This Instructable serves a couple of functions. First and for most it serves as a rough guide for taking a 12-volt Dewalt Lithium battery and converting it for with an Arduino and as an point of entrance into the Full-Spectrum Laser contest. In this build, I will highlight the process that my engineering sponsor used in helping to model an an adapter that will allow the use of these batteries with Arduinos to create robots as these batteries are both extremely light and have a good bit of power considering they are no larger than they are, both of which will hopefully make for an excellent robot battery. I am speaking of this project in a tense that it will hopefully work as all of the details have not been fully ironed out, but this Instructable will be updated as soon as the project is fully completed to include the final details and pictures of this concept in action.
Step 1: Step One: Tools You Will Need
One more note before we begin, I hope you will excuse the less than ideal photo quality. While I have seen much worse on this platform, they could still be much improved. Now for the parts you will need.
1 Unused USB cable that you do not mind sacrificing (more on this later)
1 12-volt slide type battery designed for a cordless tool (Preferably Lithium-Ion). We used a Dewalt for this, but you can use your brand of preference.
1 3D Printer. We used a combination of a LulzBot Taz and a Lulzbot Mini for this project.
Some form of CAD software. OnShape was the engine of choice used for this particular project.
We are not liable for any damages that this causes to your battery or Arduino. You are taking this project on at your risk and liability and will be responsible for any damages that this causes to you or any of your property. This will also most likely void any sort of warranty that may be remaining on the battery of your tool as this is not a manufacturers authorized modification. You have been so forth warned.
Step 2: Step Two: Design the Holder That Will Attach to the Battery
After gathering your supplies together, you will now need to design the holder that will attach to your battery. For this process, my instructor chose to use OnShape as that is the program that he uses in his classes and is familiar with, but you can choose to use any program that you choose. Please note that while the final design will hold to this design, it still is lacking some polishing details. Those details will be added as soon as the final design is completed. Please stay tuned for those updates. Also, I have attached the files we created below so that you can have a rough guide to use when starting your project.
Step 3: Step 3: Print Out Your Parts and Test Fit
The next step in the design process is where you make your design into a prototype, check for usage and fit, and then make the necessary corrections to help improve the product. This process takes time, but it definitely necessary. As of the time of this first post, this design has already undergone 4 iterations and is probably at least 2 more from being truly done.
Step 4: Step 4: Add Your Prongs and Wiring
This stage of the project has not been quite completed, but as previously stated, it is in the works. This is where that unused usb cable comes in. You are going to disassemble the computer end of the cable and turn the metal part into your prongs as pictured. You will then solder wire to these prongs and place them into the case in positions that align with the proper terminals on your particular battery. This step will differ between some batteries and you will probably need to edit the spots to meet your needs. When we get a version of the file ready with these slots, it will be added to this instructable to give you some guidance on your journey.
Step 5: Step 5: Stand Back and Enjoy Your New Arduino Power Source
If you have made it this far into the build, you are obviously intrigued by this project, and I thank you for taking the time to read through. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, more details will be added in the next few days with update headings to show what changes have been made and to give more details. I apologize for any items and details that are not quite up to par as this is my first Instructable and if you have any ideas of how I could improve in the future, please leave them in the comments. I will try to read said comments and perhaps even answer some questions if time allows. Thank You for your patience and interest and have a pleasant day.