How Do You Steer a Drill Below The Earth?

  • Am Vor Monat

    Practical EngineeringPractical Engineering

    When the commotion of construction must be minimized, try horizontal directional drilling!
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    Like laparoscopic surgery for the earth, horizontal directional drilling (or HDD) doesn’t require digging open a large area like a shaft or a bore pit to get started. Instead, the drill can plunge directly into the earth’s surface. From there, horizontal directional drilling is pretty straightforward, but it’s not necessarily straight. In fact, HDD necessarily uses a curved alignment to enter the earth, travel below a roadway or river, and exit at the surface on the other side.

    Practical Engineering is a DE-film channel about infrastructure and the human-made world around us. It is hosted, written, and produced by Grady Hillhouse. We have new videos posted regularly, so please subscribe for updates. If you enjoyed the video, hit that ‘like’ button, give us a comment, or watch another of our videos!

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    This is not engineering advice. Everything here is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Contact an engineer licensed to practice in your area if you need professional advice or services. All non-licensed clips used for fair use commentary, criticism, and educational purposes.

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Practical Engineering
Practical Engineering

📺 Get a year of CuriosityStream AND Nebula for 26% off, just $15! http://www.curiositystream.com/practicalengineering 🚂 Check out the Coding Train video and play the Horizontal Directional Drilling simulator! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfCBNL6lWK0

Vor Monat
The Real Plato
The Real Plato

Thanks I've always wondered!

Vor 20 Tage
American Light
American Light

You make it seem like "Drilling Fluid" is magic. 4:30

Vor 22 Tage
aswin
aswin

Nice

Vor 24 Tage
RWBHere
RWBHere

Thanks for the video, Brady.  This is the first time I've seen the technique explained clearly and simply. I'm sure that the practical application is more complex than the explanation makes it sound, but you've answered a long-term question well enough for me. The application which has often puzzled me is how they drill for oil down multiple curved boreholes.  Now it makes some sense! 🙂👍

Vor Monat
dcviper985
dcviper985

I work in the fiber optic network industry, and previously worked in the gas utility industry. We used to joke that you should always carry a length of fiber optic cable with you in case you get stuck on a deserted island. Just bury the cable and when the guy with the backhoe comes out to cut it you can just ride back with him.

Vor Monat
cody hatch
cody hatch

@wax_axiom New fibe cables buried 1 to 2" below grade to every house on my street

Vor 19 Stunden
LizJ
LizJ

@Steve Walston I am in another part of the world, and I moved off the farm over 25 years ago, so I have probably called it by the wrong name.

Vor 8 Tage
Steve Walston
Steve Walston

@LizJ You must be referring to what many people call "polywire" or temporary/portable electric fencing. I've never heard it called "electrical tape" as that is usually something for insulating electrical connections. Maybe you are in another part of the world, like Australia?

Vor 8 Tage
Hunter Hall
Hunter Hall

Same here. I built water towers and flat bottom storage tanks before I started doing fiber. Twinsies!

Vor 15 Tage
hankschannel
hankschannel

Thanks Grady! This answered so many questions that I didn’t even know I had. We had one of these drill right through the water supply to our house. They were like, “there isn’t a pipe here” and I was like, “well, there’s no water going into our house anymore so…” They had it all patched up in a couple days.

Vor Monat
Tee Ess
Tee Ess

@Matt Ha ha

Vor 13 Tage
_soym1lk
_soym1lk

@mattmanyam Yes, now that was a necessary correction.

Vor 14 Tage
mattmanyam
mattmanyam

@_soym1lk were*

Vor 14 Tage
Matt
Matt

One rich person giving another rich person $5

Vor 14 Tage
_soym1lk
_soym1lk

​@Simon Tay In a couple *(of) days. Use parentheses and an asterisk outside to indicate your corrections (although no corrections were necessary) and for the love of god start your sentences with capital letters!

Vor 15 Tage
no body
no body

They use pulsed mud systems sometimes for locational information. We used to do maintenance on downhole tools, and one we had was a probe that was powered by a turbine spun by the mud going down the drillshaft. it sent information back to the headunit by limiting the mudflow, causing pressure pulses upstream. More useful than radio when you're 20kft or more deep. Measured all kinds of information. Radiation, vibrations, temperatures, gyro orientation, magnetic fields. All useful for figuring out where and what you're drilling through when you can't see it. Oh also tangentially related (no pun intended), the drill bits on the end, are also powered by that same mudflow. It's quite ingenious use of an already required aspect of drilling to add a power transfer through the lubrication medium. It's like if the coolant pump on your CNC mill actually powered the computer and the spindle at the same time.

Vor Monat
raelison Costa
raelison Costa

they actually don't use mud pulsing tools for HDD. We use wireline or telemetry. Mud pulsing tools are relatively slow for the process. Wireline is real time. Also mud pulsing would only allow for DC tracking while other system will allow for AC tracking.

Vor 18 Stunden
Bruno Mailly
Bruno Mailly

"pulsed mud" is unexpected tech, right along with "coal pipeline".

Vor 19 Tage
Nen Master5
Nen Master5

Lemme name-drop some other science-channel or learn-channel, cause i like sharing Fun and thats all the reason i need: Sci Man Dan, Sci Show, UpisnotJump, Plaanrwalk, Second Thought, Hbomberguy, Joe Scott.

Vor Monat
Kyle Goss
Kyle Goss

As a utility locator, The talk about the potential impacting of other underground utilities was greatly appreciated. Always call before you dig!

Vor Monat
BoostAddict
BoostAddict

@Mike L when the utility is marked on completely the wrong side of a road, it's not because of soil or rocks lol.

Vor 12 Tage
Mike L
Mike L

@BoostAddict A lot of people don't understand that there are a lot of variables that can impact the accuracy. Certain soils and rocks for example can. As can interference from other utilities. That is why dig laws require the contractor to pothole before excavating. The only sure way to locate a utility is to put eyes on it.

Vor 13 Tage
MOTARTED
MOTARTED

Yep. Had underground primary 3 phase drilled into yesterday actually lol, locating is tough because contractors are always going to try and pin the blame on the locator.

Vor 20 Tage
BoostAddict
BoostAddict

Heh, can't tell you how many times I've seen locates on things in the wrong spot here. That 1 meter accuracy tends to be more than a meter for the people here lol.

Vor Monat
Kyle Goss
Kyle Goss

@William Davis I also locate gas as well as electric. It’s a demanding job but satisfying knowing that my hard work is paying off by allowing others to work safely and go home to their families everyday.

Vor Monat
Rogério Costa
Rogério Costa

In the Oil industry drilling, the underground motor can partially close and open valves to make pressure pulses in the fluid line. Those pulses work as a digital communication system that can be used to determine the position, orientation etc. It is slow, but since the drilling process is very slow too, it is good enough. Usually, the energy to operate the system is also extracted form the fluid movement.

Vor Monat
eudofia
eudofia

@someone Some systems use a generator or dynamo as you called it. But these days, it is mostly battery powered. Batteries similar to the lithium batteries you use in your cell phones or flashlights, are engineered to be used downhole where temperatures can reach 300F. Pretty cool.

Vor 13 Tage
c hurlburt
c hurlburt

@tim berry thank you

Vor 23 Tage
tim berry
tim berry

@c hurlburt LWD/MWD - Logging while drilling, Measurement while drilling, They are pretty much interchangeable, RSS - rotary steerable stabilser/system. These are pretty much only used in oil/gas well drilling.

Vor 27 Tage
c hurlburt
c hurlburt

@tim berry you need to let us know your acronims

Vor 28 Tage
Rogério Costa
Rogério Costa

@someone Yes! The system can operate using special lithium batteries (the temperature can be a bit high in a oil well) or a turbine to rotate a small "dynamo". Dynamo is a term for a old tech that produces DC power. Modern generators are more efficient making AC power that can be converted to DC if needed.

Vor Monat
Pyotr Beria
Pyotr Beria

I could never have imagined how you can steer a long, flexible drill bit. After you explained it, it seems so obvious.

Vor Monat
tam thuong
tam thuong

ok

Vor 22 Tage
Hugh Jones
Hugh Jones

Drill bits are about a foot long on average, one component to a drill string. The bottom part is called the BHA (bottom hole assembly) the steerable part, and the part behind it is the drill pipe, the flexible part you are talking about. Old drill strings from the sixties and seventies were made up of drill collars for weight and stiffness, stabilisers, which were placed for a specific effect, build and drop or rotate ahead as straight as possible, jars to free you if you got stuck, reamers and hole openers and so on, more complex than you can imagine

Vor 28 Tage
Clint Keller
Clint Keller

I studied geology and worked with directionally drillers at a utility contractor. Their biggest challenge the drilling foreman told me was hitting hard rock at glancing angles. The problem project that eventually had to be trenched was at the foot of the Wasatch mountains and they hit a high quartz content sedimentary layer less than 30 degrees from parallel to it and it just skipped along the outside edge of that fold and came out where they didn't want it to. They had drilled right through it at more square angles where the bit would be forced to go ahead and chew through that harder to cut rock.

Vor Monat
Alex kirkendall
Alex kirkendall

I worked installing fiber optic cable when I was in high school, horizontal drilling 4’ underground in residential areas. I was the guy who used a hydrovac to expose existing utilities before drilling so you didn’t hit them with the bit. I then got a degree in petroleum engineering and work in the oil and gas industry drilling horizontal wells. The concept is identical and many technologies are shared , only difference is you start going horizontal at 10,000’ instead of 4’!!

Vor Monat
Nii P.
Nii P.

@Oliver Ford Oh, that's interesting. So they push in and out on every single rotation, like a helicopter main rotor works? Otherwise it would just widen the hole, right? Maybe a link to picture?

Vor 6 Tage
Nii P.
Nii P.

@eudofia What an effort to put in an answer! Thank you so much! I still wonder about the "mud motor". I've seen a "boring head" already, but it has no motor on it. It's just the tip of a very long drill, with rotating gears, but only WHEN THE WHOLE DRILL ROTATES. Pushing such a drill wouldn't do anything against a rock, which is quite typically for a drill, I would say. Basically it's the same as a drilling machine, with a long drill, which is bent a bit at the tip. This would never be steerable, it would just make a bigger hole than the drill's diameter. Still con't find the "weak point" in my thinking! I've been working for an oil drilling company, but not as an engineer, I'm just a chef, providing food for the workers. ;) But I've seen all the tools and rigs first hand, and the guys told me that it IS possible to drill nearly 90°, even into other country's territory (with maybe other troubles). And I know, that this "segmented pipe drill" is winding itself a lot, because of it's long distance. This tells me, that the whole thing (drill pipes and head) is rotating, otherwise the gears on the head would stand still. Maybe any link to recommend? Would really like to understand it after 20+ years of wondering. ;)

Vor 6 Tage
Oliver Ford
Oliver Ford

@Nii P. computer controlled fins. They push out and steer the cutter head. Too bad I can't send a picture.

Vor 9 Tage
Oliver Ford
Oliver Ford

@samkom33 those are the pumps that cost several hundred thousand dollars I'm sure. Run by how many big engines? I've seen the concrete guys pumping casing cement and a 53 foot trailer is full of all kinds of interesting stuff.

Vor 9 Tage
Oliver Ford
Oliver Ford

Yup. Fascinating stuff

Vor 9 Tage
UninstallingWindows
UninstallingWindows

There was recently an interesting project near where i live. A city wanted to create an underpass without closing the road above. They did it by pushing a concrete underpass tunnel prefab through the soil using hydraulics. Then, later, excavated the internal part of the underpass and voila...all done without any road closures.

Vor Monat
Lincolns Under Pressure
Lincolns Under Pressure

They have done that many times here in Florida of all places. Pretty neat to watch. It is called box jacking. Some have put underpass for cars and others were for trains to go under roadways.

Vor 10 Tage
vipahman
vipahman

That string in the gel demo was awesome and gave such a simple and precise explanation of a problem that I always wondered about. Beautiful!

Vor Monat
zumabbar
zumabbar

@Keith Ward ahhhh... wire

Vor 18 Tage
Hugh Jones
Hugh Jones

@Shaded We use motors that utilise the mud being pumped to turn the bit. The motors have a stator and a rotor within it, that is lobed, 1:2, up to 7:8, like the gears on a car, the later being more powerful but slower in rotation, with the drill string stopped rotation and the MWD sending up Toolfaces to show where the bit is pointing, the directional driller, guides the string, up, (HS toolface), down, (180 toolface), left, (270 toolface), or right, (90) toolface) or anywhere in-between these numbers, by varying WOB (weight on the bit) to control the pushing force and reactive torque. So you begin to see, it's nothing like as easy as some people on here seem to think it is.

Vor 28 Tage
Little Jackalo
Little Jackalo

@Shaded the drill bit does not rotate when it's being steered. The "drill bit" has an angled end. They push it with that bit in a certain angular orientation, then spin it a bit to clear everything up, then orientate the bit, push it, spin it, etc. Little by little.

Vor 28 Tage
Keith Ward
Keith Ward

@Shaded They can vary the speed as well as stop rotation. The asymmetrical end steers more when stopped vs rotating.

Vor Monat
Shaded
Shaded

I'm just a bit confused, since the wire does not rotate but the drillbits are, so how are they steering it when the whole thing is constantly rotating?

Vor Monat
AuthenTech - Ben Schmanke
AuthenTech - Ben Schmanke

The underground steering example is really fun and helpful, impressive work!

Vor Monat
thi tran
thi tran

ok

Vor Monat
Kenden Reed
Kenden Reed

Your talent for making state-of-the-art engineering understandable is incredible. Absolutely love and appreciate your work making these concepts that are often literally buried underground and in mathematics visible for us lay-folk :)

Vor Monat
Andy Cutright
Andy Cutright

That offset drill bit is such a simple, elegant solution. I always wondered how those worked.

Vor Monat
Karls O
Karls O

I didn’t even know these machines existed before I started working in civil construction. I have been on the drill crew and I think Grady gives an excellent overview of how these machines work. They are great when the goings good but when things break or if they hit utilities it’s very costly. We use traffic control to keep things safe for the crew and the public especially in residential areas.

Vor Monat
_shifty
_shifty

used to work on a directional drilling crew. very cool. we were a small company and one day we hit a big set of fiberoptic lines. poor company went bankrupt after paying for repairs on that fiber.

Vor Monat
Little Jackalo
Little Jackalo

@Jax Turner derrrrrp. They were fiber optic and then were converted to electrical. Very simple to understand without being pedantic.

Vor 28 Tage
minh van
minh van

ok

Vor Monat
EngineeringVision
EngineeringVision

@dale counihan Did it really take you that long to use wikipedia?

Vor Monat
Jax Turner
Jax Turner

@Jed-Henry Witkowski “mabey” you’re right.

Vor Monat
David R
David R

“Like laparoscopic surgery for the earth”. Probably the single most brilliant analogy I’ve ever heard in my life. Well done sir, well done.

Vor Monat
Na Ma
Na Ma

Likewise pulling back the guide wire !! Lots of similarity to medical interventional techniques.

Vor Monat
iamdarkyoshi
iamdarkyoshi

That wire demo was an eye opener. Love the detail your models always show!

Vor Monat
Trevor Wilcox
Trevor Wilcox

Grady does it again! This is yet another thing I've often wondered about when I see them working on the side of the road. Thanks for demystifying these processes for me. Love your channel.

Vor Monat
Dinitrogen Monoxide
Dinitrogen Monoxide

I appreciate the way you explain things extremely fluidly, with a wise yet friendly tone. Makes me want to go get a civil engineering degree. Thank you Grady

Vor Monat
StefanD
StefanD

Here in Germany that drilling method did become more known to the public when the company "FlowTex" was sued for the (back then) most expensive large-scale fraud in Germany. The damage was roughly 4.2 billion USD. The company had 270 machines but those were sold multiple times (3142 machines had been sold). When they had investors visiting they drove to one drilling site, then had lunch and then drove to a different drilling site. During the lunch brake they moved the drills from site 1 to site 2 creating the illusion of a bigger pool of machines.

Vor Monat
Pickup Dundee
Pickup Dundee

used to have a guy on one construction site who worked for flowtex way back in the day. he kept that part out :D

Vor 18 Tage
Milan Trcka
Milan Trcka

"Potemkin Village"

Vor 20 Tage
c hurlburt
c hurlburt

cattlemen have been doing this to bankers for years.

Vor 28 Tage
Thomas Sullivan
Thomas Sullivan

Slick 😎

Vor Monat
Vector Entertainment
Vector Entertainment

Wow, that's crazy

Vor Monat
Vic Scott
Vic Scott

Overall excellent job of the explanation on this wonderful industry that has kept me busy for over a decade now.

Vor Monat
Jordan Ashe
Jordan Ashe

I work in power utilities and I would have loved a video like this when I first started. I remember underground work being a mystery and having no idea how it works. Well actually it’s still a bit of a mystery. Nobody knows exactly where anything is. We just sorta guess knowing the crew will do whatever they want anyways

Vor Monat
Bill Schlafly
Bill Schlafly

I've been around construction for many years and I've always been curious how horizontal directional boring was accomplished. I simply dismissed it as "magic". It's still magic to me but now I know it's a "card force".

Vor Monat
oShotz
oShotz

The drill bit knows where it is at all times. It knows this because it knows where it isn't. By subtracting where it is from where it isn't, or where it isn't from where it is (whichever is greater), it obtains a difference, or deviation. The guidance subsystem uses deviations to generate corrective commands to drive the drill bit from a position where it is to a position where it isn't, and arriving at a position where it wasn't, it now is.

Vor Monat
HDL_CinC_Dragon
HDL_CinC_Dragon

I almost forgot that existed. Thank you for reminding me :D That video and the Rockwell Encabulator are some of my all time favorites haha

Vor 29 Tage
Joke Kelleey
Joke Kelleey

Whatever you said I don't think it knows where it is or where it's at or where it's been

Vor Monat
Wojtek
Wojtek

I assisted an HDD on Mariner East 2, ME2. We had an inadvertent return so bad we built a pit around it and simply used it as a recirculation pit. There was a lot of effort to mitigate damage professional geologists at each drill and field techs/engineers walking the surface to look for IR's. Amazing tech

Vor Monat
Wojtek
Wojtek

@KevinDC5 I just really enjoy bears and my family is polish lol

Vor Monat
KevinDC5
KevinDC5

My last name is Wojtek. Not often I see that name anywhere.

Vor Monat
its d0nk
its d0nk

@Wojtek peace of mind* And thanks for bringing your story and experience with this, especially as part of the mentioned pipeline in the video. Very interesting stuff.

Vor Monat
Wojtek
Wojtek

@cody collins The ME was issue prone so it was written into their permits they would have a PG and environmental techs/field engineer/inspector from a third party. It was expensive but helped get issues resolved quickly and give the DEP a piece of mind.

Vor Monat
Frequently Cynical
Frequently Cynical

I've always wondered about this. On a much more amateur level, when I was a landscape contractor, I often had to run pipes under sidewalks and driveways. I had this similar device, although there was no directional ability. A simple blade head mounted on the end of 1" black pipe. At the other end, a T fitting that accommodated a garden hose and a 1/2 drill adapter. We would dig down a foot and as horizontal as possible, and other trench on the other side. Worked great. Never a problem although my contract had a disclaimer about unforeseeable circumstances under their pavement.

Vor Monat
Not Now
Not Now

Directional drilling has always seemed like magic to me. Thank you for explaining how it really works!

Vor Monat
The Blue Kommandant
The Blue Kommandant

I've always wondered how they did this in oil wells. That's super interesting!

Vor Monat
Ben
Ben

I'm a geotech engineer with 10 yrs experience and I learn something from everyone of your videos. Thanks for the quality content!

Vor Monat
Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris

I live a few miles from an area that was affected by the Mariner issue and it was downplayed and covered up more than you could imagine. They struck old mine shafts here which leaked blood red water into the river for weeks. There was coal ash making its way into the river. Cutting fluid which they were caught using something other than what they were supposed to be. It's been a while but now I'm going to look into it more again.

Vor Monat
BlurbFish
BlurbFish

@JJ Barajas The next time you worry about something radioactive, start asking about *how* radioactive that is, then compare it to normal background radiation.

Vor 11 Tage
H
H

Wow

Vor 16 Tage
EddietheDave
EddietheDave

I would hate to receive the spinning back kick coming at the end of this investigation by chuck

Vor Monat
JJ Barajas
JJ Barajas

@Stettafire I believe that's a miner problem.

Vor Monat
Scissors95
Scissors95

@JJ Barajas So are bananas. Coal ash has a lot more in it to be worried about than a little radioactive material.

Vor Monat
BC-Guy
BC-Guy

Brilliant explanation, again Grady! And I think your use of home made props to explain these concepts make your videos even more enjoyable.

Vor Monat
CJ Hawkins
CJ Hawkins

I run a Ditch Witch Rock drill in Central Oregon. I drill through solid rock and install Fiber lines. I've only ever hit unlocated lines due to no knowledge of them being there. It's amazing to see what kind of technology we have nowadays and what's in store in the future

Vor Monat
DJ Trek
DJ Trek

Found your channel a couple of months ago and I have to say, Grady - I really love your videos. The way you explain things professionally, the editing, production quality and the details you go into really make for top quality content! I was a civil engineer in the UK for 8 years and I'm still learning a lot from you! Thank you 😁

Vor Monat
cam quoc
cam quoc

ok

Vor 23 Tage
George Vieira
George Vieira

I've always been curious how this works, this was a great overview.

Vor Monat
Dakota Flowers
Dakota Flowers

My hone region of ohio is known as "DD paradise" because there are 50 or so directional drilling companies based in a 20 Sq mile area. Also 4 years ago, TC Energy did a reconstruction project on the east buckeye express 36in diameter natural gas pipeline which travels underneath 3 major waterways in my region. My favorite way to kill time was to go out and watch the semi sized drilling rigs boring and pulling up to 3 miles of pre-bent thick wall pipeline on the ROW.

Vor Monat
Blox117
Blox117

i need to lay some pipeline in this DD paradise of yours

Vor Monat
David Neel
David Neel

I once worked at American Augers, now owned by Trecmo, as technical writer.

Vor Monat
E
E

@Justin Anderson no kidding!

Vor Monat
Don Johnson
Don Johnson

Cool story bro

Vor Monat
Horizon Brave
Horizon Brave

As always love the 'hands on' experiments and examples you show! The diaramas and B roll you take is very top notch!

Vor Monat
Chris Carlin
Chris Carlin

Great video! A few years back I wanted to figure out how these machines worked, and I had to spend hours researching and reading to figure it out. This video captured it nicely and I hope saves a lot of people a lot of time and effort next time they decide to learn about one of these directional drilling machines they see on the side of the road.

Vor Monat
cdburner5911
cdburner5911

I have always wondered how a drill bit can be steered underground, and your explanation makes perfect sense, thank you!

Vor Monat
Pleasureincontempt
Pleasureincontempt

I always know there’s a crossbore in our sanitary assets when there’s bentonite clay inside of them. It’s pretty cool technology eventhough some of the contractors that practice it don’t do enough due-diligence beforehand.

Vor Monat
Saablazer
Saablazer

I work for a water/sewer district and because of our topography, we use a gravity sewer system. This means that all our sewer lines must be perfectly straight and at precise angles. Because of this trenching is preferable as directional drilling is not perfectly straight and this creates low and high spots in the line which will require continual flushing and maintenance. We do occasionally use boring to lay water pipe underground though as it is not requisite that water pipe be perfectly straight.

Vor Monat
R P
R P

Saablazer. Yes use to do side sewers in the mid 70s. We had to use hand level to make sure we had the say ( 2%) grade. Then I worked a mainline Sewer job. ( Hoepacking) we used a (Laser). The Lazer gave us grade slope. The Lazer was set up in manholes. I was thinking if Florida is using directional Drilling, under waterways, they would have to have a force pumping station.

Vor Monat
Gary Nubipwek
Gary Nubipwek

Theres a trenchless method called “coring” or push/pullback technique that takes care of this problem, similar to hdd but no drilling, just power that pushes or pulls the rods, once through the exit hole, u just put a round “knife” that carves a hole then push the slug out ten feet at a time till u cut all the way back to ur frame

Vor Monat
Gary Nubipwek
Gary Nubipwek

Theres a trenchless method called “coring” or push/pullback technique that takes care of this problem, similar to hdd but no drilling, just hydraulic power that pushes or pulls the rods, once through the exit hole, u just put a round “knife” that carves a hole then push the slug out ten feet at a time till u cut all the way back to ur frame

Vor Monat
Saablazer
Saablazer

@Vic Scott I appreciate your comments. I learn something new everyday. I was just repeating what I’d been told by those in charge at the district. I’m fairly new here and try to soak up info wherever I can.

Vor Monat
Vic Scott
Vic Scott

Oh I understand how it is in the industry all too well, when I was subbed it got to the point the Prime would specifically request our rig to come in if the tender was won by our company or they would go to the next company (the company was pretty hit or miss, once explained to me as the flip of a coin if you get a good crew). I learned a bit of how to make it work as well for water and sewer. The past few years as I have been working for a prime that had their own rigs. It is a little pain staking but I have completed jobs that are entirely gravity feed, it comes down to verifying accuracy every 5 M or more with cuts and if it isn't with a certain spec making them pull back that rod and manipulate it through collapsing the hole or what have you. As for it isn't perfectly straight, no it isn't. However if you go 1.5 times O/D size with your hole and let your pipe enter the hole flat with a prereamed hole (if soil allows a preream). Your pipe will ride the bottom the whole way back along those ripples and that is just an easy adjustment on the math to accommodate the reamer size. Now that being said I have been blessed with luck and backed by some amazing guys with 20 or so years experience when I first got in to it over a decade ago now.

Vor Monat
Nathan Kring
Nathan Kring

I've been curious about how these things work for a couple of years now, since I first saw one on the side of the road routing network cables. I figured out what it was doing as evident by materials at the site but didn't know how they steered the hole. Thank you Grady for making this video, it is fascinating how this technology works!

Vor Monat
a2jy2k
a2jy2k

Hey Grady, great video! I've been a utility engineer for about 5 years now, and I'd say you got it right on the money. I would love to see you talk about Microtrench technology as well, since a lot of low voltage lines are switching to that cheaper alternative to boring!

Vor Monat
N S
N S

Thanks again Grady for explaining such a complicated process (at least for us non-engineers) in a concise - and incredibly interesting - manner (with small-scale demos and discussion of upsides and downsides) ….all of that is why your channel has been among my absolute favorite YouTube channels for years. I’ve been a dedicated subscriber since shortly after you started up, and I hadn’t realized your subscriber base had grown to almost 2.75 million! That is SO awesome, and I’m so happy for you! And not surprisingly, you’ve kept your same down-to-earth attitude throughout! Congrats and your success … and keep on making these interesting videos !!

Vor Monat
Danny Hanny
Danny Hanny

Thank you so much, Grady, for helping us understand how such horizontal directional pipelines are created. I sell commercial trucks in the Fort Lauderdale area, and have sold at least one truck that went to help with the ongoing directional under-drilling that companies are doing for the area's residents.

Vor Monat
Kaymish _
Kaymish _

that's super interesting its also similar to how the apollo capsules were steered on reentry. The mass was off center so by rotating the capsule it could change pitch or yaw

Vor Monat
elbuggo
elbuggo

@xponen_ Thank you for that.

Vor Monat
elbuggo
elbuggo

@George Reynolds Apollo 11 CM reentry mass 5 557 kg. Reentry speed 11 200 m/s. Unit kinetic energy 63 MJ/kg. Total kinetic energy to absorb braking 349 GJ.

Vor Monat
xponen_
xponen_

@elbuggo there's educational textbook series published by NASA called "NASA Aeronautic Book Series", and on heat shield topic a book titled "Coming Home, Reentry and Recovery from space, ISBN 978-0-16-091064-7". Also there's more detailed textbook published by "Air Force Institute of Technology" titled "Hypersonic Aerothermodynamic, ISBN 1-56347-O36-5"

Vor Monat
George Reynolds
George Reynolds

@elbuggo The heat is generated in the air in front of the spacecraft which becomes plasma and the fast-moving spacecraft leaves a long plume of superheated gases along its track. At 11 km/sec and the diameter of the spacecraft, the cylinder of hot gas along the trail represents a substantial quantity of heat energy. The capsule is not "heated by friction with the air" as is commonly stated, rather it is the air that is compressed and heats adiabatically (remember the bicycle pump?) albeit complicated by the shockwave that forms, and some of that heat is transferred to the heatshield which melts off slowly to keep the heat from arriving at the capsule. Allen and Eggers of NACA (pre-NASA) showed that the heat load experienced by an entry vehicle was "inversely proportional to the drag coefficient; i.e., the greater the drag, the less the heat load. If the re-entry vehicle is made blunt, air cannot "get out of the way" quickly enough, and acts as an air cushion to push the shock wave and heated shock layer away from the vehicle. Since most of the hot gases are no longer in direct contact with the vehicle, the heat energy would stay in the shocked gas and simply move around the vehicle to later dissipate into the atmosphere". http://naca.central.cranfield.ac.uk/reports/1958/naca-report-1381.pdf

Vor Monat
Andrew Bennett
Andrew Bennett

Once more, you've answered questions that have been at the back of my mind for a long time, and done it clearly and cheerfully. Thanks for all your work.

Vor 19 Tage
Kairon156
Kairon156

This is an amazing video. I've heard several of these words in the past likely on movies and shows but never so well described. Also, I love your channel. I'm not an engineer or anything but apart of my mind has always been impressed with infrastructure related things and I've learned so much here.

Vor Monat
Erlend Rooth
Erlend Rooth

Awesome video! I'm a junior water and sewage engineer, and in discussing projects in difficult areas HDD is often brought up as an option. Always wondered how that works. Now I know.

Vor Monat
James Milstead
James Milstead

Awesome video once again Grady, I've always been on the trenching side putting in fire lines and sewage. I always saw the vertical drilling units on some job sites I was on and I didn't understand how they would work. I've also seen them in residential a lot. Now I have a better understanding and I thank you for that!

Vor Monat
Bu3adel
Bu3adel

4:50 bentonite needs hours of mixing to shear so it creates the shear-thinning fluid it needs to be able able to suspend cutting while pump is off. Posting this comment while my drilling bit is drilling at 14,000 ft below ground. I always liked the way u demonstrate concept and really liked how u showed how mud supports well walls.. one more thing is also when water infiltrate in permeable sand leaving solids on wells wall which supports it which we call filter cake. Ty for ur quality content and good presentation. Glad i found something to relate to in ur channel.

Vor Monat
Tee Ess
Tee Ess

@Hugh Jones *you're. It's a contraction of "you are". As in, you're forgetting your dunce cap again.

Vor 23 Tage
Tee Ess
Tee Ess

@Buddy Clem Limited slip diff

Vor 23 Tage
Hugh Jones
Hugh Jones

@No Class 2 gun Don't get carried away with the Hollywood jargon, but I get it when you don't know what your talking about

Vor 28 Tage
Rick Sanchez
Rick Sanchez

In horizontal boring it really depends on the scale, conditions, and even temperature, (freezing, mainly I think), on what "bore gel" they are using. If it's small diameter, less than the rods, no back reaming needed, sometimes it will just be a clear slime, and only just enough. Others, say an 18", 3/4 mile shot under a river, there might be two specialized mud trucks there mixing the bentonite. Not really my specialty, technically had them working for me many times, but really it's so specialized, they're their own crew. You hope you have a good foreman you can trust, then ask them what can be done to help them, after walking the shot with them. I've have some ask for the world, and be happy with them. Had others refuse to let us cut a bench for their machine, because they would be "OK", two days later we got the hydraulics they ripped out from under their machine fixed, then cut the bench so they can try again.

Vor 28 Tage
Steve Barnes
Steve Barnes

@P-SeventyWas That is so non-Newtonian of you.

Vor 29 Tage
Bryce Gutierrez
Bryce Gutierrez

Grady, thank you for this video. I have been trying to find a concise high level explanation of HDD for about a year now. This is by far the most comprehensive explanation I've found. Can't believe I only just now learned about how to "steering" actually works!

Vor Monat
bugjuicer
bugjuicer

For years, I've seen these at work, and have genuinely always wanted to know how they work. Thanks for the vid and a simple explanation!

Vor Monat
Dave Ditcher
Dave Ditcher

Great stuff, as usual Grady. I worked on a remediation project in VA a few years back. We needed to connect some ground water remediation wells to a small water treatment plant we built. Those wells were on the opposite side of the Shenandoah River from the treatment plant. We hired a contractor and I was lucky enough to be the oversight rep for this contractor so I got to watch the process first hand. About 3/4 of a mile long and 40’ under the river bed thru mostly solid rock. Remarkable technology.

Vor 20 Tage
Derek Schubert
Derek Schubert

I've wondered about this for years. My biggest question was how the pipes curved. Never would have thought they were flexible. I really enjoy your channel even if my wife thinks I'm a nerd and doesn't get the appeal. Thanks for the great content and well explained processes.

Vor Monat
dogishappy0
dogishappy0

Thank you for showing how underground directional drilling works! I've never seen a demonstration like this before!

Vor Monat
no body
no body

Gotta admit, that little wire gel demo was spot on for showing how it works.

Vor Monat
fakinyamo
fakinyamo

Great content! An issue with HDD is minimizing damage to the pipe coating, which may expose the pipe to corrosive soils. Installing a cathodic protection system can potentially alleviate this issue. Looking forward a video on CP systems for pipelines!

Vor Monat
Max Xlr8tion
Max Xlr8tion

This was so interesting, much simpler than I thought, I always thought it would be similar to the way older automotive exterior mirrors in were mechanically adjusted from the interior using three cables.

Vor Monat
Joe Martin
Joe Martin

I've been drilling wells and geotech drilling for 27+ years. Thankfully with the same company. I've always wondered how this type of drilling was done. Now I have a basic understanding of what is happening. Thank you for your time making this video. Keep it up. Your videos are great and informative to watch.

Vor Monat
Eric Swartz
Eric Swartz

Thanks for this. I was just wondering the other day how they installed pipes and cables under roads and driveways without tearing things up.

Vor Monat
vennic
vennic

Having recently experienced fiberoptic cable installation in my neighborhood, I can confidently say the lack of trenching was both noted and appreciated

Vor Monat
vennic
vennic

@jevoulaispasdecompte 100% My neighbor was complaining and I told him to calm down

Vor Monat
windows_x_seven
windows_x_seven

@jevoulaispasdecompte rig me papa

Vor Monat
jevoulaispasdecompte
jevoulaispasdecompte

I'm a HDD rig operator and I tell you, I never managed to explain to angry people that it's better to have the rig on a portion of the road for 2 days rather than having a trench dug on the whole road. So I'm happy to see some people actually do realise that.

Vor Monat
Stettafire
Stettafire

My gas connection was installed in a similar manner. Meant they dug two tiny holes a D didn't have to close off the entire road and destroy my entire driveway. Job was done in a day, filled in the two tiny holes the day after, was cheap too

Vor Monat
gimmespamnow
gimmespamnow

Thank you! I have wondered about this for years, the simple “bent pipe” explanation always led me to think: won’t it just go in a circle? I know in my neighborhood a fiber line hit a 24 inch gravity sewer main. It went right through the center and out the other side, and the city video inspects the lines and so I’ve seen video of it… Surely when they hit it it must have dumped all the drilling fluid, but my understand is the the fiber company and the sewer worked fine for many years before they even noticed the problem.

Vor Monat
Steven Lane
Steven Lane

An amazing explanation and demonstration, I've always wondered how this was done. Thank you.

Vor Monat
Driveway STAR
Driveway STAR

Wow. I started in this industry when I was 18 years old. Cool to see it getting properly explained to the masses.

Vor Monat
Eric Forbush
Eric Forbush

I operate one of these nearly everyday. They are amazing! We can get to within an inch or two of where we need to be hundreds of feet away.

Vor Monat
Matthew Beasley
Matthew Beasley

Thanks, I always wondered how the directional drilling happened. A few years back a 14" high pressure natural gas line built through a few miles from my home. It traveled a route that mostly avoided any developed areas, but it do have to go through a town a few miles away. Along side the highway they just did cut and cover, but they used directional drilling to run it about 1.5 miles horizontally under the town. It was pretty cool to see the whole process of drilling and then pulling in the pipeline. I was really blown away by the pull in process they ended up using. They laid out, welded up and pressure tested the 1.5 miles of pipe. The issue they had is they didn't have 1.5 miles of land in line with the pull. So they rented farmland perpendicular to the highway and pull pit. When they went to pull in the pipe in, it was bent 90° before being pulled in. They used 4 giant sheaves and attached each sheave to a different D9 bulldozer as an anchor. They were laid out so the bend had about 100 yards of radius to curve the pipe around. The pipeline had quite thick walls, and I'm sure the forces involve were massive.

Vor Monat
LAURA-ANN CHARLOT
LAURA-ANN CHARLOT

Thanks for this video! I always wondered how underground drill strings could be steered, and now I know. I've spent my entire working career in jobs related to civil engineering - concluding with 7 years as a land surveyor-in-training with CalTrans - so I've seen a lot of underground construction. I'm aware that in the oil and gas industries, enormously long boreholes are drilled horizontally, some of them as much as 5 or 6 miles long, to reach offshore deposits in the Gulf of Mexico from onshore drill rigs.

Vor Monat
M.T.K.
M.T.K.

I always see these machines on the side of the roads in my locality. The question I always have was, "how do they steer the it when it is drill diagonally...?". Great video it answered all my questions.

Vor Monat
Olivier Nicole
Olivier Nicole

Thanks, since I had seen the first machine a couple of years ago, I wondered how the directional driving was being done. Seen it being used to install small pipeline in Thailand for the tiny local oil production, and crossing a small town along the highway.

Vor Monat
Oliver Ford
Oliver Ford

Pretty cool info. When I was in the oil patch I saw the oil drilling equipment Shlumberger used. Their drills are electronic controlled and have fins that can be popped out to change the direction. But for a million dollars per head, you can imagine they used em sparingly. And like another person said, you start going horizontal at 10k feet.

Vor 9 Tage
Richard Mourdock
Richard Mourdock

As a retired geologist I've been around a lot of "conventional" vertical drill rigs. I've been fascinated by the directional drilling but never been around it. Excellent explanations. This technology is critical. In thin, oil bearing strata thousands of feet below the surface having the drill hole remain within those thin horizons allows more oil to be recovered. Its incredible potential is why crude oil future prices actually fell below $0/barrel a few years ago but that was before... well, we all know. Great Stuff here. Should be required viewing.

Vor 27 Tage
Keeping It Real
Keeping It Real

Thank you for sharing how directional drilling works. I worked in the oil and gas sector in the 80s where we were hired to explore direction drilling using a coil tubing unit in the Alberta Tar Sands. We were essentially testing how SAGD would work where the product field was close to the surface. Thanks again!

Vor Monat
Red Squirrel
Red Squirrel

That's really cool I always wondered how they steered it. They've been doing this in my city to reline old water lines, in this case it's not quite the same since the line is already there, but they basically ream a new pipe inside the old one. I think I've also seen them do directional drilling too but the style where they need to dig a hole at both ends first.

Vor Monat
Tom
Tom

Best Vid yet, I always wondered how they did that and now I know. The demos of an asymmetric bit steering the drill string are excellent.

Vor Monat
Nahome Tesfay
Nahome Tesfay

@AllTheUser NamesWasTaken um the video answers your second question. Either the asymmetrical bit at the end stays in place and fluid pushes out the soil or there's a spinning bit at the end which spins on an axis almost perpendicular to the bore so it's asymmetrical.

Vor Monat
Tom
Tom

@AllTheUser NamesWasTaken Well of course I couldn't build one of these machine based on a 12 minute YouTube video....It's a demonstration of a principle, not a PhD on how to design, build and operate these devices so for those of us who started out knowing nothing about it at least I get the idea and can drill down into the subject further if I want to know more (forgive the pun).

Vor Monat
AllTheUser NamesWasTaken
AllTheUser NamesWasTaken

Can you build such a machine on paper? NO, because you still don't know how it works. you only know the theory, no practical comprehension regarding the drill manipulation or function. How do a bit steer if it needs to continuously turn to drill? You don't know. I don't know.

Vor Monat
Chris Hanson
Chris Hanson

Got to see this recently from my house! Our utility replaced the underground power lines in our neighborhood and this is how they did it! Still a bit of a pain with road closures and lane restrictions… but it wasn’t the end of the world and happened fairly quickly.

Vor Monat
Alexander Thomas
Alexander Thomas

Thanks for clarifying this, I envisaged this to work in a much more complicated way by bending the drill bit by means of extra tension cables or something, but your agar demo proved it can be done in a much more elegant manner.

Vor Monat
Nicholas Piscitelli
Nicholas Piscitelli

That was a great video, I was wondering how HDD worked. Where I live they have been drilling for almost a year, going for many miles using HDD. Thank you for you’re very good explanation.

Vor 17 Tage
avos5
avos5

For any future gel demo, agar is pretty slow on creating its gel matrix after it gets down in temperature. It takes boiling water to melt/dissolve but you can let it cool to a fairly reasonable temperature before pouring A cool visualization, helped me understand what's going on under there

Vor Monat
erikig
erikig

I drove by these crews in Broward for months and didn’t get what they were up to and why it was taking so long. It is so easy to get frustrated with the delays they kept causing 😅, thanks for helping me understand the complexity of what was going on.

Vor Monat
thi tran
thi tran

ok

Vor Monat
Kendall Off The Edge
Kendall Off The Edge

@Lily Warner try telling builders to put their tools on pushbikes 😅

Vor Monat
Renee Rehe
Renee Rehe

@Lily Warner And how long does it take again? Going to work 10 miles away, on a bike vs a car? Extra difficult (often impossible) if you carry some things with you, need to pick someone up or to stop by the groceries on your way home. Not to mention stinking of sweat all day at work, or where ever you're going.

Vor Monat
windows_x_seven
windows_x_seven

@Lily Warner "car centric infrastructure" 🤓🤓🤓🤓

Vor Monat
Lily Warner
Lily Warner

Did they cause the delays, or did car centric infrastructure cause the delays? 🤔 You can fit a lot more people in limited space on bikes and buses

Vor Monat
Raymond Soto
Raymond Soto

That was one of the most interesting and informative videos I've ever seen on practical engineering. such a great channel 👍

Vor Monat
Betadyne
Betadyne

IT engineer here. I've been watching your channel for years now, I bet you share the same passion about your work as I do. I love learning how the world surrounding me works. Keep on the good work !

Vor Monat
Cary Taylor
Cary Taylor

Thank you very much for your explanation of this process. I noticed a rig on the side of the road in my neighborhood and I have wanted to stop and talk to the crew and find out how their process works. I am a well planning in the oil industry and design directional plans which is a very similar process. I also noticed a pile of big bits on the side of the road and now understand that those are the reamers that get pulled back to open the pilot hole. We do drill horizontal wells too but they are several thousand feet deep and thousands if not tens of thousands of feet long. I am impressed to see that a lot of the similar processes that I work with are also used in the HDD drilling you described. Your description is greatly appreciated!

Vor 29 Tage
alex yochum
alex yochum

I asked myself this question as they were running fiber near my house a few weeks ago. I’m happy you made a video on this, because I could not think of a better person to explain it!

Vor Monat
John Duthie
John Duthie

I love the amount of work you put into explaining engineering concepts to people unfamiliar with it

Vor Monat
Mileyard Gigahertz
Mileyard Gigahertz

I'm simply amazed at the steering. I've never imagined it could be so intuitive.

Vor Monat
Josh Brucksch
Josh Brucksch

Thanks for making this one! Local company has had one parked down the road from my house, and I've been very curious how it works!

Vor Monat
Kilo jerome Smith
Kilo jerome Smith

It’s a great day when I have learned something new. I have always wondered how y’all steered that drill. It’s pretty simple to understand how it’s done. 👍

Vor Monat
Soundole VGM Covers
Soundole VGM Covers

This was one of your best demonstrations yet! Seeing the wire wind through the agar was a lightbulb moment for me!

Vor 4 Tage
LostCoast707
LostCoast707

Awesome video. I've always wondered how Directional Drilling worked. This is the video I didn't know I needed to see. Love all your videos, keep it up.

Vor Monat
DonTruman
DonTruman

Great video, thanks. I had known about this drilling technique for a long time, but didn't know how the bit location was determined or how it was steered. Such a simple but effective method of steering it.

Vor Monat
IngGS
IngGS

Hey Grady, I love your channel; am a Civil Engineer and I am familiar with pretty much everything you have covered but still like to watch you explain it. Great video, as usual!

Vor Monat
Black Wolf
Black Wolf

I used to work with the sewerage infrastructure in my town, and while we were having fibre cables installed, we got several callouts for blocked lines. I was the guy that had to run the inspection cameras down the lines, and sure enough, a large number of those blockages were bright green cables running straight through the sewer. The company who were installing the cables, and the sub-contractors who were running the HDD rigs, had to pay quite a lot in reparations for the damaged infrastructure

Vor Monat
Bernie Short
Bernie Short

Thank you, Grady, for another very interesting video. The bench test examples you show help along with simple animations. Your videos are just the right length, and your calming voice just puts the icing on the cake. Once again thank you.

Vor Monat
Elliott Fackler
Elliott Fackler

I've seen those rigs on the side of the road and wondered how they get it to turn around underground and come back up where they want it to. Thanks for showing us.

Vor Monat
TubeDude78
TubeDude78

This was absolutely fascinating! I had no idea this technology even existed! Thank you very much for enlightening me about this.

Vor Monat
Joe Hopfield
Joe Hopfield

I've wondered about this forever. Thanks for the excellent explanation (and clear demo and easy demo).

Vor 26 Tage
Mr_Fowler
Mr_Fowler

Thank you for this video. I always wondered how they steered the bit once underground, ever since they installed new fibre in my hometown in Germany.

Vor Monat
Finn Lademaker
Finn Lademaker

I just started as a pipeline engineer and your videos really teach me a lot! Thank you for that!

Vor Monat
Jason Ritterbush
Jason Ritterbush

They're building a booster station and transmission line near my neighborhood and using directional drilling. It was pretty amazing to see the giant machinery, ramp, and bits. It was also insanely loud. I didn't really understand any of it but this video was extremely timely. Now I just need to understand what a booster station and transmission line is.

Vor Monat
Spiffyman 30
Spiffyman 30

I’ve seen those machines so many times. Now I know what they are for. So fascinating, thank you for sharing this info with us all.

Vor Monat

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