Introduction: How to Make a Vibrating Motor.

Picture of How to Make a Vibrating Motor.

Sometimes you need a vibrating motor but just don't have a spare massager on hand to take apart. This usually leaves you with three options:

1. You can buy one online from your favorite electronics site (but this will cost you an arm and a leg).

2. You can take your chances with a massager from the Goodwill Store (but who knows where that has been).

3. Or if you have five minutes to spare, you can build your own.

Not liking to spend great deals of money or break out in strange rashes, I prefer option number 3.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff.

Picture of Go Get Stuff.

You will need:

- DC motor with a plastic gear attached to the shaft (easily found in tape players, VCRs, printers, etc.)
- An alligator clip
- Soldering iron
- Some solder

Step 2: Attaching the Weight.

Picture of Attaching the Weight.

Clamp the alligator clip to the plastic gear. It is best if you can clamp it so that the alligator clip is grasping on to the gear's teeth. However, as was my problem, sometimes the gear is too big or the clip too small. I got around this by clamping the clip to the top and bottom of the gear. It will work both ways, but needless to say the latter method is not ideal.

Since a vibrating motor is just a weight attached off-centered to a motor shaft, you are theoretically done.


Before you turn it on and possibly lose a perfectly good eye when the clip goes flying off, you should think about reinforcing the alligator clip's grip on the gear (as we will do in the next step).

Step 3: Attaching the Weight Better.

Picture of Attaching the Weight Better.

Attaching the clip better is simple.

First, make sure that the clip can rotate around the motor shaft without catching on to any parts of the motor.

Once you are sure of this, turn on your soldering iron and wait for it to get very hot. Once hot, hold it to the alligator clip for about 20-30 seconds. This should be more than enough heat to melt the clip's teeth into the plastic.

After heating up the clip, carefully without touching the alligator clip and burning yourself, solder the top and bottom half of the clip together at the side hinge. This will prevent the clip from being able to open up.

It now should be melted and permanently clamped into place.

Step 4: Power It Up.

Picture of Power It Up.

Connect the ground and power wire to the motor. Keep your finger clear of the violently spinning alligator clip.

You may want to consider housing your new vibrating motor in something where it has room to spin but can't hurt yourself or others (such as a section of PVC pipe).


Shaggy74 (author)2018-01-09

Hi, I am looking at designing a piece of equipment that will reduce the vibration in a small scale RC Helicopter. For this I am looking to measure the phase of the helicopter and the dc motor I will be using as the shaker. To then ensure the motor is 180 degrees out of phase with the helicopter. The question I have is how will I design a circuit to utilise an optical sensor to collect phase information of the helicopter and then the dc motor? Thank you in advance for your input

JonathanH248 (author)2017-12-18

Hello, I would like your help on an idea I have to make an external recoil pack so VR players with existing gun controllers can add recoil force to existing controllers that do not feature it. Recoil and haptic force feedback controllers are $500-3000 in cost. Can you help me out. I have not attempted this sort of DIY thing before. I just need some tips and what I need to buy in order to get his done. thank you.

JamesT271 (author)2017-10-27

Or just break all the blades but one off a computer case fan...

rthomas424 (author)2017-01-26

This is a good idea. I have a neighbor who lives in an adjacent townhouse who plays music all the time, very loud. I set up a powerful AirKing fan in an unfinished utility room in my basement. I turn it on and lean it against an exposed stud on the side of the room his house connects. The vibrations are so strong he gets the idea. This idea can be used to have vibrating motors attached to more disturbing places along the shared walls.
The fan is in a closed room and I have tinnitus so the noise of the fan and motor though muted is good for me, unlike the neighbor's music.

mona7727 (author)2014-12-12


I am working on an invention and would like to know how to make the vibration move back and forth within a cylinder that is maybe 10 - 12 feet. Would it be possible for me to get the agitation for a lengthy pvc tube or other tube like apparatus?

stuffdone (author)mona77272016-05-02

Not sure if you got what you need...long time ago. But that sounds more like a linear actuator application. You may need to use a reversable gear motor (12 vdc) and a cycle timer to reverse it. Using a shaft in linear bearings and some pully arrangement to move it in your cylinder then reversing.

stuffdone (author)2016-05-02

Been there. I don't mind the goodwill route since I'm going to throw away all but the motors and controls. I have had occasion to need vibrating motor in the past and just cut off a short piece of bar stock ( aluminum or steel ) and drilled a tight fitting hole next to one edge and press that onto the motor shaft. A drop of super glue!

Shake that tray of etchant!

cesar harada (author)2012-08-03

And if you want you can even make that vibrating thingy into a block that would allow you to build any modular LEGO vibrating robot !!!

Instructables here:

bf5man (author)2006-11-25
Or a cork, here's how i did it:

randofo (author)bf5man2006-11-26

Nice. Even simpler than my method.

Sir-fix-a-lot (author)randofo2009-12-03

Here's another simple method:
use the metal part of a screw terminal as shown in the picture. There are different sizes, so you can choose different weights or you can remove one screw for lighter vibrations. It works really well! I use these in adult toys I make for friends.

I like this method best !

pagosapig (author)Sir-fix-a-lot2010-03-31

I usually use the spinner from a CPU disk reader. They have the middle whole and three symmetrical holes about a half centimeter out. It works very well for vibrating beam robots.

mcdonn123 (author)bf5man2008-04-26

With a cork you can adjust the vibration. Sweet!

knoxarama (author)2008-11-12

i stuck a piece of clay on the gear head and it worked just fine

although it could fly off and stick on the mirror like mine did (the clay ) lol

ethiran (author)2011-12-09

is this can be used for tamiya motors?

vishalapr (author)2011-07-15

This is soooo useful!
I was making a vibro bot and I needed a vibrating motor but couldn't get any in hand so I was wondering what to do and then I notice this instructable and then think! I had lots of spare motors so I made this and it works perfectly!
Thanks for sharing such and awesome tip!

headlessknight (author)2011-02-22

don't you mean "roach" clip sorry for the spelling no sleep for 2 days
trying to be funny there but i would have never tthink that up

Drasa (author)2010-11-30

lol, melting the clip. Great 'ible!

prodo123 (author)2010-07-26

Or you could hot-glue it.

Jodex (author)prodo1232010-10-08

I know - from experience - hot glue won't hold it well enough. Or at least with my motors, but that may depend on the motor's power.

prodo123 (author)Jodex2010-10-08

Overkill...but epoxy it on? :V or melt the gearhead with a hot glue gun and mold the clip in place?

Wade Tarzia (author)2006-11-20

How about an adjustable vibrating motor? Attach a large gear on the motor with holes drilled radially (make them balance on either side of course), then use a screw set into the holes -- the farther from the edge, the more vibration. You know, Instructables really makes me think -- before today, I never ever thought about how to make an adjustable vibrating motor; I don't know why this will be important to me someday, but I think it will; I have that confidence in The Ways The World Works, and to hell with the despair of Cold Chaos! (though I believe in that too).

PR22 (author)Wade Tarzia2007-07-20

just adjust the voltage with a variable resistor

Saint_Awesome (author)PR222008-08-15

That would work but would waste a lot of energy via heat, which won't happen with Pulse Width Modulation and such.

A potentiometer would work.

I am looking at the PWM circuits floating around. In the meantime, Sir Fix a Lot sent along an idea...old train transformers!

Flyinseamnky (author)2010-03-23

Now if someone could write an instructable on how to turn your bed into a vibrating bed like in cheap motels. LOL Pay timer optional. LOL I am sure you would need 4 of these one for each bed leg, or one for the center post running sycncronized with a standard 120 wall plug, and a switch of some kind. Is anyone up for the challange? LOL Probably better (no jail time required) and cheaper than stealing on from a motel as my friend wanted to. LOL Thanks.

josh1001 (author)2009-12-15

 u could have also shaved of some of the teeth form one side of the gear, it would look better. 

wildgorilla (author)2007-10-31

Help. Need instructions. Read that rats can lose weight by standing on a plate vibrating at 90 times/minute. Need to build a vibrating platform for my overweight daughter who has cerebral Buzz Platepalsy. Should have ability to vary vibrations. Thanks.

Hello Wildgorilla!
There's more than 2 years between your post and mine, but I hope this is still usefull:
Scientists have proven that the vibration plates that are used in gyms and sold commercially have no effect, or even are counter productive. You can read about that here:
I understand you are talking about another frequency, I'm curious about how effective this is in humans.
Good luck!

randofo (author)wildgorilla2007-11-01

I'm not sure it would work for people..... but all you would need to make such a thing is a large motor with a weight on it and a 555 chip to pulse width modulate the motor and an h-bridge to keep the motor and 555 chip voltages seperate. You can probably find 555 timer kits and h-bridge kits online.

wildgorilla (author)randofo2007-11-01

Thanks randofo.

beetn_chan (author)2009-09-10

is it possible to fix the vibrating motor in cuff to make a massager? Does the motor produces large amount of heat?

jesse99 (author)2009-03-19

how do you power this?

coatesy900 (author)jesse992009-04-16

with a battery...

Th3Snip3r (author)2008-11-28

You could also take one of the motors from a PS2 controller. But just for this, its not really necessary especially at the controllers being $25 bucks. But I have a bunch of broken ones my buddies give me to hold onto for parts and things.

CanDo (author)2006-11-15

Neat, what times have you needed a vibrating motor?

lucianoabcd (author)CanDo2007-03-31

I will try one for making a smooth bzzzz on the snare drum. I think it should work, however in my case the shaft should be small (ie shorter than the radius of the motor, so it doesn't touch the head of the snare) yet powerful. Any ideas?

I would use an old xbox controller's motor

PR22 (author)CanDo2007-07-20

sex toys

trebuchet03 (author)CanDo2006-11-15

All sorts of uses -- sifting materials of dissimilar density, leveling your cake batter, getting bubbles out of resin-concrete-glue-etc. and more. Simple drawing circuits (there was a project on Make: that did this).

Wade Tarzia (author)trebuchet032006-11-20

Yes! Your neighborhood archaeologist can use that! Fill screen, turn on motor, eat lunch, come back, and your glass beads, clovis points, and diamond-eyed idols are jingle-jangling there at the bottom of the screen.

CanDo (author)trebuchet032006-11-16

Cool, I see... something to keep in mind then.

rarcke (author)trebuchet032006-11-15

Give one in a case to your girlfriend, she'll know what to do with it.

Jack Daniels (author)rarcke2006-11-16

by the looks of it somone already knew what to do with it...

TheCheese9921 (author)rarcke2006-11-15


randofo (author)CanDo2006-11-18

You can make a USB-Powered vibrating apple

lemonie (author)2007-01-20

Please tell us what motivated you to do this. I got one for free out of 'Operation', but found no use for it...

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previously life I had founded and run the Instructables ... More »
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