Instructables
Get power tools for free and save the earth at the same time!

It's super-easy to fix power tools now. Thanks to online manuals, part searching and ordering, you can get the replacement parts you need and install them in mere minutes of labor.
Dead power tools are free in the trash if you can spot them. Get known as a scavenger and people will give them to you.

Power tools die only in certain ways. Usually it's one of these:
Brushes
Switch
Drive Belt
Power cord

Here's how to fix one of each.
If you've got a tool with a dead Nicad battery pack, here's how to zap that back to life.

Tool Repair is Easier than Ever Before
The ease of finding, getting, and replacing these parts represent a whole new economic phenomenon.
In the past the economies of mass production VS. hand repair drove a trend where manufacturing got cheaper and cheaper and repair got more and more expensive. So broken devices were getting dumped and replaced instead of fixed.

But now the labor savings of e-commerce and online manuals make repair a real cheap option. Design-For-Manufacturing (DFM) practices such as snap fits and single-type fastener assemblies can speed repair as well as manufacture.

Woohoo! Could we be seeing a correction of the mass-produced trash problem?

 
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gronan14 months ago
A good "old fashioned hardware store" many times, will have A section of drawers that contain an assortment of bit's that are used to repair electric tool's. Brushes,switches, nut's and bolt's.
Unfortunately, they are headed into the scrap heap of history. Only A few more weeks remain for 7 Corners Hardware in St.Paul MN. The owner has decided to close up instead of selling out as the kid's have no interest in the hardware business.
R.I.P 7 Corners.
Alan Liefting6 months ago

Other common failures are armatures and feild coils.

Are brushes a one-size-fits-all (except for dremels, obviously)? or do I have to search the part by model number too?

No, they vary in size.

paul11011 year ago
Veru INFORMATIVE and just FANTASTIC! I was looking for the related information. Thanks a lot it is very useful for me. would love to read some pieces on the topic.
yoyology2 years ago
Our local ReTool store has a pallet bin of "as-is" power tools for $4.99. Armed with your instructable, I'm goin' shopping! :-)
i got that grinder for less then 15 dollars
not the best welder off the block
charlieb0002 years ago
mmmm $15 angle grinder... i got a way to destroy the gearbox on the more expensive ones.. wonder how much the cheapies take? i figured out that using a grinder upside down (edge of disk makes contact only) removes more steel quickly because there is less surface area contacting than if a larger area of the disk is contacting (just like with drop saws) which makes plenty of heat, smearing the metal. the (now) upward pressure does something bad inside the gearbox and the little gear gets eaten out and the larger gear gets a bald spot... this might be due to the bearings not being wide enough. once the gears start to wear out they will self destruct over time even if you have stopped due to vibration because the teeth are no longer meeting tightly. hitachis lasted over a year, metabo lasted only a few months....

other positives of upside down grinding are you are less likely to slip and miss what you really want to hit (because you are pulling it towards you rather than pushing). you dont have to lift the grinder so high (great if you are using one of those massive ones!), you can grind aluminium with a steel grinding wheel (less smearing) easily, and finally, the disk will never come apart because you made it thin.

CB.
dont say i never warned you.
jdarrington3 years ago
I just followed the link you listed to how to bring nicad batteries back to life with a welder and I tried it and it worked! I've got four different drills and about 7 (formerly) dead batteries that are now alive and well again. It's like Christmas morning because I've got some of my favorite electric power tools back again.
coppeis3 years ago
Where can I get these said free power tools?
toolrepair3 years ago
You could try eReplacementParts.com for the replacement battery and charger. Depends on the brand though, they have most and are continually adding more.

*Tool Repair Guru*
flamesami4 years ago
What make is the knife in the 1st picture? or is it a custom one? I would appreciate it very much if you could tell me.
P.S. Is it good? It looks really nice, but I'm an ignoramus compared to many people on here.
Need Drill Chuck for 1/2 in. Shop Mate number 520 t1 with taper 1/2 to 5/8

I have a Richmond 6v Drill Driver I want a replacement Charger and Battery where can I get them I would be ever so grateful for info 
                                                                    cheers Bert







 

i have the same angle grinder and i was wondering wut that part was when i opened the box lol

What brand is that angle grinder?

i dont remember... it was the cheapy model i got at harbor freight

OK, thanks
Walmart and Lowes cut the power cords off all their display tools. I wonder if they could be convinced to sell the old ones instead of just throwing them away.
I was wondering that same thing. I guess I should ask.
I kind of want to, but I'm really bad at talking to people.
sharlston4 years ago
thanks for the ible tim 5 stars
Who knows how to change chuck on DC730KA drill? Help me please.
Different chucks are removed in different ways. First start with your drill's instruction manual. If it doesn't tell you and you can find a model number and/or a manufacturer's name on the chuck itself, search that. Otherwise, you'll have to 'spearmint. Open the chuck fully and look down inside it (use a flashlight). There might be a screw down in there. If there is, it might be right or left hand threads. Try turning it both ways. Hopefully it'll break loose and come out. If there is no screw or you did manage to remove it, proceed as follows: chuck the short leg of a hex key (allen wrench) of somewhat substantial size (1/4" or larger) into the chuck. Set the drill on it's side on a strong table (or workbench or curb...) with the chuck hanging off the edge. Strike the hex key sharply with a hammer (chunk of 2X4, large rock, etc...) such that it will cause the chuck to spin in a counterclockwise direction when looking at the chuck head on (like you did to see down inside it). Hopefully the chuck will break free and thread right off.
i went to a autojumble picked up a huge black and decker sander for 50p (1$) took it back to my house and it wouldnt work So i opened the handle up The live wire wasnt connected properly so i connected it up Inside the handle Soldered it Put it back together it works perfect i took the Belt bit off Wire brushed down the rust and its better than the new one ive got
leebryuk6 years ago
I liked it. Nice job of what amounts to the basics of power tools. They are simple beasts by necessity. The advent of cordless tools has made throw away seem a more viable option. Those damned batteries are expensive. However, I believe Harbor Freight does have 18v replacement batteries on sale at $10.
pfred2 leebryuk5 years ago
Yeah with maybe 15 amp minutes of current in them! Random toxic waste would hold a better charge.
I am putting a new power cord on an old bench grinder I bought at auction, since the old one looks unsafe. I know the green wire on the new cord is the ground and I see how to attach it, but the old cord isn't color coded, so I don't know which wire is equivalent to the black and which to the white. How do I figure it out, or doesn't it actually matter? BTW, the new cord is a 14 gauge/15 amp cord, which the fellow at the store told me would be good. Is he right?
Induction motors typically consider both hot and neutral L1 and L2 and it doesn't matter which is which. Now if you transpose the starter windings then it can matter. Then the motor would run the other way.
Hi Mate, This is bloody easy, for a 240v or 110v supply blue ,black is negative (-) and postive is brown or red (+) earth are green or a greenyellow combo. Any other colours could mean a control circut -refer to maker -.thanks -
well make a simple circuit with a battery and a led and test each wire
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Great job! I have the same grinder (chicago electric from harbor freight). Hopefully it will last a while, but when it goes I will be prepared. Does anyone know if the brushes from the grinder woould be compatible with the motor on a kichenaide blender?
I've had to replace brushes in a power window motor. Although the brushes that I got were too big, it's an easy matter to sand them down to fit.
If you need brushes for a power tool and can't get them, any (helpful) car parts retailer will sell you brushes of a similar size. Take the old ones with you. Its easy to sand them down to any size you want.
chrisbaker Dodd6 years ago
I seem to remember my dad making brushes for his powertools from the carbon (?) rod from the inside of a C or D-size battery. Anyone here ever do that, or am I misremembering?
It'd work. Hats off to your dad for the scavenging fix!
LinuxH4x0r Dodd6 years ago
Thanks! I opened it up and they were about the same size, but much longer. I'd say they probably have another 30 years left in them
Actually I think they would be too small. idk I guess I'll find out when it dies.
I have a possibly very stupid power cord question...what are the small holes on the end of the two prongs on a regular power cord (the part that plugs into the wall)?? My husband and I can't seem to find the answer. They don't exist on older power cords only newer ones.
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