PrufRock Operating and Will Dig Ten Times Faster

Boring Company has completed its first Prufrock boring machine. It is a new and custom design to dig ten times faster than other boring machines.

55 thoughts on “PrufRock Operating and Will Dig Ten Times Faster”

  1. According to my understanding, the idea is that he will be digging many of those tunnels, including at various ground levels.

    So if something is 10x faster and you only need to dig 4 times as many tunnels to achieve the same traffic throughput, then it is still a major win. How automated the process is, etc are not minor concerns. Especially, if holistic factors are taken into account: like, how expensive the whole operation is and how maintainable the final result will be.

    I'm not a tunnel digging expert, but I'd like to hear an opinion of someone who actually knows.

  2. Doesn’t work like that unfortunately. The tunneling machine installs the support structure as it digs. Different holes for different folks.

  3. They can also just bore two or three tunnels in parallel once they get more than one borer operational. A little finishing work and maybe some support structures for a larger tunnel seems like a reasonable trade off.

  4. This machine was designed for basically as a people mover in urban environments such as the one they are completing in Vega. It would work similarly in other urban cites to move people more efficiently within a one or two mile area.

  5. You should read G. K. O’Neill’s The High Frontier. He answers the question. He asked the question in 1969.

  6. It matters if asking whether planets’ surface are the “right” place without regard for the immediately wider context.

    You could answer that actual question with yes or no for the right or wrong reasons.

  7. He didn’t say that those tunnels are not useful, he was saying that we shouldn’t compare (false equivalence were his words) the time to dig these mini-tunnels with a the time to dig a normal traffic-sized tunnel.

    All the sites are talking about how the TBC is 10x faster, without explaining that they are faster simply because they are drilling much smaller tunnels.

  8. let us in the USA handle our shit and the rest of you that havent put a man on the moon yet can argue about what we dont do right …

  9. Water, sewage, electrical, gas…. There’s a lot of uses for ‘small’ tunnels.

    Of course, in the NE they’d never be used because of union requirements…

  10. I never said anything about SpaceX. You can’t address the comment directly so you set up dumb strawman and knock it down. You’re too inadequate intellectually to offer an honest counter.

  11. Yeah, or the NYC Subway size. Musk is too Tesla car focused. Cars cannot replace mass transit in cities where mass transit already moves millions of people per day. You still have to drive cars to and from the tunnels, so it might actually make things worse overall just to put tunnels between points A and B.

  12. meh, the boring company is still boring. They made a short & skinny tunnel, it’s not headline worthy. If they made a 100+ mile long tunnel and plop a maglev train in it…now you got my attention.

  13. 2020 list of newly taboo subjects.
    — Saying something good about Elon Musk or related companies. Especially if he’s just had another major accomplishment, this is when the haters are most fragile and easily upset.
    — Saying that the rapidly spreading plague from China is a rapidly spreading plague from China. Virus supporters are very easily upset.
    — Mentioning that some rich celebrity is a child molestor. Apparently only right-wing extremists are against this now???

  14. Okay everyone, say it with me “anyone who randomly makes everything about US politics is a Russian troll.”

    Back to topic. I would like to see bigger tunnel borers, but if these could improve transit speeds in places like LA, Houston, Dallas, or Atlanta, then they are still worth their weight in gold.

  15. They said he couldn’t produce an electric car to rival ICE. They were wrong
    They said he couldn’t make reusable rockets. They were wrong

    Are they wrong about the Prufrock as well? We’ll wait and see

  16. But even a small tunnel, if dug as fast as he says can be done, would have countless benefits. If it’s large enough to fit a cargo container then you could have intercity delivery of cargo via these tunnels. Furthermore you’d be taking big cargo rigs off the road. Double winner.

  17. As a tanstaafl libertarian, I love to see right wing socialists call left wing socialists *socialists* as a put down. Don’t you?

  18. Sanders proposals are just proposals. If he could magically implement them they might work. Similar programs work in Europe. The problem is not with the policy design it’s that it’s effectively impossible for him to pass it.

    TBC is following an R&D path. You don’t understand it even minimally if you think it’s based on “lies”. It’s based on educated guesses about a pathway to improving current technology, much like reusability of Falcon rockets or Tesla BEVs.

  19. I’d put in “Phlebas” as the name for the TBM generation after “Prufrock”. A reference to an Elliot poem and a Banks novel.

    It will be cool to get the details on what they’ve been able to achieve with Prufrock. Hopefully it can be used for expansion of the LV Convention Center Loop down the strip.

  20. He does. How would you go about trying to build O’Neill Space Habitats from where we are now? It was predicated on a vast ongoing investment of Federal money and the idea the SpaceBased Solar made sense. Neither happened. SpaceColonies require an enormous investment in infrastructure before anyone can live there. Mars at least an order of magnitude less.

  21. I would assume they we eventually build larger diameter boring machines once they prefect boring machines. I think we need tunnels that can take a double decker train cars because that is the size that would best support a subway system for megacities, average population 30 million.

  22. The interesting part is that all this equipment will fix the Starship for transport to Mars and/or the moon. The man knows how to plan ahead. He’ll have cars and semi’s that do not require an atmosphere to run (may need some minor mods), tunnel boring machines, Solar panels, etc. He is taking vertical integration to ridiculous and successful (so far) levels, viable not just on this planet but others as well. He is definitely going to leave his mark on history like few other people on this planet ever have, and good for him (and us). If I had another kid I might name him Elon ;).

  23. It’s hard to get exact figures, but what I’ve seen is that the boring diameter is about 14 feet, and the finished tunnels have a diameter of about 3.7 to 3.8 meters, or between 12 and 12-1/2 feet.

    At that size most ordinary motor vehicles other than large trucks should fit inside easily, though of course they’ll need to be zero emission as it is the avoidance of fumes that allows this size of tunnel to get sufficient fresh air for the system to be doable. Large trucks and buses won’t fit because they are too tall.

  24. Having said that, the Glasgow underground has little noddy carriages running on it which are 4ft gauge, and the tunnels are 11ft wide. That works fine, so maybe it can be made smaller.

  25. That boring machine doesn’t look much bigger than a man. If that is the final size, then a transport vessel in an 8ft tall tunnel is going to be a very cramped wide. Though, its good if they can start building the tunnel from the surface merely by pointing the machine down. The recent London underground extension had to build a deep mega-pit first, then lower the entire TBM down to the bottom by crane.

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