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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bits and Pieces of the Drilling Machinery

Recently, I posted a link to the well spring Africa website.

That is a really good site demonstrating current-day percussion hand-powered drilling machinery, and I want to look at some of their material in more detail. We're likely to bounce around quite a bit talking about different aspects of their machinery, it's uses, and it's history. Some posts might be quite extensive; others (like this post, for example) will be very short.

Whether you lift the string of drilling tools with machinery, a spring pole, or by hand with a rope the principle behind percussion well drilling is the same: a drill bit repeated strikes the bottom of the borehole and gradually breaks up soil and/or rock. The drilling tools are periodically removed from the borehole and the pulverized drill cuttings removed.
Simple, right??

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More Information on Hand-Powered Well Drilling

Mission organizations working in 3rd world countries have struggled for years to help locals obtain a source of clean water. Well-intentioned people have provided money and powered well-drilling machinery over the years, but the lack of supporting infrastructure coupled with a absence of technological skill quickly doomed many well-drilling projects. In these conditions, the KISS! principle (keep it simple, stupid!) reigns supreme!

This site provides a good deal of information on hand-powered well drilling in general. The methods and tooling being described are VERY simple and can be carried out by anyone with a moderate amount of building skill. I'll try to discuss various aspects of the subject material in the coming weeks.

Friday, May 20, 2011

DIY Water Well Drilling

This site provides a nice general overview of ground water occurrence and simple drilling machinery and methods. I'm not a big fan of the UN, but I will admit that this is a pretty good publication.

Section 4 goes into detail concerning the construction of small-diameter water wells via different well-drilling methods. A good deal of information on building the drilling machinery is included. Section 4.7 is a interesting sections demonstrating DIY well casing and screen.

If nothing else, I sincerely hope people understand one thing by studying through the linked materials and other postings from my blog: hand drilling a well is not beyond your reach. It takes time and effort. You might fail and be required to start over multiple times. can be done.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Home Refining

Not only can you drill your own shallow oil well by hand, it's also possible to refine that crude oil into useful products. Thermal cracking is used to break crude oil down into the desired products. Essentially, the fluid to be refined it put into a container. Heat is then applied. Different products are produced from the crude oil at different temperatures. It's inefficient, and probably more than a little bit dangerous, but it works.
Actual whisky stills were used to make gasoline and other products in my area during the 1920's and 1930's. The people in these photos are doing the work via more primitive methods. This actually bears some resemblance to a "cheese box" still such as shown here...

...and on page 339 of this publication.

Talk about a living history exhibit! Subtract the motorcycle and diesel-engine winch and this scene could have taken place in the mid 19th century!!

Definitely not a sophisticated refining operation.

The final product doesn't look bad at all!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Few More Drilling Tools

I ran across this diagram showing a few more hand-made, percussion, well-drilling bits.

Spring-Pole Drilling: How was the drill bit lowered?

The principle behind spring-pole well drilling is very simple: A long pole acts as a spring-loaded lever to raise drill tools upward after they have been pulled manually downward. The well is drilled slightly deeper each time the drill bit strikes the bottom of the borehole. How do you lower the string of drilling tools so that they continue to make contact with the bottom?

The U.S. Bureau of mines produced a silent movie in the early 1900’s demonstrating different methods of oil-well drilling and the technological progress that had been made since the Drake well was drilling in 1859. Included in that movie was a scene demonstrating spring-pole well drilling. The well-known photo shown above is a still frame from that movie. Visible in the photo is one leg of the tripod derrick with ladder rungs nailed to it; the front end of the spring pole; the two men drilling the well have their feet in rope stirrups that allow them to push down- or “spring”- the pole for drilling. A very interesting feature is the home-made “temper screw” attached to the spring pole and drilling line (identified with arrow).
In percussion drilling operations, some mechanism was needed for letting out more drilling line, or lowering the drill rods, and allowing the hole to be made deeper. The elongation winch, or “slipper out”, used with the Canadian-type rigs could let out a chain to lower the string of drill rods. The American standard rig held the drilling line in a cable clamp and deepened the bore hole by slowly backing out a heavily threaded frame known as the “temper screw” which was carried on the front end of the walking beam.
The spring-pole rig pictured above used a very simple, home-made, version of the temper screw. A long steel plate is drilled through with holes every few inches along its length. The bottom end of the plate has a clevis for attaching the drilling line with a hitch knot. Enough extra line is let out to allow the entire plate to be lowered toward the borehole as the hole is gradually drilled deeper. The plate could be put through a slot in the spring pole, or mounted to the side of the spring pole and held in place with a bolt or steel pin. When the tools needed to be lowered during drilling, the pin holding the ‘temper screw’ in place was pulled out and placed through a higher hole in the plate. When the temper screw was drilled up to the top hole in the plate, the tools were pulled from the hole and the debris removed with a bailer. After bailing, the drilling tools were run back in to the bottom of the bore hole. The place was re-pinned to the spring pole starting at the lowest hole. The hitch knot was loosened, and enough drilling line was played out to allow the entire ‘temper screw’ to be used. Drilling could resume after retightening the hitch knot.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Spring Pole and Other Hand-Powered Drilling Rigs (Part 6)

Drilling Tools and Their Uses (Part 2)
Various tools and machinery components useful for percussion drilling by hand

Boring tools, Figure 413, for well sinking, testing ground, etc, consisting of:
1) well rod, usual length 10 feet
2) worm auger
3) open auger, for clay
4) flat chisel, for stone of flint
5) spring dart, to draw faulty pipe from the bore hole
6) spring dart, to draw faulty pipe from the borehole (for small pipes)
7) bell screw, for withdrawing broken rods
8) bell box, for withdrawing broken rods from the borehole
9) auger nose shell, with valve for loose soil or sand
10) flat nose shell, for similar purposes
11) shoe nose shell, for harder ground
12) hand dog, for screwing and unscrewing the rods
13) pipe clamps, or rests
14) T-chisel for flint or stone
15) wad hook, for withdrawing stones, etc, which may fall into the bore hole
16) spiral angular worm for withdrawing broken rods
17) diamond, or drill-pointed chisel, for hard ground
18) lifting dog, for raising and lowering the rods
19) long pipe clamps, or rests
20) tillers or levers for turning the rods
21) wrought-iron screwed well-bore pipe
22) short rod, with swivel head
23) crow’s foot for extracting the broken rods from the bore hole
24) pair of well-rod joints ready to shut up for greater lengths
25) pipe tongs, or heaters, for making joints of pipe
26) T-piece, or pipe dog, for lowering the pipes
27) brazed and collared pipe, with water-tight soldered joints
28) common riveted pipe, strong make
29) spring hook to be attached to the well rope for raising tools, etc.
30) windlass complete, for boring or sinking
31) strong well sinking bucket
(from Appleby’s Handbook of Machinery, pg. 110-111)

Hand-boring tools-
1) single chisel
2) cross chisel
3) rod
4) 6 foot sludger
5) screw-jointed tube
6) tube with outside collar
7) tube with flush joint, riveted
8) tube with screw socket
9) 6 foot grappler
10) reamers
11) single cross head
12) double cross head
13) fork
14) key
15 & 16) core cutters and extractor
17) spring pole
18) windlass
19) legs and pulley
20) hook to lift rods
21) temper screw
22) excavation and hole
23) rods
24) core cutter
25) rods jointed with loose socket
(from Lupton, pg. 52)