Elon Musk's Boring machine

Yesterday Elon Musk took delivery of his second-hand boring machine for his Boring Company. It's in a parking lot next to the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Musk says he's going to take it apart, figure out how to improve the design of boring machines, and start testing by coring out an underground pedestrian tunnel from his offices across (or rather under) the street to the parking lot. He'll certainly need good boring machines to build his Hyperloop system. From the San Jose Mercury News:

Last week, a tunnel-boring machine used by L.A. Metro to carve out 2 miles of earth for the new Crenshaw/LAX line was removed from the future Leimert Park Station in South Los Angeles in three pieces.

No one confirmed whether the 950-ton, 400-foot-long steel grinder would go to SpaceX. Metro had dubbed the machine “Harriet,” in honor of Harriet Tubman, an American abolitionist instrumental in the Underground Railroad, after a student contest.

The day Harriet finished work for Metro, Musk submitted plans to Hawthorne officials to build an underground pedestrian tunnel from SpaceX headquarters to its parking garage across Crenshaw Boulevard.

A vertical tunnel shaft already has been dug in the SpaceX parking lot.

Now, The Boring Co. machine will dig – cheese grater-style – a 500-foot-long, horizontal pedestrian tunnel that is 20-by-150 feet and 13.5 feet in diameter, according to interim Hawthorne City Manager Arnie Shadbehr.

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World's largest tunnel boring machine lands in Seattle

Known affectionately as Bertha, this tunnel boring machine has the widest diameter of any boring machine ever built; 57.5 feet. It's being used to dig a highway tunnel under downtown Seattle and it just arrived there today after being shipped from Japan.

I feel this warrants your attention for two reasons: 1) If you live near Seattle, you can actually go get a look at this massive beast before it starts chewing its way through the city. If you like looking at giant machines (or know someone who does) now's your chance. She's coming into the Port of Seattle, Terminal 46, as you read this and there will be ample opportunities to get a look as the pieces are assembled and moved into the nearby launch pit. The Washington State Department of Transportation has suggestions on places to go to get a good view. 2) If, for some reason, you were looking for a new way to lose massive amounts of time on YouTube, Bertha (and boring machines, in general) can help with that. Here's a cutaway animation explaining how boring machines work. Here's a video of Big Becky, another boring machine, breaking through to the other side of a tunnel at Niagara Falls, Canada. (In fact, boring machine breakthrough videos are, in and of themselves, a mesmerizing genre.) And in this video, you can watch the massively long line of support equipment go by in the wake of a boring machine. Read the rest