The drill was created for a year-long engineering capstone project that has students solving real engineering problems with real clients. The team created the drill for WHOLives.org, a nonprofit dedicated to providing clean water, better health and more opportunities to people living in impoverished communities. The organization is currently focusing its drilling efforts on Tanzania, but it has plans to expand its operations to other countries. The project is also co-sponsored by the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology.
The drill uses no gears or customized parts, and it can easily be taken apart, transported in the bed of a truck and reassembled within an hour.
The drill can be operated by four people. Three spin the wheel that turns the bit, and the fourth lifts the bit up and down when necessary to punch through tough spots. A water pump system removes the dirt from the six-inch-wide hole.
“At the beginning of the year we had a meeting with the sponsor, and he said that very rarely do you get an opportunity to work on a project that can change millions of lives,” said Nathan Toone, one of the student engineers who worked on the drill. “You forget that sometimes when you’re in the middle of working and setbacks and frustrations, but it’s really good to see it pay off. It has definitely paid off.”