Author Topic: My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!  (Read 45145 times)

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madlabs

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My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!
« on: April 01, 2014, 06:07:08 PM »
Hi All,

I have been working on a DIY well drilling rig for the last month or so and have finally put it into action. So far so good, we have drilled to about 60' and are getting about 1gpm. We have hit some harder material and the weather has turned rainy (thank goodness, I'm in CA!!) so we are taking a break and making a couple of new bits to try to do better in the harder stuff.

So far we have about $600US into the rig. The base and tower are built out of angle iron and 1-1/4 pipe. Everything is available at the hardware store, although we got some things like the valves online to save a few bucks. Quite a bit was scrounged. For example, we got a bunch of used 1 pipe for free, then cut it into 5' lengths and had it threaded at the ends at a local plumbing shop. Right now we have the pipe to go 90'. If we get there and need to go deeper we can just get more pipe and valves.

The drill itself is a little unusual. It uses a pneumatic drill motor from Harbor Freight and is down at the bottom of the hole. We got the idea and first drill from http://howtodrillawell.com/ We used his motor and setup last time we drilled a well (63', 2.5 gpm) but the bore was very crooked. He uses all PVC pipe and we switched to iron. So far, as deep as we could see before we hit water (about 30') the bore is nice and straight. I'm planning to mount an old F&W windmill pumper on this well, so I needed the bore to be straight.

Here is a pic of the drill head, sporting the new untested drag bit.

8118-0

Another unusual aspect of this rig is that the air exhaust from the pneumatic motor is ported up the 1 pipe. When submerged the exhaust air creates a venturi pump and lifts the tailings up. Most rigs bring the tailings up the bore. We made a settling pond with cinder blocks and a tarp which catches the tailings and sends the water back to the bore. So you need a supply of water in order to use this type of rig, a disadvantage for sure. When drilling my first well, I used an above ground pool that I filled with a water tender. This time I had my 2500 gallon tank and also filled a 300 gallon tank. I'd say we have used 500 gallons or so.

Operation is simple. As we reach the end of one pipe, we close the valve and disconnect the top from the traveler. Lift the traveler back up, connect the new piece of pipe, connect to the traveler, then get back to drilling. The traveler rides up and down the tower and holds the top of the pipe and has the sweep that the poly pipe connects to. The poly pipe loops around to the settling pond. A 4:1 pulley system is used to lower the rig. One good thing about using a pneumatic motor is that ity is self clutching, so if you stall the blade it's no problem. Back off, it starts back up and on you go. The downside is if the air supply quits with the drill head at any depth under water the motor sucks up a bunch of tailings and has to be removed and cleaned. Sucks, but no a killer.

Here is a pic of the rig, that's my bro in law operating the rig. You can see the traveler and poly pipe sending tailings and water to the pond and the 1 drill pipe going down.



Here is a shot of the settling pond.

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To run the drill motor you need a pretty beefy compressor. I am using a Speedaire 12.5 hp, 20cfm compressor. I got the compressor on the cheap because it had bad rings in the motor. A few bucks in parts and a little work and it runs great. It can't quite keep up, the max pressure I can maintain is 70 PSI and the poor thing is running flat out all the time. It's a stud though, this is its second well and it runs for hours at a time. I'd like to try renting a big one, crank it to 100 PSI and see how it does but it works pretty well the way it is.

We are still learning the art of designing and making bits. We have tried quite a few designs, between the two wells we have dug. We use old leaf springs for teeth, pretty hard and easy enough to cut and weld. And did I say cheap?

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This is our latest bit, a drag bit. We plan on testing it against the harder layer later this week if we get a good day of weather. At 60' it takes 20 minutes or so to assemble and lower the rig so you want to be prepared to drill for a while to make it worth it. Plus we have to drag the compressor over from the shop.

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Overall, I'm quite happy with the rig. Dirt cheap, safe and easy to operate, good for clay and soft rocks. With the right bit I bet you could get through a lot of different materials. I'm looking into a bigger motor and harder teeth for the bits.

birdhouse

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Re: My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2014, 10:43:18 PM »
this is awesome!  nice work, especially for the money spent! 

have you thought about making bits that will readily accept aftermarket teeth/edges? 

have you also thought about using a large slave tank with the compressor?  i know it will only help at the beginning, but maybe you can shut off air as you're adding rods?  let it fill back up again?  big compressors tanks can be found pretty cheap sometimes!! 

what is the max depth you think this thing could go...  assuming soft rock, clay ect ? 

congrats!

adam

madlabs

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Re: My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2014, 10:09:41 AM »
Adam,

I need to improve the teeth for sure. I have done a little poking around and have not as yet found anything in price and quantity that I can afford. Any ideas?

As to how deep, I really dunno. I imagine that at some point the pressure of the water column will start reducing the motor output. It still seems fine at 60', under about 30' of water. I'm sure I can hit at least 100'.

As to a spare tank, alas, even when changing pipes you have to keep the motor running or it sucks mud into the motor. What I could do is get another compressor and add its output. Since I am using food grade tool oil and a 5 micron filter on my compressor I would want to add the second compressors output into the tank of the first. I do have a 1/2" plug I could tap into.

Jonathan

dbcollen

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Re: My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2014, 11:46:32 AM »
Why not put a check valve at the air motor? my deeprock drill has a kit for refacing the bits, it is a mix of carbide grit and brazing powder and flux, you heat the bits up orange hot and put the edge in the powder, the flux and brass melt and you have a hard grit coating on your cutting edge.

midwoud1

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Re: My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2014, 01:24:11 PM »
Hi drillers.
A couple of years ago I made a DIY waterdrilling rig.
It looked like a Deeprock but I worked with an electric (washing machine) motor.
Geared to 120 rpm.Rotary-waterinjection  3/4" drillpipes. Waterpump 10 bar .
Drill-bit model fishtail 3" diam.
I was able to drill to 60 meters in 4 hours , clay ,loam , sand formation.
Had a problem with sand collapse the hole ,so I used a mud mix 1,1 kg/ltr.
At  30 meters depth methane gas , Burned during test . Separator and flare.
Potable water good quality ( ice age reservoir ) light iron content.
Did not make a completion with casing ,filterpipe and gravel.
It was a survey wildcat.
Rgds  -Frans -

madlabs

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Re: My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2014, 02:30:05 PM »
DB, I tried calling deep rock, no answer. I couldn't find the kit you spoke of. I'll get one for sure, sounds great! Don't think a check valve will help. The mud gets sucked in through the shaft at the bottom, there is no seal or anything there. It doesn't come in through the air exhaust port.

Mid, cool design! I like the electric motor instead of gas. Good to know I'm not the only lunatic out there! Got any pics of your bit?

Jonathan


midwoud1

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Re: My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2014, 04:10:27 PM »
Hi . I have a drawing of it. The bit  is downhole on the drillstem.
  - Frans -

MaryAlana

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Re: My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2014, 04:44:48 PM »
Interesting... I have been thinking of just getting a drive point and trying to reach the groundwater here at around 40 feet. About 4 feet good black dirt, then a cap of clay a couple feet thick then nothing but gravel for another 50 feet according to a geology report I found for the town. After 50 feet another clay layer so there is a water cap keeping water at that depth. Get through that and it is 150+ feet of gravel then bedrock

madlabs

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Re: My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2014, 06:56:50 PM »
Hit medium gravel layer that was very slow to work through. Changing the bit so the angle of the blade may help lift the racks. I think the problem was that the gravel wasn't getting close enough to the suction hose to get pulled up. Also added a water jet near the tip of the drill head. Hopefully take another shot tomorrow.

Jonathan

madlabs

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Re: My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2014, 11:31:37 AM »
Well, I fought the earth and the earth won! ;-0

Hit a layer of rock that we couldn't get through at 70'. Different bits no help, I think our motor just ain't got enough power. The bits weren't getting dulled. A bigger compressor might help. Anyway, we called it, stuffed the pipe and I'm getting 2 gpm. Not too bad for a DIY drill rig.

I'm already dreaming of a new and improved version...

Jonathan

wpowokal

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Re: My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2015, 03:59:14 PM »
In the beginning I faced the cutting edge of my drag bits with tungsten, ex a machine shop where they are used on lathes as the cutting tool. I brazed them on. 

Allan
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Hanre

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Re: My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2018, 09:03:05 AM »
Does anyone know the specification on this type of air motor for the drill, I am in Africa and the shipping is $250 dollars so not a viable option

madlabs

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Re: My DIY well drilling rig. 60' deep and counting!
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2018, 09:49:29 AM »
I don't know the actual specs. You could write the guy here:

http://www.howtodrillawell.com/

He may know. But just get the best you can and use the biggest compressor you can get. And know that if you have a lot of rock it isn't going to work.