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The Auto-Gopher Deep Drill

Mircea Badescu


Subsurface penetration by coring, drilling or abrading is of great importance for a large number of space and earth applications. An Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corer (USDC) has been in development at JPL’s NDEAA lab as an adaptable tool for many of these applications. The USDC uses a novel drive mechanism to transform the high frequency ultrasonic or sonic vibrations of the tip of a horn into a lower frequency sonic hammering of a drill bit through an intermediate free-flying mass. The USDC device idea has been implemented at various scales from handheld drills to large diameter coring devices. A series of computer programs that model the function and performance of the USDC device were developed  and were later integrated into an automated modeling package. The USDC has also evolved from a purely hammering drill to a rotary hammer drill as the design requirements increased form small diameter shallow drilling to large diameter deep coring. A synthesis of the Auto-Gopher development is presented in this paper.

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