Introduction: Make a Wire Brush/Buffer From an Unneeded Food Processor

About: When I was a boy, I was amazed how my grandfather could make flotsam and jetsam into useful things. I am proud that I have inherited some of his skill.

This project had its origins in a high quality food processor with a broken bowl. As it had some age and was purchased at a bargain price, I didn’t want to purchase a new bowl at nearly the same price as the whole thing cost to begin with. However, I couldn’t stand to see a really good motor sitting around when I could power something with it.

I should take a moment to add a word of caution; used safely, food processors are safe. Used carelessly, they can lop off fingers effortlessly. Under no circumstances use a processor with a broken bowl or defeated interlock.

Having said that, as used in this project, the device is no longer a food processor, and while the interlock has to be overridden, when used carefully (gloves, eye protection, and due care) it is as safe as any power tool.


One electric food processor (carefully dispose of the blades)

Two nuts and washers of the appropriate size - mine were 5/8”

A triangular file

A small bolt - 3/16”x 1/2” in my case

A wire brush and/or buffing wheel to fit the shaft

Step 1: Adapting the Processor to the Wire Brush

A key feature of the food processor I used is a tall plastic shaft. Although it is oblong in cross section, it is the same thickness from top to bottom. As it turned out, the shaft fits the center hole of a wire wheel (or buffing wheel) nicely. All I had to do was use a washer and nut on either side of the wheel to hold in place.

Easily said. The problem is, the shaft isn’t threaded.

If I had a die of the right size, I could have cut threads on the shaft, except I don’t. Still, it was no big problem; I just made one.

Since a steel nut is much harder than plastic, it cuts it easily. To made the die, I clamped a nut in my vise and cut four grooves across the threads, spaced equally around the inside. These groves cut into the plastic and provide places for the chips to get out of the threads.

Alternately turning the nut down and backing it up a bit, cut threads a couple inches down the shaft.

Step 2: Mount the Wire Brush

Having cut threads in the shaft, turn a nut down about an inch and a half and drop a washer on it. Place the wire brush on the washer (you may have to use the shim that typically comes with the brush), add a washer and turn down the second nut.

That’s pretty much it, other than bypassing the interlock, which is done by screwing a small bolt into the interlock slot until the motor turns off and on by the switch. Again, as the processor’s blades are no longer in play, it is safe to turn the motor on by the switch as any other power tool. Be careful of the wire brush though, and I highly recommend not to use the motor to power something more dangerous, like a saw blade.

Step 3: In Summation

This project works really well. The motor is heavy and powerful and stays put when you use it. The horizontal alignment if the brush doesn’t pose any problems, and there is a decent space between the wheel and the motor housing.

Nevertheless, be careful, use appropriate safety practices and equipment.