Introduction: 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

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

Step 5: 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

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

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

We got a lot of parts for other projects!

Comments

author
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.

author
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.

author
BeachsideHank (author)Moggie372016-12-26

Sorry, make that Hi Moggie! ☺

author
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.

author

I would never think of that! Great idea!

author
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?

author
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.

author
Michael_oz (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.

author
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.

author
guruji1 (author)2015-04-21

I think these motors are good for wind generators too.

author
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,

author
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.

author
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!

author

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

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

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

author
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.

author
jeffcole (author)2015-04-16

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

author
spoonpricked (author)2015-04-16

Excellent...!!

author
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.

author
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?

author
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!

author
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.

author
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.

author
jbarziza (author)mikeshorr1172015-04-16

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

author
mrandle (author)mikeshorr1172015-04-16

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

author

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.

author

Yes.

author
Michael_oz (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.

author
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.

author
granz (author)2015-04-16

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

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:20584

Might be useful to some folks.

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

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

author
Bilegt (author)2015-04-16

Have you hacked anything by using this?

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

No not yet but I have some plans ;)

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

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

author
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.

author
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.

author
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 !

>> https://www.instructables.com/id/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

>> https://www.instructables.com/id/Cordless-Drills-A-Collection-of-Collections/

About This Instructable

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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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