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Auger for compact Excavator

Discussion in 'Compact Equipment Attachments' started by Steve Frazier, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder Staff Member

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    I have enough work coming up to warrant an auger for our Cat304e and need to know a little more about them to decide what would be best for us. Initially I'm looking at a 12" bit for post footings but would have use in the future for larger bits to plant trees and shrubs. I'm seeing pricing all over the place from under $1000 to $5000. Can anyone give me tips on what to look for? Any brands I should stay away from? Thanks!
     
  2. hvy 1ton

    hvy 1ton Senior Member

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    First question, do you already have an auger drive on a skidsteer attachment plate? It wouldn't be that hard to fab up a plate/cradle for your mini-ex coupler of choice. Just pull the top pivot pin to move from one to the other.

    I have a Deere PA30 for my skidsteer that mostly runs a 12" rock bit, but has no problem with a 36" tree bit. Any quality built, 30" rated planetary auger drive should do. I'd guess around $2500 for a new unit and no bits.
     
  3. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder Staff Member

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    No, starting from scratch.

    I wondered if they might be rated for the drill size. The bigger drills would require a lot more torque
     
  4. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

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    I have never put one on a mini ex. It would seem to me that a smaller auger would be fine, but trying to turn a big auger on 15 gpm and lower psi would not work as well. It takes a lot of torque to twist those big augers, especially in tough ground. If you don't have a thumb on your CAT you could turn up the aux. psi, but if you do have a thumb you have to keep the psi lower so the thumb can give to the bucket. I think running augers off of a ssl works better if that is an option.
     
  5. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder Staff Member

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    My skid steer is my personal machine, I don't have one available at work. I can't really use my skid steer at work due to insurance reasons so that's why I'm looking to equip the excavator. Most of the work would be for post footings but on occasion there might be bigger footings or plantings. Plantings would be just a couple feet deep but footings are at 42" here, I usually make them 48 just because. I do have a thumb on the machine.

    I appreciate the input. I've seen augers on small exes before but I never really have seen them in operation. Seemed like a natural addition to our machine. Probably the easiest and most accurate placement of the drill of any machine. Sounds like it may not have enough juice to run it though. I'll have to look up the oil flow on the machine. I do run a brush head with it and it will shred up a 4" diameter tree without any trouble.
     
  6. rmllarue91

    rmllarue91 Senior Member

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    Should be easy to rent one for a day make sure all is well before buying one
     
    skyking1 likes this.
  7. Queenslander

    Queenslander Senior Member

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    Steve, take a look at Digga.
    They were one of the pioneers of hydraulic pendulum drilling here in Qld. and are now in the US.
    We have had one of their auger drives on a 100hp ag. tractor for 25 years and it has been absolutely bombproof.
    12” holes are no problem, 18” a little slower..much bigger than that ,and if only occasionally, you could use the 12” for a pilot and ream out with a bigger auger.
    https://www.diggausa.com/auger-drives-3-5T.php
     
  8. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    I don't know much of anything about brands, but I did install one years ago on a Cat 307 for a customer. The guy liked the set up but had problems with keeping the auger straight when boring down. The boom and stick moves in an arc and it took him some time to learn to compensate for it. I ran this one off the thumb circuit and it worked alright at 2,100 PSI.
     
  9. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder Staff Member

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    I can see how the bit angle could be a problem. I think the key will be to find the right starting point distance from the machine that will allow adjustment as you drill.

    Thanks for the tip Queenslander, I'll check them out
     
  10. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    We ran a Bobcat brand auger on a Bobcat 334 mini I bought new in 2001. The auger originally was mounted to a skid steer bracket and I had a fab shop make an excavator bracket.

    I prefer a small auger on a mini-ex over a skid/CTL any day. We used our mini with auger set up to drill holes for residential privacy fences and it worked great running an 8" auger bit in our rocky soils. Instead of running a skid/CTL all over the place positioning over the drill hole, the mini could hit many holes sitting in one place and easily track to the others. We didn't have a problem keeping the hole plumb.

    Steve Cat makes a bracket for mini's and skid/CTL's for the augers they sell.
     
  11. Bumpsteer

    Bumpsteer Senior Member

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    What I've seen with guys running augers on minis is they have no idea how much down pressure they can apply. It's always way to much and they bits go thru teeth like a fat kid eating halloween candy.

    Loaned my like new 18" screw to a guy with a 305.5...he did 2 pole barns and replaced the teeth before he returned it, wtf?

    A friend has one on a Kubota, says no matter how hard he tries, can't find the happy place for a feed rate. Buys teeth by the dozen.

    Ed
     
  12. lantraxco

    lantraxco Senior Member

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    Another thing to keep in mind, the end of the arm on minis is typically not built to take a lot of twisting force, it's designed to hold up while the bucket pushes directly away from the machine. I have seen a couple along the way where the arm ended up a hole shorter than it started out with because the auger had plenty torque and the ground had plenty rock.
     
    John C. likes this.