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How to Select the Right Auger Bit for Your Job

Even for seasoned construction pros, it can occasionally be hard to determine precisely what equipment you need. The world of construction is so diverse and complex, and there are constantly new possibilities, processes, and pieces of equipment coming out, which requires ongoing learning from anyone who works in the field. Such can be the case with auger bits, given that there are several different types and use cases.

What Is an Auger Bit?

Auger bits, also known as earth drills, are typically used for ground drilling tasks. Selecting the right auger bit for the type of material you’re drilling in is important (more on that to follow), but broadly speaking, all auger bits perform a similar task: precise digging and excavation. This is different from other tools such as the rocksaw, which also offer some digging and excavation capabilities, but typically in a far more limited capacity compared to an auger bit. The main types of auger bits are earth, earth/rock, and rock. 

The Range of Auger Bits

Augers can suit a wide variety of machines, weighing from 1.7 tonnes up to 48 tonnes. In addition, they can be used with excavators, backhoes, and loaders. The auger bits themselves come in various sizes as well, ranging from 300mm to 1200mm. If you’re using a compact piece of construction equipment, then it can be particularly important to factor in three components: the auger drive, the mounting plate, and the auger bit itself. 

Matching Augers to Ground Types

It’s always important to use the right tool for any given job, and the same goes when it comes to augers. If you do not have the right auger for the job, you’ll find that it will be inefficient at best — ultimately taking longer to do a poorer job than the right auger bit would have — or will end up becoming damaged at worst. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the auger bit you have meets the needs of the task at hand, and if it doesn’t, then it’s wise to swap it out for one that will. 

One of the main factors when deciding on the optimal auger bit for the job is the ground type that you need to drill into. Earth bits are meant to drill dirt, rock bits are ideal for drilling rock, and earth/rock bits can be used for a wider range of ground types, including earth, shale, asphalt, permafrost and fracturable rockclay. That said, it’s also possible to mix and match to an extent, depending on the specifics of your job. For example, an earth/rock bit can be used to drill earth, while a rock bit may be used to drill shale. 

Making a Speedy Decision

When selecting your auger bit, it’s also important to keep optimum drilling speeds in mind, as these vary significantly depending on the auger you select and the material you’re drilling into. For example, if you’re using an earth bit to drill into earth, then the optimum drilling speed is between 55-65 RPMs. If you’re drilling into clay using an earth bit, however, the ideal RPM is lower, at 44-55 RPMs. And when it comes to drilling into heavy rock, even using a rock earth bit will limit you to a rotating speed of 10-25 RPMs.

Drilling Deep into Auger Bit Use

In addition to having the right tool, it’s also important to ensure that any operator has the right training for using an auger bit attachment. Depending on where you operate in Australia, the local regulations and requirements regarding training may vary slightly. But ultimately, as with any heavy machinery, it’s critical that your team has the capacity to use the tool with precision and care, and have all necessary certifications.

What’s your experience been like using auger bits? Let us know in the comments below.

Image: SPH

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