Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In Praise of the Coconut Shell


Although coconut shells do have some well established niche market uses such as novelty tableware and small caged-pet shelters, I can't help but to feel as though too many of them are going to waste.

The New Altoids Tin?

No I don't mean as a mint holder, but as an improvised homebrew electronics project enclosure. The Altoids tin does make a nice project case. It has a hinged lid, giving you easy access to your business, a great pocketable form factor, and of course they are everywhere for free. But despite these merits, I think that the ubiquitous mint tin has been used to excess, and its use may be nearing the saturation point. I have a hunch that the coconut shell might just turn out to be the next big thing.

When I was recently trying find an enclosure for the ukulele amp that I was building, a coconut came to mind, and I don't think that I could have found a better case. In addition to the obvious thematic tie-in with the ukulele, the coconut shell has a number of other redeeming qualities.

The shell is hard and durable, easily machined, has a pleasing organic texture which can be left hairy, sanded smooth, or anything in-between. The little brown dome of a half-shell is cute as a bug, bringing a smile to all who see it. The dome shape is extremely stable and tip resistant. I could go on all day.

Coconuts.