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Shaw Tool
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Welcome to Shaw Tool's Google page. You will find links to our official website, pictures, and videos.
Welcome to Shaw Tool's Google page. You will find links to our official website, pictures, and videos.

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On 17 July, 2013 Neil Shaw and Mayo Lopez tested at Yamhill, Oregon three sizes of elephant tooth diamond core bits using a 27 cc Tanaka engine drill in old, very hard concrete slabs with 1/2 inch rebar.
Test results indicate the expected: faster penetration rates and less water usage for smaller core bits.
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At the request of Colin Webb, a Usibelli Coal Mine Inc. mining engineer, on 27 August 2013 I traveled first by air to Fairbanks and then by rented car to Healy, Alaska, to demonstrate the use of the Shaw portable core drill for boring and sampling of sub-bituminous coal.  As we at Shaw Tool had only done a limited drilling test on a one cubic foot purchased sample of anthracite, it was not known with certainty that the Healy test would be successful.  It was feared that the somewhat softer Healy coal might "slick" the diamond bit face and thereby defeat its abrasive cutting action.  On the morning of the 28th Colin showed me an exposed coal seam upper surface for our test.  Having fueled a new engine drill, started it and filled the two backpack water bottles prior to arrival at the mine site, I was able to carry the rather heavy but complete drill kit up the hill from his pickup to the test location and begin drilling without delay.  The bit eased into the coal easily if a little slowly, producing a dilute clear brown cuttings stream.  Smooth, easy drilling produced long, straight, smooth-sided, nearly seamless coal cores of about 36 mm.  Colin, who drilled two feet of core with the use of a light aluminum extension had no difficulty at all in advancing the bit, capturing core and removing it with the kit knockout rod.  After the test we noted that there was no abrasion at all of the aluminum extension by the coal.  I concluded that the reliable penetration of the core bit with no "slicking" tendency was due to the good water circulation and the serrated cutting surface of our elephant tooth diamond bit.  It was also decided in our concluding remarks that in normal use at the Usibelli mine site that the Shaw drill would be supported with a 25 gallon water tank with 12 Volt on-demand pump, a long (25 feet?), small diameter water hose and a car battery held in the back of a company pickup.  Colin intended to use the drill for collecting channel core samples for BTU analyses.  He collected our drill test core samples in a plastic bag to be shown later to co-workers and others.  No pictures were taken of the test site in conformity with Usibelli corporate policy.
Neil Shaw
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2013-10-25
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In the course of a demonstration by Neil Shaw of concrete core cutting at a local geotechnical company (Northwest Geotech, Wilsonville, Oregon) it was discovered that a 4-inch OD elephant tooth diamond core bit can cut wood, in this case the 3/4 inch plywood of the bottom of a concrete form box.  This was a happy revelation because encountering of fibrous wood objects including tree roots in undisturbed soils and wood debris in fills or landslides often blocks penetration of small drilling equipment including hand augers and driven samplers.  It was thought that this unexpected cutting ability of an elephant tooth diamond core bit may be related to its serrated configuration.  Good drilling water circulation around the teeth of an elephant tooth bit likely allows wood fibers cut by abrasion to be efficiently removed from grinding surfaces.  The plywood cut was remarkably smooth.
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2013-10-24
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THE ELEPHANT TOOTH DIAMOND CORE BIT
As its name suggests, the newly released elephant tooth diamond core bit employs the basic arrangement of an elephant's grinding type of molar tooth.  Both bit and tooth are self-sharpening: an alternation of very hard material, enamel in the case of the tooth, sintered diamond abrasive elements in the case of the bit, and softer, much more easily abraded material between the hard elements: dentine in the case of pachyderm, brass in the case of the bit.  Differential wearing of the hard as opposed to the soft material by work abrasion gives relief to the grinding surface which greatly facilitates cutting of grass in the case of the elephant, rock in the case of the core bit.
In our own recent timed trials for boring in tholeite basalt and quartzite at our company location in Yamhill, Oregon and also in the reported experience of a recent customer, Geoscience Drilling in penetration gabbroic diorite in Australia, our 41 mm, 3.5 mm kerf elephant tooth core bit consistently cut three times faster than high grade, thin kerf 2.0 mm crown type diamond core bits.  In our trials this three-fold increase in rock penetration rate held true for 51 mm OD bits as well. 
Also, although as yet unmeasured, working life of elephant tooth bits ought to be much longer than that for conventional crown or segment tipped core bits because the elephant tooth bit abrasive element armed length can be made as long as wanted.
The ability to function well in interrupted cuts by the elephant tooth diamond core bit in formation fracture zones and broken rock generally is very marked.  In working trials in Nevada the new bit, with the use of polymer improved water was successfully used without any damage or even much wear to penetrate and sample loose, entirely disordered landslide deposits of broken, silicified dolomite.
Recent drilling trials of the new bit in clay were also successful when surfactant was added to the drilling water.
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The Shaw Portable Backpack Drill was recently used in Antarctica by a team of scientists from the UK who visited a remote part of the Ellsworth Mountains to carry out research aimed at assessing the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet over glacial/interglacial timescales.  The team comprised two scientists from the University of Edinburgh (Dr. Andrew Hein and Professor David Sugden) and two from Northumbria University (Professor John Woodward and Dr. Stuart Dunning).
For this research project I hoped to be able to take a rock core from an ice-moulded mountain top in Antarctica to work out the last time the mountain summits had been covered by ice.  I can do this by measuring the build-up of rare cosmogenic nuclides that form at a known rate in rock minerals at particular depths in the core.  The difficulty was finding a drilling system that I could physically manage to carry up a remote mountain in a rather cold environment.  This is when I discovered the Shaw portable backpack drill.  With great help and advice from Neil and Kenna at Shaw, I ordered a system to recover a 5cm-diameter core.
Once in the field, we waited for a warm (ish) day to carry out the drilling.  The temperature was warm enough at the base of the mountain that we could access melt water to use as drilling fluid, thereby avoiding the need to melt masses of snow/ice.  Six of us carried the drill and water to the mountain top 2,000 feet above the glacier.  The site was incredibly exposed to the wind and the temperature was about -18 degrees celsius at the summit not considering wind chill.
The drilling was made challenging by the low temperature, high winds and a few key mistakes.  Mistake number one was using a new drill bit that I had not primed properly beforehand.  I had swapped out the bit I used in the UK when I tested the drill for a new bit which I could only prime on a bit of gravel at the base of the mountain.  This lack of good priming meant I struggled to get the bit to bite the rock and for a while I just created mud rather than a core.  The second key mistake was not adding enough antifreeze to the fluid.  We struggled with frozen tubes and valves all day, using our only drinking water (in a thermos) to thaw the tubes.  However, despite our mistakes and the challenging conditions we faced, we did ultimately succeed in retrieving a 1.6 meter long core!  This will be incredibly useful for our research on the ice sheet's history.
I can say that the drill itself worked beautifully and was very economical on fuel.  The component parts are of very high quality and worked flawlessly and were easy to manage despite frozen, wet hands.  I cannot recommend this product enough!
Dr. Andrew Hein
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G360 is excited to announce our collaboration with Shaw Tool Ltd. (www.backpackdrill.com), an Oregon based company founded by the inventor of the Shaw Portable Core Drill, Neil Shaw.  This collaboration entails research and development to extend the capability of the Portable Core Drill in groundwater investigations and also to evaluate the feasibility of using the drill for creation of small-yield drinking water wells to supply remote areas in both North America and abroad.
Field trials using the drill to extract small diameter bedrock cores and install monitoring well networks are underway at two G360 research sites with plans to expand the drill's use to other sites and projects in the near future.  To date, wells have been installed in dolostone at the Guelph site to facilitate studies of groundwater hydrology and groundwater-river interactions, and in sandstone at the California site for monitoring groundwater conditions at seeps and springs along the mountain slope and to aid in the search for organic contaminates.  The coreholes drilled for monitoring wells have a diameter of either 1.65 inches (41 mm) or 2.00 inches (51 mm) and the wells themselves are uniquely designed to accommodate these small diameter holes.  In the two inch holes the well casing has inside diameter of 0.90 inches, which allows use of self-contained pressure transducers (i.e., Schlumberger Micro-Diver Model D1601) for monitoring hydraulic head.
The Shaw Drill has made possible the installation of monitoring wells in remote locations which are inaccessible to large truck-mounted drilling equipment.  Additionally, because the Shaw Drill is transportable on foot, its use has significantly minimized disturbance to the terrain in ecologically sensitive areas.  The coreholes drilled so far at the Guelph and California sites using the Shaw Drill range in depth from 5 to 32 feet below ground surface and deeper drilling is likely feasible.
In the near future, G360 plans to test the capability of the Shaw Drill to help address water scarcity in remote, mountainous areas.  Because the drill is portable and capable of drilling through bedrock to significant depth, it may be possible to use holes created by the drill to supply small communities or single families with safe drinking water reducing or eliminating the need for filtration and purification devices which require ongoing maintenance.  The monitoring wells which have been specially designed for the small diameter holes can be modified for use as drinking water supply wells which isolate the groundwater source from potential surface contamination.

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Are you a treasure hunter, geologist, or just have a need to do a little exploration?  Shaw portable core drill might be the one for you.  The Shaw drill will allow you to drill in tight spaces either horizontally or vertically, and gas powered or electric, our drill is lightweight and easy to use.  If this sounds like it might work for you check out our website at www.backpackdrill.com
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Second generation hand held Shaw Backpack Drill

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Neil's second trip to Elko, Nevada was a great success.  It is amazing the things you come up with when you have a handful of Geologists.  Here is a few of the pictures that were taken.  Just remember if you are interested in retrieving a core of gold, marble, granite, or almost any kind of material our core drill might be the one for you.  Check out our website at www.backpackdrill.com.
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DEVELOPMENT OF THE SHAW BACKPACK CORE DRILL
The idea of a personal soil and rock sampling drill originated in the mind of Neil Shaw when working as an environmental geologist in Oregon in the mid 1990's.  At that time environmental subsurface materials sampling in the United States was done almost exclusively with the use of truck mounted, hollow stem auger rigs and driven split spoon samplers.  In most cases in valley floor location where soils are river lain and fine grained these drills performed satisfactorily.  But that equipment had clear performance limits, often quite narrow ones.  Hollow stem auger rigs could not be used to drill in solid rock or very rocky soil, under trees, near overhead power lines or in road-less locations.  Drilling and soil sampling inside, behind or under buildings and other obstacles, often necessary for good mapping of gasoline or chlorinated solvent releases to soil and groundwater, was out of the question.  In order to make better contaminate release maps, particularly through concrete floors, Shaw began using hand-held percussion electric hammer drills with improvised solid titanium threaded joint drill rods and thin-walled sampling tubes of his own making for soil sampling.  This new gear was a great help and made possible the preparation of much more accurate site maps but it too had its limits.  With long time use his titanium drill rods became embrittled by percussion induced work hardening and failed.
Shaw's next move was to use a non-percussion rotary system which would solve the drill string embrittlement problem.  He began to use small 2-stroke gasoline engines coupled to a new sort of water swivel, a tubing body, quick-coupled bayonet style drill string and a masonry type of diamond core bit.  This light weight, handheld drill allowed him to cut rocks cleanly and to collect relatively undisturbed soil or rock samples.  He put his new engine, drill string components and two compression bottles for drilling water into a backpack and began selling self-contained units to both environmental geologists like himself and to precious metal prospectors.  He patented his portable diamond core drill concept in the United States in 2000, made a website and began a mail order drilling equipment business which has grown every year to the present.  Since 2003 a substantial part of his drill business has been with STS Technology of Beijing, China.
Since its invention the Shaw portable core drill has been steadily improved.  In 2009 Shaw greatly strengthened drill string couplings by adding heat treated drive pins and hardened, thickened, coupling components.  It was found that drill string diameters of 41 mm, 51 mm, and 102 mm were possible.  As of 2013, 41 mm OD equipment was by far the most popular.  Aluminum extension tube bodies and solid aluminum male couplings greatly reduced drill string weight.  A new kind of diamond core bit called "elephant tooth", long in development, was patented by Shaw in 2013 and was an immediate market success.  The new elephant tooth bit was designed for longer working life, but happily, it was discovered that it was three times faster cutting than masonry bits and enjoyed virtual immunity to shock effects in interrupted cuts (fracture zones).  Elephant tooth bits also have a broader range of materials cutting capability by virtue of their effectively serrated cutting surface (including sub-bituminous coal and serpentine, materials which are not usually cut efficiently by diamond core bits).
No one can accurately measure events in the future.  But it appears at the time of this writing in October of 2013 that the Shaw portable core drill will in coming years assume a more prominent role in investigations and installations of several kinds.  First in the geotechnical field because the machine can be conveniently used in road-less and otherwise difficult of access locations and to cleanly cut and sample without undue disturbance alluvial gravel deposits.  Second it will likely be discovered that the Shaw drill is much the best for near-surface environmental investigations of gasoline and chlorinated solvent (dry cleaners) releases to soil and groundwater on small sites where utilities and other buried potential surprises are a worry.  Third in combination with the nearly forgotten but superbly effective aeration column bioremediation system invented by Shaw in the late 1990's for cleansing soil and groundwater of gasoline contamination, the Shaw drill will be found to be by far the best installation tool.  Fourth, the Shaw drill will be increasingly used for the installation of monitoring wells and piezometers for hydrogeological investigations as field trial findings in this regard by the John Cherry research group of Guelph, Ontario are published in coming months.
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