CD Dome 

CD Dome

In my search for inexpensive modelling materials, I came across the free CD.

CDs are widely used by ISPs to distribute their internet access software. They are subsidised to the point where they are available free of charge.

So: here's a dome made out of CDs and plastic cable ties:

CD dome - from the front

Quite a few of the CDs are AOL "Shrek 2" CDs. A few spare CDs of this type can be seen scattered around the dome.

There are also a range of old magazine cover discs, scratched CDs, obsolete CDRs and coasters.

CD Dome - from the top

This structure is a tensegrity. It consists of a mixture of structural components and tension only components - and the tension components are critical to the overall structural integrity.

I've never come across any tensegrity structures made using circular structural elements before - so as far as I know this is a somewhat novel structure.

The dome - from the inside

Transparent CDR "endpiece" CDs are used to form a window - and this is visible on the inside view - at the top.

The CDs in the model are "shingled" - in an attempt to keep out the rain. However the holes in the centres of the CDs are too large for this to be terribly effective.

This is a small CD dome - and the high curvature stresses the CDs - and quite a few were broken while making this dome.

Significantly larger CD domes along these lines should be possible - and hopefully they will not suffer so much from the bending stresses that are present in this small model.

I strongly suspect that my construction only scratches the surface of the tensegrity models that are possible using CDs and string.

While I don't yet have any concrete designs, I suspect it may be possible to construct Snelson- style "floating compression" structures from these components - without making grooves in the edges of the CDs - by a process involving wrapping the string around the CD and passing it through its hole.


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