Make: Online regular Craig Smith wrote in with a clever fix for his durable no-name electric drill:

Six years ago I bought a cheap off brand cordless drill for work. My namebrand loving co-workers give me grief for it, but it does the job year after year at a fraction of the price. These are people who think the tools make the tech, and not the craftsmanship and skill in the workman. After recently buying new replacement ni-cad battery packs for it, the electric motor smoked and died. Since I have a reputation for keeping the oldest of equipment humming along, I jokingly took it home to fix it. Darned if I found an exact replacement motor in my storage tote of motors that I collected over the years. The problem was the gear was pressed on the shaft so tight it wouldn’t budge with a pair of screwdrivers harmonically prying it. So with some micro spot-welding on some nuts & bolts, in 20 minutes I made a gear puller. I’ll show up for work with the old drill ready for another six years of duty. And I’ll have to toss them the gear puller to reinforce craftsmanship.

John Baichtal

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal

  • Jonathan

    How did you get the gear back on the other motor – Brute force (at the risk of bending the shaft I’d think) or by heating the gear up first (e.g. oil bath) ?

  • Anonymous

    OMG, that’s awesome. I want one!

  • Steven Sprague

    I bet you could make one of these with a piece of wood and 3 screws with their nuts.

  • Alan

    A piece of wood would probably deform under the strain, but a piece of flat steel drilled with a few holes should work. That’s probably what I’ll try if I need this trick, as I don’t have welding gear. As for putting the gear on the new motor, I’d like to know that too. I probably would have just tapped it on gently with a mallet and an appropriately sized piece of metal tubing acting as a pusher.

    In any case, awesome hack. And kudos on saving a tool from the landfill.

  • nizger

    Redefining broken :)

  • Quinn Carver

    Great tip thanks. Any tips on “how-to” spot weld? I’m guessing this is a very small welder of some sort. I want one!

  • John Allen

    Very, very, nice. Te puller is plenty impressive, but I am not sure what I am most impressed with. The puller, the idea to make a puller, or that fact that he had a $2.25 motor laying around that fit the task.

    • Leonard Solomon

      You nailed it, John!

  • Leonard Solomon

    I love the gear puller. I am a kindred spirit, but here is a story with a completely different ending.
    Back around 1965, my Grandpa gave me his cranky little Craftsman saber saw from the 50’s, which has been astonishing my friends ever since. Over the years, I’ve replaced the switch, brushes, bearings, parts of the wiring, rebuilt the stage mounting, etc. Recently, the saw suddenly got even crankier than usual, then it clattered to a halt: smoking. I took it apart again; this time I found the armature core melted and fused. I thought about it, but no, I didn’t rewind the armature. The saw was a piece of crap when it was new. With a certain surly triumph, after 45 years of use I tipped it into the dumper and bought a sweet new Makita. Even a maker has to buy a shiny new thing sometimes.

    • qcarver

      ::Mwa mwa mwa mwaaaa::: Debbie Downer!

      • Leonard Solomon

        Ok, ok. I’ll rewind the armature.

        • Quinn


  • Craig

    THE IRONY… (a followup)
    My batteries were still dead after a session in the charger. I found that the transformer inside of the charger had a bad secondary coil (output). I could not find a replacement charger for the odd batteries, as I was lucky to recently find the discontinued batteries on clearance. I was not about to buy/hack an expensive namebrand charger that cost more than the original drill flashlight combo package. I did a Leonard Solomon and bought a new Ryobi setup for work because that is what I use at home.