What should we build with the Plexi-Dome - an ideas thread

Hi Folks, DBynoe here, you may remember me from such threads as Signs up. and Governance! The Procedural Killer!

Jim recently generously donated a giant plexiglass dome that IIRC used to adorn a pole on the outside of the Art Gallery, where it housed a projector. Its awesome, and huge, and ours, all ours! Mwahahah!

Only issue, what do we do with it?


  • 36" diameter (91.4cm)
  • Light enough for one person to carry awkwardly on their shoulders.
  • Easy to schlep with two people
  • Unbelievably awesome acoustics if you stick your head inside, so much gated reverb.
  • Two pieces of plastic joined at the equator, not too sure the strength on the join. I would not want to fill it with water.
  • Makes you feel like an astronaut.
  • Will not fit upstairs, none of the doors are big enough, we could pry the base off and take the front door of the hinges possibly.

Share your ideas of what to build below.

Also, on a related note, Metal_Janet wanted to let the cat lovers know that there is also a 36" cardboard cat trap that needs to go as well.

Also, bubble wrap aficionados there is some free wrap in the cat trap. Also, knick knack paddy whack what should we do with the dome?

edit - we put it on top of the laser cutter fume filter’o’matic xl3000 if you want marvel in the majesty of the dome with your own eyes, figured it was safe and out of the way


dome for a retro-style b-movie silver space ship that sits on the roof. Hacker snow globe also acceptable.


UFO capsule would certainly be on point.

Also resembles the top part of a candy dispensing machine.

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This is a superb idea but that’d be a huuge UFO, what kind of permit would that require?

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hmmm I guess it could take al ot of permits especially if we wanted to permanently attach it with a spiral staircase from the mezzanine up through the roof up to the dome so you can sit up there and drink beer and wave at potential new members.


I like the giant snow globe idea. See if we can get access to packing peanuts with some cool laser cut buildings or even the Vancouver skyline in there? Put some LEDs in for back/bottom lighting? Big button that triggers the animations/movement?


I’m surprised a persistence of vision idea wasn’t suggested… just one option though :wink:

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Can’t believe I’m suggesting this because…so nerdy…Bo’marr Monk from Jabba’s palace.


Alright here’s another one. Feel free to cut me off any time. :stuck_out_tongue:

from: http://www.tomspinadesigns.com/restoration/stop-motion-puppet-props/mars-attacks-alien-maquette-restoration/

head of Mars attacks dude in the dome. Make with a skull/moving eyes/silicone. Use an ESP to hook it up to twitter using the twitter API. Everytime someone tweets about VHS it speaks in the language of the Mars Attacks Aliens. Warning: could get old fast. :smiley:

P.S. I have ping pong balls with painted on pupils that are ready to go. Also can handle the twitter api stuff.


I love it, I have a pan tilt zoom security camera (twin coaxial stepper motors plus a slip ring) I could donate to make the head spin and tilt. Should have enough torque.

Either way, a hackspace mascot under glass would be pretty rad…could also be a snowglobe mascot…

Also could build an indoor flying saucer we can lower from the ceiling over the lounge to create a saucer of silence. (would probally involve unfrickifiying the hvac pipes first)


All these ideas are excellent!

Hello! As of last light, I am laying claim to the dome to be an aquarium of sorts for the space’s new pet / alternative mascot. They will be a robotic moving-tentacled creature with articulated eyes and lots of pretty lights. They will live in the dome on the ceiling of the hack space, (near the stairs probably) and be able to be taken down to travel to events. I have attached a preliminary concept of how they may look, but this is not their final form


Another sketch of possible “travel pose” with the tentacles curled in.

I’ll make a new thread for more updates and progress documentation!


I fricken love it, now by “laying claim” are you taking this on solo, or is this a group build you are leading? Because I think a few people might want to participate, myself included.


Outstanding idea! I have a bunch of RC crap we could use to prototype (servos, transmitters, receivers, lipos) and @dbynoe and I discussed Bowden cable mechanisms last night… If we kept the cabling and tentacle materials lightweight, we could probably drive each tentacle off a pair of 9g servos.

Another VHSer was experimenting with rendering eyes on small OLED screens a few years ago… was it packetbob?


I did start on a tentacle build a while back:

Wonder what box it ended up in…


Group project, definitely, I’m just spearheading it and making sure it all gets put together in the end!


I also am going to use this as a learning experience because there’s a lot I don’t know the most efficient way of how to do, and I want to learn it all! (to a certain degree.) I would like to be able to “do it myself” again in theory after the fact from all that I have learned from collaboration.


The Nov 2 timeline might be a little ambitious, but the theme of this year’s Parade of Lost Souls is Save Our Souls / underwater / marine.

Would be a great way to show off VHS, even if it is not in its final form…


I present the following for your consideration:


There were plans to eventually add servo control to the system, but I ran out of time I was willing to allot to it - One weekend, I think.

I finished at about the same time as this hackaday series of articles came out, and we solved a lot of parallel problems: https://hackaday.com/2016/09/13/the-bootup-guide-to-homebrew-two-stage-tentacle-mechanisms/

I may or may not have also purchased enough bowden cables, spring jackets, and some neat alternatives to the machines components.

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