How to Build a Motor





Introduction: How to Build a Motor

This motor is cheap and easy to build, yet impressively powerful.  It would make a great science fair project.



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    17 Discussions

    Took me and my son few tries to get it right. Managed to get it working. Sent you a video.

    1 reply

    Hi. Sorry it took so long, but your motor is now in the gallery at
    Great build!! It runs very well. Thanks for sharing.


    Someone asked about brush wire size. I used 14 gage.

    How many coild turns on each side of rotor (i.e threaded metal pipe)? How many total turns?


    4 replies

    Sorry, I never counted them. You want as many turns as possible total, and the same amount on both sides, mainly to keep the rotor balance so it doesn't vibrate too much when it spins. My coils are about a quarter inch thick off the metal pipe, if that helps. By the way, I strongly suggest you read all the motor build tips at, before you begin your build. People have asked a lot of questions, and I have posted a lot of answers there.

    Good luck building your motor.

    Thanks for the prompt reply.

    I reviewed the list of parts. The diameter you have specified for the PVC pipe (1/2 inch). Is it inside or outside? Want to get things right before I go to the hardware store.

    I am building this motor with my son. Will keep you posted on how it goes.

    It is half-inch inside diameter PVC, simply called half-inch PVC at the hardware store. See my build tips. You might find it easier, and a little cheaper to build, with plastic rotor arms in stead of the metal pipe, and they will work just as well. You may also reach me at, if you have other questions. I can respond a little faster to that.

    Good luck! When you get it running, please send me a video. I have a gallery section where I post other people's builds.

    I am struggling with brushes. I got 12 AWG copper wire. But I am having hard time manipulating it. What gauge wire did you use? I got 14 gauge today. Wanted to check with you before I do one more round... Thanks

    Is this motor powerful enough to, say, power an electric scooter, or would one need a larger power source?

    1 reply

    No. This is a home built motor, and would only be strong enough to power a small fan or a sanding wheel. Scooter motors are made with many more windings, many more rotor arms, high quality bearings and brushes. It would be possible to build your own scooter motor, but you would need a full machine shop, and it would cost way more than just buying one.

    You could power a very weak generator, but you would put more electricity into the motor than you would get out of the generator, so it would be better to just skip both and use a battery

    could I possibly put a drive shaft at the end instead of a nail to power a generator?

    Hi! Mine doesn't work well at all and I'm wondering what exactly is the problem. I bought a couple of very strong magnets--1" neodymium cylinders w/91 lbs of pull force--and they simply freeze the rotor in place. I have a couple of smaller magnets, and they'll make it turn slowly. If I hold the strong magnets away from the brackets, it will turn, and faster, but as fast as yours appears to do. It's also true that I didn't wind the two sides an equal number of times, so perhaps this is also a problem and I should re-do it? Any help would be greatly appreciated, by me and my boy! Thanks-- Beau Valtz

    1 reply

    What does it do? If you want help, you will have to be a bit more specific. -Lou