To be clear, we are not sure if it is really the ‘world’s smallest’ 3D-printed cordless drill, but looking at how small it is and the fact that it is actually a working drill, it doesn’t really matter. It is still something to behold. And yes, it wasn’t a typo; this thing actually works. For what purpose? We are not quite sure. Created by Auckland-based engineer by the name of Lance Abernethy, this super tiny power tool is just 17mm tall, 13mm long and 7.5mm wide, and it is designed to accept a 0.5mm twist drill which, according to Lance, can pierce soft objects. Why of course, it can. A 0.5mm drill is almost like a needle, which I guess it doesn’t quite need drilling to pierce any soft objects, does it? However, the point here is not if it can or cannot pierce whatever; it is 3D-printed and it is working. A freaking 17mm tall power tool that works. That’s the point.
And with a thing this small, you can imagine the intricacy needed to put together the inner workings, which include a miniature motor, a battery pulled from a hearing aid, and a tiny button (yes, it even has a ‘trigger’) – all wired together with wire stripped from a headphone cable. The latter was perhaps the most challenging part cos’ being so fine, the wires kept breaking and he had to do so while not frying the delicate battery. I salute Lance for the feat cos’ even after soldering for a while, I could even keep a solder nice and clean, much less small. As for the drill’s body and the chuck, they are both designed in Onshape, a CAD software, using his regular size drill as reference and then send to print on his Ultimaker 2 3D printer.
It took the printer 25 minutes to complete the print for all three pieces (two haves of the body and the chuck) and another 3 hours or so to put the innards together. Pretty amazing stuff, don’t you think? Accordingly to 3Dprint.com, Lance is not about to stop creating; he has plan to make an even smaller drill, using an even smaller battery that he has already found. What? Yep. As if 11/16 inch isn’t small enough. You can catch this ridiculously tiny drill in action in the video below.