Technological Overview

SierraBlaster Rock Fracturing Technology:

The SierraBlaster rock fracturing technology is a safe*, compact, fast, economical, and innovative solution for your rock and masonry fracturing needs. With the SierraBlaster System you can reduce large boulders, rock formations and masonry to sizes that are more manageable to move and/or transport, wether you have heavy equipment on site or not. The SierraBlaster can be used for construction, mining, trail and road building, rock quarries, and road maintenance. Imagine not having to call for expensive oversized heavy equipment to aid in removing a giant boulder that has found its way onto a road or railroad. You could fracture the boulder to smaller pieces that are movable by standard equipment or even personnel.


The SierraBlaster is safe to use next to, inside, or under structures (as long as properly ventilated). If Flyrock must be kept at an absolute minimum then a carpet remnant may be placed over the blasting area. See the section “Technical Overview” below for additional information about how the SierraBlaster is conducive to safety vs conventional explosives.


The SierraBlaster is quite compact compared to its great power and conveniently fits into a duffle bag and can be stored behind the back seat or in the toolbox of your work truck, a tractor mounted hydraulic hammer cannot. Gone are the days of needing to have a backhoe and a hoe-ram on site or spending the time switching between the bucket and ram attachments. Also gone are the increased maintenance costs required by the extended use of your hydraulic hammer attachment. (Using your hydraulic hammer in conjunction with the SierraBlaster may be helpful in certain situations as well, don’t sell it yet)


The SierraBlaster is a fast way to demolish rock and masonry. Setup time can be as little as five minutes then successive blasts can be as little as three minutes. The longest step is drilling the borehole, however, drilling a 10mm borehole is done quite quickly. Materials like concrete, andesite, or certain granites drill very quickly. You can generally reach 12” in 20-30 seconds. Some harder materials like quarts may take as long as a few minutes and of course depth is a factor. The SierraBlaster is also fast for larger more involved blasts. I did several 8 head blasts all with 24” deep boreholes on some large pieces of Lahar; the complete time between blasts was 20 minutes with only one person.


Systems start at $725 and cartridges are around a dollar and a half keeping both the initial investment and reoccurring expenses (cartridges) low. We also sell our quality SDS bits at very reasonable prices. The SierraBlaster is a great way to save time and money. For example: You are trenching for electrical, water, sewer, etc. and you come across a large bolder. Simply fracture the boulder and toss it out of the trench by hand or with your backhoe. No need to dig the entire boulder out and arrange for transport off site.


Rock and masonry have a high compressive strength which is why they make great foundations for heavy loads. However they have a low tensile strength. The innovative SierraBlaster takes advantage of the low tensile strength of rock and masonry and fractures by placing the force/power on the inside of the material. Hydraulic hammers and other mechanical means of demolishing are fighting against the high compressive properties of the material leading to slow demolition with high maintenance and equipment ware.
The SierraBlaster System is also much quieter than most people expect. Noise creation is much less than a large rotohammer or any hoe-ram making your residential or commercial neighbors much happier during your demolition. In most cases the SDS drilling is the loudest part. If you blast wet (water in the borehole) the fracturing can be quieter than a clap of the hands.
Speaking of water: Since the SierraBlaster Cartridges are extremely water resistant they work in damp or completely submerged environments. This also allows for drilling a borehole much deeper than the Blast Rod and Cartridge length. When you fill the borehole with water you are taking advantage of the incompressible properties of water allowing for a larger splitting plane across the entire length of the borehole wether it be 18” or 40”. Its almost like free power. Adding water will also fill any voids that may be present making materials that may not otherwise be blast-able, blast-able.

Technical Overview:

The SierraBlaster uses a propellent based rock fracturing cartridge with a completely inert ignition system. The inert igniter is electrically initiated creating a very powerful ionization effect that initiates the propellent. This ignition system is much safer than other pyrogen or percussion (primer) based initiation systems aiding in the superior safety of the SierraBlaster. Another safety feature is the method in which the powerful propellent utilized in both the 375 Magnum Cartridge and the 375 Magnum Booster Charge takes advantage of a synergistic loop and is thus basically self regulating. The synergistic loop is as follows: 1. The propellent burns creating pressure. 2. The pressure allows the propellent to burn faster creating more pressure. 3. The additional pressure generated allows the propellent to burn even faster and so on. Once the containing vessel ruptures the loop is instantly ended so generally no excessive pressure is generated. In other words the pressure the propellent generates is limited by the containment ability of the containing vessel (cartridge tube or rock or concrete). This is how the cartridge can be used on such a wide range of material such that the cartridge can fracture car sized boulders and then much smaller rocks without sending flyrock everywhere. The harder the material the better it breaks.
This synergistic loop is essential for the self regulation of power and is responsible for a large part of the safety of the SierraBlaster System. However, this loop has its disadvantages. Material that is too soft and/or has many fractures will not allow the cartridge to generate enough pressure to fracture the material. Conveniently material that is this soft or fractured is usually easily broken up by a large sledge hammer or a rotohammer with a chisel tip. If attempting to break soft or fractured rock it is important to add water to the borehole to fill any voids that may be present. If the borehole holds water then your blast will most likely be successful, if it does not then the pressure will most likely be insufficient to fracture the material.

*Safe with reasonable precautions.