Make Your Next Enclosure Out Of Stone

Sure, a laser-cut plywood enclosure adds a lot of maker cred, and custom plastic or cast aluminum enclosure belies an engineering and design prowess. [ardiyno] didn’t want one of these run-of-the-mill enclosures, so he made one from scratch out of limestone.

The stone [ardiyno] used comes from the southern bit of his native Netherlands. It’s a very nice limestone, easily carvable and capable of very fine detail as seen in [ardiyno]’s scary/creepy carved limestone bookends.

Inside the enclosure, [ardiyno] has a calendar/clock/environmental sensor displaying the current date, time, relative humidity, and light level on twelve 14-segment displays. [ardiyno] admits the enclosure is a bit oversized for how much space his project takes up, but the extra space is meant for future internal expansions.

After the break, you can check out [ardiyno]’s method of using a screw driver to carve the limestone. Normally, we’d call foul over someone abusing tools, but the limestone is so soft (the pyramids were made out of limestone using soft copper tools), there’s most likely very little damage to the screwdriver.

via reddit



17 thoughts on “Make Your Next Enclosure Out Of Stone

  1. NICE. I carve soapstone (softer on the mohs scale at 1 where limestone is 3) and alabaster, and can appreciate the amount of work here. i like how well the front and back fit together. I just spent over 40 hours on a figurine for a wedding gift – the sanding is always the most painful and monotonous work of stone work.

    I also like the little blue item on the bottom of the PCB (zoomed into at 1:12 of the first video) – it looks like Sesame Street’s Grover muppet…lol

  2. An interesting enclosure material choice, but I’m unsure it’s one that will become very popular, unless you can hire Fred Flintstone cheap. Anyone concerned over using their good tools in this manner, just go by some cheap tools to abuse. Never has entered my mind until eric brought him up, but Red Green, would make an excellent patron for hackers, too bad he wants $15 for his bobble head. because it makes more sense to have red on the bench than it does for Einstein.

    1. Red Green, patron saint of hackers?!?


      I have carved limestone before, and I wouldn’t use a screwdriver to carve it. Not because it would damage the screwdriver (It would, but who doesn’t have a few old “prybar” screwdrivers?), but because it would take too long. You would be better off with an inexpensive cold chisle, (preferably a couple) with a blade at least 2 inches (~5 cm) wide. Add a small hand sledge, and you are in business. I would personally prefer an air hammer and a small selection of appropriate chisels.

      Limestone is easy to carve (at least when freshly quarried), but it is NOT a waterproof material, so it may not make the best electronics enclosure.

      1. My understanding is; that there’s limestone, and there is limestone. some quarried in in or near my area. Some have picked the wrong stone to put a lot of time in creating lawn decoration, just to have quickly fall apart due to exposure to the elements. On the other hand there are limestone fence posts that have withstood decades of exposure, a nearby artist gets the limestone he uses for sculpture from out of this area because it’s better than the best in this area. Yea cold chisels are an easy off the shelf choice. I suggest Red Green as a patron figure, but consciously avoided using the word saint. :)

      2. n0lkk is right, limestone is a very generic term which covers very different types of rock. The term covers any sedimentary rock made up mostly of calcium (and usually some magnesium) carbonate.

        Depending on the other components (sand, clay, gypsum, organic matter, etc.) and the amount of open space in the rock, it can be very hard or very soft. I’ve seen plenty of limestones which would not be impressed by a screw driver.

    1. Waxes and pastes (think wooden floor finishes) can make it more water repellant, but limestone becomes harder with prolonged exposure to the atmosphere, so you could just leave it as is.

      Acid rain is the biggest problem, but unless you are cooking meth, you don’t need to worry much about that indoors.

  3. We used some graphite for a rocket nozzle, worked really well, machines like butter, and just all around cool stuff. Carves probably even easier than this, but watch out, HIGHLY abrasive! (not the same structure as writing/lubrication graphite)
    Now, something substantially cheaper and also a lot of fun to work with is Firebricks. From the video, looks like it might have similar ease of forming.

  4. Normally I would say “boo” to someone misusing tools too, however a “tool” is simply what one uses to accomplish the task at hand. As “makers” we can hardly berate him for making pretty neat stuff out of stone while possibly destroying the most pedestrian of tools, a screwdriver. I hope you have nightmares about the last time you opened a paint can with a flat-head instead of a commercially-available opener… Shame ;-)

  5. I love the project, I’ve been thinking about putting some electronics in the yard, but the precision of this box goes a little beyond a screwdriver. Were some power tools or special techniques used here to get the two halves to fit together so well?

  6. The screwdriver i used is the oldest and most ugly one i could find. It ended up more shiny after the carving, so its happy with it.
    I’m convinced that its not a good enclosure. The stone is like a sponge to water, so relative humidity shall be affected by it. It is element-proof though, ’cause they build houses with this kind of stone, that is called MERGEL in the netherlands. Can’t find a english link, but when you google it, you see a lot of strange carvings.

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