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Preparing the Drill Site

After selecting the site and collecting all the tools, it is time to get ready to drill.


Clearing The Site

The drill site should be cleared of all growth. Cut away all the bushes and remove any stumps and stones that could get in the way of the drillers.

If the drill will be powered by people pulling on the rope, then a "runway" will need to be cleared so that the pullers will have room to run as they pull the tools out of the hole. This is because the easiest way to pull the bailer full of mud out of a hole is for the pullers to grab the rope and run with it. If the hole is 40 feet deep, the pullers will need to have 40 feet of clearing to run on.

If there are any animal wastes in the area they should be moved away from the new well.


Providing Drainage

The drilling will use a lot of water and the mud that is pulled from the hole will soon make a mess if plans are not made to keep the site clear. After deciding on a site and before building the tripod, look to see where the mud can go. If there is a lower side to the site, then the tripod can be built so that the driller can pour the mud downhill away from the well hole. The mud must also be kept away from where the pullers will be working and you will certainly not want the pullers to be pulling uphill.

If your site is level, then you may want to dig a ditch to carry the mud away. Or you can build up a mound around the hole so that the mud cannot flow back into the hole and then plan to stop drilling to clear away the mud that has piled up.

After the site is cleared and it has been decided where the mud will go, the tripod can be built. See the instructions in chapter 3.


Making A Water Storage Pit

If you are in an area where water is scarce and you need to use as little water as possible to do the drilling, then you may want to build a water storage pit.

The water storage pit is built on the downhill side of the tripod and is a small pond for holding the water and mud. The pit should be at least four feet around and three feet deep. If there is clay in the area, the inside of the pit can be coated with clay to keep the water in, or a single piece of plastic sheeting can be laid along the bottom and sides of the pit.

When the mud from the well hole is pulled from the well, it is poured into the pit. As the mud sits in the pit the soils settle to the bottom of the pit and the water stays on the top. This way the water can be used again and again.

At least once a day the soils at the bottom of the pit will need to be carefully removed.


Putting It All Together

After all the tools have been assembled and the tripod built, it is time to put the drill together.

Attach the rope eye to one end of the rope and the safety hook to the rope eye. Thread the loose end of the rope through the pulley at the top of the tripod. The rope eye should hang directly above the place where the well hole is to be drilled.

The loose end of the rope should be laid out along the path to the power source. If the power is coming from people pulling on the rope, then there should be plenty of room for the people to line up alongside the rope between the tripod and the anchor. If the power source is to be an engine or vehicle, then the rope should lay straight from the pulley to the power source.

Put a wide stone, log, or brick on the ground where the mud will be poured. This will give the driller something to lean the bailer against when the bailer is turned upside down to empty it.

Lean the drill bit and the bailer up against the shelf between the tripod’s legs, and the drill is ready to go!

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Wellspring Africa's
Hand Powered Percussion Drill

Copyright @ 1986-2012
by Cliff Missen and Wellspring Africa