How to Upgrade Your Drill Chuck

Written by ian kelly
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How to Upgrade Your Drill Chuck
Improve your old drill's performance by fitting a new chuck. (Chris Stein/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Whether you use a power drill or a drill press, or have a keyed or keyless chuck, these components wear out or become damaged with extended use. Some do-it-yourselfers prefer to discard an old power drill with a useless chuck in favour of a newer model. However, investing in a new drill may be an avoidable expense. Upgrading a drill by fitting a new chuck is a simple, cost-effective solution.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Thin wrench
  • Allen key
  • Hammer
  • New chuck
  • Flat tapered drift
  • Block of wood
  • Vice
  • Rag
  • Punch
  • Heavy machinist's hammer
  • Copper drift

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  1. 1

    Remove the chuck from a hand-held power drill using a thin wrench and an Allen key. Slide the wrench between the chuck and the drill body to fit over either a hexagonal locking piece or the flat sections machined onto the driveshaft.

  2. 2

    Clamp the short leg of a 1/4-inch Allen key into the chuck. Hold the wrench in one hand. Deliver a downward blow to the protruding leg of the Allen key with a hammer to turn the chuck clockwise. This will break the bond between the left-handed threads holding the chuck to the driveshaft. Undo the chuck the rest of the way by hand.

  3. 3

    Screw the new chuck onto the driveshaft in a counterclockwise direction. Snug the threads by hand. The torque imposed while using the drill will automatically tighten the chuck onto the driveshaft, so there is no need to use an Allen key and a wrench for this step.

  4. 4

    Remove the chuck from a drill press by cranking the handle to lower the chuck. Locate the exposed double-sided slot machined through the drill press driveshaft. The chuck is attached to a Morse taper arbor. Insert a flat, tapered drift into the slot with the upper face resting against the top of the slot and the lower face resting on the top of the tang machined onto the end of the Morse tapered arbor.

  5. 5

    Hold the chuck in your left hand. Deliver a heavy blow to the end of the tapered drift with a hammer. This will break the bond between the male and female faces of the Morse taper. The arbor with the attached chuck will pop out of the driveshaft.

  6. 6

    Place a block of wood on the drill press table below the driveshaft. Align the tang on top of the new Morse taper with the slots on the driveshaft. Hold the chuck and push firmly upward to engage the faces of the matching male and female Morse tapers.

  7. 7

    Crank the handle downward and bump the end of the chuck forcibly against the block of wood to lock the Morse taper in place. If the replacement chuck is not attached to an arbor, but machined with a short female Jacobs taper for attaching onto an existing Morse taper arbor, go to Step 8.

  8. 8

    Remove the Jacobs taper-type arbor from the old chuck by opening the chuck fully and cleaning the inside of the chuck. This will expose a hole drilled through the end of the chuck body with the end face of the arbor visible through the hole. Open the jaws of a vice. Position the base of the chuck on top of the jaws, with the arbor hanging down between the jaws.

  9. 9

    Place a folded rag on the floor below the arbor. Insert a punch through the hole in the chuck body and deliver two or three sharp blows to the end of the punch with a heavy machinist's hammer. This will break the Jacobs taper bond and the arbor will pop out of the chuck and fall onto the folded rag without damaging the end of the shaft.

  10. 10

    Wipe the female Jacobs taper on the new chuck to remove any packing grease. Open the jaws of the new chuck fully and place it facedown on the workbench. Insert the short male Jacobs taper on the end of the arbor into the chuck. Place a copper drift against the end of the arbor and deliver two or three heavy blows to the drift; this will drive the Jacobs taper home. Fit the new chuck to the drill press as outlined in Steps 6 and 7.

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