Any experience with Deep Rock Hydra drill? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Does any one have first hand knowledge of how well the Deep Rock Hydra Drill works? Looking for opinions if you think the machine is worth the price/investment. I am looking at drilling more than one well. Water table is approximateley 110 feet. Thanks.

-- Jeff Hays (, April 07, 2000


I bought and used one way back around 1980. Drilled one well and sold it for half what I paid and I had a time getting that much. I don't know if they have improved it or not, but I'm sure the price has went up. Anyway it does work, but be prepared to get wet and muddy. It is also very slow through rock and if you arent very far down, it may be easier to just start a new hole. Don't ever leave the drillstem down the hole with no water being pumped or silt will cave in and you'll have a devil of a time retrieving it. Some soils are worse than others. Now my big bugaboo about this thing is that you pay a big premium for the little extra they add to standard parts. The powerhead is nothing more than a 3HP one man post auger (minus the auger) sold from Northern Hydraulics and many farm stores for about $300. They mounted it in a flimsy stand made of three eight foot sections of 1 1/4 inch pipe (may have been 1 1/2 inch -dont remember) with their own cast iron base and top. This thing can really get to shaking. The little light duty hand winch is also a standard item at hardware store. Its pretty mickey mouse especially if bit/drill stem gets stuck and you are trying to pull drillstem up. The drillstem is nothing but 3/4 inch iron pipe. I bought 20 foot sections of pipe locally much cheaper when I used mine. The bits are also nothing too special if you can weld. I also found a much cheaper pump that worked fine. The only really unique thing to the whole contraption is the swivel part that allows you to pump water down the drillstem. Probably can buy this as a replacement part from DeepRock. I might also add that in my case, I found using a big tank of pond water to pump down the drillstem was lot more convenient than trying to recycle water using pit system. Lot easier on the pump also unless you have a diaphram type trash pump (which can take just about anything).

-- Hermit John (, April 08, 2000.

Hermit John and I discussed this over on the BWH forum a couple of weeks ago. I agree with everything HJ said. I've drilled half a dozen wells with mine. The original cost of everything, including a 2" Honda trash pump, was around 2000$. That price was less than what a professional well driller was going to charge me for one well. So, I got my well for less money, and was able to make some extra cash by drilling for family and neighbors.

It is dreary, wet, nasty work. Epitomy of sweat equity. IF, big IF, you could look at somebody else's rig, you could make your own, if you were handy with metal working, cutting, welding, and whatnot. I've seen the same powerhead at Tractor Supply for 200$. Like HJ said, the only part you'd definetely have to buy would be the swivel head. I think if you don't have very hard or thick rock formations, you could get water. Really becomes cost effective if you have folks around that need farm water, or if your site is inaccessible to large rigs.

I buy my spare parts locally, even making new drilling bits. You'd probably be better off drilling/reaming 6" holes, so you can use 4" casing and readily available 4" pumps. Reamers/bits aren't too difficult to make. I use 6" 3/4" collars, weld on 4 wings, (cut with an angle), weld hardened steel rods onto the cutting edge, and then grind down a sharp edge. Carbide is also available for welding onto old and new bits (available from Deep Rock). Good luck...

-- phil briggs (, April 09, 2000.

I appreciate your input, guys. I used to help drill wells for a commercial drilling company. Our typical well was drilled with a nine inch tricone down to hard rock. After that we'd use a six inch hammer drill. Six inch casing down to hard rock.

The biggest problem was often when the hole would'nt support itself until the casing was driven in. A lot of times we'd have to cut off the casing, redrill the hole below the casing, and weld the casing back on and start driving casing again. Sometimes we'd have to repeat this process many times.

How does the hydra drill deal with this problem? Is it not necessary to drive the casing in?

Do either of you have any idea if the Hydra Drill would be capable of drilling horizantally? I'd like to install a horizantal well, because I could get gravity flow to my house in this fashion, but the only person who had a proper set up is no longer in business, and no one seems to know what became of his rig.

-- jumpoff joe (, April 12, 2000.

We had a Hydra-drill a number of years ago -- never used it, because when we moved back to Alaska after my husband got out of the Air Force, my dad said it wouldn't work in the gravel till (deposits left behind by a glacier) where we were going. He said the hole would cave in, that the casing had to be driven as the hole was being drilled, at least in that type of ground. I believe he was right, anyway, we sold it. But the advertising for the thing did say that some people had drilled horizontal wells with them, if that's any help.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, April 12, 2000.

I would think using a Hydra Drill for horizontal work would be next to impossible as it comes from the company. You would have to design your own support system unless the company now offers an optional setup. I havent even looked at one since I long ago sold mine. It did have a Tecumseh 3HP 2 cycle engine, so the power head would run in any position if gastank position allowed gas to flow. Dont suppose gearbox would have problem with horizontal position. I had no serious problem with the hole collapsing in soil I was drilling in. DeepRock offered some chemical stuff that you put in the water pumped down the hole while drilling that was suppose to stabalize soil to prevent collapse. I'm sure there are soils that the Hydra Drill system may not work with. For unique situations, the company should have suggestions. I can only tell you my experience and I had no need to drill horizontally nor did I have a problem with hole collapsing in soil I drilled in.

-- Hermit John (, April 12, 2000.

A neighbor of mine wanted to drill his own well but couldn't afford the Hydra-drill. He looked at the picture and built his own. He did buy the swivel. Using drilling mud, he could stabalize the "drift" or gravel enough to continue drilling without hole failure. After drilling 3 or 4 wells for family, he removed the little 3hp gasoline engine and replaced it with a big, quiet, heavy electric motor. Took about half the time to drill the well, lot quiter, less vibration and a more even hole on the sides. He had had problems with the casing hanging up on the uneven sides-due to vibrations.

-- hoot gibson (, April 13, 2000.

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