Rolling cutter bits
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ROLLING CUTTER BITS PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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ROLLING CUTTER BITS. Rolling Cutter Bits Steel Tooth (milled tooth) Carbide Tooth (tungsten carbide insert) Introduced in 1909 by Howard Hughes 2 - cone bit Not self-cleaning. Tungsten Carbide Insert Bit. Milled Tooth Bit. ROLLING CUTTER BITS.

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  • Rolling Cutter Bits

    • Steel Tooth (milled tooth)

    • Carbide Tooth (tungsten carbide insert)

  • Introduced in 1909 by Howard Hughes

    • 2 - cone bit

    • Not self-cleaning

Tungsten Carbide Insert Bit

Milled Tooth



  • The three-cone rolling cutter bit is by far the most common bit

  • Large variety of tooth design and bearing types

  • Maximum use is made of limited space

  • Cone offset to stop rotating periodically to scrape the hole like (PCD) bits

  • It increases drilling speed but tooth wears faster. (4 for soft, 0 for hard)


  • Shape of teeth: long widely spaced steel teeth are used for drilling soft formations

  • As the rock type gets harder the tooth length and cone offset must be reduced to prevent tooth breakage

  • Tooth action = Scraping and twisting

  • Zero offset cones action = Crushing

  • Smaller tooth allows more room for the construction of stronger bearings

Classification of Tricone Bits

(a)Milled tooth cutters

(b)Tungsten carbide insert cutters

  • Hard facing on one side of the tooth allows self sharpening

  • Chipping tends to keep tooth sharp

  • Intermeshing is advantageous.

  • Heel teeth = outer-raw very difficult job it wears it leads to out of gauge bit (hole)

Example tungsten carbide insert cutter used in rolling cutter Bits


  • Improvements

    • 3 - cone bit (straighter hole)

    • Intermeshing teeth (better cleaning)

    • Hard-facing on teeth and body

    • Steel Tooth (milled tooth)

    • Carbide Tooth (tungsten carbide insert)

    • Change from water courses to jets

    • Tungsten carbide inserts

    • Sealed bearings

    • Journal bearings


  • Advantages

    • For any type of formation there is a suitable design of rock bit

    • Can handle changes in formation

    • Acceptable life and drilling rate

    • Reasonable cost

Proper bottomhole cleaning is very important

Fluid flow through water courses in bit

Fluid flow through jets in the bit (nozzles)


  • Milled Tooth Bit (Steel Tooth)

    • Long teeth for soft formations

    • Shorter teeth for harder formations

    • Cone off-set in soft-formation bit results in scraping gouging action

    • Self-sharpening teeth by using hard-facing on one side

    • High drilling rates - specially in softer rocks

Milled Tooth Bit (Steel Tooth)


  • Tungsten Carbide Insert Bits

    • Long life cutting structure in hard rocks

    • Hemispherical inserts for very hard rocks

    • Larger and more pointed inserts for softer rock

    • Can handle high bit weights and high RPM

    • Inserts fail through breakage rather than wear

    • Tungsten carbide: very hard, brittle material

Tungsten Carbide Insert Bits

Roller Cone Bearings


Ball Bearings (point contact)

Roller Bearings (line contact)

Journal bearing (area contact)

Lubrication by drilling fluid . . . or . . .


  • Sealed Bearings (since 1959)

    • Grease lubricant (much longer life)

    • Pressure surges can cause seal to leak! Compensate?

  • Journal Bearings (area contact)

    • Wear-resistant hard surface on journal

    • Solid lubricant inside cone journal race

    • O - ring seal

    • Grease

Grading of Dull Bits How do bits wear out?

Tooth wear or loss

Worn bearings

Gauge wear

Grading of Dull BitsHow do bits wear out?

Steel teeth - graded in eights of original tooth height that has worn away

e.g. T3 means that 3/8 of the original tooth height is worn away

Grading of Dull BitsBroken or Lost Teeth

  • Tungsten Carbide Insert bit

e.g. T3 means that 3/8 of the inserts are broken or lost

Grading of Dull BitsHow do bits fail?

  • Bearings: B3 means that an estimated 3/8 of the bearing life is gone

Balled up Bit

Cracked Cone

Grading of Dull BitsHow do bits fail?

Washed out Bit

Lost Cone

Grading of Dull BitsHow do bits wear out?

Gauge Wear:

Bit is either in-Gauge or out-of-Gauge

Measure wear on diameter (in inches), using a gauge ring


  • Examples:

    • T3 – B3 - I

    • T5 – B4 - 0 1/2


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