I once CNC’d a foam shelter for a family of marsupials, except they ended up eating it, then attacking the neighbor family. It could have been worse, but I certainly wish I had come across Zomadic’s zensational (HA!) Zome structures before then – perhaps the wee creatures would have been happier. The Zome is a creation of Rob Bell (he’s got the ill communications!) and is one of the most ingenious structures of modern geometric times. The complex, fluid shapes are designed in SketchUp, cut out flat and put together with nothing but time, sweat, sandwich breaks and large mallets. Here’s a little more on how it all… comes… together.

Creating the Zome

As stated above, Rob Bell designs the open-air Zome structures in SketchUp, starting from concepts then building out the full-size edifice. Each piece of the polar zonahedral dome is generated with a script forming the organic shape and proving out interaction between what will become the separate pieces connected together by a tool-less joinery system. All the pieces to the formulated facade are then sent to toolpath and cut on a Shopbot CNC. After that, the process of sanding, edging, painting and joining begin. All of the Zomad Zome models are available at Zomad’s 3D Warehouse for you to peruse, play with, print or CNC yourself.

YouTube video

ZomeBuilder: A Zome of Your Own.

You can actually zomify your own landscape, designing and building a Zome of your own. ZomeBuilder is a plugin for SketchUp from Zomadic. With it you can construct your own structures, polyhedral models, lamps, desktop sculptures and more. The cost is $49.99 USD.

And for those who didn’t go to Burning Man of MakerFaire, here’s just one example of a Zome in its native habitat, collecting people and taunting the passer-by with its austere looking ramparts.

You can see the full set of Zomes that Rob Bell and his cohorts at Zomadic have built on their Flickr page.

SketchUp Blog via Ponoko


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.