Picture of How to Make a Simple Motor
Here is a fun way to explore the inner workings of a simple motor.  This is a great project for use in the classroom or at home.  Making your own Motor is an excellent introduction into the world of technology. 
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Step 1: Materials and tools you will need to create a simple Motor

Picture of Materials and tools you will need to create a simple Motor
  • Copper Wire
  • Paper Clips
  • Wood (3" 1X2)
  • Neodymium Magnet
  • Battery (AA)
  • Insulated Wire
  • Sand Paper
  • Staple Gun and Staples
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Wire Strippers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks


Step 2: Creating the Copper Wire Coil

Picture of Creating the Copper Wire Coil
  1. Cut a length of copper wire (between 2 and 3ft) using a pair of wire cutters.
  2. Use a AA Battery as a winding template; begin winding the Copper Wire around the AA Battery (Make sure to leave about two inches of wire trailing off one end of the coil).
  3. Continue winding the Copper Wire around the AA Battery; make sure that you wind a nice tight coil. 
  4. Leave a length of wire (two inches) trailing from your coil after winding the Copper Wire around the AA Battery 15 times.
  5. Wrap the trailing ends of wire around your coil two or three times.  This will hold the coil in place (its important to wrap the ends directly across from each other; balance is key in creating a good motor)

Step 3: Sanding the Ends

Picture of Sanding the Ends
  1. The two ends that are trailing off the completed coil need to have the enamel sanded off of the Copper Wire (this is extremely important because the more enamel you remove the better electrical connection you are able to make between the AA Battery and the Motor).
  2. (This step is even more important than the first) Start by sanding only ONE SIDE of the trailing ends of Copper Wire. (Only ONE SIDE)
  3.  The other trailing end of Copper Wire needs to have all of the enamel completely sanded off.  (Remember, the more wire you expose the better the connection)


34440710 days ago
hello well I am 11 years old and I would like to know what can be the question for the point of this experiment besides how to make a simple motor,its for a science fair thank you!!!??
Here at the Museum we like to explore the inner workings of things. We take apart a lot of electronics, especially things with motors inside of them. We use motors for a lot of our activities and workshops and this experiment was just a way to better understand what's going on inside of a motor.

Hope this helps.
344407 3444074 days ago

Hi! Thanks for the explanation. I didn't understand why we should sand only one side of the cable end. I don't get why and how we should do that. I sand one side but the other must not have insulation? So I need to sand both sides?

It is confusing. For one of the sides you need to sand half of the enamel off. Imagine that the wire has a top and a bottom. You only want to sand the bottom side and not the top. The bottom will become shiny and the top will remain red.

I hope this helps.

rdramesh6 months ago
What should be minimum voltage that works for it?can i use my 6 volt rechargable battery for it.?what should be minimum strength of magnet...?
codeb8 months ago

i have given a project but I m confused cuz I have to make ppt

i have given a project but I m confused cuz I have to make ppt

i have given a project but I m confused cuz I have to make ppt

booooom11 months ago


ljm9111 year ago
I like the design I tried to make my own but I made a coil that was too small
is a 1/2" size Neodymium Magnet OK

zkincaid3 years ago
I made one about twice that size, and put 40 amps at 8.4 volts through it. Very impressive sparks from the contacts and smoke. Can only do it for a few seconds at a time because it gets so hot
mutabor3 years ago
ppsailor3 years ago
batman963 years ago
I made one of these a few years ago, I used plastic coated wire, I stripped both ends, then on one of the wires I put a thin sliver of tape that covered half of the wire (at the time I didn't have any enameled wire)

I would recommend not gluing the magnet until you test it, mine will only work if the magnet is in the right direction, even if i reverse the power.
Phil B3 years ago
I have seen these called a Beekman's Motor or a Ten Minute Motor. I once made one for demonstration. I made two "J" pieces of bare solid copper wire and soldered them to the ends of a common "C" battery. The armature rested in the "J" hooks. I had a doughnut-shaped ceramic magnet from Radio Shack that gripped the steel case of the battery just above the armature. I gave it a gentle tap and it was off and running. I simply held the battery without any wooden bases.
noted, I will take that into consideration on the next instructable. thanks.

here's a link to Museum's Blog for the MakeShop, it has video of the motor in action.

check it out!
kelseymh3 years ago
Very cool! Good pictures, although having the wood block on the wooden workbench makes it a bit hard to see clearly.