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4 Things You Should Know About Tricone Drill Bits

When researching tricone drill bits there are many factors to consider. In this article we highlight four different facts about tricone drill bits that will help you understand the importance of the different types of tricone drill bits. We go over the key differences between open bearing and sealed bearing tricone drill bits, the benefits of using open roller bearings for shallow drilling, when to use a PDC bit over a tricone bit, and the advantages of using a tungsten carbide insert.

Why You Should Consider Open Bearing Tricone Bits Over Sealed Bearing Tricone Bits

Mill Tooth Tricone Drill Bits and Sealed Bearing Tricone Drill Bits are widely used in the well-drilling industry when you have to go through softer rock formations such as limestone, shale and clay. A mill tooth drill bit is an open bearing tricone drill bit; which means it will wear out faster than a sealed bearing drill bit. On the other hand, a mill tooth drill bit is cheaper to manufacture than a sealed bearing drill bit since it doesn’t need the extra protection.

 Open Roller Bearings Save Money For Shallow Drilling

Tricone bearings that rotate without a seal are called open roller bearings. These tricone bits are usually cheaper to manufacture. The only flaw to this type of tricone bit design is that they need to be cleared of debris after every couple hundred feet of drilling, this can prove to be very time-consuming when drilling deep into the earth’s crust. Open roller bearing tricone drill bits are great for shallow drilling and because they are relatively cheaper to manufacture they are commonly used when digging a couple hundred feet below the surface.

When To Use Tricone Bits Over PDC Bits

A polycrystalline diamond compact bit or PDC bit can be used at higher speeds than a traditional tricone bit. It is more efficient to use the PDC bit when drilling through highly consolidated rock formations such as shale, limestone, and sandstone, but they are considered a specialty bit and can be broken easily when used for other rock formations. The tricone drill bit is still the best all-purpose drill bit and can be used for many different types of rock formations, but doesn’t discount the PDC bit when drilling through consolidated rock formations.

The Value Of Tungsten Carbide Inserts For Tricone Drill Bits

When considering a Tungsten Carbide Insert (TCI) for your Tricone Drill bit you must consider the various benefits a TCI can provide and if those benefits are needed for your drilling project. One benefit a TCI can provide is the ability to withstand heat which makes it a suitable option when drilling in harder rock formations. Another benefit a TCI gives is its resiliency; this comes in handy when drilling at high speeds making it a better option than a traditional tricone drill bit.

Final Thoughts

Learning more about tricone drill bits can be a challenge. We hope this article helped teach you four important facts about the different types of tricone drill bits and the various advantages they can provide to your drilling project. In our article we went over the advantages of using an open bearing or a sealed bearing drill bit, the benefit of open roller bearing for shallow drilling, the special circumstances when a PDC bit can be used over a tricone bit and the value using a tungsten carbide insert on your tricone drill bit can provide.


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