use higher frequencies is because the panel sizes increase with the dome’s diameter. In order to be able to use standard raw materials (such as plywood or aluminum sheets), a higher frequency will reduce the size of the panels so that they fit within the dimensions of the raw materials.


Full Sphere

Domes are rarely created using a full sphere but if you plan to create such a structure, we have provided you with the option.

Half Sphere

This is the option you should choose for most dome designs. By default, DomeMaker 3D shows your dome from a “top view”. You will need to rotate your dome in order to see the half sphere. DomeMaker 3D may only approximate a half dome, depending upon the frequency. Some frequencies result in a flat bottom (such as even numbered frequencies). Others might have an uneven bottom. In order to correct for this, you will need to export your model as a DXF file and import it into a CAD program where you can adjust the size of the bottom row of triangles until they produce a flat bottom for the shell.

Basic Patch

This is useful for viewing the unique (or common) panels that will make up your dome. These the panels that will be repeated across you dome to complete the structure.


This is how you set the size of your dome. Notice that if you change the diameter setting, the dome model in the  main window does not appear to change size. However the dimensions of the panels (when viewed from the Panel Types window) will change to adapt to the new diameter setting.

Note: The diameter (and panel edge lengths) in DomeMaker 3D are "unit independent". This means that they can be whatever unit you want them to be: feet, inches, meters, mm, etc.. For example, if you enter "30" as the diameter and you're target is a 30 foot dome, then the dimensions of the panel edges may be considered as being in feet as well. Likewise, if you're target dome is 30 meters, then the panel edge dimensions may also be read as being in meters.


These options allow you to choose which dome components and to draw and in which color.


These are the triangular faces or panels.


These are the struts, beams or edges.


These are the connecting pieces that hold the struts in place.


This option allows you to draw the edges as lines. Wireframes are only visible when struts are turned off. Use the wireframe option while trying several different dome designs in order to save time while drawing. Wireframes are quick to draw.


Use this option to give your model a more realistic look.

Draw Button

Click this button to draw (or redraw) your model with the current options you’ve selected. Once the model has been drawn, you can change the angle of view and zoom level using your mouse. Drag the mouse over the model to change the angle of view. Roll the mouse wheel to zoom in or out.

File Menu


Create a new dome model.


Open an existing dome model.


Save the current model.

Save As

Save the current model using a different name.


Export your model to a DXF file. Only the panels will be exported, not the struts or hubs. DXF files can be opened and modified in many 3D CAD or modeling applications such as AutoCAD or 3DMax.

Troubleshooting Export

In rare cases you may have trouble importing the DXF file into your Cad or 3D application. If so, try converting it to a different file format (such as DWG) using a file converter such as:


Use this menu to print out a copy of the current dome model in the Main Window.

View Menu

Panel Types

DomeMaker 3D Panels View.PNG

This menu display a window showing the unique (or common) panel types that make up the dome.

The main area on the left hand side includes the triangular panel, the panel number, as well as the edge lengths, surface area, face (or surface) angles and dihedral angles. Angles are shown in parenthesis.

The face angles are displayed at the corners of the triangle and the dihedral angles are shown at the edges of the triangles.

The small a/b/c letters are useful when assembling a dome in order to correctly match up the various triangles when building a model of the dome.

The dropdown control at the bottom allows you to pick which triangle to display. You can also click the next and back buttons to navigate through the triangles.

The label in the bottom left corner displays how many common panels (panel types) are used in the dome.

Panel Map

The map in the upper right corner displays the position of each panel type in its location in the basic patch triangle. To complete a basic patch when building a model, simply rotate and/or flip these panel types.


A listing of detailed data appears in the lower right corner of the Panel Types window. Use the Copy Data button to copy the data to the clipboard and then to Excel or other application.


Print Panel

This menu item will print out the panel currently selected in the Panel Types window.

Print Map

This menu item will print out the panel map shown in the Panel Types window.

Tools Menu


DomeMaker 3D Options.PNG

This menu item displays a set of controls for modifying the various dome components such as the size, shape and smoothness of the hubs and struts.

Hub Type

You may create spherical or cylindrical hubs. Cylindrical hubs have the option of capping the ends of the cylinders or not.

Hub Radius

Change the size of the hubs.

Hub Depth

Change the depth of the hubs (cylindrical hubs only).

Strut Radius

Change the thickness of the struts.


Change the smoothness of the hubs and struts. The smoother you make your hubs and struts, the better their appearance, but the slowly your model will draw.

Data Precision

Change the number of significant digits to be displayed in the angle and dimension data.

Help Menu


This menu item displays a dialog box showing information about the DomeMaker 3D application such as version and copyright information.


Living Systems Design © 2018

The DomeMaker computer programs are protected by copyright law and international treaties. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this program, or any portion of it, may result in severe civil and criminal penalties, and will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible under the law.