Bending Plywood 
One of (OK, the only) positive aspect of the wet weather is it makes it a lot easier to bend plywood into a curve. In order to keep the saddle intersections of the airform from coming too far out, the folks at Monolithic recommended we reinforce the areas with bent plywood -- which is easier said than done.


The lumber yard folks were skeptical we could get 1/4 inch plywood to bend into a three foot radius. So were were. Much to our surprise however, if given enough weight and plenty of water, it will eventually take on quite a nice curve.


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Rain, Rain, Go Away! 
Rain delays and other obligations conspired to keep things on a slow pace for the last week. While shooting for the goal of inflating the airform, several setback occurred. Despite this there were some accomplishments to help prepare for inflation.


After covering the footing with plastic and positioning the airform, everything got pretty wet. There was a nice little poind forming to the rear of the lot.


Even the skid steer was of little use in this weather. Not much was accomplished other than rolling out the plastic -- which had to be dried and rolled out again anyway. So much for getting a head start on things...



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The Other Homeowner 
Lots have folks have wondered if anyone will keep the Homeowners company once Trinity Dome is complete. Here's a great shot of Frank, the family Cocker Spaniel who will be enjoying the new digs -- pun intended.



Frank is looking forward to staying in a Monolithic Dome so she can enjoy the cool concrete floors in the summer, and bask in their radiant heat during the winter. She also adds, "I like the disaster protection features of the dome too. It's nice to know this house will never burn down."

For those of you with a keen eye for the written word, yes Frank is a girl. It's short for Francis. Some prefer to call her Franny.



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Pouring the Footings and Floor 
Today was a BIG day. Matt and the crew from Dakota Construction poured the footings and floor for Trinity Dome. Here's a rundown of the process:


The day started out with the arrival of a concrete boom pump truck from Hartington Nebraska. Since the house is so long, and the lot so narrow, this was the best route to get the concrete into the forms from the Ready-Mix trucks. The pump truck was pretty impressive. For interested broadband users, click here to see a video of it in action.


The concrete was placed starting at the rear dome, and moving forward. Here the guys can be seen working the concrete into the footing and starting to manually screed it. Meanwhile, some final pieces of needed rebar were cut (video here) and positioned.


The pumping (video here) then continued on the forward two domes. At this point, you might notice the concrete is a little different than normal. That's because the homeowners chose to use an integral stain in the mix. When dry, it will be a warm Southwestern Buff color. And once it's embellished and sealed, it will become the final flooring of the home.


Next, a keyway was cut around the perimeter, which will allow the dome shell to form a mechanical bond with the footing. Once the keyway was in place, the crew was able to insert the rebar uprights. These will be embedded in the dome shell when it's sprayed.


Finally, the entire surface was power trowled (video here) to get a nice smooth surface. Watching Matt and his crew, it's obvious they care about the quality of their work. Everything looks like it's been done with care.


Amazingly, the forms were able to be stripped by the end of the day and the foundation is revealed. The rich color of the floor looks nice already, but it will likely evolve some as the concrete cures. Now, on to the airform and beyond!

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Flowable Fill and Rebar Placement 
Sour weather over the last week hampered some of our progress, but things have picked back up. The guys from Dakota Construction finished aligning the forms and brought in several truckloads of flowable fill.


The fill is basically sand, water, and fly ash combined in a ready-mix truck so it can literally be poured into place -- instead of brought in by dump truck. Since the house is long and the lot so narrow, this was an important detail.


Here's the truck from Midwest Ready-Mix preparing to drop off the last load.


The fill is being concentrated in the middle of the forms to support the thinner portions of the slab. Once dried out a little, it can be easily shaped to get our desired footing size.


Finally, after leveling out the fill and digging the footing sections back out, the rebar is put into place for the ring beam and floor slab. Here it is nearly ready to pour the concrete. An interesting side note to this photo is that you can see Will in the background, having one of the famous "what is it?" conversations.


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