Companion Site for

Real Working Drawings
DIY House Plans Using Free Software

Not just for domes,
Applicable to any construction style


Takes the reader through all the stages required to produce a functional and attractive set of working drawings. The prospective home owner will learn how to start with a pencil-drawn floor plan, build a 3D computer model and produce and publish a complete set of house plans. Working with the structural engineer, plan reviewer and contractor is covered, as well. The entire process can be accomplished on a home computer with free software available on the internet saving thousands of dollars. The focus here is on the innovative Monolithic dome, but the method described will work for any style of construction. A companion website provides additional information, links and color versions of many of the images found in the book. Foreword by David South, Pres. Monolithic Dome Institute.


Paperback, color front and back
interior black and white
Over 240 Illustrations
148 pages

If 'Best Price' is $14.36
then that is 28% Off
the regular $19.95
Controlled by amazon and
will go back up before long.


To those who have miraculously survived natural disasters
without benefit of properly designed and built structures.
To those who tragically lost loved ones when it could have been prevented.
To those who played the odds in a wood frame building and lost.
To those who believed government, building codes, insurance
companies, mortgage lenders or building industry would protect them.
To those who say 'never again' and are looking for a better way.


Several full color examples of
non-photorealistic renderings using
Sketchup images exported for
post-processing in a photo editing program...

Photos composited with the SketchUp image.


The background photo was altered with a
silk screen filter to better match the SketchUp image.


Another silk screen filtered photo for the background.


Example of an interior rendering
from the SketchUp model...

Many alterations were made in the
photo editing program.


Full Color Building Sections



Full Color 1st Floor Plan



SketchUp Model and Preliminary Layout

Right click & Save link as...
PDF Working Drawings (pdf)
DraftSight Final Layout (dwg)
DoubleCAD XT to PDF (2dc)



Software Google SketchUp, 3D modeling, cost: free.

Google SketchUp Pro 30 day trial, cost: free.

SU Plugin: Export Dxf, cost: free/donation

SU Plugin: Dxf In, cost: free/donation

 SU Plugin: Flaten to Plane, cost: free/donation

 SU Plugin: Unfold Tool, cost: free/donation

Dassaults Systemes DraftSight, 2D drafting, cost: free.

DoubleCAD XT, 2D CAD, print pdf, cost: free

WinTopo, convert .jpg to vector drawing, cost: free.

Gimp, Image manipulation, cost: free.

AbiWord, word processing, cost: free.

Using the above free software you will save many hundreds of dollars.
Here’s some other software that may be of interest,
some free, some inexpensive.

SketchUp Styles 2011, cost: free

A9CAD, 2D CAD, cost: free
Fewer features, could work

Kerkythea Photorealistic Renderer & SketchUp plugin, cost: free

Qcad, 2D CAD, cost: $34.02
Looks promising

TurboCAD Designer 18, 2D CAD, cost: $39.99
More intuitive than DraftSight or DoubleCAD XT

TurboCAD Deluxe 18, 2D/3D CAD, cost: $129.99
More intuitive than DraftSight or DoubleCAD XT
Author used a much earlier Pro version of this
to produce working drawings.


ViaCAD 2D v7, 2D CAD, cost $39.99
More intuitive than DraftSight or DoubleCAD XT
SketchUp v7, import file support.

ViaCAD 2D/3D, 2D/3D CAD, cost $99.99
More intuitive than DraftSight or DoubleCAD XT
SketchUp v7, import file support.
Author thinks it could possibly be used for
modeling and drafting of working drawings.
Testing is needed.

ViaCAD Pro v7, 2D/3D CAD, cost $249.99
More intuitive than DraftSight or DoubleCAD XT
SketchUp v7, import file support.
Author has v6 and thinks it could possibly be used for
modeling and drafting of working drawings.
More testing is needed.

Blender, 3D modeling, animation cost: free.

Bryce 7, 3D visualization, landscape, vegetation,
light modeling, rendering, cost: $99.95

Useful Sites

Google SketchUp Community, cost: free http://sketchup.google.com/intl/en/community/

3D Warehouse, models, cost: free http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=

Sketchucation, forums, plugins, news, etc., cost: free http://forums.sketchucation.com/

Ruby Library Depot, plugins, cost: free/donation http://modelisation.nancy.archi.fr/rld/index.php

Monolithic Dome, ideas, info, forum, airform

Building Code Online, cost: free http://bulk.resource.org/codes.gov/bsc.ca.gov/gov.ca.bsc.2010.02.5.html

Useful Info

SketchUp Video Tutorials, cost: free http://sketchup.google.com/training/videos.html

BUILDING STAIRS IN SKETCHUP http://www.finehomebuilding.com/item/15911/stairmathter-use-sketchup-to-master-the-math-for-stairbuilding



CONDAR ASV-90 AIR SUPPLY VENTILATOR 4” PIPE DOWN LOW http://www.condar.com/asv.html

VELUX_GPL_M08 30 5/8” X 55”; RO 31 ¼” X 55 ½” http://www.theskylightstore.com/GetPricing.aspx?Product


PLUMBING 10 COMMON MISTAKES. http://www.finehomebuilding.com/PDF/Free/021126070.pdf

Please report broken links.


A Manual of Construction Documentation
by Glenn Wiggins
Good resource, inexpensive
Very Good, Four Stars


Architectural Working Drawings,
Residential & Commercial
by William P. Spence
A great resource, inexpensive
A good chapter on CAD
Excellent, Five Stars



The Professional Practice of
Architectural Working Drawings
by Osamu A. Wakita and Richard M. Linde
The full range of skills, concepts, principles, and applications
Hand drawing and CAD
Excellent, Five Stars
4th Edition coming Nov. 2011




Working Drawing Manual
by Fred Stitt
Checklist based guide
Very Good, Four Stars




Google SketchUp 8 For Dummies
by Aidan Chopra
Get up and running quickly
Excellent, Five Stars




AutoCAD 2011 and AutoCAD LT 2011:
No Experience Required
by Donnie Gladfelter
DraftSight and other 2D AutoCAD clones
work a lot like AutoCAD LT
DraftSight really does feel 100% like AutoCAD."
Excellent, Five Stars




Dome Living :
A Creative Guide For Planning Your Monolithic Dream Home
by Freda Grones with David B. South
A handbook for dome design
Excellent, Five Stars




Think Round:
The Story of David B. South and the Monolithic Dome
by Freda Parker
An inspiring story



Monolithic’s Book Resources



Robert Bissett
Graduate Architect
WSU, 1975, Summa Cum Laude
Artist, Author, Teacher

Designer of Light-filled, health-promoting
Livable, Beautiful and Enduring Homes

Design Philosophy

"The Client is the visionary, not the designer."


Education and a varied work history, combined with artistic and technical abilities, have been significant in bringing me to where I am today. With the digital technology available to designers like myself, the creative possibilities are considerable.  The advent of dome architecture has been advanced and facilitated by the latest 3D modeling and rendering software.  I will continue to employ these powerful tools to the fullest and hopefully contribute in some small way to the success of domes.

Design Statement

Exciting things are happening in the building industry. Recently my interest has been in exploring the design possibilities of thin-shelled, reinforced concrete construction, the healthy house concept, and economical, low maintenance homes built with innovative or non-traditional construction materials. A home should be a place of comfort and healing in tune with the forces of nature; a place to return to for the daily renewing of mind, body and spirit. I enjoy helping people make their vision a reality.

I am also interested the small and medium size, unusual project.

208 267 0685

 See design award

 More dome

Non- Dome






Mark Sigler's


Loi and I with Mark on the right
inspecting the dome after Ivan.
It has since been fully restored.




To insure privacy the name of the owner and the location of this project
will not be revealed. The owner has a design background and was able to develop the overall design concept.
I did the design development and working drawings over a period of two years…130’ diameter, four floors, parking garage, aviary, elevator, three story atrium, large kitchen, classical columns, arches, etc…one of the largest and finest dome homes in the world. This dome was part of a five dome project.

Exterior during construction. Doesn't look it here, but this is huge.
Large enough for a full size basketball court and bleachers.
An acre of floor space on four floors.


Atrium during construction. Three stories high and about
thirty feet in diameter. The classical column covers are not
yet in place.




A recent design done as part of the
Dragon Design team which also includes
Mark Sigler and Dante Amato.