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Ideas for re-use of motors,gears, and other parts of junk electric drills and such

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  • Ideas for re-use of motors,gears, and other parts of junk electric drills and such

    I never like to throw anything away (recycling if possible of course), if there are what I think may be re-usable parts. Right now I have taken apart a 12V B&D "Fire Storm" electric drill which did not have a battery pack, and although new battery packs may be available, they would cost much more than the tool is worth. When I come across various tools and appliances, I evaluate if it is worthwhile trying to repair, and if not, I like to take such things apart to see how they are made, and extracting whatever parts may be useful. If nothing else, I like to save screws and similar hardware that may be handy for any that may be missing from working tools, as well as for general use, although they can be hard to categorize and sort, with so many variations of size, thread pitch, head type, etc.

    So this particular tool was interesting because of the quick-release chuck, behind which is a standard 1/4" hex drive, and perhaps at least the chuck might be better than some of those on other tools I have. However, it would require making some sort of adapter, and the chuck is not that much better than those I might want to replace. I figured maybe the motor could be used for something, at least, although I already have probably hundreds of motors ranging from tiny to 5 HP, and I sure don't need any more projects to pile onto what I'm currently stalled on. Anyway, here are some pictures of this little project, showing near complete disassembly and put back together in possibly usable form as a 12 VDC motor and a double reduction planetary gear train with probably at least 40:1 reduction.

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    http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
    Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
    USA Maryland 21030

  • #2
    I have one similar on a piece of plastic conduit with a magnetic attachment that cranks my small lathe's cross slide hand-wheel sort of a poor man's auto feed. It helps get a smooth finish. The fwd/rev switch is on the handle and the pwm power control separately
    Helder Ferreira
    Setubal, Portugal

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    • #3
      There is one interesting bit in the electronics, which has a red LED showing when the drill is level. This is rather "old school", with what looks like an LED and a light sensor with a weighted disc that rotates as the drill is tilted, and the LED lights up when the holes line up. However, the holes appear to be at 45 degrees. There is a microswitch on the trigger assembly and an RFP50N06 MOSFET on a cast metal heat sink. Also a 6A diode. Nothing of much value there.

      It was a bit of a challenge to re-assemble the motor and drive train, but now I have essentially a 12 VDC motor and a high torque hex drive. I can't think of anything to use it on, but at least it's a pretty small piece to put in my "useful junk" bin.

      If you have any similar "adventures" in taking things apart and seeing how they work, and perhaps using some of the parts for some useful purpose, it might be fun to explore here. But I really need to get rid of this little distraction and get on with more meaningful projects, like my DIY VFD.
      http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
      Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
      USA Maryland 21030

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      • #4
        I started off thinking that cordless drills would be useful in model rc boats. Put a pair side by side and drive two props. You'd probably put the drill in high speed to get a reasonable match for best power transfer. Or- and this is one I've tried- use just the motor and not the gears- make a jet unit out of it. I made my own impeller from brass sheet, soldered it all together. The housing was also brass sheet. The thing worked quite well, and I got lots of thrust from it in my bathtub tests.

        Something that might be useful is a hydraulic bumper jack. You would build your own pump to match the motor to produce enough pressure for the cylinder unit. Keep it in your car or truck. It might be slow, but you trade that off for higher pressure. Put it with your 12 volt tire pump.

        One thing I've found is that trying to use the motor and gear box as a unit is never easy. If you keep the drill case, then you have the original alignment for the motor and gear box that was meant to be, so that's easy- and you cut away as much of the case as you can- basically cutting the handle off. If you want to go as bare bones as possible, you have to arrange a coupling of the motor and gear box to maintain the original configuration. It's easy enough to hold the motor, but problematic to secure the components of the gear box appropriately.

        As a useful tool, I suppose one could take advantage of the motor itself, with its relatively high speed. The speed is useful for some cutting tools- I made a tire truing machine for slot cars with a similar motor. I used a zirconia sand paper disc, which worked great.

        For all the drills which are powered from 14 volts and up, you're going to lose power and speed if you are powering them from a vehicle. Short of coming up with a suitable power supply to run them, they become almost useless. If you power them with the voltage they want, then you are most likely using them indoors, a workshop application possibly. A compact, hand held tool- with a cord- doing something custom. I'm out of ideas

        They need to remain close to their power supply because of the high currents they can draw when loaded down. It's either a battery pack with it, as in the cordless drill, or a fairly short cord to a power supply, or a power supply that can be placed right at the motor.

        I suppose there's always the idea of the miniature workshop for model makers. Small table saw for balsa work, belt and disc sander, maybe an oscillating drum sander, a drill press. I've made a small table top drill press using a cordless drill. It's first job was tapping the 400 odd 4-40 holes a project needed. The reversing feature made that fairly easy.
        I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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        • #5
          Besides the treadmills that are regularly discarded, I have cannibalized a few paper shredders. All so far have had an easily reversable series wound universal motor that feeds a gear train to end up at about 60 rpm, with lots of torque. The shredder teeth are mounted on hex stock which is useful in its own right, or the output shaft can easily be coupled to using an appropriately sized hex wrench socket to drive "whatever". I have one that I plan to use to raise/lower the head on my RF-40 style mill, another maybe for a drill press table. And of course there is some salvageable electronics - micro-switch(es) or optical sensors, etc.
          "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

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          • #6
            They always seem to be so potentially useful, but in the real world that does not work out as well. Probably because the things are so specifically designed to be what they are, they are not as easy to adapt to other uses.

            Usually it ends up that they go to one of our recycling events.
            CNC machines only go through the motions

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            • #7
              Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
              If you have any similar "adventures" in taking things apart and seeing how they work, and perhaps using some of the parts for some useful purpose, it might be fun to explore here. But I really need to get rid of this little distraction and get on with more meaningful projects, like my DIY VFD.
              One of the things I started designing last winter to use an old drill motor and planetary gear set was a multi use rotating turner (think gyroscope) in a UV cure chamber. Something I could use to UV cure finishes on lures, UV cure resin printed parts, and also do rotational resin casting for hollow parts. I've got motors and gearboxes from a hitachi, and rigid drills that I modeled up, and probably about half the frame done before spring came and priorities shifted. I did a bunch of testing with 3d printed gears to drive the rest of the axis, and was satisfied with the results. Maybe I'll get back on that project soon. I kinda forgot about actually. Thanks for reminding me Paul.....

              I always take stuff apart, see how it works, see if I can fix it, see if I can use some parts for something else etc. I've done that my whole life, it's what lead me to the career I'm in. My Kids love doing it too. A few of my buddies will text me a picture of something they're throwing out that broke to see If I want it. On more than one occasion I've said sure, and returned the "broken" item back to them a short while later when I figured out it was something easy to repair, and just did it for them. Most stuff isn't that complicated. Even electrical stuff is usually just a collection of easily replaceable parts, that on their own perform simple functions. It's finding the fault that is sometimes the problem, but sometimes they just jump out at you. I honestly don't possess a great deal of electrical knowledge though I'm learning a lot more all the time about it. The internet is a fascinating place to learn about anything that you want to. All free of charge, and open whenever you want.

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              • #8
                I hate chucking stuff away that might have a use.
                You know those springs from clothes pegs - there has to be another use.

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                • #9
                  Yeah Baz, I have 32,000 of them.
                  Still waiting for a brilliant idea to pop into my feeble brain as what to do with them.

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                  • #10
                    Those springs from clothes pins- yes. I was tasked one day to child-proof all the lower doors and drawers in a kitchen we were installing. We got in some latches for this purpose, but they were hokey and the customer didn't want them. I came up with a latch design, but I needed a suitable spring. Those were exactly what I needed, so off to the dollar store for about 40 or so wooden clothes pins.
                    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                    • #11
                      The bare motor might make a good toolpost grinder if the shaft could be fitted with a 1/8" collet. Also useful for a high speed drill or milling accessory for very small mills. For this drill, the reduction gearcase screws onto the motor, so it makes for easy mounting. A pair of them might be able to be connected to the wheels of a hand truck or cart, or maybe a wheelbarrow. I still have the parts from a kid's tractor which had two worn out 12V motors, for which I got replacements. It should be possible to make some sort of powered wagon, cart, or hand truck from these.

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                      http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                      Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                      USA Maryland 21030

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                      • #12
                        Several years ago I was tearing down mid size printers to get the shafts, gears, motors and switches. Among them were some really neat one way clutches. They looked like bushings and were fitted to mirror ground shafts. The trick was they would rotate freely in one direction and immediately grab and refuse to rotate in the opposite direction. It seemed like magic, with that polish on the shaft.

                        I gave one to my friend's son, who is a budding engineer and had a fascination with differentials. He really enjoyed it. So far I think that has been the most satisfying use I've gotten out of that junk.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by I make chips View Post
                          Yeah Baz, I have 32,000 of them.
                          Still waiting for a brilliant idea to pop into my feeble brain as what to do with them.
                          Cockroach-sized mouse-traps.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mickeyf View Post
                            Besides the treadmills that are regularly discarded, I have cannibalized a few paper shredders. All so far have had an easily reversable series wound universal motor that feeds a gear train to end up at about 60 rpm, with lots of torque. The shredder teeth are mounted on hex stock which is useful in its own right, or the output shaft can easily be coupled to using an appropriately sized hex wrench socket to drive "whatever". I have one that I plan to use to raise/lower the head on my RF-40 style mill, another maybe for a drill press table. And of course there is some salvageable electronics - micro-switch(es) or optical sensors, etc.
                            Ditto, I made some hex head bolts for an old f100 hood hinge out of one of those shredder hex shafts a while back. I ended up stripping down the motor for bits and scrap as I have a bunch of smallish DC motors I could use instead. A knee power feed is on my list too

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                            • #15
                              I, too, have salvaged battery drills, paper shredders , inkjet printers, obsolete scanners, and my favorite, Freecycle treadmills. I have repurposed treadmill motors and controllers to power several tools including my X2 mill, and a home made sand muller.
                              I have repurposed keyless battery drill chucks by mounting them on threaded straight shanks and home made MT tapers for use on my mill, lathe, and even a couple to hold countersink bits for deburring.

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