Introduction: 3D Printed Power Drill Battery Adapter for a Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

I found a handheld vacuum cleaner left behind at the garbage can shelter, I decided to look what's wrong with it. Turned out that the battery pack inside was dead, first I planned to replace the cells, but soon realized I had no charger for the battery. So I decided to see if it ran on a 14.4 VDC power drill battery, though the dead battery pack was rated 12 volts. It didn't catch fire or didn't smell funny (besides the cat litter that was cemented inside) I should probably put a resistor there somewhere just in case..

I somehow love the idea of modular systems and shared parts between things. Like the power drill I have, it's a 4-in-1 tool that can be a reciprocating saw, sander, multi-function oscillating thing, and of course a drill. Although it's a toy by professional standards, I like it, I like the idea of converting one thing into various specific things with attachments rather than having ten million tools(e.g. kitchen appliances: egg boiler, rice boiler, tea machine, popcorn machine etc) This modular idea has been featured in some video games like the weapon system in Republic Commando, or like the crafting system in Dead Space 3: you craft your weaponized tool around a frame and a power source. The way I see it is like there's this raw unrefined power, energy that you can harness, divert and convert to suit your needs.. I just love it ok? Anyway one battery shared between tools, the vacuum cleaner being the first addition.

Also: this instructable is a bit shoddy, because I couldn't get photos at every turn and this project has been dragging for a while because I HATE buying things.

Tools needed:


-Power drill or a rotary tool

-Soldering tool


-Wire cutters

-3D printer (Flashforge Finder in my case)

-Hot glue gun

-Ruler/caliper (For good measure.. get it? I didn't..ಠ_ಠ)

-Pen/Pencil and paper (For notes / initial design drawings)

-3D Modeling software (I used Blender)

-A disposable cylindrical object like a pen, lips balm (for shaping glue seams, so these better have no sentimental value)

-Medical gloves (For the seaming process)

Materials needed:


-Hot glue

-No more nails (A brand of construction adhesive, NOTE: apparently this does not stick to PLA plastic very well)

-PLA filament for the printer (kinda no brainer)

-Some metal from a swedish telephone plug as leads for the battery (Good luck finding one :D Mine came with a modem.)

-Electrical wire.

Misc: (Because the construction adhesive is sticky, messy and irritating and it gets everywhere)

-Paper towels

-Cotton swabs

Step 1: Examine and Take Measurements

Examine the battery adapter on the power drill, and examine the battery as well. Take needed measurements and write them down.

Step 2: Put the Measurements in Blender

Use the modeling software to create 3D model of the adapter. I designed the adapter to be in two pieces, so the leads had their own little plate which they were glued on. I did this to avoid printing the whole thing again if I goofed up something (and I did: the lead holes were too small, but were easy to make bigger because the plate was only few millimeters thick)

Step 3: Print It and Test It If It Fits on the Battery

Nothing much to add, just check if it's all aligned. I left out the notch in which the red latch on the battery grips on, because I couldn't get the exact position measured with my ruler. Yes, I did every measurement with a ruler, I had no alternatives at the time.

Step 4: Take Apart the Phone Plug and Find Suitable Parts

After taking the plug apart and acquiring the parts for the battery leads, it's time to put them through the plate. Then glue them in place on the other side, I used hot glue since it can be removed if something went wrong.

I'd advice caution when testing if the adapter fits now that the leads will connect to the battery. I don't know if 14 volts DC from the battery of my power tool is enough to be even noticed, but I don't plan to find out.

Step 5: Cut a Hole on the Lid and Attach the Wires to the Leads

This is where some pictures are missing: cut a hole on the former battery cover with a rotary tool, then attach the adapter over the hole. I used lots of glue, both hot glue and super glue to keep it in place. I plan to put some screws on there too (I don't trust glue alone)

Then connect wires on the leads and attach them to the ones on the vacuum cleaner.

Either solder them on, or if you have connectors to match the existing ones on the vacuum cleaner, then use those.

Sure you can attach the leads straight to the wires of the vacuum cleaner, but mine weren't long enough so I used some additional wire to connect the adapter to the vacuum cleaner.

PERSONAL NOTE: Cutting a hole on the lid and gluing something on it was the hardest part for me, I hate doing irreversible modding but #YOLO☆゚.*・。゚

Step 6: Finishing Up.

Close it up and you are done. It sucks :D

There is still one more step, but it's purely cosmetic.

My final thoughts:

If the motor burns up or the electronics (yeah so pretty much the motor) otherwise fail, I might take the vacuum cleaner bit and make it an attachment to the power drill. The reason why I didn't do that in the first place was because this was much easier to do with the tools I had at the time.

At one point I thought putting the power drill battery inside the vacuum where the previous battery was, but removing it would've been too troublesome, even if the battery was to be pressed in instead of sliding it into it's place.

The battery adapter design I am planning to use on some other projects, like a motor controlled bench vice powered by the drill battery. Also I have some wild ideas about wearable electronics using a power drill battery so the adapter or a modified version of it might come in handy.

Step 7: OPTIONAL: Adding a Cosmetic Seam and Shaping It

WEAR GLOVES THESE PHOTOS ARE STAGED THE DAY AFTER THE ACTUAL PROCESS (There was glue all over the place, so I didn't want to mess up my camera)

I personally don't like objects grinning at me, it makes me feel that they are up to something. So if you are on the same page on this then add some construction glue around the edges of the 3D printed adapter. I wouldn't recommend applying that specific brand directly on the surface, because the nozzle shoots out too much glue even on the lowest setting. Another thing is that this adhesive doesn't stick to PLA plastic that well, it works for me for the time being, but I wouldn't use it if I had to do this again. Maybe silicone would do a better job?

Cleaning and slightly sanding the surfaces might result in a better adhesion, which was something I forgot to do.

Shaping the adhesive is just a matter of running a cylindrical object along the surfaces and wiping off the excess.