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SQP Engineering and Strada Percussion Drilling Systems

Strada Drill Bit Gauging Caliper

The Challenge

SQP Engineering is a Western Australian supplier of precision-machined products, primarily for the mining, oil and gas sectors. Established in 2006, SQP’s 10-person team’s extensive client list includes Australian industry giants BHP and Woodside. The company is proud to have been the first in Western Australia to purchase an FX20 printer.

SQP’s client Strada Percussion Drilling Systems needed help solving a persistent challenge confronting hard-rock drilling contractors: wear measurement of drill bits.

Taras Olijnyk, Strada’s Chief Technology Officer, describes the process: “Drilling deep wells in hard rock requires regular bit changes due to wear. Drill bits are measured after use to assess the degree of size reduction due to wear. They are then replaced with a smaller bit. Vertically, the well gets progressively smaller with every bit change,” he explained.

The traditional method of measuring a worn bit to determine the size of its replacement involves the use of a series of steel or aluminum rings ranging in size from 450mm (~17.5 in) to 250mm (~10 in). Produced in 3mm increments, the rings are placed over the bit to estimate wear.

However, these rings are inaccurate, prone to operator error, and fail to compensate for asymmetrical bits. These issues risk accidentally placing an over-sized replacement bit down the well, which could cause the drill string to become stuck.

A more reliable method to measure drill bits wear.

The Solution

To solve this long standing problem, Olijnyk designed a precision caliper gauge with additive manufacturing in mind.

By measuring from three points rather than two, the additively manufactured gauge yields a more accurate average of the true size. A single gauge covers a range of 250mm to 450mm inch drill bits — replacing many steel rings with a single part.

The printed tool was more portable, durable, and ergonomic than the metal rings. “It’s lighter and can be held in one hand. It’s cheap to air freight and can even be carried in your hand luggage. It’s rust and corrosion-proof and definitely user-friendly,” he said.

“We were able to decrease cost by 30% printing the tool and cut lead time from 2 weeks to 2 days. Overall, production time was slashed by a factor of seven while eliminating machining time altogether.” said Taras.

Thanks to SQP’s FX20, Strada Percussion Drilling Systems built a superior tool while saving money and time.

What is awesome about 3D printing is that no detailed drawing is required, and a part can be designed and modelled one day, printed overnight, and assembled and tested the next day. It’s been invaluable.” 
– Taras Olijnyk, CTO, Strada Percussion Drilling Systems Australia


  • Higher tool performance that eliminates human error in measurement
  • Automated tool development that saves machinists time 
  • Increased tool durability, portability, and ergonomics
  • Decreased tooling costs and lead time

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