Introduction: Perpetual Motion Wheel

Is A Perpetual Motion Wheel Feasible?

There have long been theories of a perfectly built and balanced wheel which could rotate upon an axis indefinitely. Leonardo Da Vinci developed his own which is the most common point of origin. One of the Standards for Technological Literacy states "Students will develop an understanding of be able to select and use energy and power technologies." Within it is a section on the Law of Conservation of Energy and the inability to create and destroy energy. The perpetual motion wheel challenges this idea and the following demo is a great way to demonstrate these concepts.

For this project we are looking at Standard 16 for Technological Literacy: Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use energy and power technologies. A subsection of the standard states "Energy cannot be created nor destroyed; however, it can be converted from one energy to another." A perpetual motion wheel corresponds exactly with this section as it relies on potential energy always being greater than the kinetic energy. This allows the wheel to continuously move as there is always stored energy that is then used to continue motion.


- Poster Board

- Xacto Knife or Box Cutter

- Ruler

- Hot Glue Gun

- Marbles/Ball Bearings

Step 1: Cutting Your Wheel Base

Begin by determining the size of your wheel. (I dimensioned mine
with a 16in diameter.)

Find a point to become your center and mark it with a pen.

Using a ruler, draw tick marks every few degrees of rotation at your radius length.

Connect each tick to the ones next to it to create your circle outline.

Cut out along the pattern with your Xacto knife. Make sure your cuts are perpendicular to the two paper surfaces.

Step 2: Cutting Walls

Cut 1in strips of the remaining foam core. These strips will become to the two circular walls.

Carefully slice through one side of paper and slightly into the inner foam layer. Do this at very small increments for the length of the strips. This will allow the walls to be rolled around the wheel later.

Step 3: Drawing Sections

The wheel will be comprised of pieces all rotated at the same angle. More segments will lead to a smoother roll but more difficult to get precise.

Draw lines from your center point to create a pie chart. These will direct your angled pieces later.

To create the inner circle the same method from Step 1 is used.

Draw ticks from the center and connect these to create a center circle.

Step 4: Placing Walls

There will be 2 walls created, one around the outside of your wheel base and the other around your inner circle.

Outer Wall:

- Begin by beading a small amount of hot glue on the foam section of your wheel base.

- Attach your walls with the sliced side facing out. (Shown above)

Inner Circle:

- The inner circle acts as a guide for the hot glue placement. The user can either place their glue inside or outside of the circle, but it needs to be same for the entire circle.

- Place the wall down with the sliced side faced outward again.

Step 5: Angled Panels

We need some small angled walls between our two main walls to direct the marbles to their intended positions.

Begin by cutting a 2-3in strip in the same mannar as we did for the previous walls.

These walls will be cut on an angle to match you inner and outer wall heights.

- I used 7/8 in and 9/8in accordingly to match my walls.

Cut these and arrange them as seen in the next step.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

The user can determine their way of mounting the wheel for demonstration purposes. A nail can be used to mount it to another board as a support structure.

The marbles can now be placed in each section and you now have free energy!