Introduction: How to Make a 3d Printed Cordless Drill Battery Adapter

One Sunday, as I was perusing the local trash and treasure market, I came across a box of old cordless tools.

The guy mentioned the batteries "didn't hold much of a charge", an understatement if there ever was one as they were absolutely ratted.  It didn't worry me much as I figured I had 3 motors to have a bit of fun with.

But then I thought, why not try and see if I can plug the batteries from my good drill into these tools.

Just to put the cart before the horse a bit here, you can see my files at Thingiverse!

Without further ado, here's how I used a 3d printer to up-cycle some old tools and with a bit of work, you can too.

Step 1: How to Make a 3d Printed Cordless Drill Battery Adapter

Start by dismantling your dead battery

You're going to need a detailed model of your dead batteries, and an idea of how it all goes together.

Mine was held together with a few long screws so it was a simple matter of removing them then breaking a few solder joints.  Batteries are dangerous so this step shouldn't be attempted lightly.

I really can't stress this enough.  Be VERY careful.

Step 2: How to Make a 3d Printed Cordless Drill Battery Adapter

Use your favourite 3d program to make a 3d representation of your busted battery.

This needs to be spot on.  The more accurate your measurements are the better it will all work and sloppy batteries can be hazardous.  I used a decent Vernier Calliper worked to about 0.1mm accuracy.

Step 3: How to Make a 3d Printed Cordless Drill Battery Adapter

Now do the same thing for your good battery.  The dead battery provided a model of the tool interface and now we need to model the interface on the good battery so we have the right mounting on our adaptor.

You probably won't need to dismantle your good equipment.  It's certainly something to be avoided.

In my case, I grabbed my good drill and used the Vernier again to make a model of the docking bit on the bottom of the handle.

Step 4: How to Make a 3d Printed Cordless Drill Battery Adapter

Work out how to join the two together.

This is going to take a little bit of imagination and some jiggling about with the two models you've made.

In my case I saved a bit of time and a lot of effort by reusing the dead batteries male stalk.

The dud battery also had a nice flat area on the bottom, but a lot of wasted room in the bottom half, so I reduced that in size.

Step 5: How to Make a 3d Printed Cordless Drill Battery Adapter

Print, Assemble and enjoy.

I got some friends at my local hackspace to help me with the printing, but you could also use a service like Shapeways.

All my parts slid together pretty well, but I topped it off with superglue and screws.

So now I have a circular saw and reciprocating saw while I'm away from home.  I didn't bother converting the drill as I already have one, instead I'm going to use it's motor for a portable mini-lathe.

Comments

author
Yonatan24 made it!(author)2015-10-03

Can I ask what is the name of your mini circular saw? It's the cutest thing I've ever seen and maybe I can buy one for my woodworking projects...

Thanks in advance :)

author
russ_hensel made it!(author)2015-02-05

Just a note to let you know I have added this to the collection: Cordless-Drill-Battery-Maintenance !

>> https://www.instructables.com/id/Cordless-Drill-Battery-Maintenance/

Take a look at a bunch of different/similar approaches to this project.

author
wyocoyote1 made it!(author)2015-01-22

RAD, had similar thoughts in mind.

I believe there is money to be made fabricating a dewalt 20v to 18v adapter (less so the other way around) the 20 v battery is 20v "max", but (i believe) is basically a juicier battery. the 18v li-ion (the older style with a column that pushed into the tool) batts actually cost more, and will likely be phased out. Many of us wear out batts before tools. many would prefer to keep there working tools and be able to use the newer tools batts, maybe buy a tool bundled with a batt and be able to use "backwards compatibility" I realize the packs can be outfitted with new batts as well. Idea 2, maybe its been done: a safe 110/220 to X voltage adapter to use your cordless tools corded.

I'll never get around to it (idea man) maybe I can commision ya!

send me a check when you get rich!

author
aideym made it!(author)2012-03-26

Slaps head and proclaims "Why didn't I think if this?"
Excellent Idea. This would actually be cheaper than rebuilding a dud or replacing with a new one

author
_mage_ made it!(author)2012-03-26

I forgot to mention! I looked at getting replacement batteries and they were going to cost $150 each.

Bit rich putting $150 worth of batteries into tools that only cost me $10

author
DIWesser made it!(author)2012-06-14

Is that the cost of getting a new battery or replacing the cells?

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_mage_ made it!(author)2012-06-15

That was the cost of replacing the cells. I'll admit I didn't do much price searching though.

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astral_mage made it!(author)2014-11-29

dude goto harbor frieght an buy the replacement batterys same cells as the nomal ryobis have for 1/3 the price.

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CementTruck made it!(author)2012-03-26

You're supposed to exclaim "1.21 Jiggawatts!" after you slap your forehead.

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aideym made it!(author)2012-03-26

what the hell is a jiggawatt?

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ironsmiter made it!(author)2012-03-26

a jiggawatt is just under the amount of power needed to travel through time, in a DeLorean DMC-12.

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ironsmiter made it!(author)2012-03-26

though technically, it is a GIGAwatt, but doc brown spent more time on math and science than english lit, and mispronounced it a bit.

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CementTruck made it!(author)2012-03-26

Thanks for the assist ironsmiter..."how could I have been so careless?". Must have been the bump on the forehead from slipping and hitting the toilet seat.

author
Michael_oz made it!(author)2012-04-19

Nicely done.

You should add the other 3D models to thingiverse, ie the old battery, and include the source. That is similar to many brand of battery and could be a starting place for others to adapt other brands.

author
_mage_ made it!(author)2012-04-24

Thanks Michael

I've updated my thingiverse models to fit a little better and I've included my sketchup file there and here on Instructables.

author
_mage_ made it!(author)2012-03-28

I've just realised I've forgotten to put the step about wiring in!

I'm in the process of building a second adapter so I'll amend this instructable when I've got that dismantled.