Thanks for being our customer. If you have any pictures of how you use your dome at events, we would be glad to put them on our website. Also, we will send you a free t-shirt, just let us know the shirt size you need.
I did a lot of research and testing on building a PVC dome from the top down. I made a portable crane and hand winch that I could erect on site - and that is a lot of extra baggage to assemble and drag around.
When you hoist the dome up, the PVC struts will flex and bend , especially when the dome nears completion. A steel dome made from EMT conduit is strong enough to build this way, but not a PVC dome. So the hoist just did not work.
You can build the dome on the ground from the top down, and have several people lift the dome up for the next section. A few sawhorses to support the dome after it is lifted is a good idea. If you have several people that can help you, this is a good way to build a dome.
But our hub design, and using the zip ties, it goes up so easy from the bottom up. The only problem is getting up on a 12' stepladder to build a 14' tall dome. It doesn't look like it is that high from the ground, but when you are the one on the ladder, it is very high.
I build our domes from the bottom up, because I am usually the only one building the dome. It is a good workout, and I have not fallen off the ladder yet.
Yes, we have tried other connections than zip ties. I tried small u-bolts, which did work, but it is easy to fumble and drop a nut while you are on the ladder. They are also hard to get off to take the dome apart.
I also tried R-Clips, and these Safety Pin Clips:
These clips cost around $2.00 each, so with 330 connections for a 3v dome, they run $660.00 per dome.
And the clips are reusable, but they were very hard to take apart. The dome struts would twist, and we had to use pliers to get the dome apart. It took a LOT of time to disassemble the dome, so we went back to zip ties.
The Zip Ties do cost something to build the dome each time, but the convenience of a quick assembly and disassembly is, to me, worth every penny. Just cut every zip tie, remove every center ring, then pull the dome apart. It is really easy that way.
Those were some really good questions. If you find better answers than I gave, send them to me. If I could find a good reusable zip tie that is rated at 250 lbs, I would be very happy.
CEO, Zip Tie Domes
1857 Brindley Hollow Rd
Buffalo Valley, TN 38548 USA
Telephone: 1 (931) 858-6892
Thanks for your reply - that's exactly the information I was looking for. I've set up the 3v a couple times now, from the ground up, and its always gone great, but I'm happy to hear that it's been done from the top down with a crew. I'm going to an event for the Eclipse next month in Oregon and didn't want to have a haul a 12 foot ladder with me. I've constructed metal domes before from the top down, but wasn't sure how the PVC would handle, thanks for letting me that it works!
And based on your recommendation I think I'll stick to zip ties for now. One of my favorite things about your design is how quickly the dome comes down, and it sounds like other securing mechanisms would make tear down much more difficult. If I ever hear of some breakthrough in zip tie technology, I'll be sure to let you know!
I've attached a long exposure photo of our dome that we had set up for a little event at a private piece of land in Yosemite National Park. The dome is really a game changer for private events - adds such a nice aesthetic. People love the design - I always pass on your website whenever people ask.
I would definitely take a free shirt if you're offering. I wear a men's Medium. My address is
Nevada City, CA 95959
Thanks again for the info - and if I get any other good photos of the dome I'll be sure to send them your way.