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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dmc wrote:

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.

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
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On Wed, 27 Aug 03 08:45:46 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@ukc.ac.uk (dmc) wrote:

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.

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.

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

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.

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,
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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
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dmc wrote:

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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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
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snipped-for-privacy@ukc.ac.uk (dmc) wrote in message wrote:

Go to a quarry and pick up a few boulders. They'll probably charge you a nominal amount. Then decide what sort of plumbing you will need. Then drill to suit. If one breaks or isn't quite right you have a few left to try again on.
You can get splitters to take smaller bores from a large bore to let you use a set of different holes and angles. I don't know what they are called but they are used in central heating.
But wouldn't a 45 prezzie save you all that trouble and be a nice gift to the people who changed you dirty nappies and clothed and fed you free all those years ago?
Then you can have a look at it in detail to copy for your own.
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jerrybuilt wrote:

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.
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My mother made some cakes a few years ago - maybe I can ask her for the recipe? ROFL
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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.

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.

Portland cement makes a reasonable subsitute for Portland limestone :)
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