My "Ryokita" cordless franken-drill

I bought this Makita cordless drill on sale back in 1998. Back then the name "Makita" was practically synonymous with cordless drill.

It used Ni-Cd batteries. Lithium-ion batteries were just starting to make their way into laptop computers but not cordless tools. Cordless drills were still kind of new, and other types of cordless tools didn't exist yet. The batteries at the time just weren't powerful enough.

The batteries on this one stopped working long ago. I figured I'd experiment with putting a Ryobi battery pack on it, using parts of a wimpy consumer reciprocating saw that a friend gave me.


I cut off most of the battery compartment on the bandsaw.


I hoped the handle from the Makita would fit in the thicker part near the battery holder that I cut off the reciprocating saw, but it didn't quite fit.


I had to cut a few odds and ends off the handle to make it fit.


I couldn't get the case for the Makita off the drill. I think I would have had to remove the drill chuck for that, and I couldn't get the screw holding that on to budge. So I just pried the case open as far as I could and soldered wires to the battery terminals.


I made a block of wood roughly the shape of the old battery to go inside the battery compartment. This block is a bit longer than the remaining compartment, and fits inside the battery holder from the Ryobi saw.


Then both parts screw to that block on both sides. This makes the whole thing relatively sturdy


And the drill works. Though it doesn't run as smoothly as newer cordless drills. It's also a bit more awkward. The forward/reverse is a slide switch on the back of the handle, so you can't as easily click it into reverse like newer drills. I guess at the time this drill was designed, people weren't using them as screwdrivers like everyone does today. Back in 1998, not all drills were reversible.

The gear selector is a little grip on the top that needs to be turned 180 degrees, also more awkward than today's drills.


But overall, the drill works, even though it's a 9.6 volt drill, hooked up to a 12 volt battery.

The battery came with a Ryobi 12-volt kit that a friend gave me after all the batteries on it died. I replaced the cells in the battery packs with ones I got for free. But the circular saw, reciprocating saw, and flashlight from that kit were kind of useless, so this is a good use of the parts.


This is actually the second franken-drill I made using Ryobi battery packs. Here's my first one, which I made a year and a half ago. That experiment was a success and I have been using that drill from time to time, so I figured it was worth doing to the Makita as well.


See also:


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