PCB Drill From R/C Car Parts

[Sid] makes a few PCBs a month and the hardest part of his fabrication process is always drilling the through-holes. He has a PCB hand drill that usually results in a sore index finger. After a few unsuccessful attempts of using a full-size electric drill and not wanting to invest in a commercial solution, [Sid] made a PCB drill from a broken R/C car.

The toy car was donated by [Sid]’s 4-year-old after a terrible crash. [Sid] took the gearbox from the car and added a small circuit to control the direction of the drill. After attaching the drill chuck to the former R/C car axle and adding the power leads to a 5 Volt adapter, a PCB drill press was born.

Most of the parts for this build were salvaged from the toy car’s radio control circuit. Except for the chuck from [Sid]’s hand drill and a few switches, everything on this build was pulled from a broken remote control car. While the build is a lot simpler than this semi-automatic PCB drill, [Sid]’s drill seems to work well. Check out the demo video after the break.


17 thoughts on “PCB Drill From R/C Car Parts

  1. ???

    Cheap knockoff dremel
    cheap knockoff dremel dripp press stand.

    $69.00 spent total and I dont get a sore anything. Plus who is using DIP components anymore? Last board I made I drilled 12 vias and 15 header holes. everything else was surface mount because I can get all the free parts I want from motherboards.

    1. “who is using DIP components anymore?”

      I do! While I intend to use more surface mount components eventually there are lots of leaded components available cheap out there and many already in my garage waiting for me. What should be done with them all? Throw them away? I don’t think so!

      “I can get all the free parts I want from motherboards.”

      Ok. In quantity I agree, as long as you have more motherboards you can have more parts. How about variety? Sounds like you only work on a small range of projects that all use components that are in common with computers.

      “What kind of hacker doesn’t have a dremel?”
      Here (which for me is the US) I don’t know. Perhaps things aren’t the same everywhere though? There are many countries in which I have yet to visit and attempt to locate a dremel. How about you? Have you tried them all?

      “Cheap knockoff dremel
      cheap knockoff dremel dripp press stand.”

      A fine setup indeed, though I have heard that some stands don’t hold up to use as well as others. I use an $80 actual Dremel (I splurged on it because I use my Dremel A LOT) with an old Craftsman drillpress that is probably from the 50s or 60s. I got the press for $3 at a garage sale if I remember correctly. It works great! I definitely recommend that anybody drilling PCBs use some sort of press because those tiny bits are SO FRAGILE!

      But I am fortunate to live in a place where stuff like this is available and cheap. Maybe for someone else an R/C car motor hack is a huge improvement over the alternative? Next step is to hack a press out of some common discarded device.

  2. Thats pretty cool how he used the motor and gear assembly from an RC to make a drill. I’m sure there are so many other ways that an rc cars parts can be salvaged and used for something entirely different outside of spare parts. As for the car, I’d like to express my condolences. I hope his son got a new one.

  3. The main problem of this hack seems to be that it is too slow. You need a high speed if you want to drill nice holes and if you don’t want to spend an hour drilling a small board.

    To drill all my PCBs I use a very small drill that I can hold in the palm of my hand. I bought it a very long time ago for about 10€. I find it much more practical and fast and less cumbersome than a press drill.

    Such a drill can probably be found anywhere for less than the price of an RC car.

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