3D Printed Power Tool Accessories

Years ago 3D printing opened up incredible opportunities in medical fields. As the technology has evolved and moved into the consumer space; it has opened up opportunities for tools (and many other fields).

As always, I purchased all items I am discussing myself and have not been offered any compensation for these thoughts and opinions.

The first 3D printed part I purchased was a bit holder for Makita LXT drill/drivers thru Shapeways, Designed to hold 5 bits, vertically, these worked best with 1” bits. 2” bits were easily knocked out of the holder and scratched my hand when holding the tool. I don’t recall what type of plastic these were made of, it was strong and of sufficient quality and I never had an issue with a lost bit or broken holder. I liked it so much, over time, I have purchased 5 more.

Another 3D printed part I bought was a Leatherman belt clip for the Wave. As with the bit holder, the quality was good although a few too many time I smashed the holder getting in the car and the belt clip eventually broke off. Also for Leatherman Free P2, I bought thumb guides used to deploy the knife with one hand. I absolutely love this addition and highly recommend it.

This brings me to battery adapters. Anyone whose followed my other posts knows a single battery platform is important to me. However my platform (Makita LXT), like all OEM’s, doesn’t offer all of the same tools. So when I find myself in the market for a tool Makita doesn’t manufacture- such as a belt sander or glue gun, I turned to eBay for aftermarket battery adapters (Ryobi to Makita). Eventually I also bought a Dewalt to Makita adapter so as to be able to use the Dewalt 18v heat gun.

I find this approach to be mostly positive. Sure I am sacrificing some of the tools ergonomics and am running a risk that the tools safety features (circuit or heat overload, etc) are bypassed; but I am gaining the ability to remain on a single battery platform and purchasing bare tools saves on cost.

Some tools are even being Manufactured and can run with the major OEM’s batteries. I posted last year about the Girapow Rivet gun working with the Makita LXT platform.

Please note, use of a battery adapter is at your own peril. I’ve had luck, so far, and haven’t had any battery or tool issues. I am keenly aware that others have had issues. While I cannot say if it was the tool, battery or adapter that caused a problem- please be aware of the risks associated with using an adapter as tool manufacturers warn against this for a myriad of reasons.

I’m interested in hearing from the community on 3D accessories that you use and recommend.

I am very interested in adapters. I happen to be heavily into Dewalt 20V & flexvolt, and Milwaukee M12 as far as cordless tools go. My corded tools are all over the map. There are other cordless tools I want which neither brand has, or which other brands do better. I’d happily buy tools from others, but it’s hard to justify jumping into a whole new system of batteries and chargers just to add one tool to the stable, especially when I could use a couple new 20V max batteries already. If I can get adapters to reliably use my Dewalt batts with Makita, Metabo, etc, then that might be a great solution. A new tool + adapter is a lot easier to swallow than a new tool + charger + at least 2 batteries.

This week I had my first disappointment with a 3D printed adapter. I ordered a Bosch 12v Max to Makita CXT adapter as I only have 2 Bosch batteries. While the two batteries are sufficient nearly all of the time, I have on a few occasions had to wait for a charge cycle to finish.

The adapter I bought was manufactured on demand and shipped from Russia. The seller was communicative throughout and the shipping was quick. The finished adapter wasn’t the highest of quality and more importantly it did not work when I attempted to use it. The seller did the right thing and refunded my money, which I knew would be the case as I’ve had great experiences with eBay in the past, but it was the first time I’ve had a lm adapter not work.

I did ship the adapter back to the seller so that he can see what went wrong. If I hear back I’ll post more information.

I just recently picked up two adapters from Amazon, though neither was 3D printed. One claims to accept Milwaukee M18 or Dewalt 20V max batteries and converts to Makita LXT. It also has a built-in USB outlet for mobile devices. The other accepts 20V max batts and converts to Metabo (note: Not HPT). So far I am very happy with them, both work well. I haven’t noticed any signs of overheating at the contacts, they securely attach to the tool and the battery securely attaches to them. I did remove the USB power function from the Makita adapter; I have no use for it, and I’d rather it not slowly suck the juice out of the attached battery in case I forget to remove it. I can’t comment on if that first adapter really does work with M18 but it certainly works with 20V Max.