The Airform inflation for Ida and Doug Ward of Pensacola, Florida, went off without a hitch. The Ward home is a 47-foot-diameter dome attached to a 35-foot-diameter garage dome. The two domes are connected via a tunnel. The house has about 1700 square feet of living space and a 960-square-foot garage.
This Airform inflated quickly. We turned the fan on at 11:30 a.m., and it was done inflating by 11:38 a.m.
Time Index for Video
- 00:00 Introduction and description of the home
- 00:27 Time lapse of inflation
- 00:46 Description of extended augment
- 01:31 More about the inflation
- 02:15 Discussion of tunnel connector
- 02:32 Description of our inflation hardware and methods
- 03:42 Manometers
- 04:52 Scaffolding
- 05:01 Paxis rotating scaffold base
- 05:15 Airlock
- 05:44 Wrap up and conclusion
You may see on the video that we have two inflator fans on this dome, but we only used one to do the initial inflation. The second inflator fan will be hooked up to a backup generator so that during the critical portions of dome construction, we can have two power sources and two sources of air.
We used our SC3 inflator fan. We use this little fan for many types of smaller projects like this one. The fan itself is a simple grain dryer fan hooked up to a three-horsepower motor. We customize these fans for dome building by adding a front box with two essential components. One component is a door with weights called a wastegate. This helps keep the air pressure inside the dome from rising too much during foaming and when leaks are sealed. Another key to the success of this fan is the set of louvers that close if the fan shuts off. If a fan dies or loses power, those louvers will shut and block air from escaping the dome.
A manometer measures the air pressure inside the dome. It does this by measuring water displacement in a tube attached to the Airform. We calibrate the water level so that the level is at zero with no added air pressure. When you feed the tube into the Airform where the air pressure is higher, the water will move to show the difference in inches of water column pressure. The video goes over this in more depth.
We’ll be assembling our Paxis rotating scaffold next and installing window and door frames. After that, we’ll cover the floor with plastic and begin spraying polyurethane foam.