Go-Domes come tightly wrapped from the factory. It will probably never be this small again. The dome should always be rolled up with the grey projection surface on the inside. Unroll the dome and be certain that the surface on which you are inflating the dome is clean (at least not dusty or wet).
Locate the fan tube for the fan and the black vinyl piece for the bottom of the door. The fan vent is to the right of the door as you are entering the dome. Spread out the dome with the projection surface down and the rings in a circle.
Attach the fan to the tube. The Velcro tab should be sufficient to make it secure, but you can also wrap a bungee cord around the cloth if there is a problem with your particular fan. Turn the fan on high and support the door, which will inflate first followed by the rings. After the door and rings are inflated, the dome will begin to fill with air.
When inflation is complete, take a flashlight and enter the dome. You will have to unzip the inner door. Move your hand to the bottom of the zipper to find the pull tag and unzip the zipper upward. You may also have to push open the Velcro flap inside the zipper.
Equipment and chairs can be carried through the door. Set up the projector next to use its light to arrange the chairs. A fisheye projector will go near the center of the room. A Newtonian mirror projection system will be on the back wall, usually to the right of the door, in front of the vent in the tubes. Usually the operator sits in a chair between the door and the Newtonian and can adjust this vent opening if needed. In a ring dome, this vent is closed with a zipper and with Velcro so that it can be adjusted to be partially open.
The door has several operation options. There is a black Velcro strap on the outside that can be closed to indicate that a program is in progress. There is a similar Velcro strap on the inside of the door tubes that can be used by the operator to hold the tubes together. The operator can also zipper the dome shut and cover it with the flap to have a uniform grey interior surface. The zipper should not be used without closing the flap over it to reduce stress on the zipper. It is recommended to leave the bottom of the zipper open to allow some air to escape.
It is recommended that students enter the door one at a time and not be allowed to push through the door. Insist that the classroom teacher or a volunteer assist with students entering the dome to maintain order. This is rarely a problem if students are told to enter the dome single file and to wait until the student in front is leaving the airlock before entering.
Wheelchair bound students can enter through the airlock. Set the fan on high. Move the door tubes apart by repositioning the Velcro at the bottom of the door. The student can then be rolled through in the wheelchair.
Deflating a ring dome.
First let the visitors the dome through the door. Turn off the projector to let it cool. Carry all chairs through the door. When the projector is cool, you can store the projection equipment and carry it through the door. Then open the air vent from the tubes into the dome. Go through the door and zip it behind you. Then turn off the fan and let the dome deflate. You can lift the tubes to speed up the deflation process. Note that each tube or ring has a hidden zipper that when unzipped will allow for fast tube deflation. Remember to re-zip each or the dome may not inflate properly when used again.
Detach the fan from the dome. When the tubes are deflated, stretch out the dome with the grey screen inside. Fold the cloth together until you have a long flat piece of cloth about the width of your bag. Then roll the cloth as you would a sleeping bag, starting at one end. If possible, roll up the dome so that the fan tube is on the outside. Roll the dome as tightly as you can. Cover it with the unzipped bag. Then roll everything over and zip up the bag. The dome is now ready for travel.
In case of a power outage:
If the power goes out, the fan and projector will turn off. It is critical to have a working flashlight (the one you used when entering the dome at least). First turn on the flashlight so students are not afraid. Then immediately close the tube vent and zip the door shut. Ask the students to line up in front of the door. Explain that they will be exiting through the door, one by one in an orderly way. Hold up the door as the students exit.
With the assistance of a teacher, students in the back of the line can also slide under the tubes. This has never been necessary, but it is important to know that this can be done. Two adults will need to raise the rings over a student in a wheelchair. This will cause the dome to deflate quickly and should be done after the other students have left through the door.