All basic electric motors follow the same idea to transform electrical current into mechanical energy. This basic build of a simple direct current (DC) electric motor as well as all electric motors, use electricity, magnetism, angular momentum, and inertia to rotate. Electric motors are used in countless applications, from computer fans, to cars, to power tools, and even electric watches.These motors use the fundamental law for all magnets that the opposite ends of magnets attract and same ends repel. When an electric current is passed through a coil that is in a magnetic field, the magnetic force will produce a torque which will turn the coil. In many larger motors the magnets are electromagnets, but in this creation of a smaller motor, a regular permanent magnet is used. These types of motors are referred to as DC motors, because they use DC (direct current) to function. Direct current is the unidirectional flow of electric charge, which can be produced by batteries, thermocouples, and solar cells, as well as other DC generators. This is why this simple motor can run on a D cell battery, because it puts out direct current. Once the motor is started, rather than just stopping in the middle of a rotation, the angular momentum and inertia the coil has keeps it rotating. When one aspect of the motor becomes out of sync the motor stops.
This is a fun project that simply demonstrates how easy it is to create an electric motor.
Step 1: Gathering Materials
1 pair of wire cutters
2 paper clips
22" of 26 gauge magnet wire
1 small piece of sandpaper
1 small magnet
1 D cell battery
1 rubber band
Step 2: Bending the Paper Clips
1. Gather two large paperclips.
*Do not bend the paper as shown in the labeled picture, they may snap.*
2. Bend both paperclips in a flat plane, to form the shape in picture #2.
3. Bend both paperclips into the shape shown in picture #3.
4. Set your paperclips aside and move along.
Step 3: Creating the Wire Coil Pt.1
1. Gather the 22 inches of magnet wire and the D cell battery.
2. Wrap the wire around the D cell battery, leaving 3 to 4 inches of extra wire off of the ends.
3. Remove the created coil from the battery, simply by sliding it off.
Step 4: Creating the Coil Pt. 2
1. Hold the coil as shown in picture #1.
2. Wrap the loose wire ends around the coil, to keep it secure in the circular coil shape as shown in each picture #2.
3. Get the sand paper, as shown in picture #3.
4. Sand the enamel coating completely off one of the lose ends of the coil as in pictures #4 and #5.
5. IMPORTANT STEP: On the other loose end, sand the enamel completely off of one side of the entire length, while leaving the flip side of that end still coated with enamel. Closely look at pictures #4 and #5.
Step 5: Preparing the Battery
1. Wrap the rubber band lengthwise around the battery as shown in picture #1.
2. Retrieve the bent paperclips and mount one on each end of the battery securely underneath the rubber band as shown in pictures #2 and #3.
3. Place the small magnet on the battery, as shown in picture #4.
Step 6: Mounting and Cutting the Coil
1. Place the coil in the created groves of the paperclips, as shown in picture #1, make sure the loose end where half of the enamel remains is on the positive (+) end of the battery, this is the end with the raised bump.
2. Use the wire cutters to cut the loose ends of the coil so approximately 1 inch of each loose end remains as in picture #2.
3. The simple motor is complete, as shown in picture #3. .
4. To operate lightly spin the coil and it should begin to spin by the use of electricity.
5. If the coil does not begin to spin by itself, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.
Step 7: Trouble Shooting
1. Check that the battery is not dead.
2. Adjust the distance between the coil and the magnet, by sliding the paperclips up and down.
3. Take the coil off and straighten the loose ends.
4. If the coil becomes deformed reshape it into a circle.
Have fun with your simple electric motor!
Step 8: Conclusion
Building this simple DC motor is a great introduction into basic electrical/mechanical engineering. This motor demonstrates the use of DC power to create mechanical energy. This is a low cost project, using readily available materials from the local hardware store, and the final product is a memorizing gadget.
Brian, Marshall. "How Electric Motors Work - HowStuffWorks" HowStuffWorks. InfoSpace LLC, 2014. Web. 14 June 2015.
Nave, R. "How Does an Electric Motor Work?" How a Motor Works.Georgia State University, 2005. Web. 12 June 2015.
"SeaPerch.org: Electric Motors." Electric Motors. SeaPerch, 2013. Web. 14 June 2015.