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What is a General Auger?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 16, 2024
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A general auger is a device that resembles a large corkscrew. Consisting of an outer body surrounding a corkscrew-like interior, the general auger is used to move material. While often used to move small grain-like materials from a low level to a higher point, the general auger can also be used to move material on a level plane as well. Acting like a drill bit, the general auger spins and sends material climbing the twisting blades to the top.

Often used in a two-man, hand-operated design, the fence post-drilling general auger is used in fence building. Powered by a gasoline engine, the post-hole general auger uses a digging point affixed to the end of an auger shaft. As the machine operators hold onto the control handles on each side of the digger, the auger is driven into the ground carrying dirt, rock and debris up and out of the hole on the blades of the auger. Once the general auger is pulled out of the hole, a clean, round hole is left for placement of a fence post.

This same general auger design is used in the ice auger. Used to bore holes into the surface of frozen lakes and rivers, ice fishermen all over the world fish through the ice by lowering their bait through the resulting hole. As the blades on the ice auger dig into the ice, drawing it down, the ice shavings and chips are carried up and out of the hole by the spiraling blades of the auger. This leaves a relatively clear and clean hole in the ice with only a minimum amount of ice chips to skim out of the hole's surface.

The farming community is perhaps the largest group of auger users in the world. Everyday, farmers use augers to move grain from one bin to another and into mixers and feed bunks. Once grain crops such as corn, wheat or oats are harvested out of the field, they are transferred from the combine or harvester into a transport wagon by an auger. The transport wagon takes the grain to the farm, where it is unloaded into an underground pit and carried up and into a grain bin by yet another auger. The crop remains in the bin until it is loaded into a truck by an auger and sent to market, where it is unloaded and sent into a holding silo by another auger.

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