The machines developed and employed over time to bore holes into mountains and other places where the earth didn’t want a hole there in the first place, thank you very much, are simply astounding. And dangerous. And beautiful. Over on Hacker Boy‘s favorite new blog, City of Ember: Underground, there is a hyooge post with tons of mind-blowing photos about these machines, and even a video (or five) that you should really watch, even if you think tunnel boring sounds, you know. It’s incredible. And yes, the old ones seriously look like our older SRL machines, hmmm… Snip:
How to you drill a hole through a mountain? With a Tunnel Boring Machine, TBM for short, of course. These machines have been around since the 1850’s although it was until the 1950s that the technology actually resembled what is used today.
Their size varies but the world’s largest is 15.43 meter (50.62 ft) in diameter and currently working it’s way through the ground under the Shanghai Yangtze River in China.
But rather than take you through all the technical and historical facts about TBM’s. We’d rather just show some amazing photos. If you want to learn more about TBM’s( and who doesn’t) check the Wikipedia entry and if you’re just into tunnels then check the list of world’s longest tunnels. Make note to never get into a conversation about this with the Swiss. They love a good tunnel like the Gotthard Base Tunnel which has 2,000 people working 24hrs a day 365 days a year to create a 57 km (35 miles) long tunnel at some 2,000 meters underground. The BBC have a great article here on the project. (…more, more!)