Picture of Vibrating Motors
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.
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Step 1: Find one

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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

Picture of 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

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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

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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.
alisonc5 months ago

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?

randofo (author)  alisonc2 months ago

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

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 :-)
whisp3r3r3 years ago
i absolutely love this article... clean and simple. thanks, and keep it up! it was a great help
ilpug3 years ago
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.
rimar20003 years ago
Good XXX instructable, Randy! ;)
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.