How to Make a Vibrating Motor.




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 ...

Sometimes you need a vibrating motor but just don't have a spare massager on hand to take apart. This usually leaves you with three options:

1. You can buy one online from your favorite electronics site (but this will cost you an arm and a leg).

2. You can take your chances with a massager from the Goodwill Store (but who knows where that has been).

3. Or if you have five minutes to spare, you can build your own.

Not liking to spend great deals of money or break out in strange rashes, I prefer option number 3.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff.

You will need:

- DC motor with a plastic gear attached to the shaft (easily found in tape players, VCRs, printers, etc.)
- An alligator clip
- Soldering iron
- Some solder

Step 2: Attaching the Weight.

Clamp the alligator clip to the plastic gear. It is best if you can clamp it so that the alligator clip is grasping on to the gear's teeth. However, as was my problem, sometimes the gear is too big or the clip too small. I got around this by clamping the clip to the top and bottom of the gear. It will work both ways, but needless to say the latter method is not ideal.

Since a vibrating motor is just a weight attached off-centered to a motor shaft, you are theoretically done.


Before you turn it on and possibly lose a perfectly good eye when the clip goes flying off, you should think about reinforcing the alligator clip's grip on the gear (as we will do in the next step).

Step 3: Attaching the Weight Better.

Attaching the clip better is simple.

First, make sure that the clip can rotate around the motor shaft without catching on to any parts of the motor.

Once you are sure of this, turn on your soldering iron and wait for it to get very hot. Once hot, hold it to the alligator clip for about 20-30 seconds. This should be more than enough heat to melt the clip's teeth into the plastic.

After heating up the clip, carefully without touching the alligator clip and burning yourself, solder the top and bottom half of the clip together at the side hinge. This will prevent the clip from being able to open up.

It now should be melted and permanently clamped into place.

Step 4: Power It Up.

Connect the ground and power wire to the motor. Keep your finger clear of the violently spinning alligator clip.

You may want to consider housing your new vibrating motor in something where it has room to spin but can't hurt yourself or others (such as a section of PVC pipe).



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    53 Discussions


    1 year ago

    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


    1 year ago

    Hello, I would like your help on an idea I have to make an external recoil pack so VR players with existing gun controllers can add recoil force to existing controllers that do not feature it. Recoil and haptic force feedback controllers are $500-3000 in cost. Can you help me out. I have not attempted this sort of DIY thing before. I just need some tips and what I need to buy in order to get his done. thank you.


    1 year ago

    Or just break all the blades but one off a computer case fan...


    2 years ago

    This is a good idea. I have a neighbor who lives in an adjacent townhouse who plays music all the time, very loud. I set up a powerful AirKing fan in an unfinished utility room in my basement. I turn it on and lean it against an exposed stud on the side of the room his house connects. The vibrations are so strong he gets the idea. This idea can be used to have vibrating motors attached to more disturbing places along the shared walls.
    The fan is in a closed room and I have tinnitus so the noise of the fan and motor though muted is good for me, unlike the neighbor's music.


    4 years ago on Introduction


    I am working on an invention and would like to know how to make the vibration move back and forth within a cylinder that is maybe 10 - 12 feet. Would it be possible for me to get the agitation for a lengthy pvc tube or other tube like apparatus?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Not sure if you got what you need...long time ago. But that sounds more like a linear actuator application. You may need to use a reversable gear motor (12 vdc) and a cycle timer to reverse it. Using a shaft in linear bearings and some pully arrangement to move it in your cylinder then reversing.


    3 years ago

    Been there. I don't mind the goodwill route since I'm going to throw away all but the motors and controls. I have had occasion to need vibrating motor in the past and just cut off a short piece of bar stock ( aluminum or steel ) and drilled a tight fitting hole next to one edge and press that onto the motor shaft. A drop of super glue!

    Shake that tray of etchant!


    Reply 12 years ago

    Nice. Even simpler than my method.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Here's another simple method:
    use the metal part of a screw terminal as shown in the picture. There are different sizes, so you can choose different weights or you can remove one screw for lighter vibrations. It works really well! I use these in adult toys I make for friends.


    I usually use the spinner from a CPU disk reader. They have the middle whole and three symmetrical holes about a half centimeter out. It works very well for vibrating beam robots.


    7 years ago on Step 2

    is this can be used for tamiya motors?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is soooo useful!
    I was making a vibro bot and I needed a vibrating motor but couldn't get any in hand so I was wondering what to do and then I notice this instructable and then think! I had lots of spare motors so I made this and it works perfectly!
    Thanks for sharing such and awesome tip!

    don't you mean "roach" clip sorry for the spelling no sleep for 2 days
    trying to be funny there but i would have never tthink that up


    8 years ago on Step 3

    lol, melting the clip. Great 'ible!