Making a simple electric motor is an educational activity that may also be tried as school project or science project. With this project students can learn and demonstrate conversion of electrical energy to mechanical energy.
The main components of a simple DC motor are a piece of magnet wire and a small magnet. Almost any type of magnet and any type of magnet wire will work fine. All other components are optional and may easily be substituted by other materials. Use the links and images in this page to see how others make their own simple DC motors. This special design of DC motor is well fitted for school projects.
1. Battery Holder 2. Ceramic Disk Magnet
3. Magnet Wire 4. Safety Pins
5. Screws 6. Wood Block
Electric motors are everywhere; even your computer has electric motors to power its cooling fans and hard disks. Building a simple DC electric motor is a great way to learn how they work, and it's really fun to watch your creation spin.
The objective of this project is to build a simple electric motor from scratch.
How to make?
Start by winding the armature, the part of the motor that moves. To make the armature nice and round, wind it on a cylindrical form, such as a pip or a small AA battery.
To make the coil hold its shape permanently, twist the free ends and wrap them around the coil a couple of times. If this method of holding the coil together is too difficult, feel free to use scotch tape or electrical tape to do the job.
Hold the coil at the edge of a table, so the coil is straight up and down and with a sharp knife, remove the top half of the insulation from the free wire end.
Do the same thing to the other free wire end, making sure that the shiny bare copper side is facing up on both wire ends.
The next step is to prepare the axle supports. Use a pair of pliers to bend two safety pins from the middle. The safety pins can conduct electricity to the armature while the loops of wire on the safety pin can hold it up.
The base for this motor will be a wood block. It makes a nice base because it is heavy, stable and looks good for presentation in classroom or science fair. The wood block is large enough to hold the battery as well.
Use screws to mount the bent safety pins on the wood block so that the loops are faced to each other and about 1 inch apart.
Attach the wires from battery holder to the supports (bent safety pins)
Insert the battery into the holder. Place the magnet on top of the wood block just underneath the coil. Make sure the coil can still spin freely, and that it just misses the magnet.
Spin the armature gently to get the motor started. If it doesn't start, try spinning it in the other direction. The motor will only spin in one direction.