Cable Tool Drilling is a mechanized version of manual percussion drilling. The heavy drill bit and related parts are called the ''tools'' and they are raised and dropped on a steel cable.
Cuttings are removed with a bailer. Several meters of water must be maintained in the borehole to keep the cuttings suspended. The machinery ranges from a very simple skid-mounted powered winch with a tripod to a complex set of pulleys and drums with a large mast.
The larger cable tool rigs are mounted on a trailer or the bed of a truck and use hydraulic motors to raise and lower the mast and rotate the drums of cable.