Today we will be building a simple electric motor. The purpose will be to further our understanding of electric current and magnetic pull.
x1 D Cell Battery
x2 Large Paper Clips
x1 Arms Length of 26 gauge Magnet Wire
x1 Rubber Band
Step 1: Bend the Paper Clips
- Straighten the paper clips and then bend back the larger end in order to create a cradle. Do this for both paper clips. The image shows how to bend them in steps.
Step 2: Use the Magnet Wire to Create the Coil
- Wrap your arms length of magnet wire around the battery to create a circular loop. Take the ends and wrap them around the inside of the coil to keep them in place and to keep the coil from unraveling.
Step 3: Sand the Ends of the Magnet Coil
- Completely sand the coating off one end of the coil and then sand about half the coating off on the other side. Sand as close to the coil as possible. When you sand half the coating off, half of the lead should still be visibly insulated, while the other half should be bare wire.
Step 4: Fasten the Paper Clips to the Battery
- Wrap the rubber band around the battery in order to secure the paper clips onto the positive and negative terminals of the battery.
Step 5: Add the Magnet
- Put the magnet in between the two paper clips, against the battery. Depending on your setup, your magnet might do best directly under the coil on the table. Once you finish setting up the motor, play around with where you place your magnet and see what works best.
Step 6: Position the Magnet Wire Coil on the System
- Put the fully sanded side of the coil into the cradle on the negative side of the battery, and the half sanded side of the coil in the positive end cradle. Make sure it can spin freely without hitting anything. The coil should start spinning, if it does not, give it a tap to get it started and then the system will take over.
Step 7: Troubleshooting the Coil
- If your system isn’t working and the coil is going back and forth doing incomplete rotations, make sure the leads of your coil are running through the middle of the circle and one side isn’t unequal to the other. The leads should be passing through the diameter of the circle, so it is balanced and can spin easily.
Step 8: Troubleshooting the Battery
- If it’s still not working, check the connections on the battery. Make sure the rubber bands are holding the paper clips on snug against the terminals of the battery. Also, make sure you don't have a dead battery!
Step 9: Make It Better
- If your system is functioning, try making it better. You can try using a bigger, higher-output battery, or a stronger magnet. You can also try making a different shape coil and seeing what happens. Experiment and see what gets you the best results.