5 Minute DIY Motor




About: I love building things and taking pictures.
When I make a project, there are four things I look for.
  1. Low cost: If the project is going to cost me a million dollars (exaggerated a little bit) I won't make it. 
  2. Easily accessible materials: If the materials are impossible to find (unless it is a really, really cool project) I most likely won't attempt it.
  3. Usage: What will the project teach me? What experiences will I take away from it? If I had students, what would this teach them? 
  4. Simplicity: If the project uses 6 integrated circuits, I won't even try. Most likely, I will try to find a way to make it with a microcontroller. If nobody had done the project before with a microcontroller (unless it is really good) I won't try.
Therefore, when I found out I could make a motor without super-high tech stuff, I had to make one.

However, of all the tutorials I had looked at nobody had made it simple enough so average people could do it.

This would be great for classrooms because it teaches magnetism. My science teacher had one but he plans on getting more soon. It is small, cheap and easy.

Step 1: Parts You MAY Need to Purchase.

You will need:
1 AA Battery (a AAA battery will work as well as a AA battery which will work just as well as a C battery which will work just as well as a D battery.) (I used a AA Rechargeable Battery because the motor shorts the battery and therefore will die quickly and so a rechargeable is nice.)
1 Neodymium Magnet (This is probably the only part you will need to buy unless you have an unusually large junk parts parts bin.) 
2 Safety Pins
3 Feet or 1 metre of 18 AWG Magnet Wire ( I used 18 because of its thickness and stability. It is a bit harder to work with.)

Rubber Band
Cotton Ball


Step 2: Averagely Coil Your Coil.

The title is for all of you who don't have access to super high-tech materials.

Start by taking the wire, and leaving some slack...like 3 inches and about 6-7 cm and coiling it.

Messiness counts! Randomly and speedily coil it. Overlapping is fine and actually, if you do it messier, the coil performs better.

Now, because this is 18 awg wire, it is thicker and, when coiled will remain together.

To hold it securely together, hold it and wrap it around the coil a few times.

Now, at the end of the coil, use a knife (and being very careful not to kill yourself) to strip the insulation off of the bottoms of the ends.  

Next, bend one end of the wire up and the other down so that the coil doesn't go flying.

Step 3: Almost Done! But Not Quite!

Now you need to assemble the rest. The coil is the biggest part. Now, take the safety pins and rubber band them together. 

If you don't want to burn yourself (the rubber band won't do anything except for keep the pins from flying) then take the cotton ball and rip it into two parts. Then, stick the pin in a "pocket" that you create by sticking your finger in...sort of like pottery...well I guess it's more like cottonery...

Either way, put the safety pin in like in the third picture. Flatten the cottonery and rest the safety pin on it like in the fourth picture. Next tape it down onto the cotton with a piece of regular household tape like in the fifth and sixth picture. Then, like in the seventh picture, make two of them.

Now for assembly.

Step 4: Final Assembly.

Now, take the AA battery and put it in the C battery socket. Then hold the safety pins together like in the first picture.  Then, add the magnet like in the second picture. Now, put the coil in the loops. It may be hard with the bent ends but keep trying until you get it in. Now, click: Next Step.

Step 5: Done!

Now give the coil a abrupt push and it should spin. If it doesn't well, don't worry. Push it the other way abruptly.

If it still doesn't work, try leaning the coil to one side. I have found that the coil tends to lean to one side of the battery. It probably is influenced by the magnet. Try putting the magnet directly under the coil and give it another spin. If it still doesn't spin, it might be a deadish battery. If it doesn't work then, see if you made a lousy connection. By now, if it still doesn't work, see if you had striped all the insulation off the ends. If so, then take a marker and color in half of the ends or, just cut the wire and unwind a turn or two. If you have any more trouble, leave a comment. 


The Mad Science Fair

Finalist in the
The Mad Science Fair



    • Tape Contest

      Tape Contest
    • Arduino Contest 2019

      Arduino Contest 2019
    • Trash to Treasure

      Trash to Treasure

    51 Discussions


    6 years ago on Step 5

    You could have also magnetized the pins by a type of magnetic hysteresis effect. The motor has a variable magnitude field that alternately tensions and relaxes the field. This tends to align magnetic spins in the metal giving a net magnetic field of its own. This effect is known as remanence.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, That's a mouthful! I work on PCs and Microchips, and I've never heard of that concept before.


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Applied physicist... sometimes I can't turn it off. If you ever wanted to observe a magnetic field directly you could exploit the Kerr effect.

    Take your magnetic sample and light it up with a polarized light source (I prefer lasers). The Kerr effect says that light passing through a magnetic field gets rotated. If you place a polarizing filter on your microscope and look at your sample, some regions will be dark, and others will be brighter. The dark regions will be areas where the atoms lined up to create a magnetic field. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/NdFeB-Domains.jpg


    5 years ago on Introduction

    To those who are concerned about whether if I know why the safety pins are sticking to the battery, I do know why.

    argha halder

    5 years ago on Introduction

    great instructable.by the way i think the safety pins got attached to the battery because of the magnet,the magnet was may be attached with the metal part of the battery!

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Step 3

    The safety pins have a higher magnetic permeability than the air. This means that flux lines would rather travel a longer distance through the pins than through air. This is why magnetic shielding works. This greater permeability makes the pins stick to the battery which also has a higher permeability. This creates two horseshoe shaped sets of flux lines. It also helps that the pins and battery are probably ferromagnetic materials which means that they amplify any field passing through them. I could go into more detail if anyone wants me too.


    7 years ago on Step 3

    the reason the safety pins are sticking to the battery is because of the magnet on the battery.
    It is magnetizing the outer coating of the battery,
    which is why the safety pins are sticking to it>
    Think outside the box

    4 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I don't think its possible. You see, the coil is bound to make the battery as dead as it can go before it runs down so I don't see how it could happen. Maybe, you could put a diode to charge it but it might have to be a rechargeable battery...who knows? Maybe you can make one.

    244 Jake

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Only a commnet on your Mission Statement.

    This is the longest true sentence made up of only two letters words.

    If it is to be, then it is up to me to do it.

    Big Jake

    1 reply