Introduction: 5 Minute DIY Motor

Picture of 5 Minute DIY Motor
When I make a project, there are four things I look for.
  1. Low cost: If the project is going to cost me a million dollars (exaggerated a little bit) I won't make it. 
  2. Easily accessible materials: If the materials are impossible to find (unless it is a really, really cool project) I most likely won't attempt it.
  3. Usage: What will the project teach me? What experiences will I take away from it? If I had students, what would this teach them? 
  4. Simplicity: If the project uses 6 integrated circuits, I won't even try. Most likely, I will try to find a way to make it with a microcontroller. If nobody had done the project before with a microcontroller (unless it is really good) I won't try.
Therefore, when I found out I could make a motor without super-high tech stuff, I had to make one.

However, of all the tutorials I had looked at nobody had made it simple enough so average people could do it.

This would be great for classrooms because it teaches magnetism. My science teacher had one but he plans on getting more soon. It is small, cheap and easy.

Step 1: Parts You MAY Need to Purchase.

Picture of Parts You MAY Need to Purchase.
You will need:
1 AA Battery (a AAA battery will work as well as a AA battery which will work just as well as a C battery which will work just as well as a D battery.) (I used a AA Rechargeable Battery because the motor shorts the battery and therefore will die quickly and so a rechargeable is nice.)
1 Neodymium Magnet (This is probably the only part you will need to buy unless you have an unusually large junk parts parts bin.) 
2 Safety Pins
3 Feet or 1 metre of 18 AWG Magnet Wire ( I used 18 because of its thickness and stability. It is a bit harder to work with.)

Rubber Band
Cotton Ball


Step 2: Averagely Coil Your Coil.

Picture of Averagely Coil Your Coil.

The title is for all of you who don't have access to super high-tech materials.

Start by taking the wire, and leaving some 3 inches and about 6-7 cm and coiling it.

Messiness counts! Randomly and speedily coil it. Overlapping is fine and actually, if you do it messier, the coil performs better.

Now, because this is 18 awg wire, it is thicker and, when coiled will remain together.

To hold it securely together, hold it and wrap it around the coil a few times.

Now, at the end of the coil, use a knife (and being very careful not to kill yourself) to strip the insulation off of the bottoms of the ends.  

Next, bend one end of the wire up and the other down so that the coil doesn't go flying.

Step 3: Almost Done! But Not Quite!

Picture of Almost Done! But Not Quite!

Now you need to assemble the rest. The coil is the biggest part. Now, take the safety pins and rubber band them together. 

If you don't want to burn yourself (the rubber band won't do anything except for keep the pins from flying) then take the cotton ball and rip it into two parts. Then, stick the pin in a "pocket" that you create by sticking your finger in...sort of like pottery...well I guess it's more like cottonery...

Either way, put the safety pin in like in the third picture. Flatten the cottonery and rest the safety pin on it like in the fourth picture. Next tape it down onto the cotton with a piece of regular household tape like in the fifth and sixth picture. Then, like in the seventh picture, make two of them.

Now for assembly.

Step 4: Final Assembly.

Picture of Final Assembly.

Now, take the AA battery and put it in the C battery socket. Then hold the safety pins together like in the first picture.  Then, add the magnet like in the second picture. Now, put the coil in the loops. It may be hard with the bent ends but keep trying until you get it in. Now, click: Next Step.

Step 5: Done!

Picture of Done!

Now give the coil a abrupt push and it should spin. If it doesn't well, don't worry. Push it the other way abruptly.

If it still doesn't work, try leaning the coil to one side. I have found that the coil tends to lean to one side of the battery. It probably is influenced by the magnet. Try putting the magnet directly under the coil and give it another spin. If it still doesn't spin, it might be a deadish battery. If it doesn't work then, see if you made a lousy connection. By now, if it still doesn't work, see if you had striped all the insulation off the ends. If so, then take a marker and color in half of the ends or, just cut the wire and unwind a turn or two. If you have any more trouble, leave a comment. 



Nyxius (author)2013-01-04

You could have also magnetized the pins by a type of magnetic hysteresis effect. The motor has a variable magnitude field that alternately tensions and relaxes the field. This tends to align magnetic spins in the metal giving a net magnetic field of its own. This effect is known as remanence.

Carmen2828 (author)Nyxius2015-04-29

Wow, That's a mouthful! I work on PCs and Microchips, and I've never heard of that concept before.

Nyxius (author)Carmen28282015-04-29

Applied physicist... sometimes I can't turn it off. If you ever wanted to observe a magnetic field directly you could exploit the Kerr effect.

Take your magnetic sample and light it up with a polarized light source (I prefer lasers). The Kerr effect says that light passing through a magnetic field gets rotated. If you place a polarizing filter on your microscope and look at your sample, some regions will be dark, and others will be brighter. The dark regions will be areas where the atoms lined up to create a magnetic field.

blinkyblinky (author)2013-07-29

To those who are concerned about whether if I know why the safety pins are sticking to the battery, I do know why.

argha halder (author)2013-07-29

great the way i think the safety pins got attached to the battery because of the magnet,the magnet was may be attached with the metal part of the battery!

I know.

raj.ghanekar (author)2013-03-30


Nyxius (author)2013-01-04

The safety pins have a higher magnetic permeability than the air. This means that flux lines would rather travel a longer distance through the pins than through air. This is why magnetic shielding works. This greater permeability makes the pins stick to the battery which also has a higher permeability. This creates two horseshoe shaped sets of flux lines. It also helps that the pins and battery are probably ferromagnetic materials which means that they amplify any field passing through them. I could go into more detail if anyone wants me too.

Nyxius (author)2013-01-04

Metre is the french way of spelling it.

lis.tesla (author)2011-12-18

the reason the safety pins are sticking to the battery is because of the magnet on the battery.
It is magnetizing the outer coating of the battery,
which is why the safety pins are sticking to it>
Think outside the box

M0HIZ (author)lis.tesla2012-06-07

Shouldn't that be outside the battery?

blinkyblinky (author)lis.tesla2011-12-18

i think rimar2000 stated that already...

lis.tesla (author)blinkyblinky2011-12-18

oh, okay
I didn't read all the comments before

blinkyblinky (author)lis.tesla2011-12-18


MOSLAW (author)2012-02-15

please how do i get the magnet and can i use rechargable battry

blinkyblinky (author)MOSLAW2012-02-15

I don't think its possible. You see, the coil is bound to make the battery as dead as it can go before it runs down so I don't see how it could happen. Maybe, you could put a diode to charge it but it might have to be a rechargeable battery...who knows? Maybe you can make one.

brahimhackman (author)2012-02-05


You're welcome.

244 Jake (author)2012-01-17

Only a commnet on your Mission Statement.

This is the longest true sentence made up of only two letters words.

If it is to be, then it is up to me to do it.

Big Jake

blinkyblinky (author)244 Jake2012-01-17



cobalt420 (author)2011-12-19

Great construction of your motor but it could use a video of it in uses. thanks,

~ Cobalt420

blinkyblinky (author)cobalt4202011-12-20

The video on my camera at the moment doesn't work well...

cobalt420 (author)blinkyblinky2011-12-20

OK that's cool just a suggestion that it might make it better keep up the good work!

blinkyblinky (author)cobalt4202011-12-21

I will have in in January.


iceng (author)2011-12-20

Impressive idea to use safety pin spring end holes as a bearing for the motor shaft, congratulations on your Win .


blinkyblinky (author)iceng2011-12-20

Thank you.

TURTLE001 (author)2011-12-18

Could you substitute the battery for say '240v'?!
If that makes me sound like an idiot dont be to harsh im not really that great with electronics.
I just wonder would that much power make it stronger?

blinkyblinky (author)TURTLE0012011-12-18

It might work...theoretically...

Problem is:

A: Where are you going to get the power?

B: Even if you do get a hold of the voltage, you are shorting the that safe to do?

If you plan on using an AC outlet I suggest you don't because it can cause fire if shorted.

You would also need a stronger magnet...I think...

TURTLE001 (author)blinkyblinky2011-12-19

oh ok, sorry didnt mean '240' I meant '24' !!
Typo, but yeah bigger magnet, Thanks!

blinkyblinky (author)TURTLE0012011-12-19

24 is pretty safe to work with and should work if you use 4 lantern batteries or two Lead -Acid batteries...

TURTLE001 (author)blinkyblinky2011-12-19


LesB (author)2011-12-18

You can also make a generator with this setup. Use the battery adapter without a battery inside and put a propeller on one of the wire ends. Supply some wind. When the coil is turned you generate electricity.
Or since you use a rechargable battery use that and you'll charge the battery when the coil is rotated. Theoretically anyway. Realistically, you probably won't generate enough voltage to charge the battery.

blinkyblinky (author)LesB2011-12-18

The last part is true. It is shorting the battery so it wouldn't generate muh power. But then again, I think that the battery would propel the coil instead of the other way around.

LesB (author)blinkyblinky2011-12-18

Actually it would be a tug-of-war between the wind-force driving the propeller/generator and the battery. Whichever provides the most torque to the rotor wins (they act in opposite directions on the rotor). This is the same situation with generators on the electrical grid. Any given generator will act as a motor if not enough energy is delivered to it from the steam or water pressure from a dam, or whatever source is being used.

But in a practical sense, you're probably right anyway, in this case. I don't think this apparatus acting as a generator would be able to overcome the force provided by the battery.

OBISKI (author)LesB2011-12-19

Actually, if you used a one way bearing (like used with nitro rc cars) then it would only be able to spin one way therefore it could be a generator.

They use one way bearings in wind turbines etc.

blinkyblinky (author)OBISKI2011-12-19


blinkyblinky (author)LesB2011-12-18

True...very true.

snatr (author)2011-12-18

I took a look at this one because from the pictures I couldn't see how you would get the poles to reverse. After thinking about it, I realized that the because of the loop, the poles reverse themselves. Nice!
But if anyone wants to build a real simple motor, they can build one with a "C" or "D" battery, a short length of wire (about twice as long as the battery), a neo-magnet (round), and a straight pin.

All they have to do is set the straight pin dead center of the neo-magnet and suspend it from the dent in the negative (or -) end of the battery (It should hang there magnetically). Then take one end of the wire and hold it into place at the battery's positive (or +) with one of the fingers from the hand you suspend it in the air with. With the other hand you very lightly touch the side of the magnet and it will start spinning. And btw, if you filp the magnet over, it will spin the other direction.
It might be a better visual if you draw a line across the magnet with a marker or something, but I would worry about breaking the conductivity of the pin. Maybe just a dot or two on the face?
Also I didn't have much of a problem hanging the pin/magnet combination from my battery, but if you do, you could think about snipping the pin to shorten it, or use a stronger magnet.
Pretty neat demonstration. It'll give you something to think about! I still haven't got my head around how this works.

Sorry for the long comment. I might have posted it here, but I don't subcribe. Thought this was a good place for it.

blinkyblinky (author)snatr2011-12-18

I just didn't work for I guess it wouldn't work for others...

cyberdove (author)2011-12-18

Instead of using a AA battery inside a C battery converter, why not use the C battery used to wind the wire loop to power the motor?

blinkyblinky (author)cyberdove2011-12-18

It ran out of power. I could have only used the converot but a C battery seems to provide me with better results.

rimar2000 (author)2011-12-17

Regarding your comment in photo 1 of step 3, "I actually have absolutely no idea about how the clothespin stuck to the battery when I took the picture", the reason is that the magnet is over the iron cover of the battery. The iron/steel magnetizes itself, attracting so the clothespin.

Good instructable!

blinkyblinky (author)rimar20002011-12-17

Thank you.

It's safety pin by the way...

As I said in the comment over the second safety pin, I did magnetize the pins. Thanks, though.

Do you really not speak any English?

rimar2000 (author)blinkyblinky2011-12-18

I can read English almost well. Also I write it, sometimes without Google Translator help. But I don't understand it when I hear it.

blinkyblinky (author)rimar20002011-12-18


jackh94 (author)2011-12-17

I've got a 50mm 20mm 10mm magnet (neodymium)(poles on the 20 by 10 face), I can see how you put the poles towards and away from the coil but if I did that I'd need some massive safety pins.
Would it be ok to just make a quick frame to support the magnet next to the battery?

Also, no need to remind people you're not advertising. They're pretty nice batteries anyway.

blinkyblinky (author)jackh942011-12-17

Is the magnet a cube?

You could make the the wires into a sort of "y" formation and then connect them to the battery.

Yes, it would be okay.

Thanks. I know they are...some people just don't think so though...

jackh94 (author)blinkyblinky2011-12-18

Thanks for that, no it's not a cube, it's cuboidal (is that a word?). I'll give it a go.

Nannerman (author)2011-12-16

nice! I always wanted to try this!

About This Instructable




Bio: I love building things and taking pictures. If you want me to build something...I'm open to ideas. My motto? "If you want something ... More »
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