Making an ElectroMagnet




Introduction: Making an ElectroMagnet

Overview: Our goal here is to make a simple electromagnet that can pick up objects made of iron or steel, without using a magnet.

Materials: a long metal bolt, a roll of insulated copper wire, three battery holders, and five alligator clips, a pair of scissors, 9 AA batteries, and small iron objects.

Step 1: Wrapping the Wire.

1. Wrap the bolt with the copper wire by coiling around it with the loops as close as possible, the more loops you add, the greater the magnetic force generated by the circuit.

Step 2: Hooking Up the Circuit.

2. daisy chain the wrapped bolt and three battery packs using alligator clips, in a circuit as shown above.

Step 3: Using Your Magnet.

3. Try out your magnet by holding the wrapped bolt nearby iron objects, see if it picks up them, if it does, then congratulations, you've got a working magnet!


If successfully connected, as shown here, you can pick up many different iron objects as well as attracting and repelling other magnets as well. Just hold your magnet near the object, and it will either stick or be pushed away.

Step 5: Explanation.

The bolt becomes magnetic once a current is applied to the coil wrapped around it because electric currents produce magnetic fields. If the wire is wrapped around a coil, the magnetic fields will be concentrated in the loops, which is strengthened when its wrapped around a core, normally the atoms in iron or steel are pointing random directions, but when a current is applied to them, they line up pointing in one direction, and their magnetic fields will add up to create a larger magnetic field that attracts objects, eventually if you give it enough time, the bolt will become permanently magnetized and changing the electric current won't affect it anymore.

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    4 years ago

    Thank you for this one. Actually I tried something similar (the bolt I used, even looks the same) but the magnet was very weak with a 9V battery. Now I'm encouraged to try again and not just falling back to buying one.


    6 years ago

    I want to make a mechanism like that of a door bell where electro magnet is engaged and disengaged many times to create the ringing bell. but I want a stronger mechanism. can someone please guide me on how the thickness of wire and numbers of turns effects the strength of the magnets.

    Unfortunately, this is a bit too short.

    A nice thing would be to explain how voltage (in volts V) and intensity (in amperes A) make the power of the magnet (in teslas) vary, how you can have multiple electro-magnets interact together, the importance of wiring direction on polarity, etc.

    I have a project in mind involving electro-magnets, I fear I'll have to check all this by experimentation...

    Thank you for the 101.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    You have details on those VOLT's, Tesla's, AMP's and at I also wonder how to know till which max my wire could go...?

    I also want do a project based on electro magnet's.


    8 years ago

    You should check the resistance of your battery packs and that of your wire. It may be that connecting the packs in parallel, rather than series, will provide more current and increase the strength of your electromagnet.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent project! Very nicely done, I'm going to have to make an electromagnet with my kids. Thank you!