The Major Types of Tricone Bit Bearings

What’s makes tricone bits so powerful and effective? A lot of it has to do with their strong materials, but just as important are the way their parts work together. At KBS we know that the more people understand about our products, the better they can put those products to work. Here’s a guide on what makes tricone bits tick.



At the heart of the tricone bit are the bearings, hidden underneath the bits themselves. The bearings are what allow the cones to spin in sync smoothly without losing power. There are a variety of different bearing systems used in tricone bits, and we’ll cover the most common ones here.

Open Roller Bearings

Inexpensive, and ideal for shallow drilling projects, the defining feature of open roller bearings is that they have no seal. The disadvantage there is that debris can get inside the cones and in turn cause blocks in the bearings. Regular cleaning can mitigate this problem, though.

Sealed Roller Bearings

Sealed bearings are very similar to open bearings. The primary differences are that there are seals to keep debris out of the cone and bearings, and there is also often a lubrication system to help keep the bearings clear and moving smoothly. These elements can make them more demanding to clean, but they tend to have longer lifetimes.

Air Cooled Bearings

Also referred to as air blast bearings, these are exclusive to air circulation bits. They use air passages to simultaneously cool and clear the bearings and bits of debris so that they can drill uninhibited. These are more specialized drills and bits, but also very effective.

Sealed Friction Bearings

Highly durable and very resistant to wear, friction bearings (also known as journal bearings) use floating bushing and a ball where most other bits would use a roller bearing. These usually need to be made of special material to have the heat resistance and durability they do, but it makes them very powerful.

Knowing what bearings offer, you can make a more informed decision when you need to purchase the tools. Can’t find what you’re looking for in our inventory? Take advantage of our bit sourcing service! We’re happy to use our industry connections and experience to help you find the bit you need for your project.

What the Digits in the IADC Codes Mean

purple tricone drill bit If you’ve ever ordered a tricone bit before, you had to use a 4-digit IADC (International Association of Drilling Contractors) code to ensure that you purchased the correct drill bit. You may not have given the code much thought, but those four characters actually communicate a lot of information. This coding system was created to simplify the ordering process for tricone bits and cut down on confusion and incorrect orders being placed. Find out below what each digit stands for.

The Hardness of Rock Formations

The first digit is a number between 1 and 8 that indicates the type of rock the tricone is best suited for.

Numbers 1-3 indicate steel teeth:

  • 1: Suited for soft rock formations
  • 2: Suited for medium rock formations
  • 3: Suited for hard rock formations

Numbers 4-8 indicate a tungsten carbide insert. From 4-8, these bits scale from softer formations to the hardest formations.

Further Rock Formation Information

The second digit includes more rock formation factors. On a scale from 1-4, the bits range from begin ideal for soft formations to the hardest.

Bearing Type

The third digit explains which bearing type the drill bit has:

  • 1-3 are for roller bearings:
    • 1: Standard roller bearings
    • 2: Air-cooled bearings
    • 3: Open bearings with gauge protection
  • 4-5 are for sealed roller bearings:
    • 4: Standard sealed roller bearings
    • 5: Sealed roller bearings with gauge protection
  • 6-7 are for sealed journal bearings:
    • 6: Standard sealed journal bearing
    • 7: Sealed journal bearing with gauge protection

Special Properties

The last digit is a letter that communicates special properties of the tricone bit, such as:

  • B: Special bearing
  • D: Deviation control
  • M: Motor application
  • T: Two cone
  • Z: Other inserts
  • And many others!

Now that you know a little more about the codes and what the digits represent, you can make a more informed decision when you need to purchase new drill bits. Can’t find what you’re looking for in our inventory? Take advantage of our bit sourcing service! We’re happy to use our industry connections and experience to help you find the bit you need for your project.

Take Advantage of Our Expertise

Every drilling project is going to be a little bit different from the last. Here at Kanadian Bit Supplies, we carry PDC bits, tricone bits, and blade bits that will be able to tackle just about every job that you can throw at them. But what happens when your job has very specific requirements, and you’re struggling to find the right bit to complete the job on time and under budget?

That’s when you let our bit sourcing experts take the reins for you. Just fill out this short form and we’ll find the bit that will fit your needs.

Benefits of Residential Wells for Homeowners

When you’re looking to expand your well-drilling business, one market to break into is residential water well drilling. Compared to many commercial jobs, setting up residential wells is fast and easy. But marketing to homeowners is different from marketing to businesses and contractors. When you’re talking with people thinking of having a water well drilled on their property, here are some of the benefits to them that you’ll want to bring up.

High Water Quality

Most people consider well water to be better tasting. Also, since well water is pumped and filtered on site, a resident has complete control over what is (and more importantly, what isn’t) in it.

Long-term Savings

After the initial cost of installing a well, the water from the well is free. Usually a well pays for itself within a few years.

Reliability of Supply

Well water only has to travel a few feet to reach the residence. It doesn’t spend a long time in pipes, and it doesn’t depend on the municipal infrastructure. Problems with the city’s water main upstream will not interrupt a home’s well water supply.

Increased Property Values

Given all the other benefits of wells, it’s clear why they increase property values. Potential buyers find wells to be attractive additions to a home, which gives them an edge over other homes on the market. Generally speaking, the value added to the property exceeds the cost of the well, too, making it a great investment for homeowners.

Whether you already provide residential services or are just now breaking into that market, you’ll want good drilling equipment, like bits from Kanadian Bit Supplies, to do quality work.

Workover Drilling

Every so often, a production well will need modification and repair – this is known as ’workover drilling’. The term ‘workover’ refers to any kind of well intervention relating to the pulling and replacing of a completion or plug. This may occur in the instance where production tubing is damaged, where downhole safety valves or electronic equipment (such as submersible pumps) need servicing or fail, or when the current well conditions no longer support the production equipment being used.

When production tubing is damaged, it is critically important to repair or replace the offending part(s). Production tubing sits inside the cemented casing (using a series of expandable packing devices) and is used to carry production fluids to the surface. It’s main purpose, aside from carrying production fluid, is to protect the casing string from damaging substances extracted during production. When the integrity of the production tubing is compromised, it must be fixed in order to prevent the leakage of corrosive, damaging compounds, opening up the risk of damaging the casing string.

Tricone Workover

Tricone Workover Bit

In severe cases, it may be necessary to repair or replace the casing string as well. This is an incredibly expensive and difficult operation to perform, as the casing is cemented into the ground through the whole length of the well. Only for the most productive and valuable wells will casing workover be considered – as in most cases it’s economically prohibitive to do in any other case.

Even with the absolute best in engineering and design, machines and devices fail or need repair/servicing. This reigns true in the production drilling industry as well. So when downhole equipment is in need of service or replacement, workover drilling is employed to gain access to the necessary components. With safety being paramount in the industry, ensuring downhole safety valves are in prime working order is essential – these are often only accessible by workover drilling. Further, downhole production pumps occasionally need modification or replacement to ensure optimal operation – another area workover drilling is employed. Clearly, workover drilling is essential to operating a safe, successful production well.

Generally, a production well will be drilled to best exploit the prevailing conditions of the geology. Over time, however, the well’s characteristics can change – leading to the need to change the production tubing or other similar parameters. For instance, suppose a well was producing with 5” tubing. After a period of extracting the resource, well pressures and flow rates change to a point where 5” tubing no longer provides stable flow – in which case a smaller diameter tubing would replace it, to stabilize flow and production.

It’s quite evident that workover drilling is an essential part of the production well process. Whether it be damaged production tubing, downhole equipment needing service, or changing well dynamics, workover drilling is the only solution to many of this industry’s challenges. Here at Kanadian Bit Supplies, we offer a full range of workover drill bits to ensure your well is in prime production condition!

Featured Inventory For Novemer



Now in stock at our warehouse 600+ brand new in the box hammer bits 4 1/2″, 4 3/4″, 6 1/8″, 6 1/4″.

We are offering these bits for a promotional price for the month of November. Please send us an email to get more details.



We are pleased to introduce our friction welded pipe to the Canadian market.

Please see the products page to get details on the different specifications available.




Please visit our “new tricones” page to see our newest addition to the KBS stock. We have manufactured our signature KBS brand in sealed bearing milled tooth and tci.




Featured Tricone Inventory for October

We are pleased to announce the six featured items this month:

5 7/8" New Oil and Gas Tricone


5 7/8″ New Oil and Gas Tricone
available in IADC 517,537,617,627





6" New Oil and Gas Tricone


6″ New Oil and Gas Tricone
available in IADC 537,547,637
this diameter is also available in airblast IADC 612




6 1/4" New Oil and Gas Tricone



6 1/4″ New Oil and Gas Tricone
available in IADC 517,537





8 1/2" New Oil and Gas Tricone



8 1/2″ New Oil and Gas Tricone
available in IADC 114,115,126,134,214




9 7/8" New Oil and Gas Tricone


9 7/8″ New Oil and Gas Tricone
available in IADC 545
this diameter is also available in airblast IADC 622





11 5/8" New Oil and Gas Tricone


11 5/8″ New Oil and Gas Tricone
available in IADC 545,625





Please contact us for more information or to inquire after a certain item.

To stay in the loop, you can also sign up for our once-a-month email newsletter announcing our latest stock additions and specials.

To get on the list, click here!

Make the Right Choice: Tricone Bits vs. PDC Bits

In the oil and gas industry, it’s vital to have the right equipment for every single one of your projects. Using the wrong tools can lead to all kinds of disasters, so it’s important to be sure to have the right information before you start. When it comes to drill bits, two of the most common selections are Tricones and PDC. They have two very different purposes, and should be purchased and used accordingly.

Tricone Bits

The tricone bit was invented by Hughes engineer, Ralph Neuhaus, and was an adaption of Baker Hughes original two-cone drill bit. Tricone bits consist of three roller cones (moving parts), and they require lubricated bearings and a grease reservoir. When tricone bits are used in larger projects, it’s necessary to also have a bearing seal so that drillers can keep debris from causing any stoppage in the rotation.

The roller-cone bits are used to drill all kinds of formations, from soft to hard. The softer formations use steel-tooth bits, and the harder use tungsten carbide.

The biggest advantage the tricone bits have over any other drill bit is the test of time. They have been proven time and time again, and they’re the best at controlling the trickier situations. Tricones’ ability to handle both soft and hard formations gives them the flexibility that other drill bits do not have.


The PDC drill bit, also known as the Polycrystalline Diamond Compact, was developed in the 1970s, and has become one of the most widely used drill bits in the world. The design features fixed heads that do not move, and are made through combining artificial diamonds and tungsten carbide with heat and pressure. PDC bits drill faster than tricone bits, and are very good at shearing rock, though both the tricone bits and PDC bits each have their separate place in the drilling industry. The latest PDC designs include spiraled or asymmetric cutter layouts, gauge rings and hybrid cutter designs.

There are two different designs for the PDC: matric-body and steel-body. Both of these designs have a big advantage – their lifespan. Both drill bits can be used for much longer without the need to replace them. That, along with their higher rate of penetration over tricones, gives them a lower cost per foot.

Althouh PDC bits are becoming increasingly more popular, the tricone bits still hold sway over many different drilling projects. These include gravel, dolomite, and hard limestone. Since the changes to PDC don’t reflect any interest in those areas, tricone bits will be holding those domains for a long time.

Both of the tricone and PDC drill bits have advanced well beyond their original designs; as the industry has moved forward, the tricone and PDC drill bits have had to change. The new designs offer improved durability, and ROP (rate of penetration) of the rock.

Click for a list of available Tricone Bits and PDC Bits.

Tricones the Right Choice When Things Go Wrong

Drilling projects with tricones are like weddings: You spend countless hours planning every facet of them down to the last detail, just to ensure that nothing goes wrong. And then it does.

Given the price tag of most drilling jobs, even with cost-effective tricones as your bit of choice, it pays to anticipate potential hazards before they strike. Being aware of worst-case scenarios, their causes and possible solutions will set you up for success long before you even begin drilling.

The Hole Truth

To your buddy whose only experience with oil is changing it every 3,000 km, drilling with tricones sounds easy in theory. Figure out where you want to end up, chart a path and then drill in a straight line until you get there. He might be surprised to learn that drilling a well with tricones is a bit more complicated than that.

For one thing, there is the possibility of encountering hole deviation, in which case drill bits such as tricones may depart from the borehole trajectory that was first plotted. This can lead to delays in drilling as well as higher costs.

While the cause is not always clear, it generally results from some significant force acting on drill bits like tricones and driving them from their intended path. This could be anything from the bottom hole assembly encompassing the tricones to the WOB (weight on bit), which is the amount of downward force exerted.

Significantly, hole deviation can sometimes be traced to the type and design of the drill bit, which is one reason that tricones are a possible solution to this hazard. Many tricones are sealed roller bits that are shielded by a protective barrier while other tricones are sealed journals with extremely tough faces. As a result, they are extremely durable and, like the cool-headed MC at the nightmare wedding, less likely to crack under pressure.

Tools of the Trade

As in any line of work, you can’t get first class results with second-class tools. When it comes to drilling with tricones, equipment that is inferior or improperly maintained is a leading cause of problems on site. Whether it’s improper rig hydraulics, faulty well control systems or insufficient hoisting power, your drilling project is only as strong as its weakest link.

That’s why it’s crucial to use exceptional drill bits like tricones. Designed with three cone shaped heads that are each equipped with several rows of teeth, tricones are easier to maintain and control than other drill bits. This is especially important when dealing with hard rock formations like shale, granite and limestone that can prove especially challenging in the absence of tricones.

You wouldn’t trust your tone deaf uncle to sing “here comes the bride”, so don’t jeopardize a multi million dollar drilling project by failing to employ tricones and settling for less than the best.

Coming Clean 

Even with the best equipment and intentions, setbacks can occur. It’s well documented that drilling at an angle more than 30 degrees from vertical can lead to difficulties in the removal of cuttings. This in turn can trigger expensive drilling issues such as premature bit wear, slow drilling and formation fracturing. Increasing flow rate while drilling with tricones and using drill string rotation can both enhance hole cleaning and lower your risk from excessive cuttings.

Also, you can further reduce the problem of premature bit wear by choosing tricones for your next project. This is especially true with sealed journal tricones, the strongest and toughest bits on the market. They are well known for their durability and are far less likely than other bits to cause disruptions in the drilling process.

While you can never eliminate problems entirely, you can take steps to minimize them such as selecting tricones for your drilling operation. Not only are they the perfect wedding of reliability and quality, but also unlike the shotgun marriage, they’ll continue to exceed your expectations long after the honeymoon is over.

Browse an outstanding selection of used tricones for sale.

The Tri Cone – #1 Over 2 Centuries…for 3 Reasons

They say there’s strength in numbers, and the tri cone is a perfect example. Its strong performance in project after project can be attributed to a number of factors. But since “good things come in threes”, here are three key reasons for its popularity and success.

3 Heads

They say that two heads are better than one, but why stop there? In 1933, engineers from the Sharp-Hughes Tool Company developed the first tri cone. They wanted to improve the company’s current two-cone design and, in spite of working during the Great Depression, they did so in bold fashion. By adding a third cone, they produced the ultimate drill bit. Sporting three cone shaped heads, each equipped with several rows of teeth, this design became extremely versatile, offering quality and consistency that was unmatched in the industry.

Over time, the tri cone has been enhanced with sharper teeth and better bearings. It can now drill deeper, longer and better than ever before. But the key qualities that separated it from the competition remain the same. Not only is it easier to control and maintain, but it can tackle the most challenging rock formations without missing a beat. Perhaps most importantly, it is cost effective, proving to be more affordable than other bits of lesser quality.

So tri cone buyers don’t get what they pay for. They get more.

3 Rocks

A big factor in the success of the tri cone is its ability to perform at a high level regardless of the rock formation involved. A tri cone is the perfect choice for soft formations such as sand, clay or soft limestone, and works equally well in medium formations including calcites, dolomites, limestone and hard shale.

For hard rock such as granite and mudstone, a sealed bearing tri cone is the drill bit of choice, as it’s extremely durable and less likely to disrupt your drilling process.

3 Bits

Because drilling projects come in all shapes and sizes, there are three types of tri cone bits available to accommodate a variety of jobs.

1. Roller bearing bits utilize three cones spinning independently. They are most often used to drill oil, gas or shallow water wells.

2. Sealer roller bits have a seal that protects each drill bit from damage during the drilling process. Although the seal will eventually be worn away from constant use, this model can still be employed as a roller bearing bit in future projects.

3. Sealed journal bits are the strongest and most durable of the three types. With the proper drilling lubrication, they can thrive in the toughest drilling climates and access even the most difficult to reach resources.

Naturally, as the quality and durability of the bits increase, so does the price. That’s why used tri cone bits are often a great alternative. Also known as “rebuilt” or “rerun”, they are ideal for undertakings that are smaller in scale and budget. If your next project falls into this category, contact a drill bit service and explore your options. As long as you deal with a reputable supplier, you can rest assured that a used tri cone will meet the same high standards as its newer counterpart.

Good things come in threes: 3 heads; 3 rocks; 3 bits. Of course, these are only a few of the many advantages that you’ll enjoy with the tri cone. A complete list would have too many items to count.

Maybe that’s why, in the mining and well drilling business, the tri cone has been #1 over 2 centuries, and why it will continue to post impressive numbers in the years ahead.

Count on it.

The Tricone Geothermal Energy – The Heat is On

If there was a popularity contest for drill bits, the tricone would win hands down. Geothermal energy, though not as well-known as the tricone, is an increasingly hot topic around the globe. To understand why, you need only look at its advantages, drawbacks and prospects for growth in the years to come.

For years, drilling and the tricone have been focused on the extraction of oil and natural gas. But with the steady depletion of these resources through tricone drilling, alternatives are needed.

What is it?

That’s where geothermal energy comes in. By drilling deep underground with the tricone, we can access a powerful heat source to turn water into steam, run it through a turbine and produce electricity. Once accessed through tricone drilling, geothermal energy provides power for a number of applications.

What’s so great about it?

Anyone who’s been involved with tricone drilling knows first-hand about the advantages of a tricone. In addition to its unparalleled quality, the tricone is durable, reliable and precise.

So why choose geothermal energy to access with the tricone?

1. Running Costs: Like the tricone, geothermal energy is cost effective, with running expenses approximately 80% less than for fossil fuels. Also, since it doesn’t involve fuel like other substances accessed by the tricone, geothermal energy entails a fairly small outlay for transportation, purchasing and plant clean up.

2. Pollution: Unlike some resources accessed with tricone drilling, geothermal energy is relatively friendly to the environment. While there is some pollution involved, it pales next to conventional targets of the tricone like coal and fossil fuels. As well, the carbon footprint generated by geothermal power plants is minimal compared to other tricone drilling projects.

3. Stability: As an alternative to traditional tricone drilled material, geothermal energy is more reliable than other options like solar or wind power that rely heavily on the weather. Consequently, geothermal power plants are ideally suited to meeting the base load energy requirements. They also benefit from a high capacity factor, in that their actual output of power closely matches the total installed capacity.

4. Renewability: Although our supplies of many energy staples extracted with the tricone are massive, they are also finite. This is a major reason that many countries are focusing more of their tricone efforts on geothermal energy. Not only is it renewable in that it’s a resource that is naturally replenished, but it sustains its own consumption rate where fossil fuels reached by tricone drilling do not.

What’s the catch?

While the tricone really has no downside, most things are not that fortunate, and geothermal energy is no exception:

1. Expensive Start up: Traditional tricone drilling projects vary widely in their budgets. It’s one reason that the tricone is the drill bit of choice for so many of them. Not only is the tricone available in different price ranges, but there are excellent used tricone bits available that are equally reliable. On the other hand, most commercial geothermal projects come with a high price tag. Deep drilling with the tricone is required, and the cost of drilling greatly increases with depth.

2. Lack of Widespread Use: Because geothermal energy has yet to be widely accepted, there is a shortage of skilled workers and suitable site locations. It’s a bit of a catch-22 situation, in that the low level of usage is in itself a hindrance to achieving greater acceptance.

Where do we go from here?

In spite of its challenges, geothermal energy is one of the few renewable energy sources that offers continuous baseload power. As such, it can be a key player in moving us towards cleaner, more sustainable energy.

As research reduces drilling costs and enhances plant efficiency, more countries are likely to explore this option. The next chapter has yet to be written, but one thing is for sure. The potential to improve the planet by tapping into its own heat power makes for a heartwarming story.

Working Safer and Smarter With Tricones

We’re always told that it’s important to work smarter, not harder, but if you’re not working safely, nothing else really matters. That’s where tricones come in. Regardless of the drilling project supported by tricones, there are a number of hazards to be aware of and corresponding ways of protecting yourself, your co-workers and your employees.

Drilling with tricones provides countless benefits, from access to vital resources to job creation to economic sustainability. Of course, rewards rarely come without risks, and drilling activity involving tricones is no exception. How well you manage those risks that sometimes accompany tricones will go a long way in determining the success and safety of your people, your project and your organization.

Hydrogen Sulphide

As part of drilling work involving tricones, oil and gas wells produced by tricones can release hydrogen sulphide, a colorless gas that is highly flammable and hazardous. At low levels, it can often be detected by smell due to its rotten egg scent. But the real danger arises when higher concentrations of the gas are produced in the course of drilling with tricones. This can actually remove your ability to smell hydrogen sulphide and expose you to the negative effects of the gas.

To ensure a safe working environment with all the advantages of tricones and no ill effects from hydrogen sulphide, focus on active monitoring, proper planning and worker training.

Hazardous Chemicals

Certain types of drilling with tricones, such as hydraulic fracturing, can sometimes expose workers to hazardous chemicals that cause chemical burns when toxic vapors are inhaled during the work with tricones.

If your workplace is such that hazard chemicals may pose a risk in the course of your efforts with tricones, make sure you have proper labels and safety data sheets available. And, as always, there is no substitute for thorough training of all employees who risk exposure to harmful chemicals as part of their work with tricones.

Excessive Noise

Workers drilling with tricones are no strangers to loud noise, but it poses a danger in many lines of work regardless of whether tricones are involved. If employees must shout to be heard by a co-worker in close proximity during their labor with tricones, there could be a noise issue.

As well, if people complain of ringing or humming in their ears following a day filled with drilling and tricones, the next sound you hear should be alarm bells in your head warning of a problem.

To reduce the noise level in your work with tricones, ensure equipment and machinery are properly maintained and lubricated and opt for low-noise tools and machinery where possible. Using tricones on your site will facilitate these efforts, as their reliability and low maintenance make them less likely to contribute to such hazards.

Extreme Temperatures

Depending on the location of your project involving tricones, workers could be exposed to excessive heat or inordinate cold. Those who are impacted by heat stress during their endeavours with tricones could suffer heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps, or heat rashes.

Apart from mandatory first aid training, there are several measures that employers can take to counteract the hazards of heat for employees as they toil with tricones:

  • Acclimatize your staff by gradually exposing them to hot work environments for greater periods of time.
  • Provide cool water or liquids to workers. Avoid sugary drinks or highly caffeinated beverages.
  • Provide rest periods and cool areas for shelter during breaks.

Those who must endure extreme cold as part of their work with tricones face their own dangers, including hypothermia, frostbite and trench foot. Recommended preventative measures include layering, wearing a hat and insulated boots, and spending work breaks in a warm location. It’s also suggested that workers avoid mixing alcohol and drilling with tricones in cold weather, but that’s probably sound advice regardless of the temperature.

Everyone has their own motivation for making it through the work day unscathed, whether it’s a spouse, a child or a parent. Staying aware of the hazards and taking steps to mitigate them may require some time and effort, but when it gets you home safely at night, you’ll agree it was time well spent. And so will your loved ones.

Choose from a wide selection of used tricones for sale.

New Inventory

We’re pleased to announce the arrival of the following new inventory!

New items are added regularly, so please check back often.

3 3/4 NEW 211

3 7/8 NEW 211

3 7/8 NEW 531

4 3/4 NEW 211

4 7/8 NEW 211

6 1/8 NEW 211

5 7/8 NEW 517

5 7/8 NEW 537

6″ NEW 612

6 1/4 NEW 537

9 7/8 NEW 622

9 7/8 NEW 545

9 7/8 NEW 517

13 3/4 NEW 625

Please contact us for more information or to inquire after a certain item.

To stay in the loop, you can also sign up for our once-a-month email newsletter announcing our latest stock additions and specials.

To get on the list, click here!

March Sale

We’re pleased to announce our March Sale features the following item:

10 5/8 211 brand new for US$1000/each 

Please contact us for more information or to inquire after a certain item.

To stay in the loop, you can also sign up for our once-a-month email newsletter announcing our latest stock additions and specials.

To get on the list, click here!

March’s Featured Tricone: Sealed Bearing TCI


Please contact us for more information or to inquire after a certain item.

To stay in the loop, you can also sign up for our once-a-month email newsletter announcing our latest stock additions and specials.

To get on the list, click here!

Geothermal Energy and Tricones Are Heating Up

Geothermal drilling brings on a whole new challenge that is unlike any other. Its high temperatures and geological variables mean that companies need to rely on advanced technology and adapted tricone bits to gain any results. It’s expensive and difficult, but since it’s offering an amazing opportunity for renewable energy, this challenge is welcomed with open arms. Drill sites vary in location, but are required to be near active geological formations, such as landmasses situated over tectonic plates.

Companies have come up with a number of different techniques and equipment to help bring geothermal drilling into the spotlight, but one thing has always held strong: tricone bits. Tricone bits have a versatility that enables them to meet all the high demands of geothermal drilling operations.

What is Geothermal Energy?

Geothermal energy is the heat that is stored in the earth. It includes everything from ground water to the magma found deep below the Earth’s crust. Heat is transferred from deep within the Earth’s crust by the movement of hot rock towards the surface caused by intrusions of magma. Although there are some cases where this energy can be used directly, the majority of sites require the use of fluid, and therefore drilling. The drill sites enable fluids to pass through the reservoir below, so that they can be pushed to the surface. These extreme settings are the reason for advancements made to tricone bits, such as seals and tricone bearing systems.

Geothermal drilling is one of the fastest growing demands across the globe, and it’s expected to increase exponentially over the next few decades. With the growing financial and environmental concerns, geothermal energy is considered an ideal alternative to natural gas, coal and diesel. It boasts both a cleaner and cheaper status. This energy can be used for anything from the heating and cooling of buildings through the movement of hot air through heat pumps to the production of electricity through the use of underground reservoirs.

Where does Geothermal Drilling Take Place?

Geothermal drilling has been focused on by countries such as Germany, United States (western states) and Iceland, because they have properties situated over active geological sites. An ideal location will have a swarm of fissures known as a volcanic system.

What Do You Need for Geothermal Drilling?

Obtaining this alternative energy involves much harsher and challenging drilling techniques. Geothermal drilling requires very specific equipment and tricone bits to withstand the abrasive conditions. Locations are over geologically active sites, and the equipment must be able to maneuver through hard rocks and rising temperatures.

Tricone bits and other equipment must take into account the bit carrying capacity, heat, degradation and wear, and high pressures. It will therefore include enhanced seals and bearing systems, improved lubricants, and more advanced pressure systems, so as to ensure better performance. Tricone bits are known to be versatile, durable, and capable of withstanding changing formations. Tricone bits are also inexpensive and can excel in almost all drilling instances. The tricone bits used for geothermal drilling.

Tricone Arctic Drilling: The Cold Facts

When it comes to accessing new oil and gas supplies with tricone drilling, companies will sometimes get a chilly reception. But ironically, one of the coldest places on earth may be a hotbed of tricone activity in the years ahead.

While tricone drilling seems to offer infinite possibilities for securing vital resources, it cannot escape one simple truth: Resources – even those that are so efficiently gathered through tricone use – are finite. As a result, many oil and gas reserves around the world are declining significantly after decades of tricone drilling.

The Appeal

So it should come as no surprise that a number of countries are warming to the idea of tricone drilling in the Arctic. With 13 percent of the planet’s untapped oil deposits and 30 percent of natural gas reserves located above the Arctic Circle, it’s a tempting target for oil dependent nations and their future tricone projects.  Russia, Canada, the United States, Norway, Iceland and Denmark have all given their energy companies a not so subtle nudge to explore tricone drilling possibilities in the region.

The Pitfalls

If tricone drilling in the Arctic was easy, anyone could do it, and the countries targeting this area would be well on their way to extracting the treasure; but there are reasons that extensive tricone drilling hasn’t happened yet. In winter, much of the area is covered by sea ice and there is the constant threat of severe storms, making tricone work challenging at best and hazardous at the worst of times. Of course, should drilling activity one day proceed on a large scale, tricone bits will prove invaluable, as their durability and quality give them the best chance of withstanding the harsh northern conditions.

This is one instance where global warming could actually be beneficial. In summer and fall, it will often reduce the amount of sea ice and facilitate extensive tricone drilling. What’s the catch? The same phenomenon that minimizes sea ice may also lead to difficult weather conditions and other dangers, inhibiting that same tricone activity.

As is often the case, some of the most imposing obstacles to successful tricone efforts up north may come not from weather or geography, but from people. Fearing threats to wildlife and contamination of local waters, environmentalists and indigenous communities have filed lawsuits to prevent tricone drilling unless and until a satisfactory solution is found.

And in many ways, those who are pushing hardest for tricone projects in the Arctic may be their own worst enemies. A number of the boundary lines in the region have not yet been fully set or identified. As a result, several countries are laying claim to the area and the riches available through tricone drilling, going so far as to threaten military action should one of their rivals impinge on “their” territory.

Shell Shocked

A graphic illustration of the challenges inherent in Arctic tricone work is the experience of Shell, which has yet to drill a productive well with a tricone or anything else, in spite of spending billions of dollars on their efforts. Their experience has raised fears that a major spill following tricone drilling could be highly destructive, due in part to the ice floes and sea ice that might interfere with cleanup efforts.

Of course, nothing worth having comes easily, and the vast reserves of oil and gas that await tricone drilling in the Arctic are no exception. But it’s a tribute to the industry’s high regard for tricone bits that, if and when the puzzle of how to access the Arctic is solved, the tricone will surely be the centerpiece.

Find just what you need in a gallery of tricone bits.

You Name it, the Tricone Tackles it

Tricones are the modern day “little engines that could”, tackling a variety of tasks in every sort of environment and excelling in two specific areas: their versatility and their ability to prosper everyone involved in the projects they drill for.


What could be better than doing one thing and doing it well? How about doing many things and doing them all well?

The tricone demonstrates the value of versatility on a number of fronts:

i. What it can access: Whether drilling for natural gas, water or crude oil, the tricone is adept at tapping a number of substances with precision. It’s unusual to find something that is a true “jack of all trades” in any industry, making the tricone a highly sought after commodity for all the right reasons.

ii. What it can contend with: If a tricone tore through shale like butter but shattered against any other obstacle, it would be of limited use. Fortunately, it’s anything but one-dimensional. Whether it’s clay, hard shale, limestone, mudstone or calcites standing in the way of tricone drilling, it’s no match for the power and persistence of the tricone. Also, with the right choice of tooth and seals, the tricone can handle soft, medium and hard rock formations with equal efficiency.

iii. What it can cost: Drilling projects come in all shapes and sizes. Each one has its own challenges and rewards and, ultimately, its own budget. Fortunately, the tricone has a number of designs that can accommodate a variety of budgets. You can choose from open roller bearing, sealer roller bearing and journal bearing. With different price points depending on the tricone bearing involved, as well as both new and used tricone offerings, you can easily find the right tricone for the job. Large or small, deep pockets or short leash, chances are there’s a tricone for that.


In many ways, the tricone and prosperity go hand in hand. Sure, there’s the obvious connection between tricone drilling and company revenue, but that’s really just the beginning:

i. Worker Wealth: Collectively, tricone drilling projects provide direct employment to thousands of people. From frontline workers like drillers and derrick hands to office support staff to engineers, tricone activity puts food on the table for employees and their families. And then there’s the vast amount of indirect employment linked to tricone drilling in industries like retail, hospitality and human resources, to name a few. Either way, these projects have a ripple effect, offering immediate benefits to drilling company workers and both short and long term advantages for a host of other groups. People who think they have no connection to the industry may be surprised to learn just how connected they really are.

ii. Community Cash: With large-scale tricone drilling projects like the Athabasca oil sands and the Northern Gateway pipeline, the companies involved in tricone activity contribute millions to affected communities, benefiting schools, social services and a number of related programs. Of course, some would argue that drilling can be both a positive and a negative for certain towns, but the pluses are undeniable.


Plan your next project with tricone bits.


Tri cone Bits Bite the Competition

January is a time for all things new, and many of the attributes that we strive for in our resolutions are the same ones that make the tri cone such a hot commodity in the drilling business.

Let’s look at some virtues common to the tri cone that make it a significant player in the world of resource attainment.


We already know about the durability of the tri cone bit, but another key aspect is the role it plays in sustainability on a larger scale.

For example, the local economic spin off and community investment flowing from tri cone drilling projects help support programs, neighborhoods and sometimes entire towns. Not only does this benefit the programs and those who make use of them, but it also helps towns and communities stay in it for the long haul where they might otherwise have been unable to due to economic hardship or lack of infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the royalties and tax revenue that tri cone activities generate are a driving force in sustaining municipal, provincial and federal economies, preserving our standard of living and, in the process, our way of life. As resolutions go, that’s not a bad one.


We would do well to emulate the tri cone in this regard, as it facilitates diversity on a couple of levels.

First, tri cone projects draw from every corner of society when it comes to doling out the fruits of their labor. All classes, nationalities and skill levels are represented in the workers and community members touched by tri cone drilling in one way or another.

Tri cones make it possible to develop and make money in every sort of environment, in every country around the globe.

Equally important is the diversity of opinion sparked by tri cone projects. While controversial, projects involving tri cone drilling like the Keystone Pipeline invite healthy debate that can often lead to a re-evaluation of priorities or a renewed commitment to a chosen path.


The caveman proved to be highly resourceful, adapting to challenges in the environment by inventing the wheel and discovering fire. Our modern day equivalent to that wheel may well be the tri cone, evolving in its structure and functionality over time to meet the demands of different rock formations, varying conditions and divergent projects.

It’s a perfect example of how to hit a moving target by experimenting with new methods and approaches while always keeping the bulls-eye in sight. Always there are slight adjustments that might be made to suit the conditions of its work, but the basic form and functionality remains the same.


They say we are only limited by our imaginations, but few of us really take it to heart. The process of opening our minds to far-reaching possibilities has surely made for some of the most memorable years mankind has ever seen.

That concept is equally true of the oilfield. Had it not been for some serious “outside the box” thinking, tri cone undertakings like the Athabasca oil sands and the Northern Gateway Pipeline, and the benefits associated with them, might never have come to fruition.

In these ways, even drill bits are doing their part to make our world a better place. Inspiration can come from many different sources, and this coming year, we could do worse than to strive to develop personally some of the wonderful traits tri cones offer to the world every day.


Browse an array of tri cone bits for sale.


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.