Step 1: Collect the Proper Components
If you are like me, then you are too lazy to brush your own teeth and have relied on the ministrations of an electric toothbrush for years. The trouble with these and any other consumer item is that they become obsolete. Electric toothbrushes are no exception, and the slim, mouth-friendly models of today mock the clunky jaw spreading antiques of yesterday. As the NiCad batteries in my old Philips sonicare (with quad pacer) gave up the ghost, I upgraded to the latest, slimmer sonicare. Not one to throw anything with any remote possibility of usefulness out, I saved my old toothbrush for the day when it could be retasked to a new, more glorious application. That time has come.
These toothbrushes are a marvel of engineering, waterproof, powerful, and oscillating at high frequency the Philips sonicare can cut through plaque and tartar build up with ease. If this unit can cut through mouth funk, then why can't it cut through mouth too? No reason, no reason indeed. So I set out to marry my trusty X-acto knife with my outdated but hard working Philips Sonicare toothbrush to yield an amazing new tool, the vibro-scalpel.
Search for vibro-scalpel on the series of tubes know as teh Internets, and you will find a variety of hits, all of which involve role playing games of some type. So the idea isn't that new I guess, but the implementation appears to be.
To build your own vibro-scalpel you will need the following (quantities in bold).
1x Electric toothbrush motor body (Philips Sonicare HX4511)
1x Electric toothbrush head compatible with the above motor body
1x X-acto knife, the small size #1
Hacksaw (not Jim Duggan)
5/32" Drill bit
13/64 Drill bit
Below you can see the X-acto knife and toothbrush used for this project, as well as a close up of the business ends of both.
Step 2: Take Everything Apart
Step 3: Prepare the Brush Head for Knifing
Once you have the guard cut off, then you will need to cut the bristled toothbrush portion off. Again, get your hacksaw out and cut that thing off. Try to cut as close to the bristles as you can so that you have a longer section of plastic to interface with the X-acto knife. Using the X-acto knife you want to then whittle the shaft of the plastic brush head so that it is the same diameter all the way to the seal.
Step 4: Machine the X-acto Knife
Once you have drilled into the handle, cut off the majority of the X-acto knife handle with the hacksaw. You should measure the length of the plastic stub on your toothbrush head, measure the depth the threaded blade holder on the X_acto knife extends into the X-acto handle, and calculate the right length to cut the handle off. For my knife and toothbrush that was about 1 inch from the tapped end of the X-acto handle, with the blade and ferrule removed. See pic below. Once cut, the 5/32" hole you drilled previously should be visible, concentric to the handle body.
Now take your 13/64" drill bit and drill from the cut end of the handle back towards the threads. If you are using a different toothbrush head, then measure the diameter of the plastic stub on the head before drilling the hole in the cut X-acto ferrule. You want the drilled hole to be slightly smaller than the plastic stub that will be forced into the drilled hole. Stop drilling once you get close to the threads. You may need to hold the small piece of aluminum handle in a pair of pliers when drilling. It helps to press down on a workbench when drilling.
Step 5: Put It All Together
Once the X-acto head is started on the plastic stub, get out your trusty propane torch or other preferred heat source (cigarette lighter, thermonuclear device, etc) and gently apply heat to the metal X-acto ferrule. As you apply heat, grab the X-acto ferrule with pliers and apply a downward force. As the metal heats up, the plastic will soften and the ferrule will slide on the rest of the way. Stop heating and stop pushing when the X-acto ferrule gets down to the rubber gore seal. Let the whole assy cool.