A wagon drill, also called a wagon wheel drill, is a portable pneumatic drill that is used for rock drilling and blasting. Wagon drills are named for the wagon-like base upon which they rest. A wagon drill can be used above or below ground, and its main benefit is that it is both powerful and portable. Many models can be moved either manually or via a self-propulsion system, making wagon rock drills very user friendly.
Wagon drills usually have two front wheels, one on either side of the drill mechanism. The drill section of the wagon drill stands on a "mast" that holds the drill in a vertical position. The handle is located by the rear wheel, which usually rotates on a limited axis in order to help provide stability.
In order to drill appropriately, wagon rock drills have to remain stable. The "wagon" portion of the drill has a series of telescoping stabilizing legs that hold the drill firmly in position. These stabilizers mean that the drill does not have to be on perfectly level ground to operate effectively. To provide additional stability, the wheels usually lock in place with a brake mechanism, as does the mast.
Rock drilling can be hard on machinery as well as on the person operating the machinery. Most wagon drills have some features to help prevent damage to the drill itself and wear on the operator. A high-quality wagon drill is made with heavy-duty steel framing that can survive the knocks a drill on a mining site will take. To reduce operator fatigue, some units include a self-propulsion motor and an auto-feeding drill bit.
Even though wagon wheel drills are normally compact in size, measuring about 6 feet (1.8 m) long, they can still pack some power. There is a wide variety in the sizes of drill bits that wagon wheel drills carry. It is not uncommon for a wagon drill to be capable of producing a hole of about 4 inches (about 10 cm) in diameter and as deep as 100 feet (30.5 m) or more.
When it is used for drilling underground, one important consideration in a wagon drill is how high the mast is. There needs to be enough ceiling clearance in the mine for the mast to be fully raised. If not, the operator will not be able to position the drill bit in the vertical operating position. In general, the mast height on a wagon drill is about 10-16 feet (about 3-5 m) feet meters.