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UK diy (uk.d-i-y) For the discussion of all topics related to diy (do-it-yourself) in the UK. All levels of experience and proficency are welcome to join in to ask questions or offer solutions.

Drilling a rock to make a water feature?



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 27th 03, 09:45 AM
dmc
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Default Drilling a rock to make a water feature?



My parents have been to a garden show and seem some water features that
they liked - until they saw the price! My challenge now is to try to
make one :-)

The feature was bascially a large(ish) rock with water bubbling up through it.
Obtaining a rock is probably not a problem - garden centre will do at a
push - but to get one predrilled seems to make the price jump from about a
fiver to 45 quid!

Question one: How likely am I to be able to drill a hole in a rock. Something
like 15mm I guess. I have a decent SDS drill is this likely to just smash the
thing up? Should I be looking for a non-hammer solution (diamond?).

The other thing is that this "rock" had what the seller called "a special
halogen bulb" in the hole so that the water bubbled up over the bulb.
According to my dad this looked like a small bulb with heatshrink on with
just a couple of wires sticking out of the end. These were 25quid each...

Question two: Any ideas what this "special halogen bulb" might have been?
Maybe a super bright white LED would work? Dad wasn't convinced that it
was a real bulb at all.

I suppose one answer to drilling the hole is to make the rock - anyone
got any recipies for half realistic rock mixes? :-)

cheers,

Darren

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  #2  
Old August 27th 03, 10:24 AM
Nick Nelson
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Default Drilling a rock to make a water feature?



dmc wrote:

Question one: How likely am I to be able to drill a hole in a rock. Something
like 15mm I guess. I have a decent SDS drill is this likely to just smash the
thing up? Should I be looking for a non-hammer solution (diamond?).


This would depend on the kind of rock.

Most limestone is reasonably soft and ought to drill OK with an ordinary
masonry bit. A nice bit of granite will be more hard work.

Question two: Any ideas what this "special halogen bulb" might have been?
Maybe a super bright white LED would work? Dad wasn't convinced that it
was a real bulb at all.


I'd have thought any low voltage lamp would do, there would be something
to be said for making the connections reasonably water proof but even
this wouldn't be strictly necessary. Maybe something involving fibre-
optics would be effective?

Nick
  #3  
Old August 27th 03, 12:28 PM
Andy Dingley
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Default Drilling a rock to make a water feature?

On Wed, 27 Aug 03 08:45:46 GMT, (dmc) wrote:

Question one: How likely am I to be able to drill a hole in a rock.


UKC ? Chalk should be easy....

I'd go for an igneous rock, like serpentinite, quartzite or granite.
It's harder to dril, but that's the drill's problem, not yours.

The problems with limestone are twofold. Some sedimentaries are very
prone to spalling, especially where the hole breaks through the
surface. They can also be porous enough on the surface that green
algae build up. This can be either good or bad, depending on style.

Slate (metamorphic) works nicely too, although some grades are a
little splintery, especially if already aged outdoors.


I have a decent SDS drill is this likely to just smash the
thing up?


How big a hole ? You can drill small holes (up to 10mm) without too
much trouble, except for the really flakey stones. You can also
chain-drill holes in a ring, then break out the centre. You'll
probably want an angle grinder and flap disks to tidy up, or make a
flat base on a boulder.

Should I be looking for a non-hammer solution (diamond?).


If you want a 40mm hole, go and hire a core drill.


The other thing is that this "rock" had what the seller called "a special
halogen bulb" in the hole so that the water bubbled up over the bulb.


Very likely an LED, if it's a small "bulb". Use a constant voltage
drive, not constant current.

If you use a halogen, then solder to the pins. They're always prone to
corrosion and especially in a damp environment. I don't like these
silicone encapsulations, as I don't trust the waterproofing. I'd use a
test tube almost full of silicone oil. Keep the bulb submerged in oil
and the test tube underwater for cooling, but leave the airspace above
the bulb to allow for expansion.

I suppose one answer to drilling the hole is to make the rock - anyone
got any recipies for half realistic rock mixes? :-)


Try the pond newsgroups and look for "hypertufa" recipes.


If you're making water features, do some reading on traditional
Japanese designs as well. Sadao Hibi's book "Japanese Detail:
Traditional Architecture, Gardens and Interiors" is good, or
Davidson's "Zen Gardens", if you can find them,


  #4  
Old August 27th 03, 01:48 PM
jerrybuilt
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Default Drilling a rock to make a water feature?

dmc wrote:
Question one: How likely am I to be able to drill a hole in a
rock. Something like 15mm I guess. I have a decent SDS drill
is this likely to just smash the thing up? Should I be looking
for a non-hammer solution (diamond?).



Hi Darren, what sort of stone is this? How big is it? How
long is the hole you want to drill?


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  #5  
Old August 27th 03, 02:16 PM
dmc
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Default Drilling a rock to make a water feature?

In article ,
jerrybuilt wrote:
dmc wrote:
Question one: How likely am I to be able to drill a hole in a
rock. Something like 15mm I guess. I have a decent SDS drill
is this likely to just smash the thing up? Should I be looking
for a non-hammer solution (diamond?).


Hi Darren, what sort of stone is this? How big is it? How
long is the hole you want to drill?


I don't know yet - we don't have it :-)

Personally I quite like the look of slate but my parents taste may well
differ!

Darren

  #6  
Old August 27th 03, 04:32 PM
Abdullah Eyles
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Default Drilling a rock to make a water feature?

I suppose one answer to drilling the hole is to make the rock - anyone
got any recipies for half realistic rock mixes? :-)


My mother made some cakes a few years ago - maybe I can ask her for the recipe? ROFL
  #8  
Old August 27th 03, 08:38 PM
dmc
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Default Drilling a rock to make a water feature?

In article ,
Andy Dingley wrote:

I suppose one answer to drilling the hole is to make the rock - anyone
got any recipies for half realistic rock mixes? :-)


Try the pond newsgroups and look for "hypertufa" recipes.



Oooooh. That sounds interesting. And having read up a bit looks like it
maybe a flyer. Any ideas how it would cope with sitting in water all year?
It doesn't sound all that frostproof.

Cheers all,

Darren

  #9  
Old August 27th 03, 09:58 PM
BillR
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Default Drilling a rock to make a water feature?

jerrybuilt wrote:
dmc wrote:
Question one: How likely am I to be able to drill a hole in a
rock. Something like 15mm I guess. I have a decent SDS drill
is this likely to just smash the thing up? Should I be looking
for a non-hammer solution (diamond?).



Hi Darren, what sort of stone is this? How big is it? How
long is the hole you want to drill?

Unless you have a particular rock with sentimental value that must be used,
then forget it.
I tried it. Any rock thats soft enough to drill won't stand up to the water.
Useable rocks are incredibly hard.
And recently B&Q were selling reasonable 2 rock light kits for 25, reduced
for clearance to 12.99.
Asda had 3 rock light kits for 15 but theirs didn't look like real rocks.


  #10  
Old September 12th 03, 05:43 PM
Mark Evans
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Default Drilling a rock to make a water feature?

dmc wrote:

Question one: How likely am I to be able to drill a hole in a rock. Something
like 15mm I guess. I have a decent SDS drill is this likely to just smash the
thing up? Should I be looking for a non-hammer solution (diamond?).


Rather depends what sort of rock it is how hard it might be,
possibly best to try drilling with the hammer off and to
start off with a 6mm drill bit.

The other thing is that this "rock" had what the seller called "a special
halogen bulb" in the hole so that the water bubbled up over the bulb.
According to my dad this looked like a small bulb with heatshrink on with
just a couple of wires sticking out of the end. These were 25quid each...


Question two: Any ideas what this "special halogen bulb" might have been?
Maybe a super bright white LED would work? Dad wasn't convinced that it
was a real bulb at all.


An LED has the advantage of never needing replacing. Possibly more than
one arranged in a circle with a gap in the middle. Something like 6
LEDs, 6 resistors, some wire heatshrink sleaving and expoxy resin should
cost a lot less than 25 quid.

I suppose one answer to drilling the hole is to make the rock - anyone
got any recipies for half realistic rock mixes? :-)


Portland cement makes a reasonable subsitute for Portland
limestone
 




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