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View PricesThe Dome Store > Dome Home Building Kits > Dome Connector Components

Dome Connector Components
- The Story:

Dome ShellAt the heart of the Natural Spaces Dome system is our patented connection hardware which we call the Super-Lok. Invented in 1978, the Super-Lok connection hardware was the answer to six years of dome building using inadequate wood plates, cheap metal brackets, and panelized systems.

What we were looking for was a connector that was self-aligning and so simple to put together that any dummy- sorry, that should be any "novice" dome builder could do it. We didn’t want you to have to do any of the assembly of the strut hardware up on the scaffolding.

With our system all you do is slip the sleeve tongue into the hub slot and pound a hardened, zinc plated bolt “pin” in place, securely locking the two together. That’s it - no coming back to tighten, no re-aligning, no adjusting.

Click on the 15 second video below and see the simplicity of our system.

In connecting the sleeve to the wood strut, anything less than four 1/2” bolts just wouldn’t do to satisfy our stringent engineering requirements. Again, the bolts and nuts are zinc plated.

The next step is just moving on to the next strut.

The sleeve (below) is made from very heavy gauge steel with extra thick zinc plating to make it rustproof. The plating also stops any galvanic reaction with our aluminum hub.

Super Lok

HubsWorking with our structural engineer and our metal fabricator, we came up with our unique hub design.

The entire hub is a one piece, very high strength, aluminum extrusion.

The tongue from the sleeve fits onto the slot around the perimeter of the hub. Having squashed various pipe hubs during testing, we came up with integral reinforcing spokes to strengthen the hub. It now could take extreme pressure from the struts-both pulling and pushing.

So sure were we that we had a fantastic dome connection system, we obtained a patent, #4,262,461.

The need for a super-strong connection device for domes becomes evident in examining how the dome framework reacts to loads:

Snow LoadThe dome framework transfers all of the roof loads directly to the base of the dome. These loads get added to each other on the way down. The lower part of the dome has to be able to take 6,000-8,000 pounds of pressure at each lower connection point. This means that the weakest link in the ”chain” has to be able to take this pressure.

Our super-lok connector has been tested independently and by itself will withstand over 14,000 pounds of tension. However, tests were run with our sleeve mounted on the #1 grade southern pine strut. This better resembles actual load situations.

The test tried to pull the wood strut from the hub. The wood split at over 12,000 pounds but did not actually come apart. Our sleeve has four 1/2" bolts connecting it to the strut. One of our competitors uses 2 bolts in attaching a bracket to their strut. They use fir lumber which is not as strong as southern pine. Even though they use 5/8” bolts, our connection system would still hold at least 30% more stress.

We have done extensive computer engineering analysis on our dome with our structural engineers. Our system surpassed the structural needs for 10 different loading criteria the minimum of which were:

  • 80# snow load combined with 80 mph wind
  • 50# snow load combined with 90 mph wind
  • 80# snow load combined w/zone 4 earthquake
  • 120 mph basic wind

This combination loading creates what is called ”eccentric” loading where all of the normal roof load is put on only 1/2 of the dome. Again we surpassed the structural needs.

The Natural Spaces connector is the strongest dome connector on the market. Our competitors have been heard to say our system is over engineered - we think you deserve nothing less.

 

Super-Lok™ Dome Connector Prices:

Prices shown below are for our patented Super-Lok Dome connection system only. This allows you to cut and fabricate all your own dome components.

Super-Lok Hub
Sleeve
Bolts

Extruded high strength aluminum hubs with 3 integral reinforcing spokes. The spokes eliminate the squashing (structural failure) that can occur in other un reinforced pipe hubs.

The hubs can be anodized (shown below) for sea coast building sites (extra charge $3.75 each hub)

Heavy gauge zinc plated formed steel sleeves (zinc plating eliminates any galvanic reaction with aluminum hubs).

Epoxy coating (shown below) can be added to sleeves for sea coast sites (extra charge $2.65 each sleeve)

Zinc plated 1/2” X 2-1/4” bolts and nuts for sleeve attachment to struts. Zinc plated 3/8” X 4 1/2” grade 5 hardened bolt (sleeve to hub locking “pin”).

Epoxy coating (shown below) can be added to bolts and nuts for sea coast sites at extra charge.

Hub
Superlok
Bolts
Bits

Tempered Masonite templates for positioning center punch guide holes to drill holes in struts and risers. Includes center punch, 1/2" spade bit and riser wall hole guide template.

Masonite Templates

The NSD Dome Construction Manual includes complete installation instructions and drawings for cutting, fabricating and assembling your dome shell kit. Engineering certification of dome shell is included upon request. Plastic plan cover and two Natural Spaces Domes t-shirts included.

Acc

Our standard Super-Lok connection systems shown below include our Ultra-Lok sleeve for use at each riser wall corner.

Super-Lok™ Dome Connectors
Dome Size Full Dome W/1 Opening W/2 Openings W/3 Openings W/4 Openings W/5 Openings
26', 29' Diam. Sawtooth Riser Wall $2,867 $2,713 $2,559 N/A N/A N/A
16' - 29' Diam. Flat top Riser Wall $2,970 $2,816 $2,662 $2,507 N/A N/A
30', 33', 36', & 40' Diam. Low Profile $5,065 $4,912 $4,759 $4,607 $4,454 $4,302
30', 33', 36', & 40' Diam. High Profile $6,633 $6,481 $6,328 $6,176 $6,023 $5,871
45' Low, 47' Low, 49' Diam Low Profile $7,611 $7,460 $7,309 $7,157 $7,006 $6,855
46' Mid, 49' Mid, 51' Diam. Mid Profile $9,679 $9,528 $9,377 $9,226 $9,075 $8,924
52' Low, 54' Low, 58' DIam. Low Profile $11,172 $11,023 $10,873 $10,723 $10,574 $10,424
54' Mid, 56' Mid, 60' Diam. Mid Profile $13,087 $12,939 $12,790 $12,642 $12,494 $12,346

Attic (View) Cupola Roof Package (Upper portion only) Add $91 for necessary additional hardware. (Templates, Ultra-Lok Sleeves, Bolts, Nuts, Washers)

Attic Cupola Floor Package (Skyloft-Lower portion only) Add $172 for necessary additional hardware. (this floor package is not available for the 16’ - 29’ diameter domes) (Template, Ultra-Lok Sleeves, Hub, Bolts, Nut, Washers, Pins)

Super Lok

Shown above are the components involved in a 30' - 40' diam. high profile dome connector kit with 3 openings for extensions. Click the image to enlarge.

Super Lok

Shown above are all of the components in the previous photo packaged, ready for shipment or pick up.

 

Ultra-Lok™ Dome Connectors

Introduced in 2006 for our biggest domes, we are also able to increase the structural strength of our domes in areas with earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados and extremely heavy snow loads. Check with us for prices of smaller domes using the Ultra-Lok™ connector.

Paul Durand, Professional Engineer (P.E.) and Structural Engineer (S.E.), has been our consulting engineer since 1987. With his direction, we created our Ultra-Lok™ dome connection system. Our Ultra-Lok™sleeve mounted on extremely high grade 2 x 8 Southern Yellow Pine wood struts was brought to an independent testing lab, Twin City Testing. Through sophisticated machine testing, they showed that our Ultra-Lok™ connector increased the load capacity of our already strong dome system by more than 33%.

The Ultra-Lok™ system is available in all of our dome sizes for an increase in cost. If you are in an extreme wind area (straight line winds, tornados, hurricanes), this system can be engineer certified to meet your local codes.

All riser wall corners in all sizes of our domes use our Ultra-Lok™ sleeve. They are included in prices shown above and below.

Ultra-Lok
Ultra-Lok
Ultra-Lok™ Dome Connectors
Dome Size Full Dome W/1 Opening W/2 Openings W/3 Openings W/4 Openings W/5 Openings W/6 Openings
65' - 85' DIam. Mid Profile $28,530 $28,319 $28,108 $27,897 $27,686 $27,475 $27,263

To order any of the above components, Call or Email us.

Natural Spaces Domes
37955 Bridge Road
North Branch, MN 55056, USA
Natural Spaces Domes Website
Copyright ©2014 Natural Spaces Domes
Local: 651-674-4292
Toll-Free: 1-800-733-7107
nsd@naturalspacesdomes.com