DIY Mini-Drill Would Make Mad Max Proud


That’s not a prison tattoo gun up there, it’s [Szabolcs] DIY mini drill. Hackaday has been on a bit of a DIY tool kick lately – with improvised saws, grinders, and grinders converted to saws, among other things. We haven’t had any DIY drills yet, though. [Szabolcs] needed a drill for his home-made printed circuit boards. Usually a Dremel or similar rotary tool is pressed into service for drilling PCBs. However, for some reason he didn’t have access to one. [Szabolcs] called upon his inner MacGyver and built a drill from parts he had on hand.

Every drill needs a chuck, or at least a collet holder. This drill’s chuck is sourced from a drafting compass. Long ago in the dark ages before CAD, mechanical drawings were manually drawn up. Companies employed entire drafting departments to draw designs, blueprints, and schematics. These draftsmen used the compass to create accurate circles and arcs. [Szabolcs] re-used the lead holder from the compass as a chuck for his drill. A 540 or 550 brushed sealed endbell can motor, common to the R/C cars spins the drill up. We originally thought [Szabolcs] used an Erector or Meccano set piece as a shaft coupling. The truth is it’s the internals of a Euro style terminal strip. A small tactile button is used to activate the motor. Some electrical tape wrapped around the motor holds the button in place. The tape also makes sure that the user isn’t cut by the sheet metal field ring wrapped around the can. Power for the system can come from just about anywhere, though [Szabolcs] says he uses the 12v rail of an old ATX power supply.

27 thoughts on “DIY Mini-Drill Would Make Mad Max Proud

  1. I’m a pretty big tool maven myself but I have to echo the sentiments of other posters here in that this does not seem worthwhile to me to do. Chintzy little rotary tools are both common, and so inexpensive to acquire that in my opinion this is not worth pursuing really.

    If you want tools go to flea markets, yard sales, garage sales and look for them. The stuff is out there. I’ve found some sweet rotary tools from time to time. Dirt cheap too. It is a toss up what my all time best score in that category is but it is between my Swiss air turbine pneumatic ultra high speed die grinder and my Foredom flex shaft tool with a box of bits. I suppose the Foredom has to take it because I use it more than the Swiss gadget.

    Honorable mention goes to the pair of B&D RTX rotary tools I’ve picked up at Home Depot and Walmart respectively for $10 each. One off the scratch and dent table, the other off a clearance shelf. But new those only retailed for maybe $29.95 a piece anyways. They still do the job though. I’ve had a couple genuine Dremels over the years and honestly I like the B&D clones I have now more.

    1. > I have to echo the sentiments of other posters here in that this does not seem worthwhile to me to do.
      Exactly, to *you*. There are many people reading HaD that, regretably, doesn’t have access to such tools or even the slightest opportunity (or money) to buy some, even if they’re 2nd hand or “dirt cheap” because there’s nowhere to acquire them. I live far away from the US, and common tools are in fact cheap here, but it is not the same everywhere.
      This is clearly not the best or the most elegant way, but when necessity calls ANYTHING could be hacked to bring a solution to a problem. That’s the spirit of this site.
      Also because been there, done that.

  2. Thirty decades ago i was connecting the drill bit directly to the engine shaft (engine taken usually from a broken toy) using wire insulation (therefore the biggest problem was finding proper diameter insulation to fit both the shaft and the drill bit).
    The engine was powered by a power source for radio or pocket calculator using two wires and some electrical tape (if any) with no power switch.

    1. What’s sad is if you take some models of Dremel apart they were doing essentially the same thing with their motor connector. OK theirs has splines. But other than that it might as well be wire insulation for what it is made out of.

      I learned all of this of course when one of them failed on me. I kept on fixing it with packing tape then I got sick of doing that. Now it sits on a shelf in my garage with other broken tools. Yeah I know I can buy a replacement spline drive for it. But I hate giving a company any more of my money for such crap.

  3. Interesting how so many people in the comments would rather buy stuff than hack stuff. garage sale, yard sale, flea markets, thrift stores; none of which are a hack of any kind. Maybe you guys should go hang out on ebay instead of hackaday?

  4. seriously you guys have nothing better to do then search for things you would never do and bash them because it’s not what you would do.

    get a life loosers, your desperation for conversation shows through.
    and if you really WOULD just buy it then shouldnt you be posting on ebaybook, youtube, or instructables

    ive done this hack and it is seriously rewarding.

    and even if they were, some people like to have fun by spending ZERO dollars.

    if your so rich and god-like, why dont you donate your spare money to a charity?
    liek you say “ITS ONLY 30 DOLLARS!” oh you wouldnt like that, because theres a better way…

        1. At the time of writing, it’s 9:59 pm (on my PC), and it shows 6:58 am here. The time difference that I have with their server leads me to the conclusion that you are, too, an Asian.

  5. A dremel is NOT necessarily the way to go. They are much larger and more awkward than a sma DC motor with a chuck. For a few bucks you can buy on ebay a 12v dc motor with a brass collet chuck on it to hold micro drill bits.

    The chucks can be purchased separately in various sizes and motor shaft diameters, if you look, the simply fit a standard 2, 2.3 or 3.2mm dc motor shaft and have a grub screw.

    I use this type of setup myself, it works very well.

  6. HAHA that takes me back.
    Did VERY SAME hack 24 years ago :o
    I used electric motor from a toy + terminal strip to rigidly couple drill bit. I also used a piece of PVC water pipe as a holder with motor stuffed inside. Drilled many PCB holes with that thing :D

  7. love this hack, keeping it simple rulez. I also build a similar device but it includes vacuum sucktion so there’s no dust all around my workshop, and i can use it as vucuum pliers.

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