As cities and municipalities impose stricter requirements for SPT and other geotechnical tests, the ability to do your own sampling can greatly improve your productivity and efficiency.
Currently, there are several models on the market that provide the power, portability and precision at the right price point for general contractors looking to expand their services.
But what if you do not need all the bells and whistles? No one wants to spend money on things they do not really need. So before investing in a drilling rig, be sure to look for one that meets your needs — and your budget— without a lot of costly extras you will not use.
Power, portability and precision
Start by looking at the soil sampling you already do or want to do. What types of soils do you typically encounter and how deep do you usually need to test? What kind of manoeuvrability do you need? Are you working in backyards or remote locations? What are the equipment requirements in the municipalities you operate in? Do they require automatic hammers for all SPT, or can you still use other methods?
Small, trailer-mounted hydraulic drills like those in Lone Star Drills' LST1G+ series are powerful enough to cut through sand, clay, and soft rock formations up to 100ft (30.5m) yet portable enough for limited-access areas and remote locations. The geotechnical rig includes a cathead pulley for SPT with a 140lb manual safety hammer. The LST1G+HD offers up to 1,100ft-lbs of torque for faster drilling when the clock is ticking. If governing bodies in your area of operation require automatic hammers for soil sampling applications, the LST1G+HDA's automatic hammer feature ensures easy operation and precise sampling.
In hard-to-reach areas or those with delicate ground, consider a tracked, remote-control-driven drill like the LSGT+HDA. The tracked drill provides an ideal solution for accomplishing soil sampling or geotechnical testing in sensitive areas.
Simple soil sampling
There are plenty of options on the market that provide the power and portability you need for basic soil sampling applications without investing in specialised equipment. These machines offer contractors quick, dependable samples with minimum contamination. They are not as capable in all situations as the larger, specialised equipment but are highly versatile and work for applications where soil density is not required.
For sand, clay and soft rock formations, the LST1A+ is as powerful and portable as the LST1G+ series. It drills up to 100ft (30.5m) with a normal auger and up to 50ft (15.25m) with a hollow stem auger. For general soil sampling applications, the LST1A+ offers contractors the ability to examine cuttings, take precise depth measurements, and extract uncontaminated samples. However, it does not have a hammer for SPT.
When portability is key, nothing goes more places than Little Beaver's Hydraulic Earth Drill. This compact machine allows you to power through rocky or heavy clay soils but is light enough for use in delicate environments like established turf and environmentally sensitive areas. When combined with the tripod kit, the Hydraulic Earth Drill allows controlled drilling up to 35ft (10.5m). The Hydraulic Earth Drill and tripod kit is the quickest, easiest and most portable solution for simple soil sampling.
The best of both worlds
And what if you want it all? Power to chew through tough soil, clay and rock formations up to 100ft (30.5m). The Big Beaver with optional SSK-1 Cathead Kit might be the right fit for your operation. It offers power, portability and precision. The Big Beaver is one of the most powerful earth drills we make. It offers one-man operation and maximum portability. Operators can use the hollow stem auger for easy, uncontaminated soil sampling.
With the SSK-1 Cathead Kit, which includes a third hydraulic valve, tower kit and spool, the Big Beaver is capable of SPT, core sampling for environmental tests, and other geotechnical engineering projects.
So, just how much drill do you need for your soil sampling needs?
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