What Did You Say? 6 Directional Drilling Terms And What They Mean

surface-launched drilling rig


The horizontal directional drilling industry has its own fair share of slang. Like in all industries, certain words get picked up here and there until they stick.

To help put you in the know about these unique terms here are six common industry-words and what they mean.


  1. Running sand: Running sand is a slang term for a hazard in certain excavations. The sand can sometimes go below the water table. The water table is the part of the ground that’s saturated with water below a certain point.
  2. Swab: Swab means to clean out the borehole. This makes it easier for the pullback of the product pipe.
  3. Doughnut: A doughnut, besides a morning treat, is a rubber rod wiper located at the front of the drill rig. This wiper removes mud from the drill pipe as it’s pulled back from the borehole.
  4. Cycle rods: Cycle rods is an action term used for cycling the drill rods. Workers push the drill rods into the borehole and then pull the drill rods back. When done in repetition, the drill rods clean the path through the borehole. This avoids any disruption the drill rig could experience.
  5. Starter rod: A starter rod is the connector piece. It’s threaded and makes it easy to exchange reamers and directional heads.
  6. Burp hole: A burp hole is almost exactly what it sounds like. It’s a hole that’s dug along the path of the borehole. This relieves pressure in the borehole and prevents hydro-locking.
  7. Receiver: This term doesn’t refer to a football player. A receiver, also known as a magic box, is an electronic device. It determines the strength of electromagnetic signals that a transmitter sonde gives off. The transmitter sonde is in the pilot head of the boring system.


Horizontal Directional Drilling: The Number One Drilling Method

HDD helps with installing pipes or cables in a shallow borehole using a surface-launched drilling rig. Horizontal directional boring is one of the most popular types of drilling because it causes little disruption to the surrounding environment.

Trenchless drilling offers a minimal impact on the surrounding area. It also produces twice the amount of extracted gas or oil compared to traditional methods. To learn more about surface-launched drilling rigs or to talk to a directional drilling contractor, contact American Directional Boring today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *