3D Printed Battery Pack Keeps Old Drill Spinning

The greatest enemy of proprietary hardware and components is time. Eventually, that little adapter cable or oddball battery pack isn’t going to be available anymore, and you’re stuck with a device that you can’t use. That’s precisely what happened to [Larry G] when the now antiquated 7.2V NiCd batteries used by his cordless drill became too hard to track down. The drill was still in great shape and worked fine, but he couldn’t power the thing. Rather than toss a working tool, he decided to 3D print his own battery pack.

The 3D modeling on the battery pack is impeccable

He could have just swapped new cells into his old pack, but if you’re going to go through all that trouble, why not improve on things a little? Rather than the NiCd batteries used by the original pack, this new pack is designed around readily available AA NiMH batteries. For the light repairs and craft work he usually gets himself into, he figures these batteries should be fine. Plus he already had them on hand, and as we all know, that’s half the battle when putting a project together.

Interestingly, the original battery pack was wired in such a way that it provided two voltages. In older tools such as this one, this would be used for rudimentary speed control. Depending on which speed setting the drill is on, it would either connect to 4 or 6 cells in the original pack. [Larry] didn’t want to get involved with the extra wiring and never used the dual speeds anyway, so his pack only offers the maximum speed setting. Though he does mention that it may be possible to do PWM speed control in the battery itself via a 555 timer if he feels like revisiting the project.

[Larry] tells us the pack itself was rendered completely from scratch, using only the original battery pack and trial-and-error to get the fit perfect. He reused the side-mounted release buttons to save time, but otherwise everything is 3D printed in PETG for its strength and chemical resistance.


This is an entry in Hackaday’s

Repairs You Can Print contest

The twenty best projects will receive $100 in Tindie credit, and for the best projects by a Student or Organization, we’ve got two brand-new Prusa i3 MK3 printers. With a printer like that, you’ll be breaking stuff around the house just to have an excuse to make replacement parts.

12 thoughts on “3D Printed Battery Pack Keeps Old Drill Spinning

  1. It’s kinda a shame this was needed. The 18v battery from this generation became the Oneplus system, which at this point is one of the best supported power tool systems in terms of longevity, even getting a lithium ion upgrade.

    1. I have the same drill with the same long-dead battery sitting in a storage bin, and I think I might do just that. I have dozens of 18650s l’ve scavenged from old laptop batteries. It would be simple to redo the drill’s charger to provide the correct charge circuit for Li-Ions.

  2. I park in the street, so that’s the only place I need a battery drill. What I did to my old 12V Ni-Cd power drill, was to solder some wires to the battery connector in the handle and a cigar plug at the other end! It is always ready after storage and a great deal lighter

  3. I have an old Chinese 18V tool kit for which new NiCd batteries are no longer available. The manufacturers over there have changed designs yet again.

    I’m thinking of modding the tools to take Ryobi ONE+ batteries, which are very similar in design with their top projections with slide contacts on the sides.

  4. Our Aldi’s here has sitting unsold since Xmas, several 18-20volt lithium Workzone brand drills. The $17 LED battle lanterns went real quick. $40 that’s cheap with hammer wrench bits and drive bits etc. too. Only one battery with charger. I am trying to figure out what it’s compatible with. I have been thinking of trying one out, then I can fit things out.

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