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How to make a 3d Printed Cordless Drill Battery Adapter

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.
russ_hensel5 months ago

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

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

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

wyocoyote16 months ago

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!

aideym3 years ago
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
_mage_ (author)  aideym3 years ago
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
Is that the cost of getting a new battery or replacing the cells?
_mage_ (author)  rouge.renard3 years ago
That was the cost of replacing the cells. I'll admit I didn't do much price searching though.

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

You're supposed to exclaim "1.21 Jiggawatts!" after you slap your forehead.
what the hell is a jiggawatt?
a jiggawatt is just under the amount of power needed to travel through time, in a DeLorean DMC-12.
though technically, it is a GIGAwatt, but doc brown spent more time on math and science than english lit, and mispronounced it a bit.
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.

Michael_oz3 years ago
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.
_mage_ (author)  Michael_oz3 years ago
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.
I'm looking for this guide for a couple of times in the internet and I'm glad that this came up with results in Google when I type the keyword. Though, this maybe not enough but this help. The reason why I'm searching for this type of information is that I want to build "how to" blog about cordless drill as well as cordless drill review.
_mage_ (author) 3 years ago
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.