Introduction: Hack a Drill - Powerful Gearmotor!

Picture of Hack a Drill - Powerful Gearmotor!

In this Instructable I will show you how to get a powerful gearmotor from a cordless drill!

I found this cordless drill in the scrap bin at a second hand store. When I got home I discovered something odd (video...)

Step 1: Materials

  • Cordless drill for hacking!

Step 2: Tools

  • Philips head screwdriver

Step 3: Disassemble

Picture of Disassemble

Unscrew all the screws holding the two halves together. If it doesn't come apart, there might be some screws under the stickers or the grip pad.

Step 4: The Guts

Picture of The Guts

Step 5: Removing the Chuck

Picture of Removing the Chuck

Inside the chuck is a screw. This screw is threaded in reverse so that when you turn it to the right, it comes loose. This part might require some gentle persuasion. Don't throw away the screw, you'll need it when attaching stuff to the motor later.

Step 6: Removing the Clutch

Picture of Removing the Clutch

The clutch is attached with two screws. It's spring loaded so be careful removing it. Also, removing the clutch will expose the ballbearings inside, hold the motor upright so they don't fall out.

Step 7: Fixing the Gear

Picture of Fixing the Gear

Remove the ball bearings inside the clutch by turning it upside down. To fix the gears in the 'drill' setting we need to insert two set screws in the holes where the ball bearings where. Screw them in until you can turn the motor shaft without it slipping.

Step 8: That's It! We're Done!

Enjoy your gearmotor!

Step 9: Extra

Picture of Extra

We got a lot of parts for other projects!


BeachsideHank (author)2015-04-14

I've got a couple of these from thrift stores too. I'm holding off on the clutch disassembly though, I think it may be a handy feature after all. I plan on using one to drive the leadscrew on my lathe carriage, and an adjustable clutch could work as a simple travel limit if it hits a way bed stop fixture, normally you don't want to do that with the internal gears as it would strip them, but this should do the job.

Moggie37 (author)BeachsideHank2016-12-26

Hi Hank,

What are you going to use to control the motor. I want to put a power feed on my mill drill.

BeachsideHank (author)Moggie372016-12-26

Sorry, make that Hi Moggie! ☺

BeachsideHank (author)Moggie372016-12-26

Hi Moogie, I've been experimenting with switching power supplies, but most do not like the inductive load a motor throws out, I have some transformers so I think I'll cobb together a simple linear one, perhaps with pulse width modulation speed control.

I would never think of that! Great idea!

Bamaan (author)2015-04-15

I have trouble removing the chuck. I removed the screw (Thanks to your reverse thread tip). But I can't get the chuck of the shaft. Do I have to lock the shaft before removing the chuck and how should it be done? Is there another trick?

clutchster (author)Bamaan2015-04-25

Here is one easy way. Start drill disassembly by removing chuck first. With screw removed, insert the short end of an L shaped 1/4 in. allen wrench into the chuck and tighten the chuck down on the wrench. Then smack the long end of the allen wrench with a hammer it should break loose. If after a couple of tries the chuck does not break loose hit the allen wrench in the opposite direction. Good luck.

MichaelAtOz (author)Bamaan2015-04-16

Put the largest that fits, right-angle allen key (short end) into the chuck, tighten. Motor in vise or clamp, whack the long end of the key with a hammer hard a couple of times (anticlockwise). Took three good blows for me.

simon.w.nordberg (author)Bamaan2015-04-15

The chuck is threaded normally. If your put the gear in 'drill' you should be able to unscrew it. You could also try inserting a piece of metal with an angle in the chuck as a leverage.

guruji1 (author)2015-04-21

I think these motors are good for wind generators too.

killbox (author)guruji12015-04-21

they require a fair number of lbs pf force to get moving, but yeah, they make good little 12-18v generators. remember to put in a diode to keep the motor from running off of your charge when the wind dies down you will probably need a strong wind or a pretty large turbine,

John916R (author)2015-04-20

I work at a Habitat for Humanity Store and when ever we get old drills in, we strip out the motors and sell them.

Aunt Jane (author)2015-04-18

This is so cool! However the video is only 15 seconds and I really could use some visual instrucition!

Yea the video only shows the drill being all crazy going the wrong way...

Rich99 (author)simon.w.nordberg2015-04-18

maybe you have the batteries in backwards,,, 8>)

GregQ (author)2015-04-17

You can use these drills as generators by putting a bent crank shaped rod or Allen wrench into the chuck, and tapping power off the charging jack. Cut the transformer off a charger to get a convenient cord & plug. This doesn't work w/drills that recharge batts in a separate holder. You can still make D.C. regardless. I ran a slot car off one:crank one way for fwd,backwards for reverse. The more amps you pull, the harder it is to turn, making a great sci. demo gizmo.

jeffcole (author)2015-04-16

So many possibilities for a geared motor. Thanks for the ideas!

spoonpricked (author)2015-04-16


meat_chris (author)2015-04-16

Now that you've removed the motor, how do you power it? An instructable on that would be the other half of the puzzle.

mikeshorr117 (author)2015-04-14

Cool idea, but is there an easier way to get a strong motor than to take apart a drill? Can you just buy them?

slippyblade (author)mikeshorr1172015-04-16

Cordless drills are a dime a dozen at thrift stores. Many people lose the chargers, or the batteries die, so they just toss em to Goodwill. So they make awesome salvage parts!

gmdownes (author)mikeshorr1172015-04-16

It's not just about the motor. The gears reduce the rotation speed but
greatly increase the torque. Thus, you can do jobs that a non-geared
motor is too weak to do. This would be great for driving the screw of a
DIY plastic filament maker for 3-D printing.

SparkyOR (author)mikeshorr1172015-04-16

Buying misses the whole point, doesn't it? ;) reduce, reuse, recycle! Tons of these at the local recycle store. You can make a lathe, a grinder, run a scooter, etc.

jbarziza (author)mikeshorr1172015-04-16

If you want a really slow, 120V gear motor, look at a rotisserie motor for a barbecue grill.

mrandle (author)mikeshorr1172015-04-16

windshield wiper motors and car window motors are good and you can run them off 12v.

sure can, these might be useful if they 1) fit the bill for a project. 2) are way cheaper and worth the wait to find one and cost of the used unit.


MichaelAtOz (author)2015-04-16

BTW the inside of my one had the case marked as ABS, I contacted our recycling people, and they were happy for it to go in our general plastic recycling. I removed the 'rubber' hand grip.

klindner (author)2015-04-16

I never would've figured this out without the video. ;)

Seriously though, you gave me a Great idea with this ible.

granz (author)2015-04-16

Nice tutorial! A while back I made a 3D-printable mount for these motors and posted it on Thingiverse:

Might be useful to some folks.

simon.w.nordberg (author)granz2015-04-16

That looks great! I wish I had a 3d printer :)

Bilegt (author)2015-04-16

Have you hacked anything by using this?

simon.w.nordberg (author)Bilegt2015-04-16

No not yet but I have some plans ;)

bryan.reid.585 (author)2015-04-16

Excellent used the motor and gear set to drive a solar tracker. Saved a ton of money.

carl5blum (author)2015-04-16

Hi Gang:

I've taken many a drill motor apart. After I take out the Left Handed chuck screw I like to put the chuck in the vise. Then I turn the handle to the top and wack it counter clock wise with a soft hammer. Once or twice will spin the motor off. I used one motor with the chuck to make a power tapper for threading holes. Also you can put a short cord on the drill and use a car battery. I call it a Semi-Cordless Drill.

Good Luck, Carl.

TDWay (author)2015-04-16

you should be able to fasten the motor to a set of blades and make a small scale wind turbin, for a low Voltage wind generator.

russ_hensel (author)2015-04-15

Just a note to let you know I have added this to the collection: Cordless Drills Hacking for Other Uses !


Take a look at a bunch of project involving odd uses of drills.

and for even more drill info


About This Instructable




Bio: I am a sound designer who's studied computer game development, run my own sound design business and like to build thing in my spare ...
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