Village Drill: The Design

Village Drill: The Design
August 29, 2018 Luke Pinneo

Driven by a desire to fight water poverty in the developing world, the Village Drill was custom-built to reach the 75% of communities that regular drilling rigs cannot access. After seeing a gap in the market, John Renouard commissioned BYU engineers to design and test an affordable, human-powered Drill. Despite no experience with drilling, BYU took up the challenge in 2010 and began to design this one-of-a-kind drill.

They began to build many different prototypes in order to perfect the drill. The first prototype, built with gym weights, drilled a few inches down. They continued to make progress with various prototypes made out of materials such as wood (their third prototype) reaching deeper distances. They finally broke the surface in the faculty leader’s backyard. Through this trial and error process, the Village Drill was created.

Why the Village Drill?

The drill combines the most desirable features of other borehole drilling technologies with their own innovative design to solve major problems in the market. One of these issues was portability. BYU created a drill that is compact enough to fit into a small truck. Simultaneously, they created a durable drill strong enough to break through different soil types including sand, silts, medium/hard grade rock, coral and clay. The Village Drill reduces the complexity and labor-intensive processes of other drilling methods to ensure future sustainability. It is human-powered; easy to use design was engineered for long-term use. The drill continually profits communities as it can be re-used to service numerous different locations. Head to our “The Drill” page to see a comprehensive chart comparing the Village Drill to other drilling methods.

Designed for the Community

In just one year, the BYU engineers successfully created, manufactured, and tested the drill.  The Village Drill continues to live up to its name providing remote villages with access to multiple wells with the purchase of a single drill. The Village Drill is a cost effective option that continues to profit communities all over the world. It was designed and developed mindful of the unfulfilled water needs in the developing world. After just five years on the market, the Village Drill proved its worth by providing hundreds of thousands of people access to clean water across multiple countries.


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