There are many small, portable drilling machines manufactured all over the world that I would classify as wannabe drills-drills that are purchased by well-meaning nonprofit charities, church groups and others to drill water wells in developing countries. In the hands of a properly trained user, these drills are capable of drilling water wells in unconsolidated formations.
Some manufacturers advertise that their drills are capable of drilling to 400
feet, meaning only that these drills are capable of lifting the drill stem from
their rated depths. However, if the drill stem becomes stuck in the hole, there
is not enough extra lifting power to break it free. I have personally operated
a similar drill to a depth of 380 feet. For many years the manufacturer of that
drill built some exceptional small drills, but as of this year it is no longer
Although some manufacturers advertise that their drills will drill rock, that
isn’t necessarily true. These drills aren’t heavy enough to apply the weight
required to drill with a roller cone bit (rock bit). Some of these drills (if
properly equipped) could drill some rock using a Down the Hole (DTH) hammer and
a large air compressor. However, this process is costly and requires a lot more
Only a few of these small-drill manufacturers display their equipment at trade
shows or advertise in the major well-drilling trade publications. I have
offered my services, knowledge and experience to critique and make
recommendations about how to improve their equipment, but they have all
I have drilled (washed) a 2-inch well to 120 feet with only a contractor’s
pump, some drilling mud and some electrical conduit-without any drilling
machine. I could have gone deeper with a little help from a tripod. I could
drill a 4-inch cased well almost as easily.
A drilling machine for unconsolidated shallow wells is a minor part-knowledge
and manpower are the most important parts!
Before investing $10,000 to $50,000 or more for drilling equipment, do a little
research. You’ll find a wealth of information–some good, some not so good-on
YouTube when you search “well drilling.”
I recommend that anyone interested in purchasing one of these drills follow
these steps: diligently research the product, call this master certified
driller and observe the drill in operation somewhere.
OUR RIG REBUILD UPDATE!
We’re currently rebuilding our funds for the rig, but fundraising may take a
little time since money is tight right now.
Porky's Hole Thoughts: Wannabe Drills
December 10, 2012