Introduction: Battery Slide (Cordless Tool Battery Holder)
I love the advantages of cordless tools but I got tired of picking up a battery only to find out that it is dead. I wanted a way to be able to grab a battery and always know that it is charged. My solution is a battery slide that stores charged batteries for cordless tools.
Here are the advantages of the battery slide:
- You always have a fresh battery
- Convenient storage - no more digging for batteries in crates or tool box. A battery is either waiting to be charged, charging or ready to be used.
- Know when you are missing batteries. When all the batteries are in one place it is easy to know if you are missing one (as well as the tool that it might be attached to).
Using the battery slide:
- When a battery is dead, place it in the charger on the side of the slide.
- Once the battery is charged, place at the top of the slide on top of the other batteries.
- If you have multiple dead batteries, place them to the side of the charger. When one battery is charged, place it on the slide and charge the next.
- When you need a new battery, take it from the bottom and gravity will pull the other batteries towards the front of the slide.
- If I have a partially charged battery, I may push all the batteries up the slide and place the partial charged one in the front slot. That way it is the next battery that I use to avoid charging batteries that are only half full.
Like most of my projects, I try to use the materials that I already have. In this case, I had a 9 1/2" wide pine shelving board laying around.
Here is the complete list, substitutions can easily be made.
- 9 1/2" wide, 1/2" thick, 6 foot long pine shelving board (can also use plywood)
- Wood glue
- Circular saw with edge guide
- Speed square
- Japanese Ryoba pull saw (for making thin cuts) - optional
- Screws, nails or nail gun.
Step 1: Sizing / Cutting
The first step in the project is to determine the width of the slide. The Ryobi batteries are about 5 1/4" inch. I added a little extra so things move easily and made the width of the slide 5 1/2". Note, putting the batteries sideways makes it easier to add more batteries on the slide with only a small increase in width.
Next you need to determine how high to make the walls. The board that I had was 9 1/2" tall so that was my other main dimension. My workbench is 20" inches deep so I didn't want the slide to be longer than that. When doing the build, I added about 2 extra inches to the base of the triangle since the front is cut off.
Using these constraints, you can begin to draw out the cut line and see how steep the slope will be. If your slope is too low, the batteries will not slide down, if it is too high then it will be hard to get the bottom battery out. My slide has a 23 degree slope. I drew one line on the board then made two cuts. One along the diagonal of the triangle and the other to remove the remaining triangle from the main board. You should be left with two triangles that are equal size that will serve as the left and right wall.
If you started with a single long board, you should now have the rest of the board left over which will serve as the slide. Now cut your remaining board to the width of your batteries with the extra allowance. I used a circular saw with the adjustable rip fence.
You should now have the rough outline of the unit. Put the two walls on the ground and prop the trimmed slide board on a support to get an idea of what the final product will look like. To make sure you have the correct angle, match the top of the slide with the top of the walls, adjust the height and then push the walls away from the support. How far you push the walls forward determines the height of the wall that keeps the batteries from falling off. I had a wall height of about 1.5 inches.
I have attached a simplified drawing to help with the layout.
Step 2: Cutting the Bottom of the Slide
You will notice that the slide meets the ground at an angle. To fix this, I measured the angle of the walls and then cut the end of the slide. To measure the angle, hold a speed square up to the end of the board, then read the angle on the speed square. My angle was ~67 degrees. In an ideal world, you would set the angle on the circular saw to 67 degrees and make the cut. Unfortunately most circular saws only allow an angle of 45 degrees. Instead I clamped a sacrificial board against the end of the floor boar and set the saw at 90-67 = 23 degrees. Using the edge guide, to keep things straight, I then made the cut with the saw resting on the edge of the board which made a perfect cut.
After I had made the cut the blade depth did not quite go all the way through so I had to finish it off with a thin Japanese Ryoba saw.
Step 3: Assembling the Parts
The next step is to attach the slide to the walls. To keep everything at the same relative angle, I use the previous trick of aligning the tops of the walls with the top of the slide. Then I applied glue between the slide and the walls and used a nail gun to keep things in place and applied clamps until the glue dried.
After I had assembled the slide and the walls, I cut off the back of the slide to be flush with the back. I also cut off the front of the walls to be flush with the slide.
To add additional support, I added a scrap piece on the bottom to support the walls. (Sorry no picture).
Step 4: The Front End
I added a front piece to keep the batteries from falling out when they go down the slide but right away noticed a problem. The front piece is vertical and created an indent and batteries would catch when I pulled them out. To address this, I added a small wedge from the scrap from earlier cuts inside so that the angle between the slide and the front piece was 90 degrees. A little glue holds it in place There was a little bit sticking out above the walls which is easy to trim off.
Step 5: Design Changes
This project was rightsized for my workbench and battery collection. The following are some changes that you can make to match your situation.
- Put the battery charger in the front. I added the battery charger to the back since the newly charged batteries will go on the top in the back. If side to side space is tight on your workbench, you could raise the whole unit up a couple of inches and mount the charger to the front. That would make it easier to access.
- Make the slider longer. If you have a big battery collection, you can extend the length of the slide to hold more batteries if your work bench is longer. Another option is to mount the slide sideways on a wall.
- Multiple slides. Some use cases call for smaller 2 amp hour batteries while in other situations you need the power of a larger battery. If you would like to separate your batteries by size, you could make several lanes for the different size batteries. You can also add multiple slides for different manufacturers.
- Reduce friction on the slide. If the battery to wood friction is too high, you can add a plate of low friction plastic (nylon, Delrin, PTFE...)
- Store bits or other parts. One thing I considered is drilling holes in the top of the walls to store spare driver bits or hex shank bits.
- Use the space under the slide. This space is good to store spare chargers or other things you don't need often. You can also make a cutout in the wall to make it easier to access the storage space without moving the entire unit.
- Add some color. The wood looks great but you could also add some stickers or paint it to match your tool brand.
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