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Keep on Drillin’: Get the Most out of your Auger Attachment

Here are some interesting tips on how to maximize your productivity with your Bobcat auger attachment!

Go with the Correct Flow

One of the first steps in making sure an earth auger attachment will perform as desired is to ensure the attachment is compatible with its power source. This means the skid steer or mini excavator must have adequate hydraulic flow and pressure ratings in order to provide enough power to the attachment, if the attachment is compatible.  Direct drive augers are generally a better choice as they are more compact and allow you to follow the auger drive into the hole thus allowing you deeper dig depth without the need for extensions. You must make sure the bits are matched to the drive as there are Round (standard duty) and Hex (Heavy Duty) styles available. The Bobcat patented auger drive style incorporates both of these into one thus allowing you the flexibility of running either style.

Smooth Operation

One misconception that the best way to attack a large diameter hole is to start by digging an initial hole with a smaller pilot auger, and then follow by using a larger auger to ream the hole to the desired size. In actuality, this method will not allow the auger screw bit to produce sufficient directional stability for the larger diameter auger during this reaming process. In addition to being ineffective, this procedure could result in equipment damage or even injury. Furthermore, operators must be careful to not push an earth auger too hard, which could damage the hydraulics. It’s important to understand that during a hole-digging application, the hydraulic system is constantly being taxed during the entire process.

After a hole has been dug successfully, an operator must choose how to remove the auger. To minimize the amount of loose soil that remains in the bottom of the hole, the operator should stop the auger’s rotation before removing it. On the other hand, the auger will retract with less effort if allowed to rotate at a slow speed — but more soil will be left behind. Ultimately, the method of choice for obtaining the cleanest, most usable hole for any soil condition is one aspect of hole-digging that relies primarily on experience.

Call Before You Dig

Once the equipment is ready and the operator is confident about using it, consideration turns next to jobsite location and conditions. Any digging project could quickly grind to a halt if the auger happens to strike an underground utility line. Therefore, always call an underground locating service before digging to identify the whereabouts of buried lines.

Even if a jobsite is free of buried cable and utility lines, there still may be natural obstructions like rocks or tree roots. Dense varieties of soil like soft shale and hardpan clay could also present an obstacle or necessitate additional power to dig the hole. Always know the limitations of the equipment. Attempting to force an earth auger through tough soil classifications is not the way to get the job done. Forcing the auger in or out of the hole or drilling sideways can damage the bit and/or auger drive itself

A Bit of Advice

Before an operator starts digging with an earth auger attachment, he or she should first check the condition of the wear parts, such as the screw bit and teeth, to ensure the attachment will perform at its best. The screw bit or pilot point is the very tip of the auger. burma . It’s critical that the screw bit is in good condition because this is what keeps the auger tracking straight during use. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to find earth augers in rental centers with screw bits that are either completely worn down or, worse yet, gone completely.

Using an earth auger without a screw bit would be like trying to use a broken drill bit to drill a hole in a piece of steel. There’s nothing that’s going to allow it to track straight. This not only significantly reduces equipment performance, but also raises safety concerns for the operator. Making sure the auger has adequate teeth is another commonly ignored maintenance issue. The teeth, located at the bottom of the auger flighting, are primarily responsible for digging, whereas the flighting is designed to push the loosened dirt out of the hole. When the teeth are in good shape, the auger can aggressively and efficiently dig in most materials. But if the teeth are worn down or missing, the stress is then placed on the auger flighting to do the digging, which severely limits performance and creates another wear issue.

Read more of this article on Compact Equipment’s Unbound blog.