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Water well drilling with a skid steer

Discussion in 'Skid Steers' started by tmc_31, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. tmc_31

    tmc_31 Senior Member

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    Hey guys,

    Has anyone here had any experience using a skid steer to drill a water well? I did a search for an attachment that would allow deep hole drilling (as in water well drilling) I found the boremaster (a little light in the shorts I think) but did not find anything that I felt was suitable.

    I am envisioning something like a rotary table driven off the aux hydraulics of the skid. Loader arms would be used to raise and lower the kelly.

    Thanks,

    Tim
     
  2. bpogue

    bpogue Well-Known Member

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    I have never seen such an attachment before. I just don't see any way a skid steer could have enough power or weight to accomplish that task.
     
  3. Lindsey97

    Lindsey97 Well-Known Member

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    i know when case introduced the xt series of skid steers, there was a brochure from case with a directional boring machine for the 90xt. you will probably need an add-on hydraulic cooler to run a drill and hi flow.
     
  4. willie59

    willie59 Super Moderator

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    Even if you could find such an attachment, I seriously doubt a skid steer, even a big un, could pull off deep hole drilling. First, it would have enough weight and lifting power to lift a long drill string of sufficient diameter to drill a water well. Second, I doubt the work equipment pump on the skid would have enough gpm to drive a drill kelly of this size, I'm guessing they would require something in the 50 to 70 gpm range.
     
  5. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder Staff Member

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    The well drilling rigs around here have 300+ horsepower engines dedicated to powering the drill, my guess is they wouldn't have them if they didn't need them.
     
  6. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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  7. andoman

    andoman Well-Known Member

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    Dug shallow wells (less than 35') by hand numerous times using a bucket hand auger its not a fun time but you can do it with less than 300 hp.
     
    62oliver likes this.
  8. Turbo21835

    Turbo21835 Senior Member

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    Not sure if they still do, but a company by the name of Geoprobe used to make a rig that would fit on a skid steer. It all comes down to your requirements. Are you wanting to direct push a 2inch well, or are you wanting to auger a 4 inch well? The geoprobe company has what they call the 100, 200, and 300 club. All accomplishments depending on the area and the soil. One area may be no issue to hit those depth with these small machines, in other areas its damn near impossible to hit half that depth. Their largest machine is not much bigger than a pickup. Depending on your soil strata, it can be relatively easy to hit a depth you need. Of course, any rig this size will start to run into trouble if you get into a large gravel seam.

    I have personally pushed a 2 inch well point to 38 feet with nothing be a well point, and a post pounder. We have also jetted with a piece of 1/2 inch copper and pipe/hose down to 44 feet in the same area. Both a pain, and a lot of work, but it can be done. Again, it ultimately comes down to what your specs are to get the desired results.
     
  9. tmc_31

    tmc_31 Senior Member

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    Hey guys,

    I appreciate your responses. I just drilled 6-36"X9' holes in cliche with my skid around a baseball field. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it went. It took about 7 hours including moving from hole to hole. That is when it occurred to me to explore the possibility of drilling a water well with the skid. Scrub, there are a number of manufacturers of small water well drilling rigs specifically designed for use in third world countries similar to the one you pointed out. They all look similar and they all say they have a version that will attach to a skid steer. None of them that I can find show any pictures of the skid steer version. The Lone Star LS100 that Scrub pointed out claims 100' depths with a 6" hole with a 5hp drill motor.

    The short video on the Lone Star site seems to be a pretty good primer on water well drilling with this type of equipment.

    It seems to me that I can get about 30hp to the drill off the aux circuit of my NH L190. The video shows two guys lifting the drill pipe out of the hole, so I should be able to lift the drill pipe out with the loader arms pretty easily.


    Tim
     
  10. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . . tmc_31. Yes I reckon it would be doable. You have enough power and lift capacity it's just a matter of finding the equipment . . . at an affordable price.

    Some folks may recall an outfit advertised for years in "Popular Mechanics" about a small drill rig that with their special carbide bits would even drill through stone. I seem to remember it only had a small gasoline engine . . . as others have said it all depends on what you want to do.

    Cheers.
     
  11. willie59

    willie59 Super Moderator

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    In your first post, you did mention that you want to do "deep hole" drilling. The obvious question is "what is the metric" used to determine "deep hole"? In just a cursory guess, I would wager 100 ft plus, give it a + or -. I have to admit, I'm not in Abilene TX, nor do I know anything about the strata there, I'm in E Tennessee. As for my area, you'd be lucky if you could go ten feet down and not hit limestone rock, and be in/out of that rock to achieve 100 ft. To cut through this rock with either conventional tri-cone roller bits or even carbide tip button bits requires considerable "down pressure", something a skid just does not have the arse to do. Your area may be totally different than mine, able to punch 100 ft easy. So I have to conclude the question of boring a water well hole with a skid attachment has as much to do with the strata of on area than anything. I hope you do find a workable solution to your question. :)
     
  12. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder Staff Member

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    Similar conditions here Willie. Ours is granite or hard shale and water is rarely hit at less that 200 feet. Casings are 8" steel and are hammered into the bedrock.
     
  13. Karl Robbers

    Karl Robbers Well-Known Member

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    The water bore rigs around here use a comparatively small diesel motor to drive the drill rig but the drill truck tows an 8V92 powered compressor to do the real work - supplying air to the percussion boring head and to blow the hole clean as it is bored. His previous compressor was "only" a 350 Hp 6V92 and the new 8V92 will bore twice as fast.
    I would have thought that the cost would be quite high to set up your skid steer for well drilling - just the drill string alone would be pricey and that the pitfalls may well outweigh the benefits.
     
  14. willie59

    willie59 Super Moderator

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    Sounds like they're using what we call a "down the hole hammer" Karl. They require a high pressure compressor, 350 PSI, to operate those hammers, it takes some engine HP to run those things. :yup
     
  15. gjinc

    gjinc Member

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    I just finished drilling 1 99 foot hole 6.5 inches deep, at 59 feet on the second
    I am using a post hole digger attachment with a home made swivel
    and a rotary bit off ebay(less than 100 bucks)
    got lucky with the drill stem, there is a directional borer who had about 150 foot of old drill pipe they did not use anymore and gave it to me :)
    Not so much the power of the machine but the power of
    the pump used to circulate the flushings
    will need to use bentonite quick gel, you can get from a well driller for about 10 bucks a bag
    also depends on what you are drilling through, clay, sand, rock
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012
  16. gjinc

    gjinc Member

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    Ok, I forgot all about this post and saw it today so I figured I would update it.
    We,(the 2 of us) finished drilling the 3 holes, all 99 feet deep. I wanted to go 110 feet but it would stop drilling at 99.
    second hole finished with only a problem with a pump seal in the trash pump we were using.
    Got a new trash pump quicker than repairing the one we had.
    Started on the 3rd hole and everything was great until about 50 some feet, broke the drill stem about 20 foot in the hole
    I made a simple device and managed to recover all the stem but it took a few days.
    Started drilling again and around 85 feet it stopped. I added extra water and we were making progress
    We finished at 99 feet and pulled everything out and threw in the geothermal tubes and the job was done.
    Took a bit longer than planned, but since the real driller never showed up, we got it done.
    The biggest time consumer was swapping out drill stem. Use two 5 foot to drill 10 feet, pull that up, replace them with a 10 foot section
    and drop that into the hole and do the 5's again and repeat
    Wore out the used tri-cone bit we got off ebay
    The best thing about the whole job was at the end of winter when the service man was out for the geo unit, he
    said that the temperature reading on the ground loop was one of the best he seen for that time of year.

    So tmc_31, did you ever try doing it?
     
  17. tmc_31

    tmc_31 Senior Member

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    No gjinc, I have not tried it yet. Still hoping to find a solution. Do you have any pictures of your rig that you could share?
    I was thinking about drilling water wells and had not thought of geo thermal. I want to install a geo thermal heat pump at my house and had planned to install a horizontal loop since I have the space to do it and a backhoe. Most of the installations around here use 1 200' well per ton of ac. If I had an economical way to drill the wells I think I would like that better. If 100' is the limit that I can drill, I suppose that 6- 100' wells would work as well as 3- 200' wells.

    Tim
     
  18. gjinc

    gjinc Member

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    HI,
    100 feet is not the limit but we hit something that would take about 1 hour to go 1 inch. They installed a 3 ton geo unit with 400 feet of tube in each hole.
    It is the same process as drillling for water, we hit water several times at different depths.
    see if i can one of the pictures
    2012-10-03_16-56-08_952a.jpg
     
  19. gjinc

    gjinc Member

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    The photo in the last post was the first hole before we hit water.
    after hitting water we needed to start recirculate Benoite,
    which created these

    2012-10-23_13-21-44_384a.jpg 2012-10-23_13-21-50_242a.jpg
     
  20. tmc_31

    tmc_31 Senior Member

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    Wow, great pictures. Thanks. I am not well versed in well drilling so please forgive my newbieness. Is that part below the drive the swivel that you built? Is that where you introduce the water/mud into the drill pipe? Do you have a sketch of that part that you would be willing to share?

    What size diameter is your drill pipe? Any idea what a 100' string of it weighs?

    Would more down pressure help you or hinder you? You seem to be relying on the weight of the skid to drive the drill. If you set anchors on either side of the front of the skid and then ran a chain between the anchors through the chain attach points on the front of the skid, you could use the down pressure supplied by the boom hydraulics to push the bit down. Would that be too much down pressure?

    I know that the speed that you can make hole depends on several factors including the type of strata you are drilling through and that can vary widely between locations. How quickly we're you able to drill your wells?

    Thanks

    Tm