Tricones Top the Drilling Charts

tricones-top-the drilling-chartsAs we raised our glasses on New Year’s Eve, many toasts were made and many resolutions were born in an attempt to better ourselves.

But the lucky tricone just keeps plugging away, its forms and functions already as close to perfect as it gets. Tricones have not changed in their design in a great many years, and that’s because they’ve already got these three most important areas covered.


For us flawed humans, our quality can always be improved upon. It could mean doing better work at your job or reading a book or two to round out your talking points. In the drilling industry where tricones abound, quality is doubly important, and they have to be quality from the word ‘go’. Projects that utilize tricones involve millions of dollars in expense and potential revenue, so it only makes sense to use high calibre bits such as tricones when failure isn’t an options. They’ve already got it covered.

Uniquely designed with three cone-shaped heads, each equipped with several rows of teeth, tricones boast unparalleled precision while supporting maximum levels of production. And while the results generated by tricones make them well worth the cost, high quality used tricones are also readily available for projects with a smaller budget. Whichever route you choose, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your all-important drill bits are top quality and able to perform under pressure.


As tricones go, it’s essential. You can research for months and choose what appear to be the best drill bits on the planet. But if they aren’t tricones, or they lack the staying power that tricones are known for, you’re putting your project at risk.

Substances targeted by drilling with tricones, such as crude oil, are often found deep inside rock formations that are as hard as, well, rock. Because many tricones are sealed roller bits that are shielded by a protective barrier, and some other tricones are sealed journals with extremely tough faces, they are perfectly suited for what they do. The drilling world is no place for the faint of heart, and that applies just as much to your drill bits as to the people that operate them.

It is this durability that supports a thriving market in used tricones as well. The fact that recycled tricones are often used in the construction industry to drill foundation holes is a further testament to the longevity of tricones, and a key reason for their widespread use. And since longevity means you’ll replace them less often, these drill bits are hard on rock but easy on your budget.


Tricones are all about variety, and not just because you can buy them new or used. They also vary in design so you can find the one that best fits your needs.

Open roller bearing tricones are the least expensive type and offer an alternative for budget-conscious jobs. But you must weigh that against the lack of a seal which makes them vulnerable to jamming.

Sealed roller bearing tricones are like the annoying older brother of the open roller tricones, doing everything they do, only better. Thanks to an O-ring and lubricant reservoir, they are less vulnerable to outside material and thus less likely to jam at an inopportune moment.

Journal bearing tricones are the costliest variety of tricones and worth every penny. Their floating brush seal makes them extremely durable and low maintenance, a great combination when time is money.


Pursue a number of used tricones for sale.


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Changing Lives with Tricone Drilling…Bit by Bit

tricone-drillingWater; we turn on the faucet to wash our hands, and it’s there. But what if it wasn’t?

We crank the shower taps for water to cleanse us, and it flows freely. But what if it didn’t?

Just as the tricone has become synonymous with drilling, clean water equates to health and well being for those who enjoy it. Unfortunately, almost a billion people have no access to tricones and clean water, primarily for one of two reasons:

  • The need for water in a given region exceeds the ability of the land to supply it. This occurs mostly in dry areas of the world, where even if the population had inroads to tricone drilling, there is not enough water in the ground to meet the demand.
  • Sometimes a proper water source exists that could theoretically be accessed with tricone drilling, yet the population lacks the funds needed for tricone drilling due to other issues such as economics or politics.

Water fallout

Where people lack the means for tricone drilling to reach clean, safe water, the consequences are significant:

  • Poor water and sanitation accounts for roughly 80% of illnesses in developing countries in the absence of tricone drilling. Worldwide, without tricone drilling of adequate wells, 25% of deaths under age 5 stem from water-related disease.
  • Deprived of tricone drilling for a proper water supply, it becomes difficult to grow food. This is just one instance where the lack of tricone drilling and sufficient water impacts a certain aspect of life, which in turn affects many others: A dearth of water causes a food shortage, sparking malnutrition that hampers education and prolongs the cycle of poverty.
Water Needed to Produce it (litres)
Glass of milk
Cup of Coffee
Bag of Chips
Slice of Bread
  • Minus tricone drilling and sufficient water, education suffers. Without tricone drilling and an adequate water supply, children are too malnourished to concentrate in class or, thanks to their own water-related disease or that of a family member, miss school altogether.

By negatively affecting health, education and access to food, the lack of tricone drilling and potable water triggers wide-spread poverty that is difficult to escape.

Water works

Fortunately, where the absence of tricone drilling and the resulting water well is due to non-physical factors that are changeable, inadequate water supplies can often be addressed. Tricone drilling is certainly not the only answer.

Desalination of seawater is one substitute for tricone drilling, but the cost makes it impractical for the countries that need it the most.

While recycling of wastewater for irrigation purposes is another alternative to tricone drilling, it requires thorough purification and stringent safeguards to ensure safety for the end user.

Tricone drilling can also involve significant expense. But as awareness grows of clean water shortages and the damage that results, more and more organizations are stepping up to facilitate well creation through tricone drilling or other means. And when they do, the benefits of tricone drilling are significant:

  • Clean water from tricone drilling drastically reduces disease, thereby boosting productivity and enhancing quality of life.
  • Tricone drilling for safe water can greatly improve crop production and nutrition, important steps on the path to sustainability.
  • As children gain access to usable water through tricone drilling, they can return to school, further their education and explore options that were otherwise out of reach.

A safe, accessible water supply from tricone drilling or other means has wide-reaching implications, giving recipients the time, energy and money to better their lives and create opportunity for themselves and their families.

There are no quick fixes for issues like poverty, disease and hunger. But many would say that in our quest for solutions, the first step is clear: Just add water.

Browse a wide variety of tricone bits.

What Are Tricone Drill Bits Normally Used For?

Tricone bites were created and utilized for the first time during the Great Depression. At the time, they were considered to be a huge advancement in drilling technology, and are still used to this day.

Tricone bits are the go-to solutions for virtually any kind of well drilling. This can include everything from digging simple water wells to extracting oil from deep underground.

Tricone drill bits come in a number of different varieties to address a variety of tasks; however, the most common are Mill Tooth bits and TCI (Tungsten Carbide Insert). This type of tricone bit is capable of handling a wide range of different rock formations including soft, hard and everything in between, but you’ll generally want to use a tricone designed and suited for the task at hand, and deciding what kind of tricone bit you will need to use largely depends on what kind of rock formation you are drilling into.

They are used to drill soft rock formations which tend to include clay, sand, limestone, and shale. Typically a Mill Tooth tricone drill bit is used when working with soft rock formations. Tricone drill bits that are ideal for soft rock formations will have long protruding teeth.

They are also used to drill medium rock formations which include dolomites, hard limestone, and calcites. When you are working with medium rock formations you are going to want to use a TCI tricone bit. You will notice tricone bits intended for medium rock formations teeth are closer together than ones used for soft formations.

And finally, they are used to drill hard rock formations, which include anything that is abrasive. Tricone bits created for hard rock formations usually have less protruding teeth that are also very close together. If you are working with a rock formation that is a little difficult to place, you are going to need to pay special attention to the type of teeth, additional seals, and gauges that you may need in order to effectively drill into the formation.

Browse a wide variety of new and used tricone bits.


What Will a Tricone Drill Bit Do?

Having the right equipment for a project can sometimes make or break you, so it’s important to be prepared. Used widely in the well-drilling industry, tricone drill bits can go through shale, clay, and limestone. They will also go through hard shale, mudstone, and calcites. Tricone bits will work for any type of rock formation whether it is hard, medium, or soft, but depending on the material being drilled through, you’ll want to pay special attention to the type of tooth on the bit and seals to make sure you are staying safe during use.


The purpose of a tricone drill bit is to go into the ground and get to things like crude oil deposits, usable water, or natural gas deposits. Crude oil can be deep inside hard formations of rock, so a tough bit is needed to get down to it. When drilling for water, the drill bit makes fast work of the hard rock in the way, and gets to the water below more efficiently than any other tool. They are also used to make holes for foundations, and are often used for this type of job after they bit has been drilling for oil or something else for a while – the construction industry often opts to use recycled bits in order to construct their foundations in a less expensive way.

There are three different types of tricone drill bits. There are roller, sealed roller, and sealed journal. The roller is an open bearing used for shallow water as well as oil and gas wells. It is important to note that the open roller bits are less expensive to manufacture, and therefore less expensive to you. The sealed roller bit is protected a little better with a protective barrier around it making it great for digging wells. The sealed journal is used for drilling oil as it has the hardest face and can stand up to more.

The way the tricone breaks through the rock is by using its multitude of very small chisel shapes, which protrude from a roller. These are pushed into the rock by the rods that connect it to the surface, and the weight is distributed evenly to break through. Like most things, there are some limitations to the use of each tricone bit, which can sometimes be hard to control when hitting extremely hard rock that the tricone isn’t meant for. However, when the correct bit is used it should have no problem breaking through, so make sure to check the IADC codes list before you settle on buying one for your job.

Remember when choosing the right type for your job, you need to take into consideration the type of job you will be doing, and the type of rock you will be going through. Learn everything you can about the job before you choose a type of bit and you will be on the right track.

In short, the right tricone bit helps make the majority of drilling jobs faster and easier, but only if the right bit is in use. Each bit type works best for a different job, but tricones are generally very versatile in what they can handle – as long as you know the parameters of your job and the specs of what you’ll be digging through, it should be easy to select a suitable bit from the list of options. Additionally, if you’re on a budget, used tricone bits are readily available for purchase as well as new tricone bits.


Browse a wide variety of new and used tricone bits.


The History of Tricone Drill Bit Design

A tricone bit is one of many rock drilling tools that would be commonly found in both the mining and the well drilling industries. Designed with three cone shaped heads that are each equipped with several rows of teeth, the tricone is a most versatile bit.

A group of engineers that belonged to the Sharp-Hughes Tool Company first created the tricone bit in 1933 during the Great Depression. Using the two-cone bit design that belonged to the company; the engineers were able to incorporate a third cone to create the tricone bit we are familiar with today. In fact, the only real difference between the tricone and the original drill bit is the fact that the original drill bit only had two heads instead of three – the general mechanics and functioning of the tricone was otherwise perfectly suited to its tasks back then. The heads on the tricone bit inclined at roughly 45 degrees and used a bearing in order to make sure they run smoother and last longer.

Since 1933, the tricone (three-cone) bit has been the top choice in the mining and well drilling industry. There have been some improvements made on original tricone design – better bearings (open roller bearings, air-cooled roller bearings, sealed roller bearings, or sealed journal bearings) and sharper teeth – but the same basic concept still remains. These advances have made the tricone bits dig deeper, last longer and dig through any formation. When compared to other drill bits, tricone drill bits are easier to maintain, switch out and control when working with difficult rock formations. Another reason why tricone bits are favored over other bits is the initial cost. When it comes to a tight budget, tricone drill bits are a great deal more affordable than any other bit on the market.


Browse a wide variety of new and used tricone bits.



When learning about tricone drill bits, it is important to note that when the cones of a tricone turn, the bearings act as a buffer. The bearings allow you to drill for longer and deeper by pushing the tricone drill bit to its full potential. There are four main kinds of bearings that allow the tricone to function. They different types of tricone drill bit bearings we go over are open roller bearings, air-cooled roller bearings, sealed roller bearings, and sealed journal bearings. This article should help shed some light on what tricone bearing to use for your drilling project.










The main difference that open roller bearings have from other tricone bearings is that they don’t have a seal. This open tricone design allows rock and mud particles to enter into the cone. Once the particles have entered and plugged up the tricone, the bit must be pulled up and cleaned. Open roller bearings are mainly used to dig shallow holes; they can be used for deeper holes but the tricone bit will need to be pulled up and cleaned approximately every hundred feet. The cost to manufacture the open roller bearing tricone drill bit is less than other tricone bits because of the simpler design.










When researching air-cooled roller bearings they can only be found on air circulation tricone drill bits. These drill bits employ high pressure air that travels down the air passages into the tricone bearing helping to lubricate, cool and remove pieces of particles from the tricone. The ability to self-clean, lubricate and cool the Tricone bit is a strong competitive advantage for the air-cooled roller bearings. This tricone drill bit gives your drilling project added efficiency because of it’s ability to dig further and faster than ordinary tricone drill bits.









When looking into sealed roller bearings you will notice that they have very similar characteristics as open roller bearings. However, the one main difference is that these tricone bearings are sealed with an o-ring. This seal helps extend the life of the tricone bit and its bearings because of the extra protection an o-ring provides. This tricone bit is equipped with a lubrication and compensator system which gives it the ability to control and stop grease from leaking into the bearing. This system makes it easier for the tricone drill bit to drill deeper into the formation without the need to be pulled up as frequently as other tricone drill bits. This helps improve the efficiency of your drilling project without added man-power.










Sealed journal tricone bearings help by reducing friction and supporting loads, making it durable and wear resistant. These tricone bearings were designed by using two races to hold balls and spread the load throughout them. As the bearing race spins, it causes the bearing balls to rotate and create less friction. A sealed journal tricone is a fully sealed system with a floating bushing. The benefit of a floating bushing is that it keeps particles free from the bearing allowing the cones in the tricone bit to spin. The floating bushing is usually made out of silver plated beryllium copper which acts as a self lubricant helping to reduce friction, and dissipate heat under heavy load conditions. The sealed journal tricone helps to improve drilling performance and will help your drilling project run smoothly.


Browse a selection of new and used tricone bits.



When learning about tricone drill bits it’s important to know what benefit they provide to different industries. In this article we highlight four of the most popular industries that are using for tricone drill bits. A tricone drill bit is one of the most versatile drill bits on the market today. It can be used to bore a hole into a natural gas deposit, drill towards crude oil deposits, provide usable ground water, and make holes for foundations. Tricone bits are able to break through many different types of rock formations, soft, medium and hard. These formations are broken down into some of the following.


-Soft Limestone
-Red Beds


-Hard Shale


-Hard Shale
-Cherry Limestone

Photo credit: SMU Central University Libraries / Foter









A tricone drill bit can also be used to extract deposits of crude oil which can be buried deep in hard rock formations. Another popular use for tricone drill bits is to dig holes for water wells, this is extremely important for many countries that suffer from droughts. The last industry we profile that uses tricone drill bits is the construction industry; they use old tricone bits to drill holes into concrete formations.


In the natural gas industry the use of a tricone drill bit is of extreme importance due to the versatility and efficiency that they provide for the drilling operation. When a tricone drill bit is used in combination with Oil-based drilling mud, this can increase lubricity which increases the efficiency of the drilling operation and helps to prevent the tricone drill bit from wearing out as fast.


When trying to extract crude oil out of varying rock formations there is no better substitute than a tricone drill bit. It’s versatile design helps it transfer from softer rock formations into harder rock formations without damaging the drill bit, which is crucial when you consider the amount of drilling that a large operation is expecting to accomplish every day.


The water well drilling industry uses a variety of drill bits including the tricone drill bit in order to effectively harvest ground water. A tricone drill bit is used when the ground water is buried deep below the surface in a variety of rock formations. The tricone bit is effective at digging through different types of formations; which helps improve efficiency for the drilling operation.


When a tricone drill bit is nearing the end of it’s working life it can be re-purposed for the construction industry. The re-tooled tricone drill bit is an inexpensive option for the construction industry when they need to drill through concrete foundations. The foundation holes the tricone drills are making are extremely shallow. This means that the bit can last much longer than it usually would dig for the oil & gas industry.


A tricone drill bit can provide benefits to many important heavy industries. In our article we highlighted four popular industries that the tricone drill bit is being used in. This information shows the all-around effectiveness of the tricone drill bit. A tricone drill bit can be used to dig a hole into a natural gas deposit, bore a hole into crude oil deposits, uncover new ground water, and make holes for foundations.


Browse a selection of new and used tricone bits.


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.


Browse a selection of new and used tricone bits.


Three Tricone Bearing Types: A Refresher

When it comes to tricone drill bits, there are three different bearing types to choose from: roller, sealed roller and sealed journal. Each of these is focused on below.

Roller Tricone Bearing Bit

The first are called roller or open bearing types of  tricones bits. These types of tricone bearings are used for shallow water, oil or gas wells. These roller bearings let each of the three cones spin independently.

Sealed Roller Tricone Bearing Bits

The second tricone bit is a sealed roller bearing. It derives it name from a seal that protects each tricone drill bit to protect it from being damaged by the earth during the cutting process. Sealed roller bits also aid in oil-well drilling, and other well drilling exploration ventures.

Of course, through the wear and tear, the seal on these bearings will eventually wear away. When that happens, the tricone drill bit is still useable. It should function as a typical tricone roller bearing, and be used as such.

Sealed Journal Tricone Bearing Bits

The last of the three tricone bit bearing types are referred to as friction bearings or sealed journal bearings. Typically, these are used for oil drilling, as they are the toughest in the face of hard drilling climates and circumstances. These friction bearing tricone bits need drilling lubrication in order to cut through the tough terrain. They are the strongest and toughest tricone bearing bits, and are used to access the most difficult to reach resources.

Choosing the Right Option

When choosing the perfect bearing for a tricone drill bit well-drilling operation, each type serves a unique purpose in completing the process. While all tricone bits are extremely versatile and effective for precise drilling ventures, it is important to purchase the correct bearing based on need. Well drilling is a vital service in today’s global economy’s infrastructure, and correctly executing the process is crucial. By choosing the right tricone bearing bits, the drilling results can be astounding.

Browse a selection of new and used tricone bits.


Maximize Your Tricone Drill Purchase

Getting Started

The first steps of any tricone drilling project involve extensive research. When examining the potential drilling sites drilling area, begin by looking at nearby wells. These should be analyzed for their soil and rock formation content, their location, and other wells in that area.

Have the Right Tricone Drill Bit

Having the proper tricone drill bit is crucial! The tricone drill is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that the drilling industry has ever seen. Its three cone design uses its weight on the bit to maximize its drilling performance. In drilling, high performance is crucial, and through the tricone’s innovative design and hard teeth, they unleash unprecedented precision and production.

Tricone drill bits can be used to drill through both soft rock formations and extremely hard rock formations. When drilling through soft rock formations, it is best to use a tricone bit with a moderate weight that rotates at a high speed. For hard rock formations, it is best to use a heavily weighted tricone bit with moderate rotary speeds.

Check the Tricone Bit Label

The best way accurately assess which tricone bit is best for the job is by checking the four digit tricone bit label. The labels are organized in a way where the first number addresses if the tricone teeth are suitable for soft, medium or hard rock formations (number one being soft, two: medium, three: hard). The next digit refers again to softness or hardness of rock but on a scale of one to four. The third digit is on a scale of one through seven, and aims to identify tricone bit based on its seal and bearing. The fourth digit is a letter symbolizing additional information about the bit. The four digit numeration code on tricone drill bits aim to make the purchasing easy and straightforward in order to maximize drilling efficiency and success.

Browse a wide selection of new and used tricone bits.


Tricone Drills: The Solution to Well Drilling

Whenever you’re readying for a drilling job — or any major task — having the proper tools to achieve your goal is the key to success.

Early drilling methods used hand steeling, which involved manually using chisel and hammer to break through rock formations, soil and other layers of the earth’s crust. Using this method, a miner was able to create a one inch hole and eight inches deep in about five minutes time. Eventually, hand steeling developed into a skilled trade, and was dependent on a miner’s ability to smash the chisel while turning it between hits to crush the rock formation directly underneath, and by its sides.

However, over time, the hand steeling method has been replaced by the much more effective tricone drill. The tricone drill bit uses two methods in tandem with its shape and weight. Tricone drills also use two processes — jetting and whipstock — to create straight, deep and efficient wells.

About Jetting

Jetting is a method in which drilling fluid is expelled from nozzles in the drill. The nozzle pockets, located at the bottom of the drill bit, cause the rock formations to erode — which means that the wells stay straight. When using the immense weight and pressure of a tricone drill, jetting helps wash away the lesser of harsh rock formations, and keeps the well on its charted path.

About Whipstock

The whipstock method changes the direction of the well. Whereas jetting helps stay on its path, the whipstock method changes the route, which is ideal if resources are more plentiful in a slightly different direction. Once back on track, the whipstock is removed, and the pathway can be properly resumed.

Advantage of Tricone Bits

By using tricone bits to do your drilling, many different variables can be turned to your advantage. For example, when there is an overabundance of mud, the teeth of the tricone uses pressure to penetrate deeply into the soil and crust. Plus, during exploration drilling, the tricone drill method is very adept at handling unexpected changes in pore pressure. The design allows it to cut through many different barriers thanks to its effective shape and user methods.

Avoiding Problems with Tricone Bits

In large scale tricone drill ventures, drillers may encounter various problems. However, when these mistakes or unexpected changes arise, the tricone drill provides a myriad of effective solutions. To begin with, the tricone drill bit allows you to control its trajectory. The tricone drill is regarded as the “all purpose” drill bit, as its shape and design lends itself to just about any rock formation it comes in into contact with. Additionally, since the tricone drill comes in versatile sizes, the width of the well is easily customized. Moreover, tricone drills are available with different teeth depending on the prospective drilling area. There is a tricone drill suitable to optimize well creation, and for any formation, regardless of the reason.

Multiple Options for Success

By design, the tricone drill can withstand extreme pressures, depths and geological barriers. Its unyielding precision allows for optimal well drilling. Made from the hardest and strongest materials on earth, the tricone drill bores its way through any obstacles nature may present.

By using a tricone to complete well-drilling, you have multiple options for success. Tricone drills are effective and versatile. They have replaced the hand mining technique, and are the best way to create wells in today’s landscape — either for producing water wells, or in extracting oil to be refined. These tricones continue to deliver solutions for whatever your drilling need.

Browse a wide variety of new and used tricone bits.

Choosing the Best Tricone Bits for Optimal Drilling Results

Tricones are used for numerous drilling jobs around the world, from making and forming water wells, to handling complex oil extraction operations. Depending on the project, different types of tricone bits are needed to complete the job. Regardless of the type of you need, be assured that there are tricones bits for sale that are suitable for the task at hand. The remainder of this article provides you with facts and advice to make the right choice.

Exploring the Different Types of Tricone Bits for Sale

Open Roller Bearings

Open roller bearings tricones are ideal for shallow drilling projects where occasional delays are tolerable to the overall project schedule and duration. All open roller bearing tricone bits for sale are designated with a 1, 2, or 3 as the third digit in their IADC code. 1 is for standard roller bearings, 2 is for air cooled bearings, and 3 is for open bearing with gauge protection.

Keep in mind, however, that open roller bearings have no seal, and as a result outside debris can potentially enter through the cone and interfere with the ability of the cones to rotate. What’s more, significant debris can jam tricones and force a halt in drilling while debris is removed. However, they remain popular due to their lower cost relative to other types.

Sealed Roller Bearing

Sealed roller bearing tricones are similar to open seal bearing tricones, but feature an O-ring that protects any debris from reaching the roller bearings via the cone. These tricones feature a grease or lubricant reservoir, which prevents any blockages caused by debris and keeps the bearings in motion. These factors make sealed roller bearing tricones an obvious choice for deeper drilling projects where time delays are unacceptable.

Keep in mind that, eventually, the O-ring will wear out. However, the tricones can still be used for some time as if they were open roller bearings. Sealed roller bearing tricone bits for sale are designated with a 4 or 5 as the third digit of their IADC code. 4 is for standard sealed roller bearings, and 5 is for a sealed roller bearing with gauge protection.

Journal Bearing

Journal bearing tricones bits for sale are suitable for robust projects, and can withstand a great deal of wear and tear. This is the most expensive option, and best suited to complex drilling projects. Journal bearings discard the roller bearings in favor of a “floating brush” seal, which is combined with lubricant to allow the roller-head to rotate without any exposure to outside debris.

Ideally, journal bearing tricone bits for sale can stand up to extremely prolonged and deep drilling sessions with minimal time spent on maintenance or tending to debris. Gauge protection is the norm with journal bearings, due to the types of projects these tricones are used on. After all, if a project requires the durability of journal bearing tricones, it stands to reason it will also require the durability offered by gage protection. Journal roller bearing tricones are designated with a 6 or 7 as the third digit of their IADC code. 6 is for a standard sealed journal bearing, and 7 is for a sealed journal bearing with gauge protection.

Suitable for Varied Rock Formations

As a final word of advice, keep in mind that, generally speaking, tricone bits are better suited for varied rock formations. The action of the individual rollers on a tricone bit serves to fracture the rock, making it significantly more flexible in terms of the range of formations that one bit can be used upon.

Browse a wide variety of tricone bits for sale.


How to Find Ideal Tricones for Sale

It can be difficult to know how to select the right tricones, especially if you don’t have a wealth of experience with drill wells. Frankly, the IADC code can be very confusing at first, and the terminology is hard to grasp. After all, what do the terms “rebuilt” or “rerun” mean when it comes to finding the right tricones for sale?

In the remainder of this article, we’ll simplify the landscape and explore how to choose the right tricones for sale. This will be very valuable if you’re a new tricone buyer, and need help communicating with sellers and manufacturers.

Start with the Scope of your Projects

The scope of your project is the single most important factor when determining what equipment you should buy. You can’t use the same tricone bits for simple drilling projects that you would with heavy duty jobs, such as deep well drilling. For these sorts of projects, you’ll need to evaluate potential tricones for sale based on particular factors. You can review the IADC codes to determine the criteria for making the right choice, such as the material, the bearing type and your budget.

Also, ensure that you choose a bit that is suitable for whatever rock formations you’ll encounter. If you’re unsure of the density or composition, ask an expert. Otherwise, you could run into extremely costly delays and equipment repairs.

The Best Suppliers of Tricones for Sale

Once you know what kind of bit you need for your specific project, your next step is to choose a high quality manufacturer. Generally, bits cannot be ordered online, so you will need to contact and communicate with a seller about what you need. Remember: investing in high quality bits will affect the total outcome of your entire project, and the overall financial consequences can be severe if you choose the wrong tricone bit. It’s wise to choose the best tricone for sale for your projects every time.

Fortunately, you don’t have to leave your office or home to find suitable manufacturers, because there is an abundance of information about high quality tricones for sale online. Just make sure that you speak directly with the seller and verify that they thoroughly understand your needs. They should help you make the right choice, and not try and aggressively sell you anything.

Used vs. New Tricones for Sale

Used tricones for sale – which are sometimes called “rerun” or “rebuilt” — can be a huge bargain. They’re typically more suitable for projects that are smaller in scale, are at shallower depths, and where cost overruns are less tolerable than delays. Most reputable drill bit services will have some rebuilt tricones on hand, but it’s always best to contact them directly and see what is available. A respectable bit supplier will ensure any rebuilt tricones still meet quality standards.

Getting Started

If you follow the above-noted advice, you should be well on your way to choosing the correct tricone bit for sale. If you’re still confused and find that you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask questions. There’s no such thing as a bad question, and you definitely want to get your facts straight before you start drilling – not after. Equipped with the right information, you’ll put yourself in a position to experience a successful drilling project. What’s more, you’ll be on your way to becoming an expert, yourself!

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Different Kinds of Tricone Bits for Sale

Regardless of whether you’re drilling a complex oil well or simple water well, it’s essential to have the right tools. Fortunately, tricones can be tailored to the drilling scenario, rock formation, or drilling speed that your project requires. What’s more, modern tricones are made with open or sealed roller bearings, and feature different drilling surface materials. With this being said, each have their advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to understand these in order to pick the correct tricone bits for sale. In this article, we’ll explore these issues.

Open Roller Bearing Tricones

Open roller bearings tricone bits for sale allow the bearings to rotate without a seal. This makes them less expensive to produce, and therefore, cheaper to buy relative to other options. These types of tricones are ideal though for shallow drilling, where you only have to clean the tricones once or twice – or maybe not at all depending on depth. Some open roller bearing tricones have the ability to blast air through them to help clear away debris. This makes the cleaning process much easier, but it can add to the cost of tricone bits for sale.

However, keep in mind that they may require more maintenance. This is because debris can enter through the open cone and potentially lock up the bearings, which can lead to costly delays. It’s not unusual for open roller bearing tricones require cleaning every few hundred yards, which, again is why they’re better for shallow drilling.

Sealed Roller Bearing Tricones

Sealed bearing tricone bits for sale are designed to protect the rotating bearings from debris to allow for longer drilling durations. They’re relatively more expensive, but on some projects, the trade-off is well worth it since less time needs to be spent on cleaning and maintenance — especially compared to open roller bearing tricones. The bearings are generally sealed with an O-ring, and provide more lubrication to ensure the bearings keep going longer. This makes sealed bearings an obvious choice for any substantial or deep well drilling project.

TCI Tricones

TCI (Tungsten Carbide Inserts) feature superior hardness and durability, making them some of the longest lasting tricone bits for sale on the market. Furthermore, these tricone bits for sale offer exceptional value due to the quality of the materials used, which makes them ideal for any long term drilling projects. As with all tricone bits, you can opt for sealed or open roller bearings to best suit your project.

PDC Bits – An Alternative to Tricones

A comparatively new innovation, PDC (Polycrystalline Diamond Compact) drill bits can be used at higher speeds to complete projects in short order. The industrial-grade synthetic diamonds have exceptional strength; however, they’re also more brittle, which can lead to drill bit damage in some rock formations. PDC drill bits are best suited to large scale and potentially very expensive drilling projects, where the superior hardness and drilling speed will have time to offset the initial costs.

How to Extend the Use of Your Tricones or PDC Bits

Occasionally while drilling, your bit may shift slightly off center and risk making contact with the borehole wall with significant force. This can result in increased instability, drilling at an undesired angle, or damage to the drill bit itself. Fortunately, gauge protection may be able to prevent these adverse consequences.

Gauge protection is an insert that prevents the cutting elements from coming into contact with the borehole walls. Essentially, it controls the first point of impact for the tricones (or other bit) in the event that the drill begins to go off center. This can increase the life span of your tricone bits for sale, which is always a welcome benefit no matter what kind you are using.

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Finding the Right Bit for Projects of Any Depth

Tricones-at-DepthTricones have historically been used for a wide range of drilling projects from simple water wells to complex oil extraction operations. We’ll look over a wide range of common well drilling projects and which of the readily available tricones for sale are likely to be used for each. As tricones and other drill bits have advanced over the past 100 years many projects formally considered impossible may be seriously considered. Hard rock formations that would have once been prohibitively expensive have become viable not just for industrial scale projects but even for small scale water well drilling. Regardless of the type of project or the overall scope, there are tricones for sale that are perfect for the task at hand. Generally, for this article we’re assuming the scope of the project is significant enough to warrant drilling as opposed to a driven well, or any other very small scale wells.

Tricones for Sale Today that are Suited for Water Well Drilling

Water well drilling generally occurs at shallower depths than any other kind of drilling, and for shallow projects you are most likely to be concerned about the cost of drill bits. When selecting among the various tricones for sale, shallow drilling operation can usually be completed with open roller bearing tricones, as the loss of durability is counteracted by the lower cost. Open roller bearing tricones can jam more frequently as well, but the smaller scope of the project means that jams are less time consuming to fix, and far less expensive as fewer workers will be sitting idle. Unless the formation is particularly hard you will likely be able to use steel tooth tricones without issue. Furthermore, consider buying one of the many used, refurbished, or “rerun” tricones for sale. For particularly shallow water wells, those less than 100 meters, purchasing a specific drill bit is likely not required as the bit will be included with the equipment rental. Exceptionally shallow projects will most likely use a very basic fixed cutter bit.

Oil Well Drilling at Shallow to Medium Depths

Shallow depths for oil wells can be well under 100 meters, but even going a kilometer or more underground is not an exceptional feat thanks to modern advances in drilling technologies and the kinds of tricones for sale. At the most shallow depths again open bearing tricones may be considered due to the cost savings offered. In soft or some medium formations you may be able to use steel toothed bits for further cost savings. However, such easily accessible shallow oil in soft formations is relatively uncommon in the modern world, so chances are the project will be looking at a depth of several hundred if not several thousand meters. At these depths sealed bearings tricones are a necessity, and you will almost always be using Tungsten Carbide Insert buttons simply for the superior durability and the less frequent drilling halts.

Exceptionally Deep Wells Require the Very Best Tricones for Sale Today

For truly record setting wells no expense can be spared when selecting among the very best that modern well drilling has to offer. Only the best tricones for sale will suffice. The average crude well drilled in 2008 ran 1.8 kilometers below the surface. True record settings like the Kola borehole can reach depths of over 12 kilometers underground, or 40,000 feet. For wells even approaching that depth journal bearing tricones made out of the best composite materials are a must. No expense can be spared on projects of that scope because of the extraordinary cost of any delays.

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The Deepest Wells in the World: How Advances in Drilling Technology Changed What We Thought Possible


It’s amazing to think that many of the deepest wells in the world were created without many of the advances we associated with the state of modern well drilling, or without the advanced composite tricones for sale today. Remarkably, many of these impressive projects were created over decades of sustained drilling, with numerous bore paths and diverging directions.

Between each of these impressive projects, significant improvements in the kinds of tricones for sale and drilling technology advancements dramatically changed what was possible. What initially took the Soviets 15 years took the modern Russians a little over a month.

This article will showcase some of these amazing drilling projects, and highlight how the modern tricones for sale today made it all possible.

The Kola “Superdeep” Borehole – 12,262 meters, more than 40,00 feet.


Courtesy of Wikipedia

Perhaps the most fascinating of all boreholes, the Kola Borehole was drilled by the Soviets just to see how deep into the Earth’s crust they could drill. A research endeavor rather than a commercial enterprise, the Kola Superdeep Borehole ran for 35 consecutive years! The tricones for sale in 1970 when drilling started had many of the same design principals we use now, but lacked the wealth of composite materials that have come to dominate the high-end drill bit market.

However, such delays never stopped the Soviets, and this project went full speed ahead for decades before budget cuts finally forced a closure. In 1983, 13 years after drilling started, the Kola Borehole hit 12,000 meters depth, clinching the world record for the deepest borehole. They took a year off to celebrate, but unfortunately for them, disaster struck when part of the drill broke off in the hole after they came back to resume, and future drilling had to be started over from 7,000 meters. Below 12,000 meters drilling is almost impossible, even with the advanced tricones for sale by high-end manufacturers today.

Al Shaheen Oil Field – 12, 190 meters

Courtesy of EcoMENA

Courtesy of EcoMENA

In 2008 the Kola depth record was challenged by the Al Shaheen Oil field. Using the best tricone bits for sale anywhere in the world along with some of the most experienced drillers, and the most advanced rigs, this project was remarkable for several reasons. Besides the record setting depth of 12,290 meters, it set another record for horizontal distance at the same time, stretching 10,900 meters. If that hasn’t convinced you of the power available with the kind of modern tricones for sale now, the project is also famous for reaching completion in a mere 36 days of drilling. This made the Al Shaheen the fastest drilling projects ever undertaken in terms of raw distance covered.

Sakhalin-1, the Z-44, and the Many Holes of Sakhalin – 12,376 meters

The Sakhalin oil fields never fail to impress when you consider just how often they have set and broken world records in drilling. Found in far Eastern Russian, The Sakhalin drilling project is remarkable for the sheer number of super-deep boreholes it required. A full 6 of the world’s 10 deepest boreholes are here, and over 50% of the top 30 deepest boreholes are found on this one oil field.

The first world record was set in 2006, making the Sakhalin boreholes some of the most dramatic examples of what modern drilling technology can accomplish, and just how good the tricones for sale today really are. Later drilling projects were able to build upon the progress of earlier drilling attempts, leading to the impressive feat of drilling to a record setting 12,289 meters with a 10,902 meter reach in only 38 days. This depth record would go on to be broken in 2011, and broken once more in 2012. To this day the Sakhalin field remains the foremost location for cutting edge drilling equipment, and the final destination for many of the world’s best tricones for sale.

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3 Essential Tips When Searching for Tricones for Sale

Let’s face it: if you don’t have plenty of prior experience drilling wells, it’s tough to know how to search for tricones. Not only is the IADC code confusing, but some of the terminology is hard to grasp. For example, you may be unsure if “rebuilt” or “rerun” tricones for sale is a bargain – or a mistake. What’s more, you might be unclear about what your project requires.

If you’re a little confused or even very frustrated, then this article is for you! That’s because you’ll quickly learn the 3 essential tips for buying tricones. This is especially valuable if you’re a first-time buyer and aren’t sure how to communicate with potential sellers.

Tip #1: Determine the Scope of Your Project

The scope of your project is the single most important factor when determining what equipment you need. For many simple drilling projects under 50 meters, you might not even need a rotary drill. For other projects, you may want to look at a PDC or Fixed Tooth bit.

However, for projects of sufficient depth, you’ll need to evaluate potential tricones for sale based on your scope. Start by checking out the IADC codes to get an idea of different criteria for making the right choice, such as the material, the bearing type and your budget.

Also, be very sure that you choose a bit that is suitable for the rock formations. Indeed, you must have a clear understanding of the rock formation you’re planning to drill before you start. If you’re unsure of the density or composition, consult with an expert.

Tip #2: Find a Suitable Manufacturer High Quality Tricones for Sale

Once you know what bit you need for your project, be sure that you find a high quality manufacturer. Generally, these bits cannot simply be ordered on eBay. Rather, you’ll need to communicate with a seller about what you need. Remember that high quality bits are an investment in the entire project. You don’t want to cut corners here, because the financial consequences can be severe.

Fortunately, you don’t have to leave your office or home to find worthy and suitable manufacturers. There are many high quality tricones for sale online. Just make sure that, at some point, you speak directly with the seller, and verify that he or she thoroughly understands your needs, and is able to help you make the right choice.

Tip #3: Used Tricones for Sale Could be a Smart Option

Used tricones for sale – which are sometimes called “rerun” or “rebuilt” — can be a great bargain, and more suitable for projects that are smaller in scale, are at shallower depths, and where cost overruns are less tolerable than delays.

Most reputable drill bit services will have some rebuilt tricones on hand, but it’s always best to contact them directly and see what is available. A respectable bit supplier will ensure any rebuilt tricones still meet quality standards.

Getting Started

Again, while you may be confused or overwhelmed with the challenge ahead, don’t worry: if you ask the right questions, are realistic about the scope of your project, and “do your homework,” then you’ll make the right choice and you’ll put your drilling project on track for success.

Get started now by clicking for a list of Used Tricones for sale.

IADC Classifications Examined

IADC classifications are how tricone bits are sorted to allow drillers to easily identify what type of bit they will need, and what any bits they have are designed for. For a brief overview of the IADC codes you will find on tricones for sale, please click here. This article aims to tie the codes back to your well drilling project by outlining what kind of codes are best for what kind of projects. As each digit in an IADC code represents a different factor, we’ll be going digit by digit, or factor by factor, to help you identify the right bit from among all the different tricones for sale.

Tooth Type: First digit

The first digit in the code designates steel tooth or Tungsten Carbide Insert (TCI), and the type of formation the bit’s teeth are designed for. All tricones for sale can be divided into steel or TCI. TCI is superior for most uses and particularly excels in harder formations. Generally you would only go with steel tricones if the project is designed for a limited depth or a short duration, and wear of the bit is not a major concern. Steel bits are rated from 1 to 3, ranging from soft to hard formations. Tungsten Carbide Inserts are ideal for larger scale projects and harder formations. Due to the superior qualities of tungsten carbide it has a wider range than steel bits, as it can take on a far wider range of formations and projects. 4 through 8 all represent button bits with TCI, with 4 representing buttons designed for softer formations, ranging to 8 for very hard formations. TCI bits are some of the best tricones for sale currently.

Hardness of Formations: Second digit

The second digit of the code is fairly straightforward, and is used to rate tricones for sale in order of the overall formation hardness they are designed for. 1 represents soft formations such as sands, clays, limestones, and shale. 2 represents medium formations such as calcites, dolomites, tougher limestones, and hard shale. 3 and 4 represent hard formations which include hard shale, calcites, mudstones, cherty lime stones, and other difficult or varied hard formations. As you can see there is some overlap between the categories. Different minerals can have different properties within a family. Not all limestone is the same density, nor is all shale uniformly tough. It is important to be familiar with the exact formations you will be drilling in.

Bearing Type and Gauge Protection: Third digit

Gauge protection is an important consideration for any deep boreholes or extended drilling operations that require protection of the bit. Modern tricones for sale can be expensive, so gauge protection makes sense to extend their life and increase the efficiency of the overall drilling operation. All tricones for sale can be improved with gauge protection. That said some projects may be in favourable formations, or of limited scope where gauge protection is not required. The other factor indicated by the third digit is the type of bearing, 1 through 3 represent unsealed roller bearings, 4 and 5 represent sealed roller bearings, while 6 and 7 represent sealed journal bearings. 3, 5, and 7 represent gauge protection. Open roller bearing bits are the most vulnerable to damage from debris; this is significantly improved with sealed roller bearings, and almost eliminated completely with sealed journal bearings. Again this factor depends on the duration, depth, and overall scope of your project. The longer a project is the more sense superior bearings make.

Special Properties: Fourth digit

Lastly, modern tricones for sale can be tailored to many specific functions. These are too numerous to expand on individually, but chances are if you need a special feature for your Tricone, it will be indicated by a letter for the fourth digit. Please click here for more detailed description of the fourth digit.


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