Underwater Drills

Underwater Drill

Tech-2000 started building handheld underwater drills in the late 1980’s. Together with scientists from around the world, we have been asked to build lighter, alternative fluid powered, environmentally conscience, logistically friendly and highly portable underwater drills for the use in the toughest remote sensitive areas worldwide. Innovation has been a collaboration with many scientists worldwide and is ongoing to this day. Tech-2000 and it’s clients have been working together to solve their independent needs and specific requirements for years. We take pride in our work and our line of underwater drills exemplifies this tradition.


History of Innovation


We were first approached by Dr. Fred W. Taylor, from the Institute for Geophysics, at the University of Texas, who has been instrumental in coaching Tech-2000 through the many challenges associated with the collection of core samples, especially related to coral. Taylor (UTIG) and Wheeler (T-2K) have collaborated over the years to develop and continually improve ideas and the designs of our underwater drill solutions. We are very fortunate to have been the recipient of his seemingly unlimited insights.


Weight Conscious Design


One of our first drill designs and challenges, was to build a lighter weight drill head, a big contrast to the very heavy stainless steel and brass drill heads which were first developed at the time. Dr. Glen Shen of the University of Washington, was the recipient of one of our first prototype drill heads made from aluminum. With our help he paired it with a hydraulic power pac unit (HPU) made for an earth auger used for drilling dirt (i.e. fence post, mailboxes etc.). Our innovation continued through Dr. Julie Cole, now with the University of Arizona in Tucson. She was the first recipient of our all inclusive drill solution, which included our lightweight drill head, a 2 piece hydraulic power unit, assortment of drill bits, extension rods, adapters, and hoses.  


Alternative Fluid - Logistical Inspired Design


The attack on September 11, 2001 “9/11”, that occurred in NYC and Alrington VA, caused all types of havoc on society. But, the revisions to the international shipping procedures and requirements, made it difficult for everyone trying to send tools and equipment internationally.  Unfortunately  our hydraulic drills were not immune to these challenges either. In order to conform to the new regulations, we abandoned the 2 piece power unit which was very portable and designed a one piece unit that uses a vegetable-based biodegradable hydraulic fluid to power the drill head.


Environmentally conscious and alternative fluids


In early 2004, Fred Taylor had a unique requirement for an extremely environmentally sensitive geographic location that eliminated the possibility of using any type of “oil” as a propellant. Together we produced a prototype for an underwater drill that used seawater as the hydraulic fluid.  (How it works...  A low-pressure pump picks up seawater, filters it, and delivers it to the high-pressure hydraulic pump. The water goes through one hose to power the drill head and then is expelled down the drill string to wash cuttings from the bit-core interface.  This allows a scientist to conduct core sampling in the environmentally sensitive coral reef areas. Because there is no chance of an oil spill, the only environmental issue is the minor damage from the actual drilling.) The first two prototypes were funded by a NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program contract provided through Dr. Mark Eakin and was delivered to both Dr. John Rooney of NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service and Taylor (UTIG). The third prototype water drill went abroad to Mr. Eric Matson of the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Queensland where they have given it an extreme endurance workout, allowing for further improvements on the design. Mr. Matson has collected over 200 meters of core since receiving the water drill. Dr. Konrad Hughen of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute was the next receipient of the new and improved commercial unit. . Dr. Hughen has obtained drill cores up to 5.5m in length using his T-2K unit with vegetable oil, and will apply the new saltwater drill in marine protected areas and other sensitive sites. The seawater hydraulic unit is based on technological developments originally initiated by the U.S. Navy underwater tools program supervised in the 1980’s by Stan Black. The value is tangible, especially when compared to an oil-based hydraulic system. The seawater drills are lighter and more powerful due to the innovative water power unit, not to mention you have the environmental piece of mind of using water instead of oil. 


Portability of AirIn 2006 


Tech-2000 introduced a handheld underwater air drill for and inspired by Larry Benson of Boulder, Colorado. Benson worked with a colleague Dr. Juan P. Carricart-Ganivet extensively down in Mexico, first with ECOSUR and later with the Unidad Academica de Sistemas Arrecifales, ICMYL, UNAM. It was set up to take smaller diameter samples (1 1⁄2”) and be very mobile underwater. It uses a scuba tank for the power supply or can be attached to an air compressor. It is used in a similar manner to the hydraulic drills with extension and breaking rods to get a typical length of ~1 meter sample. 


Future is bright


Perfection is a timely process and our focus that has guided us to the product line of drills that we offer today. We look forward to the approaching new challenges, innovations, prototypes and collaborations brought to us by unique individuals and their research projects. We will continue developing and innovating our drills for the scientists and their communities around the world.

Underwater Drill
Underwater Drill
Underwater Drill
Underwater Drill

6 thoughts on “Underwater Drills

  1. Eddie,
    Thank you for all your advice, support, and excellent service over the years.
    Whenever a new challenge presented itself you were there with a sensible solution.
    Tech2000 is a great company that has served the scientific community through innovation and attention to detail.
    If you ever need a testimonial or recommendation, please do not hesitate to ask.
    Thanks again,
    John Embesi

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