1. n. [Drilling]
The machine on the rig consisting of a large-diameter steel spool, brakes, a power source, and assorted auxiliary devices. The primary function of the drawworks is to reel out and reel in the drilling line, a large diameter wire rope, in a controlled fashion. The drilling line is reeled over the crown block and traveling block to gain mechanical advantage in a "block and tackle" or "pulley" fashion. This reeling out and in of the drilling line causes the traveling block, and whatever may be hanging underneath it, to be lowered into or raised out of the wellbore. The reeling out of the drilling line is powered by gravity and reeling in by an electric motor or diesel engine.
See: brake, breakout cathead, cathead, crown block, driller, makeup cathead, prime mover, slip and cut, spinning chain, traveling block