Vibrating Motors





Introduction: Vibrating Motors

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

A vibrating motor is essentially a motor that is improperly balanced. In other words, there is an off-centered weight attached to the motor's rotational shaft that causes the motor to wobble. The amount of wobble can be changed by the amount of weight that you attach, the weight's distance from the shaft, and the speed at which the motor spins.

This type of motor can be used affixed to all kinds of objects, which will cause them to vibrate and move freely about. This is a quick and dirty way to get a Simple Bot to move about, but not exactly the most elegant.

Vibrating motors can be found inside cell phones, pagers, gaming controllers, and personal massagers.

In absence of those, you can easily build your own vibrating motor by attaching any off centered weight to any motor shaft. They can also be created by breaking in half balanced components already attached to motor shafts.

Follows are some simple examples.

Step 1: Find One

A great source for vibrating motors is inside gaming controllers with "rumble" feedback.

Simply take apart the gaming controller and free the motors. They should be ready to use.

Step 2: Unbalanced Fan

A quick and dirty way to make a vibrating motor without any extra parts is to take a computer fan and snap off half of the fan blades with a pair of pliers. This will make the fan off-balanced and vibrate.

Step 3: Add Eraser

Another simple way to make a vibrating motor is to stick a pencil eraser (or cork) onto the shaft of any standard reversible DC motor.

Step 4: Terminal Strips

If you would like to get fancier about making a vibrating motor, you can clamp a terminal strip to the shaft of a DC motor. The terminal strip itself will be enough to make the motor vibrate. However, to experiment with adding more off-centered weight to your setup, you can clamp small items like bolts into the terminals on the strip.

Step 5: Add Alligator Clip

If you want to get fancy about doing this, you can add an alligator clip.

Find a motor with a plastic nylon gear. Clamp an alligator clip onto this gear. Finally, solder the alligator clip's halves together. This will both melt the alligator clip into the gear and fuse the two halves to prevent it from opening again.

This is now a vibrating motor with a firmly attached off-center weight.



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    15 Discussions

    i want to know if a controller that doesn't have vibration motors can have them added to it?

    1 reply

    not with out spending the money the controller cost to replace the board and make it all compatible

    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

    2 replies

    This question has little to do with this project. My best guess is you will need an optical rotary encoder wheel attached to both of the motors to try to synchronize them.

    My apoligies randofo. I was lookung toward using a shaker for my project hence why i posted this question. Thank you for your reply

    One idea I have thought heavily about and how to design it is a vibrate motor where you can electrically set both the frequency (speed of motor) and also amplitude (vibrational weight/offset) somehow. A low frequency, how power speaker sent a signal is one way, but i keep thinking there would be a motorized way of somehow adjusting the weight/offset mechanically using some trick/gearing/magnet that I have not yet figured out. Keen if anyone else can\has!

    Great instructable! Thank you. I do have a question - what is the object on the shaft of the dc motor all the way on the right?

    1 reply

    That is a commercial vibrating motor with a weight on it. You can get motors like that from or

    The added benefit here being that you can easily "tune" in the desired vibrational character.

    I'd be careful to only cut off a small amount at a time and give it a little test. You can always cut more you can't add fin weight back on (although now I'm picturing a spot of JB weld on just the fan hub LOL). It should also be noted this will wreak havoc on the life of the bearings in the fan as they are made to be evenly loaded. Great concept :-)

    i absolutely love this article... clean and simple. thanks, and keep it up! it was a great help

    I made a few for vibrobots using a dime with a hole drilled in it Sugru'd to the motor spindle. Works great and never breaks.

    I use buttons. I push the motor shaft through a button hole and put some glue if required to hold it in place.

    I have one of these that I made out of a cell phone charger and a rumble motor from a broken PS2 controller.

    Aside from adding motion to things, it is also pretty handy for removing air bubbles when making molds. It also can help you when casting plastic, because it helps everything fill in all the way.