The chuck on a drill is often the first part to wear out or break. Luckily, replacing it is a fairly easy process that does not normally require disassembly of the drill. Even if the spindle or gearbox of your drill needs replacing — which does require disassembly — it’s best to remove the chuck before disassembling the housing. This guide should help you to replace the chuck on almost any corded or cordless drill, as drill chucks are almost always attached to the spindle by a screw thread. By far the most common thread size is 1/2″ x 20tpi UNF, but smaller drills can have a 3/8″ or even smaller thread. In some rare cases such as angle drills, very old models or large machines, the chuck may be mounted on a tapered shank or it may even have a proprietary fitting requiring disassembly of the housing. In those cases, this guide is not applicable. When in doubt, refer to the technical documentation for your make and model.

  • Power Drill Chuck Replacement, Unplug!: step 1, image 1 of 2
    • Whenever performing repair or maintenance, make sure to unplug the tool first.
    • The last thing you want is for the drill to start spinning a wrench around at 3000 RPM in case you inadvertently pull the trigger!
  • Power Drill Chuck Replacement, Removal of Retaining Screw: step 2, image 1 of 3
    • Open up the jaws all the way and look for a retaining screw at the bottom of the chuck. If a screw is present, you will need to remove it before you can unscrew the chuck.
    • These retaining screws always have a left hand thread, so you’ll have to turn clockwise to remove it.
    • Closing the jaws until they just touch the screwdriver can help to keep it centered (especially on slotted screws) and perpendicular.
    • The screw can be stubborn to come loose, especially if it has threadlocking compound on it or if it is rusty. An impact driver can work wonders here. And remember — clockwise!
    • Depending on the specific make and model of your drill and chuck, it may be possible to grip either or both with a regular open end wrench.
    • Some spindles have a hexagon-shaped portion, some have flats machined on two sides. Some chucks also have two flats or a hex shape machined either at the front or back end.
    • Depending on which portions you can fit a wrench to, you’ll be using the Twin Wrench, Single Wrench or No Wrench Method.
    • Use the Twin Wrench Method whenever possible as this is more civilized and allows you to apply more controlled force.
    • If both the spindle and the chuck have some provision that allows the use of a wrench, it’s your lucky day!
    • In some cases, you may need to use a thin wrench (or grind down a regular one) as there may not be sufficient space to fit a regular size wrench.
    • Unlike the retaining screw, the chuck is held on with a regular right-hand thread. Turn counter-clockwise to remove.
    • With the opposing action of two wrenches, even the most stubborn of chucks should come loose.
    • If the chuck has no provision for a wrench, the easiest way to turn it forcefully is by means of a hex key gripped in the chuck jaws by its short end.
    • If a wrench can be fitted to the spindle, lay the drill flat on the edge of a workbench or sturdy table, with the wrench resting on the table, the chuck overhanging the edge and the hex key pointing slightly upwards from horizontal.
    • It won’t hurt to try if you can release the chuck by pushing down on the hex key by hand — though this will rarely work.
    • If hand force isn’t sufficient, firmly hold down the drill and give the end of the hex wrench a solid whack, preferably with a wooden or plastic hammer. A sharp blow should loosen the chuck instantly.
    • Even if the spindle cannot be gripped by any means, the hex key method described in the previous step will usually work on both corded and cordless models.
    • Many cordless drills have an automatic spindle lock.
    • On mains powered drills, inertia of motor and gears usually offers sufficient resistance to free the chuck from the spindle.
    • If you’re relying solely on inertia, you need a sudden jolt to loosen the chuck. Press down hard on the drill to keep it from moving and hit the hex key with a particularly sharp blow.
    • This will take a steel hammer — much as you may hate to mistreat your beloved hex wrench like that — as a plastic or wooden hammer would cushion the impact.
    • For cordless drills and low speed/high torque corded models, an alternative to the No Wrench Method is to grip the hex key in a vise, put the drill in reverse, hold it tightly with both hands and squeeze the trigger.
    • However this method is not for beginners as it is not without risk: the reaction torque could hurt your wrist and the locked rotor current could burn out the drill motor.
    • If the drill has a mechanical speed selector and/or clutch, make sure to set the gear to the lowest speed and/or the clutch to the highest setting.
    • If the chuck is completely broken, you may not be able to tighten its jaws on a hex key. In those cases, the Single Wrench or No Wrench Method won’t work.
    • On keyed chucks, if no other provision for gripping is present, you can use a hook spanner by locating the pin in one of the holes for the chuck key.
    • If you were born under a very lucky star, you might get away with fitting a chuck key and hitting that with a hammer at just the right angle. I did not tell you to do that.
    • A pipe wrench will grip just about any chuck, but at the risk of damaging it.
    • If all else fails, it is always possible to disassemble the drill, clamp either the chuck or the spindle in a vise and grip the other part with a pipe wrench or other gripping tool. This is very likely to damage the spindle and/or chuck though.
    • If there’s no retaining screw and you anticipate forceful counterclockwise action (as when unscrewing), apply a small amount of threadlocking compound to the spindle thread.
    • Use a medium-strength variety, not the kind you’ll have to heat with a blowtorch if you need to take off the chuck again at a later stage!
    • Screw the chuck onto the spindle as far as it will go. You don’t need to tighten it with excessive force, it will tighten itself with normal use.
    • Insert and tighten the retaining screw if applicable (not all chucks are counterbored to accept a retaining screw).
    • Counter-clockwise of course!
    • If the screw is damaged, use a fresh one to spare yourself some aggravation down the road.
    • It doesn’t hurt to also treat these threads to a dab of threadlocker.
    • Presto — your new chuck should provide you with years of drilling joy!


Introduction: Drill Chuck Replacement

I salvage from peoples waste bins; this is how I get many of my power tools for free, and one of the most common power tools I get are drills. Many of the power drills I get are good but for needing a minor repair, and one of the repairs needed is a damaged or jammed chuck, like the two drills I am about to repair. This is a little different from other drill chuck Instructables. Weather it is for upgrading or repairing; replacing a drill chuck is one of the easiest repairs you can make on a drill when you know how. Many hardware stores have replacement chucks in stock. However there are a couple tricks of the trade to remember when replacing a drill chuck, and this Instructable is on these tricks of the trade.

Step 1: Why Replace the Chuck

Why is replacing a drill chuck necessary; most of the time the reason is neglect or abuse, but sometimes you may want to upgrade a drill. Some drill chucks just won’t grip drill bits as small as 1/16 or 1/32 of an inch, because the flats on the jaws of the chuck make too large of a gap when the jaws are closed. Or you just want to switch to a keyless chuck. Here are some rules to keep your chuck in good shape and the damages breaking these rules can cause. OK rule number one; ”DO NOT USE TOOLS ON A KEYLESS CHUCK”, the plastic breaks on the plastic keyless chucks and the metal scars on the metal keyless chucks. Do not tighten or close the jaws of a keyless chuck with a monkey wrench, water pump pliers, or channel lock pliers, these tools will break or damage the chuck. Just use your hand to tighten or close the jaws of a keyless chuck, the chuck is made for that. If you must have the tool in the chuck so tight that you need to use a tool on a keyless chuck, swap out the keyless chuck for a keyed chuck, it is easy enough. Don’t over tighten keyed chucks; the teeth on the ring gear can break or you can strip the threads on the ring nut or the jaws. Oil and clean the chuck once in a while, they will seize up if you don’t.

Step 2: Tools and Parts

There are amazingly few tools and parts needed to upgrade or replace most drill chucks. A screwdriver to remove the setscrew or retaining screw; most of the time a standard, however some have Phillips setscrews, and some newer drills have a Torx screw for the setscrew. A hammer; for pushing the jaws into the chuck if the chuck is seized. A pin punch; to help push the chuck jaws in if you need to get at the setscrew and the chuck’s jaws are seized. A large Allen key or Hex key that will fit in the chuck you are removing. A replacement chuck and key if not a keyless chuck. If you work on as many power drills as I do you will find yourself faced with a number of different drill chucks. The most common chucks take four different chuck keys. Three chuck sizes ½ ⅜ ¼, two spindles male and female, two spindle sizes ½ and ⅜, and two torque nonreversible and reversible. However I will only be replacing two chucks: ⅜ inch reversible Multi Craft chuck ⅜ inch reversible keyless chuck

Step 3: Removing a Working Chuck

I have an old broken drill with a good chuck I can use to make this repair; all I need to do is remove the chuck from the drill. Removing the chuck can be a bit of a challenge; while the drill is running the chuck and setscrew are made to tighten onto the spindle, this makes them very tight to the spindle. Many nonreversible drills and chucks don’t have a setscrew. Open the chuck jaws until they are fully retracted so you can remove the setscrew. The setscrew is inside the mouth of the chuck. With the drill pointing at you turn the setscrew clockwise to screw the setscrew out of the spindle. Turn the chuck counterclockwise to screw the chuck off the spindle. Quite often the chuck is so tight to the spindle you will not be able to unscrew the chuck by hand; put a large Allen key or Hex key in the chuck and tighten the jaws on the Allen key. Tap the Allen key with your hand so it spins the chuck counterclockwise, if using your hand won’t break the chucks lock on the spindle, hit the Allen key with a hammer. You may need to brace the drill on your workbench or vice if you need to hit the Allen key hard. When the chuck is loose the chuck unscrews off the spindle easily.

Step 4: Opening and Removing a Seized Chuck

If the chuck is seized; place the key in the chuck, and turn the key counterclockwise as you tap on the ends of the jaws with a hammer. Do this until the jaws are fully retracted into the chuck body or flush with the face of the chuck. Since the chuck jaws need to be fully retracted into the chuck body to remove the setscrew, take a pin punch and tap on the ends of the jaws as you turn the chuck key until the jaws are fully retracted. You may have to tap on the jaws then turn the key, then tap on the jaws then turn the key, until the jaws are fully retracted. Remove the set screw turning it clockwise If you cannot close the jaws onto an Allen key; put the chuck key in the chuck making sure the key is not pressing on the ring gear. Tap the key with a hammer so it spins the chuck counterclockwise. If the chuck key is pressing on the ring gear when you hit the key with a hammer it can damage the ring gear or the chuck key. You may need to brace the chuck on your work bench or a vice if you need to hit the key hard.

Step 5: Replacing the Chuck

The new chuck should go on the spindle easily turning it clockwise and the setscrew goes in easily screwing it counterclockwise. And you are done a drill with an upgraded or a repaired chuck.

Step 6: Keyless Chucks

Removing a keyless chuck is the same as removing a keyed chuck. Open the jaws fully, with the drill pointed at you, unscrew the setscrew out clockwise, and unscrew the chuck off the spindle counterclockwise. If you cannot get the chuck off the spindle with your hands; and you are able to close the jaws of the chuck, put a large Allen key or Hex key in the chuck and tighten the jaws on the Allen key. Tap the Allen key with your hand so it spins the chuck counterclockwise. If you cannot close the jaws on a Allen key, use a monkey wrench to grip the damaged keyless chuck. If you want to rebuild the old keyless chuck, pad the teeth of the monkey wrench with leather pads. Screw the new chuck on the spindle clockwise and screw the setscrew into the spindle counterclockwise, and there you have a new chuck on your drill.

Step 7: Free Cordless Drill

I got this $120 cordless drill for no more cost than my time, and parts I salvaged from other drills in the waste bin, not bad if you ask me. Be the First to Share


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