Remove chuck from drill and drill motors

Here's how to remove the chuck from a cordless drill, which is useful if you want to replace the chuck but also if you want to use the drill motor for something else. I used two drill motors in my BB-8 droid's drive system.

There's also a video below showing various ways to remove the chuck and drill motor.

In the photo below you can see the chuck we want to remove as well as a drill motor with the gear box and clutch still in place. The gear box and clutch can both be removed too but the gear box is useful for converting the fast rotation of the motor to a slower, higher torque rotation which can be useful for some applications.

Chuck on a cordless drill.
Chuck on a Black & Decker cordless drill.
Drill motor parts.
Drill motor showing the clutch, gearbox and motor.

Below you can see that I used two drill motors in the drive system for my BB-8 droid.

Drill motors in my BB-8.
The two drill motors used in my BB-8 droid.
My BB-8 droid (WIP).
My BB-8 droid.

The first step is to open the chuck all the way as you would for inserting a large diameter drill bit. If you look inside you'll see a screw, as shown below. Unscrew that screw. Note that to unscrew it you have to turn the screwdriver clockwise, which is the opposite direction you'd normally turn it to remove a screw. If you're going to be removing the motor, gear box and clutch for something else then make sure to keep the screw as you can use it to attach whatever it is you're using the motor for.

Screw inside the chuck.
The screw inside the chuck.
Turning clockwise.
Turning the screw clockwise to remove the screw for the drill chuck.
The screw.
The screw from the drill chuck.

The next step is to remove the clutch. It's actually screwed on to the rest of the drill. To loosen it you need to rotate it rapidly and sharply in the counter-clockwise direction, as shown below. There are a number of ways of doing this, which I talk about below. But before you do anything, if the drill has a drill setting then set it to that.

Threads that the chuck screws on to.
The threads that the chuck screws on to.
Turning counter-clockwise.
Turning the chuck counter-clockwise to remove it from the drill.
The drill's drill setting.
The drill's drill setting.

Method 1. Sharp hit with a hammer

For methods 1 and 2, get the largest allen key you have that will fit in the drill. Put the drill on a table and hit the allen key hard and fast with a hammer in the direction shown. That should loosen the chuck to the point where you can unscrew it by hand. If it doesn't then try another method.

My largest allen key.
My largest allen key.
Attaching the allen key.
Attaching the allen key to the drill.
Hammering the allen key.
Hammering the allen key to loosen the chuck from the drill.
Unscrewing the chuck.
Unscrewing the chuck from the drill.
The removed chuck.
The chuck removed from the drill.

Method 2. Sharp hit against a table

As with method 1, first put the largest allen key that will fit in the drill. Then power the drill suddenly and at high speed such that the allen key will hit against a table's edge as shown below, stopping it suddenly. That sudden breaking will be the equivalent of rapidly turning it in the other direction.

As with method 1, that should loosen the chuck to the point where you can unscrew it by hand. If it doesn't then try another method.

My largest allen key.
My largest allen key.
Attaching the allen key.
Attaching the allen key.
Slamming allen key against table.
Slamming the allen key against the table to loosen the chuck from the drill.

Method 3. Using another drill

Put together whatever you have that will allow you to connect your drill and another as shown in the photo below. In my case I used a bunch of pieces from a socket set. Then turn the other drill on suddenly such that it will rapidly and sharply rotate the chuck which you're trying to remove in the counter-clockwise direction.

As with method 1, that should loosen the chuck to the point where you can unscrew it by hand. If it doesn't then try another method.

Socket parts.
Socket parts for removing the chuck from the drill.
Drilling to loosen the chuck.
Drilling with a second drill to loosen the chuck.

Method 4. Removing from the inside

As a last resort, take the drill apart and try to unscrew it by gripping something from the inside. Make sure you keep track of the parts you remove so that you can put it back together again if you want to. In my case I recorded it all on video. My drill motor was screwed to the gearbox so I had to unscrew it. Some drills are not screwed on and simply fall away with a little encouragement. I had to remove everything to the point where I was looking at the inside of the clutch.

Unscrewing the drill case.
Unscrewing the drill case.
The opened drill.
The drill opened showing what's inside.
Cutting the motor wires.
Cutting the wires going to the drill motor.
Unscrewing the motor from the gearbox.
Unscrewing the drill motor from the gearbox.
Gearbox and motor.
The gearbox and the drill motor from the inside showing how they connect.
Looking at the clutch.
Looking inside at the clutch.

WARNING: There may be a bunch of balls inside in front facing side of the clutch. Remove those balls so that you don't lose them.

The balls in the clutch.
The balls in the drill's clutch.
Removing the balls.
Removing the balls from the drill's clutch.

As sown below, I found that inside there was a part that was attached to the chuck, or whatever the chuck was screwed onto. That part had three rods sticking out. I could easily press against one of those rods with my finger to turn the chuck. So I figured if I could grip the rods firmly enough, I could loosen the chuck.

To do that I put a metal bar in a vice (a piece of wood might work as well). I then positioned two of those rods such that they were pressing against the end of the bar and then turned the chuck with a pair of hose pump pliers, though any tool that is big enough to grip it will do. It didn't take too much effort to loosen the chuck, and in fact it just may have been doable by hand instead of using the pliers. I could then unscrew it the rest of the way by hand.

Pressing on a rod to turn the chuck.
Pressing on a rod in the clutch with my finger to turn the chuck.
Putting metal bar in a vice.
Putting a metal bar in a vice.
Positioning rods against the bar.
Positioning drill clutch's rods against the metal bar.
Turning with water pump pliers.
Turning the chuck with water pump pliers to loosen it.
Unscrewing by hand.
Unscrewing the drill clutch by hand.
The clutch and the drill.
The clutch and the drill threads it was screwed to.

Testing and using

Below you can see the resulting drill motor, with attached gearbox, clutch and the screw that the chuck was screwed on to. I then tested it and it worked fine.

The drill motor removed.
Drill motor showing the clutch, gearbox and motor.
Powering the motor.
Powering the drill motor to test it.

As I said, I was using mine in my BB-8 droid and more specifically I was attached gears to the motors. I first put loctite on the threads of the screw that I'd removed at the beginning above. Then I screw it on. Keep in mind that to tighten it you turn it in the opposite direction you'd expect -- turn it counter-clockwise.

Putting loctite on the screw's threads.
Putting loctite on the drill motor's screw's threads.
Screwing a gear to the motor.
Screwing a gear to the drill motor.

Video - How to Remove Chuck and Drill Motor

The following video shows a few different ways to remove the chuck from a cordless drill as well as take the drill motor from the drill. Note that in the video, for the method where I slam the allen key against a table I turn it in the wrong direction.

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