Power tools

Project: Power tools


A power tool is a tool that is actuated by an additional power source and mechanism other than the solely manual labor used with hand tools. The most common types of power tools use electric motors. Internal combustion engines and compressed air are also commonly used. Other power sources include steam engines, direct burning of fuels and propellants, such as in powder-actuated tools, or even natural power sources such as wind or moving water. Tools directly driven by animal power are not generally considered power tools.


This is not the best cordless hand tool. But it’s the best place to start developing a printable cordless hand tool. It’s inexpensive (a positive feature when you need two or three). And critically, it features an interchangeable tool head system which affords it unusual versatility and reduces the volume of plastic required to 3D print a full complement of cordless tools. This reduces the time required to print the set, and shrinks the BOM as well. This faster print time and simpler BOM allow for quicker testing and iteration, and quicker replication. Interoperability with commercially available interchangeable parts increases sales of the commercial part. It also allows users of open tooling to use commercially available parts if needed, or to reuse existing parts already available to them.


Development targets

A [generic Power Take Off / ] attachment would be a useful addition to the capabilities of this device, and is not commercially available. This project will require detailed measurement and modeling of features compatible with the Black and Decker, Porter Cable, and Craftsman tools and batteries. And the modeling of a new attachment, featuring a [ / ].

The OpenPC LiPo Battery will consist of a 3D printable battery shell, easily recycled 18650 lithium ion cells, a common balance charging circuit, and small motor controller. This project will require detailed measuring and modeling of the Porter Cable 20v Lithium Ion battery connector, and three easily identified regions on the nearly identical Black and Decker 20v Lithium ion batteries. 2016 US retail price for 20v 4Ah Porter Cable battery is $119. Generic replacement batteries are available online for $50. OpenPC should be able to achieve < $20.

Shooting for an order of magnitude of improvement. And OpenPC will allow for much larger batteries to be built than are available from any tool manufacturer. This is one area in which Open Source Hardware can take the undisputed lead.

EveryBattery: this project will require detailed measurement of a variety of commercially available power tools and batteries. As well as the detailed modeling of a set of printable adapters from each battery type to each tool type. The adapters may optionally contain a buck-boost converter capable of adjusting battery voltage up OR down, to match otherwise incompatible combinations (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014OOJ0B2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1&tag=replimat-20).

Printable Power Handle: Detailed measurement from [tool head development] will be used in addition to original work to create a 3D printable (+ vitamins possibly including a motor, gearbox, and throttle control) power handle, compatible with the open tool head previously developed, and the commercially available tool heads. As well as the OpenPC, and Black and Decker and PorterCable batteries and chargers.

  • Arduino mini / high-current FET board for tool / 1kW motor / solenoid control

Power tools include: