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Slam Probing

Sand_pontil

Well-Known Member
Jul 20, 2013
209
0
Massachusetts
I have permission to dig in an old railroad yard so I tried probing it out and kept hitting something hard, impenetrable not far below the surface. Turns out there is asphalt in most places about six inches below the dirt. I found a privy on an old map and can narrow it down to a very small area but slam probing seems like it may be the only way to find this/these things (hopefully there are more than one there). How would I build a slam probe? How exactly do they work? I know that there is a heavy weight on the handle. Can I drive the probe right through asphalt fairly easily? Is is just a weight on a normal steel spring probe?
 

mtfdfire22

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2011
784
0
munger MI
slam probes are tough to build.....The basic design is a 2" steel pipe that fits around a 1/2" X 5' piece of steel round stock and sliding the handle up and down pounds the probe in.....and out. you need the pounding out motion because one you blast this thing 2 foot into the ground you will not be able to pull it out by hand.items needed:1/2" round stock steel 5' longa 5/8" nut (inside thread diameter)2" heavy steel pipe threaded on both ends2 end caps for the pipeall of this is available at a hardware store or home depot, lowes, menards, etc get your 2" steel pipe threaded on both ends. You will then need the caps for both ends. Drill a 5/8" hole in one cap and slide it over your 1/2" piece of steel. weld the nut on the 1/2" steel approximately 6" from the end to prevent the 1/2" round from sliding out. now thread both the caps on the pipe and you have a slam probe. you should round the end of the probe, do not sharpen it. add some duct tape around the pipe so you have a grip. no weight is needed. The sliding motion is essentially the same as having a hammer, but, it will also let you pound it out of the ground as well as into the ground. slam probes in my opinion are only good for going through the surface to open up a hole to fit your regular probe in. they are no sensitive, they do not pull up a good sample, and they wear you out really fast. you can purchase them but i do not know what they are actually called and have not been able to find one so i made mine. A friend of mine has a commercial one but he bought it used. good luck. and more questions send me an email to mtfd2222@yahoo.com. nic
 

Dumpdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2013
283
0
Upstate,NY
Hi, Sounds like a converted slap-hammer used for pulling dents,bearings and such. It's got a heavier chunk of steel to get'er done but I'd try my hammer drill first. Good luck and happy digs... DD
 

mtfdfire22

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2011
784
0
munger MI
It is exactly the same idea as a slide hammer for bearings/ seals.Hammer drills work great but an 18v dewalt with a 2' long concrete bit really kills the batteries. Plus if you dont have the drill, batteries, and bit already, you are looking at a minimum $200 dollar investment, and it must be a hammer drill, regular drills do not work. fortunately as a mechanic, i have access to a-lot of stuff for building probes, slam probes, and other tools. Ive tried a-lot of things in the past few years and in my opinion, the slam probe works best, the hammer drill gets second place (only because of battery life), and last resort is my big pick axe. Or move on to softer digging. saves a-lot of work. lol.good luck
 

nhpharm

Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2007
2,149
83
If you go to www.mightyprobe.com, they have a good photo of a standard hammer probe. A few warnings: 1. If not made correctly they can be dangerous (pinch points, etc.)2. They wear you out quickly3. They are VERY loud, so if you are probing somewhere you should not be or if there are neighbors, use caution. If it is just 6" down, maybe a good electric drill might be a better option to punch some holes through the asphalt that you can then probe through. I usually use the hammer probe only if there is a hard layer deeper that I have to get through...
 

Sand_pontil

Well-Known Member
Jul 20, 2013
209
0
Massachusetts
Ive actually used these before to drive rebar down through the rocks into a stream bed and know exactly what you guys are describing. Im going to just grab a digging iron until I get ahold of or make one. The drill idea sounds interesting. Thanks for the replies.
 

Sand_pontil

Well-Known Member
Jul 20, 2013
209
0
Massachusetts
They are called t-post drivers or fence post drivers. Here's one: http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/Fence-Post-Driver-4LVN8?gclid=COLa7tCUwroCFVOf4AodulEARQ&cm_mmc=PPC:GooglePLA-_-Outdoor%20Equipment-_-Shovels,%20Tampers,%20and%20Digging%20Tools-_-4LVN8&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=4LVN8&ef_id=UmTEqQAAAYVwLzMF:20131031225125:s This could be modified to pull in reverse if you were to add a nut and weld an end cap. I watched a video on youtube and they said to lift the driver up then throw it down at the post, not keep your hands on it.
 

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