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Publication numberUS20020011359 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/912,977
Publication dateJan 31, 2002
Filing dateJul 25, 2001
Priority dateJul 28, 2000
Also published asUS6401842, WO2002010547A1
Publication number09912977, 912977, US 2002/0011359 A1, US 2002/011359 A1, US 20020011359 A1, US 20020011359A1, US 2002011359 A1, US 2002011359A1, US-A1-20020011359, US-A1-2002011359, US2002/0011359A1, US2002/011359A1, US20020011359 A1, US20020011359A1, US2002011359 A1, US2002011359A1
InventorsCharles Webb, Roy Chandler
Original AssigneeWebb Charles T., Chandler Roy L.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Directional drilling apparatus with shifting cam
US 20020011359 A1
Abstract
The apparatus includes an annular cam rotatably located in a housing with a drill shaft extending through the cam and housing. The shaft can be rotated for drilling purposes and be moved longitudinally in the housing for shifting purposes. The cam has grooves in its outer surface for receiving a cam follower carried by the shaft which rotates the cam as the shaft is moved longitudinally for shifting purposes. The shaft may be moved longitudinally in one direction to a position to engage members of a clutch such that when the shaft rotates, it rotates the housing. The shaft is movable in an opposite direction to disengage the clutch members and then is movable to locate the cam follower in the groove at different positions to allow the operator to control the longitudinal position of the shaft for turning purposes or for drilling straight.
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Claims(10)
1. An apparatus for drilling a borehole in the earth, comprising:
a housing having a front end and a rear end,
a shaft extending through said housing,
said shaft being rotatable relative to said housing and movable longitudinally between forward and rearward positions relative to said housing,
said shaft having front end for receiving a drill means,
an annular cam located in said housing,
said annular cam being rotatable relative to said housing,
a groove formed in said annular cam and which extends between rearward and forward positions,
a cam follower being located in said groove of said annular cam,
means for preventing rotation of said cam follower relative to said housing,
said cam follower being movable longitudinally relative to said annular cam,
moving means for moving said cam follower relative to said annular cam,
said cam follower being movable longitudinally in said groove relative to said annular cam to rotate said annular cam to cause said cam follower to be moved to different positions in said groove,
said cam follower being movable rearward in said groove to said rearward position by said moving means,
said cam follower being movable forward in said groove from said rearward position by said moving means.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, comprising:
a clutch located in said housing and comprising a first clutch member coupled to said shaft for rotation with said shaft and a second clutch member coupled to said housing for rotating said housing when engaged by said first clutch member and when said first clutch member is rotated by said shaft, said first clutch member being movable longitudinally relative to said annular cam.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein:
said groove comprises a stop zone located between said two positions,
said cam follower being movable in said groove to said stop zone at which point said first and second clutch members are engaged to allow said shaft to rotate said housing when said shaft is rotated and to drill straight.
4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein:
said cam follower is movable to a position forward of said stop zone to disengage said first and second clutch members to allow said shaft to rotate relative to said housing for turning purposes,
first and second pad means coupled to the exterior of said housing about 180 degrees apart with said first pad means being coupled to said front end on one side of said housing and said second pad means being coupled to said rear end of said housing on a side opposite said one side,
at least one of said pad means extends outward beyond the radius of said drilling means to apply pressure to the wall of the borehole in directions to enhance turning of the drill means in the earth, and
friction means coupled to said housing for engaging the wall of the borehole for resisting rotation of said housing in the borehole.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said housing is defined as an elongated rear housing, said apparatus comprises:
an elongated front housing having a front end and a rear end,
said shaft extends through said front and rear housings,
means for pivotally coupling said rear end of said front housing to said front end of said rear housing for pivotally movement relative to each other and to said shaft,
said shaft being rotatable relative to said front and rear housings and movable longitudinally between forward and rearward positions relative to said front and rear housings,
said front end of said shaft extends out of said front end of said front housing for receiving a drill means,
a main cam fixedly secured in said rear housing,
slot mean formed in said main cam,
a main cam follower coupled to said shaft in said rear housing such that said shaft may rotate relative to said main cam follower,
means for preventing longitudinal movement of said main cam follower relative to said shaft such that forward and rearward movement of said shaft causes said main cam follower to move in said slot means and said cam follower of said annular cam to move in said groove of said annular cam to rotate said annular cam and to allow said groove and said cam follower of said annular cam to control longitudinal movement of said shaft and hence of said main cam follower in said slot means.
6. The apparatus of claim 5, comprising:
pad means coupled to said rear end of said front housing on one side thereof such that rearward movement of said shaft causes said main cam follower to move in said slot means and to cause said rear and front ends of said front and rear housings respectively to pivot relative to each together and to said shaft to move said pad means away from said shaft against the wall of the borehole to allow said apparatus to change its direction of drilling.
7. An apparatus for drilling a borehole in the earth, comprising:
a housing having a front end and rear end,
a shaft extending through said housing for rotational and longitudinal movement,
said shaft having a front end extending out of said front end of said housing for receiving a drill means,
said shaft being movable longitudinally in a first direction relative to said housing for engaging a clutch means for rotating said housing when said shaft is rotated and movable longitudinally in a second direction opposite said first direction for disengaging said clutch means for allowing said shaft to rotate relative to said housing,
a rotatable cam located in said housing rotatable relative to said housing and surrounding said shaft,
a cam follower located in said housing and movable longitudinally with said shaft for rotating said rotatable cam for controlling longitudinal movement of said shaft relative to said housing,
engaging means coupled at least to one end of said housing on one side for engaging the wall of the bore being drilled for urging the drill means against the wall of the bore when said shaft is disengaged from said clutch means and located in a given position for allowing said apparatus to turn while drilling is being carried out.
8. An apparatus for drilling a borehole in the earth, comprising:
front and rear housings each having a front end and a rear end,
a shaft extending through said front and rear housings for rotational and longitudinal movement,
said shaft having a front end extending out of said front end of said front housing for receiving a drill means,
means for pivotally coupling said rear and front ends of said front and rear housings together for pivotal movement of said front and rear housings relative to each other and relative to said shaft,
said shaft being movable longitudinally in a first direction relative to said housings for engaging a clutch means for rotating said housings when said shaft is rotated and movable longitudinally housings for disengaging said clutch means and for allowing said shaft to rotate relative to said housings,
a fixed cam fixedly located in one of said housings and fixedly coupled to said one housing,
a first cam follower coupled to said shaft in said one housing for longitudinal movement with said shaft for engaging said fixed cam and for causing said first and second housings to pivot relative to each other and relative to said shaft when said shaft is moved longitudinally relative to said housings,
a rotatable cam located in said one housing rotatable relative to said one housing and surrounding said shaft,
a second cam follower located in said one housing and movable longitudinally with said shaft for rotating said rotatable cam for controlling longitudinal movement of said shaft relative to said housings.
9. A drill bit comprising:
a drill bit body having front end and a rear end with a central axis extending between said front and rear ends and being connectable to a shaft for rotating with said shaft,
a plurality of angularly spaced apart slots formed in the exterior of said drill bit body which extend outward relative to said central axis and between said front and rear ends,
each slot having a lip extending from each of its said front and rear ends respectively,
a cutting means for each of said slots with each said cutting means comprising a connecting portion with a forward end and a rearward end which is located in one of said slots,
each connecting portion comprising a hook near its said front and rear ends respectively for connection to said lips of said slot in which it is located,
a removable stop positioned to prevent longitudinal movement of said connecting portion of each said cutting means relative to its said slot.
10. A drilling apparatus for drilling a borehole in the earth comprising:
a housing,
a shaft extending through said housing,
said shaft being movable relative to said housing,
a first clutch member coupled to said shaft,
a second clutch member located within said housing,
said first clutch member being engageable with said second clutch member when said shaft is moved in a first linear direction relative to said housing to a given position to cause said housing to rotate with said shaft when said shaft is rotated,
said first clutch member being disengagable from said second clutch member when said shaft is moved in a second linear direction opposite to said first linear direction to a second position to allow said shaft to rotate relative to said housing,
said first clutch member comprising a first annular member having a plurality of angularity spaced apart teeth extending outward from said annular member,
said second clutch member comprising a second annular member rotatable in said housing and movable in said housing in said first and second linear directions,
a clutch stop located in said housing for stopping movement of said second clutch member in said second linear direction when said second clutch member is moved in said second linear direction and engages said clutch stop,
said clutch stop comprising at least one lug having a cam surface thereon which extends from an inner position away from said clutch stop to an outer position,
a lug pin coupled to said lug,
said second clutch member having at least one gap formed in its outer surface,
a cam follower extending from said gap for engaging said surface of said cam,
an elastic member coupled to said cam follower and to said lug pin for normally urging said second clutch member in a first rotational direction to normally locate said cam follower against said inner position of said cam surface for urging said second clutch member in said second linear direction against said clutch stop,
said second clutch member having a central opening with a plurality of angularity spaced apart teeth extending inward, such that said first clutch member may be moved by said shaft within said second clutch member with each tooth of said first clutch member located between adjacent teeth of said second clutch member to allow said shaft and said first clutch member to rotate said second clutch member for rotating said housing,
said second clutch member being movable in said first linear direction in the event that said teeth of said first clutch member engage said teeth of said second clutch member when said shaft is moved in said first linear direction to cause said cam follower to engage and move along said cam surface to rotate said second clutch member in a second rotational direction opposite said first rotational direction to increase the tension on said elastic member and to allow surfaces of said teeth of said first clutch member to engage surfaces of said teeth of said second clutch member to rotate said second clutch member further in said second rotational direction to allow said teeth of said second clutch member to be located between said teeth of said second clutch member.
Description

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/221,413, filed Jul. 28, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of The Invention

[0003] The invention relates to a directional drilling system for drilling a borehole in the earth.

[0004] 2. Description of The Prior Art

[0005] U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,281,723, 4,953,638, 5,423,388, 5,490,569, 5,957,222, 6050,350, and 6,082,470 disclose drilling apparatus with directional control systems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] It is an object of the invention to provide a drilling apparatus with a new and useful directional control system. The apparatus is particularly useful in the utility industry for drilling shallow, generally horizontal holes for placing conduits and cables in the ground without forming trenches.

[0007] The apparatus comprises an annular cam rotatably located in a housing with a drill shaft extending through the cam and housing. The shaft can rotate for drilling purposes and be moved longitudinally in the housing for shifting purposes. The cam has grooves in its outer surface for receiving a cam follower carried by the shaft, which rotates the cam as the shaft is moved longitudinally for shifting purposes. The shaft may be moved longitudinally in one direction with the cam follower in the groove to a position to engage members of a clutch such that when the shaft rotates, it rotates the housing. The shaft is movable in an opposite direction with the cam follower in the groove to disengage the clutch members and then is movable to locate the cam follower in the groove at different positions to allow the operator to control the longitudinal position of the shaft for turning purposes or for drilling straight.

[0008] In one embodiment, the apparatus comprises a single housing. For turning purposes the cam follower is located in a position in the groove to disengage the clutch members to allow the drill bit to rotate relative the housing and to allow wear pads to cause the housing to move in a turning mode. Straight drilling is carried out with the clutch members engaged such that the complete apparatus rotates while drilling straight.

[0009] In another embodiment the apparatus comprises front and rear housings with a shaft extending therethrough. The rear of the front housing and the front of the rear housing are pivotally coupled together. The annular cam and its follower are located in the rear housing. A main cam having a slot is fixedly secured in the rear housing. A main cam follower is carried by the shaft such that longitudinal movement of the shaft causes the main cam follower to move in the slot and to cause the rear and front ends of the front and rear housings respectively to pivot relative to each other and to the shaft in directions dependent on the position of the main cam follower in the slot for turning or straight drilling purposes. The grooves in the annular cam are formed such that they will allow regulation of the amount of longitudinal movement of the shaft and hence of the main cam follower relative to the main cam to allow regulation of straight and turn drilling and the degree of turning that the drilling means will undergo.

[0010] Also provided are a new and useful drill bit and a new and useful clutch assembly.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0011]FIG. 1 illustrates the top view of the drilling apparatus of the invention in the straight drilling mode.

[0012]FIG. 2 illustrates the side view of the drilling apparatus of the invention in the straight drilling mode.

[0013]FIG. 3 is a side cross sectional view of the parts of the apparatus that are locked longitudinally with the guide housings.

[0014]FIG. 4 is a top cross sectional view of the parts of the apparatus that are locked longitudinally with the guide housings.

[0015]FIG. 5 is a side cross sectional view of the parts of the apparatus that are locked longitudinally with the shaft.

[0016]FIG. 6 illustrates the top cross sectional view of the parts that are locked longitudinally with the shaft.

[0017]FIG. 7 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 1 taken along the lines 7-7 thereof.

[0018]FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 1 taken along the lines 8-8 thereof.

[0019]FIG. 9 is a top view of the drilling apparatus of the invention in the shifting mode.

[0020]FIG. 10 is a side view of the drilling apparatus of the invention in the shifting mode positioned in a curved hole.

[0021]FIG. 11 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 9 taken along the lines of 11-11 thereof.

[0022]FIG. 12 is the cross sectional view of FIG. 9 taken along the lines of 12-12 thereof.

[0023]FIG. 13 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 10 taken along the lines of 13-13 thereof.

[0024]FIG. 14 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 7 taken along the lines of 14-14 thereof.

[0025]FIG. 15 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 8 taken along the lines of 15-15 thereof.

[0026]FIG. 16 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 11 taken along the lines of 16-16 thereof.

[0027]FIG. 17 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 12 taken along the lines of 17-17 thereof.

[0028]FIG. 18 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 12 taken along the lines of 18-18 thereof when the clutch is in the neutral position.

[0029]FIG. 19 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 12 taken along the lines of 18-18 thereof, which is the same lines as FIG. 18 was taken from but when the shaft has been rotated in order to rotate the drilling apparatus.

[0030]FIG. 20 is a top view of the drilling apparatus of the invention in the major turn mode.

[0031]FIG. 21 is a side view of the drilling apparatus of the invention in the major turn mode.

[0032]FIG. 22 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 20 taken along the lines of 22-22 thereof.

[0033]FIG. 23 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 20 taken along the lines of 23-23 thereof.

[0034]FIG. 24 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 22 taken along the lines of 24-24 thereof.

[0035]FIG. 25 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 23 taken along the lines of 25-25 thereof.

[0036]FIG. 26 is a top view of the drilling apparatus of the invention in the minor turn mode.

[0037]FIG. 27 is a side view of the drilling apparatus of the invention in the minor turn mode.

[0038]FIG. 28 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 26 taken along the lines of 28-28 thereof.

[0039]FIG. 29 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 26 taken along the lines of 29-29 thereof.

[0040]FIG. 30 is a top view of the drilling apparatus of the invention in the partially pulled back mode.

[0041]FIG. 31 is a side view of the drilling apparatus of the invention in the partially pulled back mode.

[0042]FIG. 32 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 30 taken along the lines of 32-32 thereof.

[0043]FIG. 33 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 30 taken along the lines of 33-33 thereof.

[0044]FIG. 34 is an isometric view of the shifting cam.

[0045]FIG. 35 is 360-degree flat view of the exterior of the shifting cam

[0046]FIG. 36 is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam and the shifting cam follower in the straight drilling mode.

[0047]FIG. 37 is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam lug contacting the shifting cam groove intersection.

[0048]FIG. 38 is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam followers in fall rearward position.

[0049]FIG. 39 is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower lug contacting an intersection of the shifting cam grooves.

[0050]FIG. 40 is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower in transition between the full rearward position and the full forward position.

[0051]FIG. 41 is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower in the fully forward position.

[0052]FIG. 42 is a 360-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower lugs contacting an intersection of the shifting cam grooves.

[0053]FIG. 43 is a 360-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam followers in transition between the major turn position and the rearward position before drilling straight.

[0054]FIG. 44 is a 360-degree fiat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam followers by-passing the by-pass groove of the shifting cam.

[0055]FIG. 44A is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower lug stopped by the end of the shifting cam groove.

[0056]FIG. 44B is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower lug contacting the intersection of the grooves in the shifting cam.

[0057]FIG. 44C is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower in the straight position.

[0058]FIG. 44D is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower contacting an intersection of the shifting cam grooves.

[0059]FIG. 44E is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower in the full rearward position.

[0060]FIG. 44F is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower lug contacting an intersection of the shifting cam grooves.

[0061]FIG. 44G is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower's forward displacement halted in preparation to start the minor turn sequence.

[0062]FIG. 44H is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower contacting an intersection of the shifting cam grooves.

[0063]FIG. 44(I) is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower fully rearward in the minor turn sequence.

[0064]FIG. 44J is a 360-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam followers in transition from the fully rearward position to the minor turn position.

[0065]FIG. 44K is a 360-degree fiat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam followers exiting the by-pass groove.

[0066]FIG. 44L is a 360-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam followers heading toward the minor turn stop.

[0067]FIG. 44M is a 360-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower lugs stopped by the minor turn stop.

[0068]FIG. 44N is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower in transition between the minor turn and the rearward stop before going straight. This view shows the shifting cam follower missing the by-pass groove.

[0069]FIG. 44(0) is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower in transition between the minor turn and the rearward stop before going straight.

[0070]FIG. 44P is a 180-degree flat view of the shifting cam with the shifting cam follower in the fully rearward position before going straight.

[0071]FIG. 45 is an isometric view of the clutch stop.

[0072]FIG. 45A is an enlargement of the clutch stop lug.

[0073]FIG. 46 is an isometric view of the front of the female clutch member.

[0074]FIG. 47 is an isometric view of the rear of the female clutch member.

[0075]FIG. 48 is an isometric view of the rear of the male clutch member.

[0076]FIG. 49 is a cutout section of the guide housing showing the clutch members in a relaxed position.

[0077]FIG. 50 is a cutout section of the guide housing showing the clutch members engaging each other.

[0078]FIG. 51 is a front view of the shaft retainer cut to hold the rotational cutting means.

[0079]FIG. 52 is a side view of the shaft retainer.

[0080]FIG. 53 is a rear view of the shaft retainer.

[0081]FIG. 54 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 52 taken along the line 54-54 thereof.

[0082]FIG. 55 is a side view of the assembled rotational cutting means.

[0083]FIG. 56 is a front view of the assembled rotational cutting means.

[0084]FIG. 57 is a rear view of the assembled rotational cutting means.

[0085] FIGS. 58-65 shows the coupling procedure of the rotational cutting means.

[0086]FIG. 66 is a cross sectional view of the front end of the drilling apparatus showing the magnetic displacement device in use.

[0087]FIG. 67 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 66 taken along the line 67-67 thereof.

[0088]FIG. 68 is an isometric view of the transmitter housing with magnetic sensitive wires positioned to indicate longitudinal displacement of the shaft.

[0089]FIG. 69 is a cross sectional view of the rear of the apparatus using a longer clutch means.

[0090]FIG. 70 is a top view of the drilling apparatus with a third housing attached.

[0091]FIG. 71 is a side view of the drilling apparatus with a third housing attached.

[0092]FIG. 72 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 70, using a standard transmitter, taken along the lines 72-72 thereof.

[0093]FIG. 73 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 70, using a Wireline transmitter, taken along the lines 73-73 thereof.

[0094]FIG. 74 is an illustration of the alternative drilling apparatus using a percussion type cutting means in the straight drilling mode.

[0095]FIG. 75 is an illustration of the alternative drilling apparatus using a percussion type cutting means in the shifting mode.

[0096]FIG. 76 is an illustration of the alternative drilling apparatus using a percussion type cutting means in the turning mode.

[0097]FIG. 77 is an illustration of the alternative drilling apparatus using a rotational type cutting means in the straight drilling mode.

[0098]FIG. 78 is an illustration of the alternative drilling apparatus using a rotational type cutting means in the shifting mode.

[0099]FIG. 79 is an illustration of the alternative drilling apparatus using a rotational type cutting means in the turning mode.

[0100]FIG. 80 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 74 and FIG. 77 taken along the lines of 80-80 thereof.

[0101]FIG. 81 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 75 and FIG.78 taken along the lines of 81-81 thereof.

[0102]FIG. 82 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 76 and FIG. 79 taken along the lines of 82-82 thereof.

[0103]FIG. 83 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 79 taken along the lines of 83-83 thereof.

[0104]FIG. 84 is a 180-degree flat view of the alternative-shifting cam with the alternative-shifting cam follower in the fully forward position.

[0105]FIG. 85 is a 180-degree flat view of the alternative-shifting cam with the alternative-shifting cam follower contacting an intersection of the alternative shifting cam grooves.

[0106]FIG. 86 is a 180-degree flat view of the alternative-shifting cam with the alternative-shifting cam follower in transition between fully forward and fully rearward positions.

[0107]FIG. 87 is a 180-degree flat view of the alternative-shifting cam with the alternative-shifting cam follower in the fully rearward position.

[0108]FIG. 88 is a 180-degree view of the alternative-shifting cam with the alternative-shifting cam follower contacting an intersection of the alternative-shifting cam grooves.

[0109]FIG. 89 is a 180-degree flat view of the alternative-shifting cam with the alternative-shifting cam follower in transition between the fully rearward position and the straight position.

[0110]FIG. 90 is a 180-degree flat view of the alternative-shifting cam with the alternative-shifting cam follower in the straight position.

[0111]FIG. 91 is a 180-degree flat view of the alternative-shifting cam with the alternative-shifting cam follower in contact with an intersecting groove.

[0112]FIG. 92 is a 180-degree flat view of the alternative-shifting cam with the alternative-shifting cam follower in transition from the straight position to the fully rearward position.

[0113]FIG. 93 is a 180-degree flat view of the alternative-shifting cam with the alternative-shifting cam follower in the fully rearward position.

[0114]FIG. 94 is a 180-degree flat view of the alternative-shifting cam with the alternative-shifting cam follower contacting an intersection of the grooves.

[0115]FIG. 95 is a 270-degree flat view of the alternative-shifting cam with the alternative-shifting cam follower in transition between fully rearward and fully forward positions.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0116] Referring to FIGS. 1-65 of the drawings, the apparatus comprises a shaft 101 having a rear end 101R connectable to a drilling system 103 and a rotational cutting means 105 connectable to the front end 101F. The shaft 101 extends through a front housing 111 and a rear housing 113. The drilling system is a conventional system that can rotate and push the shaft 101 forward for drilling purposes and it can also pull the shaft 101 rearward. Additional stem members can be attached to the rear 101R of the shaft 101 and to the drilling system 103 as the hole being drilled gets longer or deeper. The shaft 101 can rotate within each of units 111 and 113, and can move forward a small distance to a drilling position and rearward a small distance to a shifting position relative to units 111 and 113. Units 111 and 113 cannot rotate relative to each other, but they can bend or pivot lengthwise relative to each other. As shown in FIGS. 21-23 and 27-29.

[0117] A front ball joint 115 with pivot pins 117 located at the front of unit 111 supports unit 111 on the front of the shaft 101F. A middle ball joint 119 with a rear end 119R connects the rear of unit 111 with the front of unit 113. A rear ball joint 121 with pivot pins 121A similar to the front ball joint 115 supports the rear of unit 113 on the rear of shaft 101R.

[0118] A main cam 123 and a main cam follower 163 are employed in unit 113 to cause the apparatus to drill straight as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 or to tilt or pivot units 111 and 113 relative to the shaft 101 as shown in FIGS. 21-23 and 27-29 to cause the front of the shaft 101F to turn up, down, left, or right or any fraction thereof while drilling operations are being carried out. A shifting cam 145 is also located in unit 113 for the purpose of regulating the straight and turn drilling by regulating the amount of longitudinal displacement between the main cam 123 and the main cam follower 163.

[0119] For reference, in the drawings, the top of the drilling apparatus is on the inside of the radius being drilled, such that if the hole is being turned up relative to the earth, the top of the drilling apparatus is up relative to the earth. Likewise if the bore is being turned downward relative to the earth, the drilling apparatus is turned upside down, and so on. Referring to FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, the front housing 111 has fixedly attached to it, a front socket 127, a transmitter case 129, a middle socket 131, and a front wear pad 133. The front socket 127 encases the front ball 115 so that the front housing 111 may pivot relative to the shaft 101. The transmitter case 129 is accessible through a cutout 135 in the side of the front housing 111. The door 129D covers the transmitter 137. The transmitter case 129 holds the compartment for the transmitter 137 employed by the drilling apparatus. The middle socket 131 encases the middle ball 119 so that the front housing 111 may pivot relative to the rear housing 113. The middle socket 131 and the middle ball 119 are pinned together so that they cannot rotate relative to each other, such that the two housings 111 and 113 cannot rotate relative to each other. The front wear pad 133 is located on the bottom of the drilling apparatus, such that it pushes against the bore wall 179 to cause the drilling apparatus to turn. The rear of the middle ball 119R is fixedly attached to the front of the rear housing 113. The rear housing 113 has fixedly attached to it a main cam 123, a stop plate 141, a shifting cam bushing 143, a stop bushing 167B, a clutch stop 147, a rear socket 149, and a rear wear pad 151. The shifting cam bushing 143 supports a shifting cam 145. The shifting cam 145 is free to rotate, but is locked longitudinally relative to the rear housing 113. The clutch stop 147 is fixedly attached to the housing 113 and limits the rotational and forward movement of a female clutch member 153. The rear socket 149 limits the rearward movement of the female clutch member 153. The female clutch member 153 is free to rotate relative to the rear housing 113 only enough to allow the male clutch member 171 to engage with female clutch member 153 without regards to their starting rotational orientation.

[0120] Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6 the shaft 101 has attached to it a shaft retainer 155 upon which; in this case, a rotational cutting means 105 is mounted. The cutting means 105 may be a conventional rotary type as shown or it may be a hammering system that is commonly employed in harder strata and illustrated in FIGS. 74-76. Behind the shaft retainer 155 are two sleeves 157 and 159 that rotate with the shaft 101 and hold the other components longitudinally in place. Behind the sleeves 157 and 159 are a thrust bearing 161, a main cam follower 163, a cam follower spacer 165, a thrust bearing 169, and a male clutch member 171. The cam follower 163 and cam follower spacer 165 are free to rotate relative to the shaft 101, but are tied longitudinally to the shaft 101 by the shaft retainer 155, the two sleeves 157 and 159, the thrust bearings 161 and 165 and the shoulder 101S of the shaft 101. The shaft 101 can rotate relative to the cam follower 163 and spacer 165. Mounted on the rear of the shaft 101R is a rearward cutter 173. The rearward cutter 173 contains threads for accepting a thread adapter 175 that joins the drilling apparatus to the drill string and ultimately the drilling system 103. Two shifting cam followers 177A and 177B are mounted 180 degrees from each other and 90 degrees from the cam follower lugs 163S and 163L on the outside of the cam follower 163. The shifting cam followers 177A and 177B are free to pivot relative to the cam follower 163, but are locked longitudinally to the cam follower 163 by pins 163P. The shifting cam followers 177A and 177B are locked rotationally to the housing 113 but are free to move longitudinally relative to the housing 113. The followers 177A and 177B cannot rotate relative to the housing 113.

[0121] Referring to FIGS. 3-44 the main cam 123 has two slots cut into it, 180 degrees apart. The bottoms of the slots stay relatively parallel to each other. The bottom of the slots start out in the rear of the main cam 123 close to the bottom of the drilling apparatus and progress in several stages close to the top of the drilling apparatus as they progress to the front. The slots accept the main cam follower lugs 163S and 163L. The sides of slots keep the main cam follower 163 rotationally engaged to the rear housing 113 for rotation with the rear housing 113 as well as giving support for side loaded pressure placed on the drilling apparatus. The large cam follower lug 163L is located on the bottom of the drilling apparatus, while the small cam follower lug 163S is located on the top of the drilling apparatus. As the main cam follower 163 is displaced forward relative to the main cam 123, the main cam follower lugs 163S and 163L follow the slots in the main cam 123. This causes the front of the rear housing 113 and the rear of the front housing 111 to pivot downward away from the shaft 101, such that the bore wall 179 is pushed on by the wear pad 133 and the drilling apparatus is caused to change directions. When the main cam follower 163 is displaced fully rearward, the front of the rear housing 113 and the rear of the front housing 111 are pivoted upward toward the shaft 101. This causes the wear pad 133 to be pulled in as close as possible to the shaft 101.

[0122] Referring to FIGS. 34-44P, the shifting cam 145 and shifting cam followers 177A and 177B regulate the amount of longitudinal displacement that the main cam 123 and main cam follower 163 undergo. In FIGS. 35-44P the exterior surface of the cam 145 is shown laid out flat. The two cam followers 177A and 177B are located 180 degrees apart. In FIGS. 35, 42-44, and 44J-44M, 360 degrees of the cam is shown and in FIGS. 42-44 and 44J-44M both cam followers 177A and 177B are shown. In FIGS. 36-41, 44A-44(I) and 44N-44P only 180 degrees of the cam 145 is shown and only one cam follower 177B is shown although it is to be understood that the complete cam of FIGS. 34 and 35 and both followers 177A and 177B will be employed. In FIGS. 36-44P the horizontal arrows depict the direction of longitudinal travel of the followers 177A and 177B and the vertical arrows next to the cam 145 depict the direction of rotation of the cam 145. In FIGS. 36-44P, rearward movement of the followers 177A and 177B is to the right and forward movement of the followers 177A and 177B is to the left. The lugs 177AL and 177BL of the cams 177A and 177B can be moved between positions displaced fully rearward as shown by follower 177B in FIG. 38 and to positions fully displaced forward as shown by follower 177B in FIG. 41 and to intermediate positions. Grooves 145A-145E are cut into the outside of the shifting cam 145 at an angle such that when the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B are displaced longitudinally they contact the walls of the grooves 145A-145E, which rotate the shifting cam 145. Furthermore, the lugs 177AL and 177BL on the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B are shaped in such away as to ride along the walls of the grooves 145A-145E and to enter into an intersecting groove 145AB-145DE when the appropriate displacement and rotational positioning is achieved.

[0123]FIG. 36 shows the shifting cam follower 177B in the straight drilling position. In this position the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B, and thus the main cam follower 163, cannot progress any further forward relative to the shifting cam 145, and thus the main cam 123, because the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL are in contact with end of the shifting cam grooves 145E. Displacing the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B rearward causes them to contact the next set of intersecting grooves 145DE (FIG. 37). When the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B are displaced further rearward the shifting cam 145 is forced to rotate by the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL pushing on the walls of the shifting cam grooves 145D. The contact of the main cam follower lugs 163S and 163L and the stop ring 141 halt the rearward longitudinal displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B relative to the shifting cam 145 (FIG. 38 and FIG. 12). In this longitudinal position the clutch members 153 and 171 are engaged and the housing 113 may be rotated with the shaft 101. When the desired rotational position is achieved, the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B can be moved forward relative to the shifting cam 145 until they contact the next set of intersecting grooves 145AD (FIG. 39). As the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B are further displaced forward relative to the shifting cam 145, the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL push on the wall of the shifting cam grooves 145A forcing the shifting cam 145 to rotate relative to the housing 113 (FIG. 40). The shifting cam followers 177A and 177B do not rotate relative to the housing 113 because they are held rotationally locked to the housing 113 by the shifting cam bushings 143. The contact of the stop washer 167 and the stop bushing 167B halts the further forward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B relative to the shifting cam 145 as well as the forward displacement of the main cam follower 163 relative to the main cam 123 (FIG. 41 and FIG. 23). In this position the tightest radius is being drilled. Displacing the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B rearward causes them to contact yet another set of intersecting grooves 145AC (FIG. 42). Further rearward displacement causes the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL to push on the walls of shifting cam grooves 145C, forcing the shifting cam 145 to rotate relative to the housing 113 (FIG. 43). FIG. 44 shows the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B moving passed the by-pass groove 145B without entering it. This is possible by the widening of the grooves 145C in this location. The contact of the end of the shifting cam grooves 145C and the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL stops the rearward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B relative to the shifting cam 145 (FIG. 44A). In this embodiment the clutch members 171 and 153 are not engaged in this position, allowing the operator to know that upon pushing forward he will be drilling straight because the next intersecting groove leads to the straight position. Displacing the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B forward causes the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL to contact the intersections of yet another set of shifting cam grooves 145CE (FIG. 44B). Further forward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B causes the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL to push on the shifting cam groove walls, which causes the shifting cam 145 to rotate relative to the housing 113. The contact of the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL and the end of the shifting cam grooves 145E stops the forward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B relative to the shifting cam 145 and thus, the forward displacement of the main cam follower 163 relative to the main cam 123 (FIG. 44C). In this position the housings 111 and 113 are virtually parallel with the shaft 101, thus causing zero effect on the direction of travel, which allows the drilling apparatus to drill straight. In this embodiment the clutch members 171 and 153 are not engaged, which allows the shaft 101 to rotate without rotating the housing 113. While drilling straight the housings 111 and 113 slide through the bore being drilled. Rearward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B causes them to contact the next set of intersecting grooves 145DE (FIG. 44D). Further rearward displacement causes the shifting cam 145 to rotate relative to the housing 113. Contact between the main cam follower lugs 163S and 163L and the stop plate 141 stops the rearward displacement between the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B and the shifting cam 145 (FIG. 44E and FIG. 12). Forward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B causes the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL to contact the next set of intersecting grooves 145AD (FIG. 44F). Further forward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B causes the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL to push on the shifting cam groove walls causing the shifting cam 145 to rotate relative to the housing 113. By halting the forward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B relative to the shifting cam 145 before the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL are displaced enough to enter the intersecting grooves 145AC, but after they have passed the entrance of the by-pass grooves 145AB, the operator has a choice to either drill straight or at least drill a lesser deviated hole (FIG. 44G). The forward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B may be stopped by the operator or by the hard surface of the bore wall. For example, if the cutting means 105 or 247 is not activated, by either the rotation of the shaft or the supply of a compressed medium, such as air or water, after the main cam follower 163 is displaced forward enough to put sufficient pressure on the housing 113 to deflect it against the bore wall, the apparatus will not cut off to the side and thus the pressure from the wear pads 151 and 133 and the non-activated cutting means 105 or 247 will halt the forward displacement of the main cam follower 163 relative to the main cam 123 and thus the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B relative to the shifting cam 145. Rearward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B relative to the shifting cam 145 causes the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL to contact the shifting cam groove walls causing the shifting cam 145 to rotate. This time the shifting cam 145 is rotating in the opposite direction from what it normally rotates. Further rearward displacement causes the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL to contact the intersections of the bypass grooves 145AB (FIG. 44H). Still more rearward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B causes the shifting cam 145 to rotate in its normal direction. The contact of the main cam follower lugs 163S and 163L and the stop ring 141 halts the rearward displacement (FIG. 44(I) and FIG. 12). In this position the clutch members 153 and 171 are engaged and the housing 113 may be rotated if desired. Forward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B causes the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL to contact the next set of intersecting grooves 145BA. Further forward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B causes the shifting cam 145 to rotate in its normal direction (FIG. 44J and FIG. 44K). The shifting cam 145 is rotated until the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL exit the by-pass grooves 145B (FIG. 44L). The continued forward displacement of shifting cam followers 177A and 177B causes the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL to enter into a set of short grooves 145M, which stops the forward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B relative to the shifting cam 145 (FIG. 44M). In this position the main cam follower 163 is displaced forward relative to the main cam 123 enough to deflect the housings 111 and 113 only part of their total deflection capabilities (FIGS. 27-29). If the operator chooses to drill forward the drilling apparatus will turn at a lesser degree than would otherwise be possible. If the operator chooses not to drill forward he can continue to manipulate the drill stem in order to position the drilling apparatus in the desired mode. Rearward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B causes the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL to contact the walls of shifting cam groove 145C on the other side of the by-pass groove 145B thus allowing the shifting cam 145 to be rotated in the normal direction (FIG. 44N). Further rearward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B relative to the shifting cam 145 causes the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL to push on the shifting cam groove wall, which causes the shifting cam 145 to rotate relative to the housing 113 (FIG. 44(0)). Contact between the shifting cam follower lugs 177AL and 177BL and the end of the shifting cam grooves 145C stops the rearward displacement of the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B relative to the shifting cam 145 (FIG. 44P). Further longitudinal displacement causes this sequence to repeat.

[0124] Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, 7, 8 and 36, when the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B are stopped by shifting cam grooves 145E the drilling apparatus is drilling with the main cam follower 163 only partially displaced relative to the main cam 123, such that a straight bore is produced.

[0125] Referring to FIGS. 9-13, 38, 44E, and 44(I) when the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B are allowed to regress backward without hindrance from the shifting cam 145 the longitudinal displacement of the main cam follower 163 relative to the main cam 123 is stopped by the main cam follower lugs 163S and 163L and the stop plate 141. In this position all of the parts of the drilling apparatus are rotationally locked by the engagement of the clutch means 171 and 153.

[0126] Referring to FIG. 10 the bore illustrated is curved downwards while the drilling apparatus is in the shifting position and oriented to drill upwards. The rear of the front housing 111 and the front of the rear housing 113 are bent upward allowing the drilling apparatus to be rotated a full 360 degrees in a tighter radius bore than might otherwise be possible. This allows the drilling apparatus to be with drawn through a smaller radius bore without becoming stuck.

[0127] Referring to FIGS. 20-25 and 41 when the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B are allowed to progress forward unimpeded by the shifting cam 145 the forward displacement of the main cam follower 163 relative to the main cam 123 is stopped by the contact of the stop washer 167 and the stop bushing 167B. In this position the drilling apparatus is producing the tightest turn possible.

[0128] Referring to FIGS. 21-23 and 27-29 the middle wear pad 133 is mounted on the rear of the front housing 111 such that when the rear of the front housing 111 is bent downward the wear pad 133 is forced against the bottom of the bore 179, which pushes laterally on the drilling apparatus until the rear wear pad 151 hits the opposite side of the bore 179, then the front of the drilling apparatus is pivoted toward the opposite side changing the direction of travel.

[0129] Referring to FIGS. 26-29 and 44M, when the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B are stopped by shifting cam groove 145M the drilling apparatus is drilling with the main cam follower 163 only partially displaced relative to the main cam 123, such that a larger radius is drilled.

[0130] Referring to FIGS. 30-33, 44A and 44P, when the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B are stopped by shifting cam groove 145C the male clutch member 171 is halted from engaging the female clutch member 153 such that the housing 113 cannot be rotated when the shaft is rotated. This lets the operator know that upon pushing forward he will be drilling straight.

[0131] Referring to FIGS. 18,19 and 45-50 the clutch stop 147 has two lugs 147L protruding toward the rear of the drilling apparatus. Each lug is identical. Each has a cam groove 147C cutout of it that acts like a cam and a pin 147P protruding radially outward. The pin 147P is designed to hold the end of one of the elastic bands 153R or 153S whose other end is attached to one of two cam follower pins 153P, that are attached to the clutch ring 153. The elastic bands may be o-rings made from a suitable elastomer. The clutch ring 153 has two cutouts 153C cut into its outer edge. Within these cutouts 153C are mounted the two cam follower pins 153P that act as cam followers. The interior of the ring 153 has teeth 153T protruding toward the center. Each tooth 153T has a beveled surface 153B on its forward face. Cut radially around the clutch rings 153 outer edge is a groove 153G that is wide enough and deep enough for the unobstructed acceptance of the elastic bands 153R and 153S. A male clutch member 171 is mounted fixedly on the shaft 101. On the outer edge of the male clutch member are mounted teeth 171T. Each tooth 171T has a beveled surface 171B facing rearward.

[0132]FIG. 49 shows the clutch assembly in a relaxed state. The housing 113 supports the clutch ring 153 and the clutch stop 147. The male clutch member 171 is forward of the clutch ring 153. The clutch ring 153 is positioned so that the lugs 147L on the clutch stop 147 are located in and engaged with the cutouts 153C on the clutch ring 153. The cam pins 153P are positioned in the cam groove 147C. The elastic bands 153R and 153S are position so that one end is held by a cam pin 153P and stretches through the groove 153G to the pin 147P that is mounted on the opposite lug 147L. In this relaxed state, the elastic bands 153 R and 153S keep the clutch ring 153 rotated clockwise as seen from the rear of the drilling apparatus. Being fully rotated clockwise the cam follower pins 153P are positioned in the apex of the cam grooves 147C and the clutch ring 153 is fully forward, resting against the face of the clutch stop 147.

[0133] When the male clutch member 171 is pulled rearward, it will either enter into the clutch ring 153 without any interference, or the respective teeth 153T and 171T will hit. If the teeth 153T and 171T hit, the clutch ring 153 will be forced rearwards. This will cause the cam follower pins 153P to contact the cam grooves 147C, which will force the clutch ring 153 to rotate counter-clockwise as seen from the rear. As the counter clockwise rotation is taking place the elastic bands 153R and 153S are stretching and gaining potential energy. The rearward displacement of the clutch ring 153 is stopped when it contacts the rear ball socket 149. By the time the clutch ring 153 has been displaced fully rearward the cam groove 147C has exhausted its influence on the cam follower pin 153P (FIG. 50). In this position the beveled surfaces 153B and 171B on the clutch rings teeth 153T and the male clutch members teeth 171T will be rotationally aligned so that any further rearward displacement of the male clutch member 171 relative to the clutch ring 153 will cause these surfaces 153B and 171B to push on each other, which will continue the counter-clockwise rotation of the clutch ring 153 relative to the clutch stop. The counter-clockwise rotation will stop when the clutch ring 153 and the male clutch member 171 are located such that each tooth 171T is located between adjacent teeth 153T.

[0134] In this position, the male clutch member 171 may be rotated in either direction to rotate the clutch ring 153 and hence the housing 113 in either direction. If it is rotated counter clockwise, the clutch ring 153 will be rotated relative to the housing 113 until the clutch stop lugs 147L contact the edges of the cutouts 153C on the clutch ring 153. Further counter-clockwise rotation of the clutch ring 153 will rotate the housing 113 counter-clockwise. If the male clutch member 171 is rotated clockwise, the cam follower pins 153P will contact the cam grooves 147C, which will force the clutch ring 153 forward. The clutch ring 153 will stop being rotated relative to the housing 113 when the edges of the cutouts 153C in the clutch ring 153 contacts the clutch stop lugs 147L. In this position the clutch ring 153 is back in its starting position. Further clockwise rotation of the clutch ring 153 will rotate the housing 113 clockwise. If the male clutch member 171 has moved forward enough to disengage with the clutch ring 153 but has not rotated the clutch ring 153 clockwise enough to reposition the clutch ring 153 in its starting position, the elastic bands 153R and 153L will contract. This will rotate the clutch ring 153 clockwise causing the cam follower pin 153P to contact the cam groove 147C. As the cam follower pin 153P is rotated clockwise it is being forced forward by the cam groove 147C. The rotation and the forward travel relative to the housing 113 stop when the edges of the cutouts 153C on the clutch ring 153 contact the clutch stop lugs 147L, in this position the clutch ring 153 is in its starting position.

[0135] Referring to FIGS. 51-65 the rotational cutting means 105 are individual wings positioned on the shaft retainer 155 in radial positions to form a drill bit. Three slots 155S are cut lengthwise into the shaft retainer 155. On the front and rear of the shaft retainer 155 are cut six slots perpendicular to the slots 155S such that they leave behind a lip 155L corresponding to the front and rear of each slot 155S. Two dowel-pin holes 155P are drilled perpendicular to each slot 155S such that the are in a position to allow dowel-pins 155D to lock the rotational cutting wings 105 in place. The dowel-pin holes 155P are drilled so that the dowel-pins 155D can be inserted and extricated from the direction of rotation such that upon rotation in the proper and common direction, the dowel-pins 155D will not be pushed out of the dowel-pin holes 155P. A smaller diameter hole is positioned to allow the dowel-pins to be pressed out. On the front of the shaft retainer are three openings 155H that allow water or other medium to escape from inside the shaft 101. The individual cutting wings 105 have a section behind the actual cutting area 105C that is called the shank 105S. The shank 105S is of a shape that will fit into one of the slots 155S with little clearance. On the front is a front hook 105F. On the rear is a rear hook 105R. A second cutting surface 105B faces toward the rear. Two dowel-pin holes 105D are drilled in the middle of the shank 105S. FIGS. 58-65 show the rotational cutting means 105 being mounted onto the shaft retainer 155 in steps. First the shank 105S is held in line with the slot 155S, then lowering the rear end of the shank 105S so that the rear hook 105R is engaged with the rear lip 155L of the shaft retainer 155. Then the rotational cutter 105 is rotated downwards into the slot 155S until it comes to rest in the bottom of the slot 155S. In this position the rotational cutting means 105 can be pulled rearwards. This engages the front hook 105F with the front lip 155L and lines up its dowel-pin holes 105D with the dowel pin holes 155P in the shaft retainer 155. Then dowel-pins 155D are inserted into each dowel-pin hole 155P.

[0136] Referring to FIGS. 66-68, a magnet 183 is magnetically isolated from but locked onto the shaft 101 in a position which allows it to pass longitudinally in the area of the transmitter case 129 when the shaft 101 is displaced longitudinally relative to the front housing 111. The transmitter case 129 is made of non-magnetic material and has a number of magnetic conducting strips 185 isolated from each other. Each strip 185 has an end positioned in a different longitudinal position with its other end positioned in a different radial position around the transmitter cavity 135. A special transmitter 137B such as the Digitrac Eclipse produced by Digital Control Inc. has to be used. This transmitter 137B is built with magnetically sensitive switches 187 that when activated send signals to the receiver to be viewed by the locator and ultimately by the operator Referring to FIG. 69 the female clutch member 153 and the clutch stop 147 of FIGS. 1-68 are replaced in the drilling apparatus by a longer female clutch member 153L and a corresponding clutch stop 147B. This makes the housings 111 and 113 of the drilling apparatus of FIGS. 1-68 rotate while the bore is being drilled straight as well as when it is in the shifting mode. The clutch will be disengaged when the drilling apparatus is in the turning mode.

[0137] Referring to FIG. 70-72 a third housing 189 maybe attached to the rear of the drilling apparatus via the rear ball 121 such that it is rotationally and longitudinally locked to the drilling apparatus. A third housing shaft 101H is attach to the rear end of the shaft 101R via a standard collar 191 such that the third housing' axis is parallel to the shaft 101 and the third housing shaft 101H is fixedly attached to the shaft 101. The rear of the third housing 189 is supported on the third housing shaft 101H via a bearing compartment 189B. The third housing 189 is designed to hold a larger transmitter 137L than can be held in the normal transmitter compartment 135, which is sometimes needed or preferred to produce a bore. One such transmitter is the Subsite produced by Charles Machine Works Incorporated.

[0138] Referring to FIG. 73 in the third housing 189 a ring collar 191R can be used, instead of the standard collar 191, to attach the rear of the shaft 101 and the front of the third housing shaft 101H. On the inside of the ring collar 191R is attached a wire 193. The wire 193 is fed back through the shaft 101H and ultimately to the drilling rig 103 and onto a receiver. The wire 193 is spliced and made longer upon the addition of each new drill stem. A brush 195 is provided to transmit a signal from a wireline transmitter 137W that is housed in the third housing 189. The brush 195 is touching but not solidly attached to the ring collar 191R such that a constant connection is achieved even when the shaft 101 is rotating or moving longitudinally relative to the third housing 189. Wireline transmitters are special but not uncommon for longer and/or deeper bores.

[0139] Operation

[0140] After the crew foreman has determined the bore path, the crew sets up the drill rig, in this case a Vermeer 24/40 produced by Vermeer Manufacturing Incorporated. With the lead drill stem already on the drill rig, the crew threads the drilling apparatus onto it. The crew will then insert transmitter 137 and calibrate it with the receiver located at the surface. The foreman has chosen to use a cutting means/wear pad ratio that would allow the drilling apparatus to rotate 360-degrees about its own axis when in the shifting position even in a curved hole. He could have chosen a number of different ratios, anywhere from barely turning for sewer bores, to a 1/1 ratio which would give him the tightest turn, but would not allow the drilling apparatus to rotate about its own axis in a curved hole. Although, rotating about it's own axis in a curved hole is not necessary to its operation, at times it can be handy. Starting at a 15-degree angle with the horizon and the drilling apparatus set to drill straight, the operator of the drill rig begins the bore.

[0141] Initially, the operator of the system will start out with the followers 177A and 177B in the groove positions 145E as shown in FIG. 36 in order to drill straight. The operator drills straight until the drilling apparatus is about 4' deep. At this time, he pulls back on the drill stem. This causes reactions in the drilling apparatus, 1) the clutch engages 171 to 153, 2) the shifting cam follower 177A and 177B pulls back spinning the shifting cam 145, and 3) the cam follower lugs 163S and 163L slide rearward relative to the guide housings 111 and 113.

[0142] The operator can now rotate the drilling apparatus to the desired orientation, in this case 12:00. This places the front wear pad 133 on the bottom of the drilling apparatus and the rear wear pad 151 on the top of it. The operator can now push the drill stem forward. This causes 1) the clutch to disengage 171 from 153, 2) the shifting cam followers 177A and 177B are pulled forward rotating the shifting cam 145, and 3) the cam follower lugs 163S and 163L ride up the main cam 123 which causes the guide housings 111 and 113 to bend or pivot relative to each other and the shaft 101 so that the front wear pad 133 pushes against the bottom of the bore 179, in the middle of the drilling apparatus, while the rear wear pad 151 pushes on the top of the bore. This reaction forces the cutting means 105, located on the front of the drilling apparatus upward, changing the direction of travel. When the drilling apparatus has reached its full deflection using the chosen cutting means/wear pad ratio, the turning radius is approximately 110 feet. (Note: choosing other cutting means/wear pad ratios will change the radius of the bore.)

[0143] The operator can continue turning until he has achieved his desired degree of deviation or until he has to add another drill stem. While adding another drill stem, it is a good time for the crew's locator to check the position of the drilling apparatus, which includes its inclination, and its X, Y and Z position, with the receiver. For a consistent reading the drilling apparatus needs to be positioned in the same clock position every time. For the best reading, the drilling apparatus needs to be in a 3:00 rotational position, as indicated by the receiver. To do this the operator pulls back on the drill stem approximately 5 inches, then pushes forward approximately 2 inches, and finally pulls back approximately 3 inches. This causes the lugs of followers 177A and 177B to be located in the cam groove positions 145C as depicted in FIG. 44A, 145E as depicted in FIG. 44C, and 145D as depicted in FIG. 44E respectively. In this position the clutch is engaged and the drill stem can rotate the drilling apparatus until the receiver indicates a 3:00 position. While the drill stem is being changed the locator can take his reading.

[0144] After adding a new drill stem and calculating his heading the foreman chooses to drill straight. To do this the operator needs to push forward approximately 2 inches and then pull back approximately 2 inches and then forward approximately 4 inches and then back ward approximately 2 inches. This causes the lugs of the cam followers 177A and 177B to be located in the cam groove positions 145A as depicted in FIG. 44G, 145B as depicted in FIG. 44(I), 145M as depicted in FIG. 44M, and 145C as depicted in FIG. 44P respectively. In this position he should be able to rotate the drill stem without rotating the drilling apparatus. This indicates that the next time he pushes forward he will be drilling straight. Then pushing forward, he can drill straight for as long as he wants. After drilling for a short distance he notices that the drilling apparatus has drifted slightly off course. Since he is installing steel casing and does not want a major bend in the bore where the pipe will be place, he decides to use the minor turn feature of the drill head. To do this the operator moves the drill stem back approximately 2 inches, then forward approximately 1 inches, then backward approximately 1 inches, and then pushing forward he can start to drill. This locates the lugs of the followers 177A and 177B in the groove positions 145D as depicted in FIG. 44E, 145A as depicted in FIG. 44G, 145B as depicted in FIG. 44(I), and 145M as depicted in FIG. 44M respectively. This will cause the drilling apparatus to change directions, but not as quickly as when using the major turn feature.

[0145] By oscillating or moving the shaft 101 in and out relative to the drilling apparatus the operator has the choice of a major turning radius, a minor turning radius, or drilling straight. The foreman continues to manipulate the drilling apparatus to achieve his goal of installing steel casing in a directional bore. Furthermore, the foreman has control of the degree of turn that each turning radius gives him by adjusting the diameter of the cutting means in relation to the diameter of the front wear pad and/or the diameter of the rear wear pad before the bore is even started. In this embodiment, while the drilling is being carried out the housings 111 and 113 slide along the bore hole being drilled by the cutting means 105.

[0146] FIGS. 74-83 refer to another embodiment of the invention. This embodiment has a single housing 201. A shaft 203 passes through the housing 201 such that its forward end 203F passes out of the front of the housing 201 and its rear end 203R passes out of the rear of the housing 201. On the shaft's front end 203F is mounted a cutting means. The cutting means may be a rotary type 245 as shown in FIGS. 77-79 or a percussion type 247 as shown in FIGS. 74-76. In this embodiment the housing 201 rotates with the shaft 203 while straight drilling is being carried out and the housing 201 does not rotate with the shaft while turn drilling is being carried out. The housing 201 is supported on both ends by bearings 205 and is sealed by seals 207. The shaft 203 is free to rotate and move longitudinally relative to the housing 201. The housing supports a front wear pad 209 and a rear wear pad 211. The two wear pads 209 and 211 are 180 degrees from each other and on opposite ends of the housing 201. The resulting central axis of the housing 201 is offset from the central axis of the shaft 203 which allows the wear pads 209 and 211 to influence the direction of travel by contacting the bore wall outside of the cutting diameter. The outside of at least one of the wear pads lies outside of the cutting diameter of the cutting means. On the outside of the housing 201 are three spring-loaded friction arms 219 that add resistance to rotation.

[0147] Inside of the housing 201, from front to back, is a front housing support 213, a transmitter housing 215, a forward stop 217, a rearward stop 221, a shifting cam bushing 223 which supports a shifting cam 225 and ties the shifting cam follower 235 rotationally to the guide housing 201, a female clutch member 227, and a rear housing support 229. All of these parts, except the shifting cam 225, are fixedly attached to the housing 201. The shifting cam 225 is longitudinally locked to, but is free to rotate relative to, the housing 201. The cam 225 has grooves formed in its outer surface.

[0148] On the shaft is a front sleeve 231, a front thrust bearing 233, a shifting cam follower body 235 supported on the shaft by bearings 235B, a rear thrust bearing 237, a rear spacer 239, and a male clutch member 241. The shifting cam follower body 235 has two shifting cam follower arms 235D and 235A positioned 180 degrees from each other. The shifting cam follower lugs 235L on the shifting cam follower arms 235D and 235A ride in the grooves 225A-225D of the shifting cam 225. All of the parts except the shifting cam follower body 235 which holds arms 235 D and 235A are locked to the shaft 203. The shifting cam follower 235 is longitudinally locked to the shaft 203 but is free to rotate relative to the shaft 203. The shifting cam follower 235 is free to move longitudinally with the shaft 203 relative to the housing 201 but is tied rotationally to the guide housing 201, such that it cannot rotate relative to the guide housing 201.

[0149] FIGS. 84-95 shows the shifting cam follower 235 being longitudinally displaced relative to the shifting cam 225. Since the shifting cam follower 235 is locked rotationally to the housing 201 by the shifting cam bushings 223, the shifting cam 225 is rotated by the lugs 235L of the shifting cam follower 235 pushing on the walls of the shifting cam grooves 225A-225D.

[0150] In FIGS. 84-95, the exterior surface of the cam 225 is shown laid flat. The two cam followers 235A and 235D are located 180 degrees apart. In FIG. 95, 270 degrees of the cam 225 is shown and in FIG. 95 both cam followers 235A and 235D are shown. In FIGS. 84-94, only 180 degrees of the cam 235 is shown and only one cam follower 235D is shown although it is to be understood that the complete cam 225 and both followers 235A and 235D will be employed. In FIGS. 84-95 the horizontal arrows depict the direction of longitudinal travel of the followers 235A and 235D and the vertical arrows next to the cam 225 depict the direction of rotation of the cam 225. In FIGS. 84-95, rearward movement of the followers 235A and 235D is to the right and forward movement of the followers 235A and 235D is to the left. The lugs 235L of the followers 235A and 235D can be moved between positions displaced fully rearward as shown by follower 235D in FIG. 87 and to positions fully displaced forward as shown by follower 235D in FIG. 84 and to intermediate positions.

[0151]FIG. 84 shows the shifting cam follower arm 235D in the fully forward or turning position. Shifting cam follower arm 235A is not pictured in any of the FIG. 84-94, but is understood to exist. In this position the clutch means is not engaged. Pulling back on the shifting cam follower arm 235D causes it to contact the shifting cam groove intersection 225AB (FIG. 85). Further rearward displacement causes the shifting cam 225 to be rotated by the shifting cam follower lugs 235L pushing on the wall of the shifting cam groove 225B (FIG. 86). Rearward displacement is stopped when the shifting cam follower body 235 contacts the rearward stop 221 (FIG. 87 and FIG. 82). In this position the clutch means is engaged. Forward displacement of the shifting cam follower arm 235D causes the shifting cam follower lug 235L to contact the shifting cam groove intersection 225BC (FIG. 88). Further forward displacement of the shifting cam follower arm 235D causes the shifting cam follower lug 235L to push on the wall of the shifting cam groove 225C (FIG. 89). This causes the shifting cam 225 to rotate. Forward displacement of the shifting cam follower arm 235D is halted when the shifting cam follower lug 235L contacts the end of the shifting cam groove 225C (FIG. 90). This is the straight drilling position. In this position the clutch means is still engaged and the whole drilling apparatus, including the housing 201, is being rotated as the hole is drilled (FIG. 80). Rearward displacement of the shifting cam follower arm 235D causes the shifting cam follower lug 235L to contact the shifting cam groove intersection 225CD (FIG. 91). Further rearward displacement of the shifting cam follower arm 235D causes the shifting cam follower lug 235L to push on the wall of the shifting cam groove 225D (FIG. 92). This causes the shifting cam 225 to rotate relative to the housing 201. Again the rearward displacement of the shifting cam follower arm 235 relative to the shifting cam 225 is halted when the shifting cam body 235C contacts the rearward stop 221 (FIG. 93 and FIG. 82). In this position the housing 201 can be rotated to a desired clock position in preparation for drilling a curved hole in the chosen direction. Forward displacement of the shifting cam follower arm 235D causes the shifting cam follower lug 235L to contact the shifting cam groove intersection 225DA. Further forward displacement of the shifting cam follower arms 235D and 235A causes the shifting cam follower lugs to push on the walls of the shifting cam grooves 225A (FIG. 95). This causes the shifting cam 225 to rotate. Forward displacement is halted when the shifting cam body 235C contacts the forward stop 217 (FIG. 81 and FIG. 84). In this position the clutch means is disengaged and the housing 201 is held from rotating by friction on the walls of the bore. While the drill stem is rotating and thrusting forward the cutting means 245 or 247, the drilling apparatus is drilling a curved hole. Further manipulations of the drill stems allow the operator to control the direction of travel.

[0152] When using a rotary type cutting means 245 with this embodiment a hole-opener 243 is to be employed directly behind housing 201. The hole-opener 243 is fixedly attach to the shaft 203 and is designed to enlarge the bore enough to allow the entire drilling apparatus to rotate around its own axis, even in a curved hole. If the drilling apparatus is not positioned in a sufficiently large void to allow the drilling apparatus to be rotated about its own axis without hindrance from the bore walls, undue strain and stress will be placed on the drilling apparatus. Further more the complete rotation of the drilling apparatus may not be possible in a non-enlarged bore, thus hindering the ability to control the path of the bore.

[0153] To use this embodiment with a percussion type cutting means 247, the drilling crew would first thread the drilling apparatus onto the lead drill stem. Then they would mount the percussion head 247 on the front of the drilling apparatus. Next, the transmitter 137 would be inserted under the front wear pad 209. With these things done the bore is ready to begin. Starting with the drilling apparatus in the straight drilling mode and the percussion bit 247 pressed up against the ground, the fluid medium usually either compressed air or water is switched on. This causes the bit 247 to vibrate in and out pulverizing even the hardest rock. As the drilling apparatus is advanced, it is rotated. This makes the bit 247 move in a circular motion with the center of the bore off center from the center of the bit 247. The resultant bore diameter is larger than the cutting bit diameter. As long as the apparatus is moved forward and rotated with the percussion cutting means 247 activated it will drill relatively straight. When the operator wants to change direction, he pulls back on the drill stem. This causes the shifting cam follower 235 to rotate the shifting cam 225. The rearward displacement ceases when the shifting cam follower 235 encounters the rearward stop 221. The drill stem can now rotate the drilling apparatus to the desired rotational position. Once in the desired position, the drill stem can be pushed forward causing the shaft 203 to be forwardly displaced relative to the housing 201. This disengages the clutch means 241 from 227 and causes the shifting cam follower 235 to rotate the shifting cam 225. The forward displacement is halted when the shifting cam follower 235 hits the forward stop 217. The bit 247 is pressed against the earth and the fluid medium is switched on. This causes the bit 247 to vibrate in and out pulverizing the rock. The drill stem can be rotated allowing the bit 247 to impact various spots on the face of the rock being drilled. The bit 247 is rotated about its own center. While turning, the housing 201 is held from rotating by the friction arms 219 that are contacting the wall of the bore. Since the housings wear pads 209 and 211 lay outside of the cutting radius of the percussion means 247, they push on the wall of the bore which in turn pushes on the drilling apparatus moving the cutting means 247 in the opposite direction. The bore can be drilled in the turning mode as far as needed. To drill straight again the drill stem is pulled back, this causes the shifting cam follower 235 to rotate the shifting cam 225 and engages the clutch means 241 to 227. The drill stem is then pushed forward causing the shaft 203 to be displaced relative to the housing 201 until the grooves 225C (FIG. 90) in the shifting cam 225 stops the shifting cam follower 235. In this position the clutch means 241 to 227 is still engaged such that when the drill stem rotates the shaft 203 the entire drilling apparatus, including the housing 201, is rotated. Since the curved hole that the drilling apparatus is now in is too small to allow the rotation of the drilling apparatus about its axis at first, the percussion means 247 is activated and slowly rotated along with the housing 201 which enlarges the bore diameter. After one revolution, normal drilling can be resumed. The operator can choose between straight and curved drilling at any time. The operator knows that he is drilling straight when he is drilling and the transmitter is showing that the drilling apparatus is rotating, likewise he knows when he is drilling a curved hole when he is drilling and the transmitter is showing that the drilling apparatus is not rotating.

[0154] To use this embodiment with a rotary type cutting means 245. The drilling crew would first thread the drilling apparatus onto the lead drill stem. Then the crew would mount the rotary drill bit 245 on the front of the drilling apparatus. Next, the transmitter 137 would be inserted under the front wear pad 209. Starting with the drill head in the straight drilling mode, the drill stem is rotated and then thrust forward. This makes the drilling apparatus, including the housing 201, as well as the rotary drill bit 245 to do the same, which drills a straight hole.

[0155] When the operator wants to turn, he pulls back on the drill stem, which pulls back on the shaft 203 causing it to be displaced relative to the housing 201. At the same time the shifting cam follower 235 rotates the shifting cam 225. The drill stem can be rotated which rotates the shaft 203, which in turn rotates the drilling apparatus until the desired rotational direction is reached. Then pushing forward the shifting cam follower 235 rotates the shifting cam 225 and the clutch means 241 is disengaged from 227. The forward displacement is stopped when the shifting cam follower 235 hits the forward stop 217. With the housing held rotationally in place by the friction arms 219, the drill stem, the shaft 203, and rotary drill bit 245 are rotated and thrust forward cutting the hole. Since at least one wear pad 209 and/or 211 lies outside of the cutting diameter of the rotary bit 245, the protruding wear pad 209 and/or 211 contacts the wall causing the drilling apparatus to be deflected in the opposite direction. While the curved hole is being drilled a hole opener 243 on the rear of the drilling apparatus is enlarging the hole, which is also true when a straight hole is being drilled, but to a lesser extent, because a straight hole is bigger than a curved hole. The curved hole can be cut until the operator chooses to drill straight. When he does desire to drill straight, he pulls back on the drill stem for at least five feet, which positions the entire drilling apparatus in the enlarged hole. While pulling back the shaft 203 and shifting cam follower 235 are displaced relative to the housing 201 and the shifting cam 225. This causes the shifting cam follower 235 to rotate the shifting cam 225 and the clutch means 241 and 227 to engage. The drill stem is then pushed forward which causes the shaft 203, the shifting cam follower 235 and the male clutch means 241 to be displaced relative to the housing 201, the shifting cam 225 and the female clutch member 227. The shifting cam follower 235 hitting the grooves 225C (FIG. 90) in the shifting cam 225 stops the forward displacement. In this position the clutch members 241 to 227 are still engaged which causes the housing 201 to rotate and the bore to be drilled straight. The drill stem is now thrust forward and rotated which causes the entire drilling apparatus to be rotated and thrust forward. The resulting bore is relatively straight and of a larger diameter than the diameter of the rotary drill bit 245. The operator knows that he is drilling straight, if while he is drilling the transmitter is indicating that the housing 201 is rotating and conversely he is turning if the transmitter indicates that the housing 201 is not rotating.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification175/73, 175/413, 175/421, 175/61
International ClassificationE21B7/06, E21B17/10, E21B7/08
Cooperative ClassificationE21B17/1064, E21B7/067
European ClassificationE21B17/10R3, E21B7/06K
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 3, 2010FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20100611
Jun 11, 2010LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
Jan 18, 2010REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Nov 22, 2005FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Jul 26, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: WEBB, CHARLES T., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CHANDLER, ROY L.;REEL/FRAME:012026/0641
Effective date: 20010725
Owner name: WEBB, CHARLES T. P.O. BOX 1192 BURLESON TEXAS 7609
Owner name: WEBB, CHARLES T. P.O. BOX 1192BURLESON, TEXAS, 760
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CHANDLER, ROY L. /AR;REEL/FRAME:012026/0641