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50 votes
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Would gears made of stone work?

Actually, in history everything you mention was made of wood, especially any large wheels like the machinery of watermills or windmills. Pottery wheels were completely wood as well. The only metal you ...
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50 votes

Could Wasps and Ants reach the stone age?

Stone Age Progression This is all well and good , but their is one major flaw in choosing an insect hive mind - they can't lift 10 ounce stones apply the repeated , focused force necessary to ...
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49 votes
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How effective would a stone cannon be?

Not very. Yes. Maybe. No. It depends. Would it fire? Yes. The powder charge would launch the cannonball towards the enemy. There might be problems with accuracy. And the cannon might burst, see the ...
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38 votes

How effective would a stone cannon be?

In reading for this answer I was interested to see that a comparison of cannon metal strengths was published in the New York Times in 1861. This sort of thing was apparently considered to be of ...
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  • 274k
21 votes

How to activate and deactivate a fire stone the easy way?

You are basically describing magic coal. It is magic because it can maybe burn longer and stronger, but mostly because it is rechargeable. Other than that it is just coal. You light it up just as non-...
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17 votes

Would gears made of stone work?

If you can magically shape it, then yes Let's take limestone for example... it is a very common kind of stone that can be found all over the world; so, your people are pretty much guaranteed access to ...
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17 votes

Could Wasps and Ants reach the stone age?

Never underestimate the power of a hive mind. Their intellect could easily come up with solutions that we never did. As for the issue of an ant not being able to lift 10 ounces, I'd like to point ...
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15 votes

Could Wasps and Ants reach the stone age?

You talk a lot about fire and stone tools but your question really is (emphasis mine): They intend for these "Vespoids" to one day reach a similar level of advancement in less time than humanity so ...
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  • 2,460
15 votes

How effective would a stone cannon be?

Would it actually fire? Yes, at least once. You might want to retreat to a safe distance for the test firing. Would it still be usable after firing? Depends if you calculated the right powder ...
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13 votes

How effective would a stone cannon be?

There are multiple, historical examples of artillery/mortars firing stone balls. Wikipedia has an entry (with photos, including some stone balls) showing only the biggest ones. So there's enough of ...
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9 votes

Would gears made of stone work?

Speaking from a sculpture perspective: when working with stone, a lot of thought has to go into thinking about how to get the shape without cracking the stone. A lot of stone has hidden cracks in it. ...
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  • 2,355
9 votes

Would gears made of stone work?

Use belts and pulleys. https://studentlesson.com/belt-pulley-definiton-functions-types-parts-working/ Depicted: metal pulley wheels. Stone would be fine for this use. A stone pulley wheel would ...
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8 votes

How to activate and deactivate a fire stone the easy way?

Blow on it A steady, uniform, 5 second blow will make the stone hotter and hotter until it eventually catches. Just like a coal from an old campfire reigniting when blown on. To deactivate - cool down ...
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8 votes

Would gears made of stone work?

Using stone made gears would be problematic. The first problem is wear. The stone would easily wear away. The second problem is stone is strong in compression but weak in tension and bending. Gear ...
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  • 3,055
7 votes

How effective would a stone cannon be?

Stone cannon balls were used many times. But not cannon for many reasons, not least of which would be cost. They're just impractical for a robust weapon. Of you made one thick enough to handle blasts ...
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  • 17.5k
6 votes

Would gears made of stone work?

In addition to the static weakness of stone in tension, you also have the issue of crack propogation. Repeated impacts will cause cracks to develop and grow over time.
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5 votes
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Could Wasps and Ants reach the stone age?

I still don't think that vespoids will follow human evolution like you want it to, but since no one is trying to give you a pathway I'll try. The first thing to understand is your scientists have to ...
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  • 2,460
5 votes

How effective would a stone cannon be?

There is a potential use for a stone cannon. Stone, as mentioned previously, has very poor tensile strength, chips, and flakes, and has flaws which cannot be easily spotted. Unlike metal, melting it ...
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5 votes

Would gears made of stone work?

Tensile strengths: Silica: 4,000 MPa to 7,000 MPa High-density polyethylene: ~30 MPa PA-11 Nylon: ~50 MPa PA-6 Nylon (fiber): ~600 MPa Aluminium alloy 2014-T6: ~450 MPa SAE 304 Stainless Steel: ~...
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  • 357
4 votes

The Emperor's Coffee House - how to build a neolithic steam engine?

This wouldn't actually be that hard. The biggest obstacle to building a steam engine wouldn't be the lack of metal, it would be the lack of rubber. Building a pressure vessel out of stone would be ...
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4 votes

How to activate and deactivate a fire stone the easy way?

The fire stones are both spark and fuel but they still need a combustive. They are mined underwater or in caves where every trace of oxygen has been burnt. They are stored in airtight containers and ...
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  • 4,210
4 votes

How to activate and deactivate a fire stone the easy way?

Love. Or what passes as love for the stones. If they touch, they burn. You cannot make fire with just one. If you push them apart, they cool and go out. Or possibly, since they are magic, they go ...
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  • 274k
4 votes

How effective would a stone cannon be?

How many shots you want to fire? One? not a too big problem. More? Umm, do you like Russian Roulette? There was a not so historically accurate story about Tihany's (Tihany is located in Hungary) ...
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4 votes

Could Wasps and Ants reach the stone age?

In a way ants and wasps have already reached the stone age. They are highly refined in the raw materials they use. Eg. the paper-wasp builds these bizarre sci-fi looking shelters high up using bark ...
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  • 41
4 votes

Could Wasps and Ants reach the stone age?

As I answered here regarding ants, they would mass together and also use sticks and bones from other animals for structure: how can eucaryotic cells use tools? Yeast can't swing a hammer, but what ...
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  • 68.5k
4 votes

Could Wasps and Ants reach the stone age?

A hive mind particularly one that can rapidly produce will not develop advanced tools. I'm basing this on 100 million years of evolution not leading to tools compared to our 3 million years. Clearly ...
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  • 141
3 votes

How to activate and deactivate a fire stone the easy way?

The way you describe it, they sound like some sort of fissile material, which emits more heat once the fission is activated, and have short lived byproducts. How does one activate it? Well, just by ...
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  • 238k
3 votes

How effective would a stone cannon be?

The big question here is: "Would it still be usable after firing?" And the answer to that most likely is no. Stone, as a molecule has a crystalline structure like glass and sand. Glass can be really ...
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  • 131
3 votes

How to activate and deactivate a fire stone the easy way?

Just like a nuclear reactor works (with a bigger safety margin). Put a lot of them together and they start to make heat. Put them apart and they fade and stop. You may as well handwave two ...
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  • 4,269
2 votes

How to activate and deactivate a fire stone the easy way?

If you don't need them to burn more than once between recharging, you could have the energy stored in some kind of phase change. Heating the stones in a special oven causes them to store the energy. ...
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