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
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
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
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
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
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.
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