Make a Brushless DC Motor

About: Strange person?

This video instructable will show you how to build a brushless DC motor with minimal tools and materials. It can be done in an afternoon or less, and costs almost nothing (the materials are things that are on the edge of being garbage or not garbage if you have them laying around). The wiring may look confusing at first glance but you will be fine, it is not a terribly difficult project.

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Step 1: Video:

The video shows it pretty well, I don't think there is much to write out. The materials you will need include:

-A small plastic jar

-4 magnets

-A metal rod (or a nail)

-12 small steel screws

-A small piece of square wood scrap

-Enamel coated copper wire (easy to salvage if you don't want to buy some)

Step 2: Drawings and Working Cycle

These pictures are shown in the video as an animation but you may want to look at them for a minute if you are thinking about how this motor operates. It is a repeating 6 step cycle, each 6 steps complete half a revolution of the 4-magnet rotor:

Step 1) A+ B+

Step 2) B+ C+

Step 3) C+ A-

Step 4) A- B-

Step 5) B- C-

Step 6) C- A+

For example A+ B+ means we have "+" power supply connected to the A+ wire and the B+ wire, and "-" power supply connected to the A- and B- wires. This is what I referred to in the video as "forward" current. An "A-" step would mean "reverse" current in the "A" set of coils ( "-" power to the A+ wire, "+" power to the A- wire). The coil sets share a common junction (A-, B+, and C- wires are soldered together).

There are several possible ways you could configure the current to run, that are not needed for this motor. Noticing what those are is helpful for understanding why each wire is connected where it is.

Do not ever need:

A+ B-

A+ C+

B+ C-

B- C+

A- C-

A- B+

So we connect the A- B+ and C- wires together... At every point in the cycle we will have 2 coil sets powered on in series with each other. For example: anytime the "A" is getting forward current (an A+ step) you will definitely also need either B+ or C- current. Imagine "+" signal comes in the A+ wire and flows through the A coil series and out the A- wire to the junction of the 3 wires soldered together (A- B+ and C- wire ends). If it is on the A+ B+ step then the B- wire gets the "-" power signal, allowing the "+" signal to now continue from the junction into the B+ wire, through the B coils, and out the B- wire to the "-" power source.

I hope that makes sense. You can look at the pictures and imagine each step, and track the magnetic poles as they are represented in the drawings.

Step 3: Experiment With Other Designs

Once you have made a simpler motor you may want to take your skill further with more thinking, reading, and experimenting. Then you would be able to make custom motors for whatever application you have. The pictures in this step show how I made a brushless outrunner motor.

After making the plastic one shown in the video, I made a steel-construction outrunner motor. The outrunner design has the stator with the coils in the center and a rotor bell around that with the magnets on the inside surface of the rotor. This particular one uses 12 coils and 16 permanent magnets in a ring around the coils.

The permanent magnets are north-south-north-south every other magnet all the way around. The bell the magnets mount inside of is a piece cut from an empty spray paint can. The coils are in 3 sets (A, B, and C) like before but all coils are wound the same direction this time (all clockwise). So the winding order is A+ B+ C+ A+ B+ C+ ... for all 12 coils. The core that I wound the coils on is made from a stack of fender washers epoxied together. There are ball bearings in the center of the washers for the axle to spin in. I welded a large hexagon nut onto one of the washers to give a good mounting frame to the motor (so it can attach to something). The hexagon nut made it easy to eyeball the position of the 12 cuts that needed to be made into the washers to form the individual cores for the coils.

Thank you for viewing this Instructable and I hope it is useful to you!

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    20 Discussions


    21 days ago

    I am building the spray paint can motor and what gauge wire do I need for it?


    Question 8 months ago on Introduction

    What changes would I have to make if I cannot get a 3 phase motor controller?


    1 year ago

    Whats the limited and maximum voltage and wattage required to run the motor


    1 year ago

    Hi, If you use a multi meter to check the continuity in lines A+, B-, and C+ do you get a beep on A+ & B-, A+ $ C+, C+ & B-.


    4 years ago

    you can also use a old floppydrive, and use the wires from that, then you already have everything wired

    1 reply
    sanskar kakde

    2 years ago

    Can you tell me please how to connect it to the power source


    2 years ago

    I tried to copy everything but did not get it to run. I bought a 3 phase BLDC sensorless controller from ebay used 23Gauge wire, 25 turns. and for magnets. Used a 9v battery. I hear countinous clicking around (4-10 Hz) sound but no rotor movement. If I take rotor off, and turn controller on. there is no clicking sound. Any suggestions?

    One thing I forgot to mention I need this motor to be in an axial filed magent for the application I have in mind. so the rotor and stator are two disks.


    2 years ago

    What would give an aircraft more lifting power( Pounds it can lift) a low torque and high rpm or a high torque and low RPM ?


    3 years ago

    what will be the size of enamelled wire? and how many windings you wound it?

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Any size can work, I think mine was about 20 AWG. I did 25 turns on each coil. You can use a different number of turns, but be sure to use the same number of turns on each coil. Fewer turns will give a lower torque but higher RPM motor, while more turns will give you a higher torque but lower RPM motor.


    Reply 2 years ago

    What would give an aircraft more lifting power a load torque and high rpm or a high torque and low RPM ?


    2 years ago

    I would also like to know how to make this into a stepper. What exactly is the difference?

    1 reply

    Functionally, this is for continuous rotation and a stepper is for controlled incremental motion. At least in the example I've seen, the stepper has teeth (like cogs) inside that direct the magnetic fields of the shaft and the case to pull the shaft to specific positions based on which sets of the teeth are positive and which are negative.


    4 years ago

    Very cool, minimal materials to effectuate useful action. Gonna show how to make a stepper out of this next? ☺

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    Well I wasn't thinking of that, but it is a good idea. It would be great to be able to make your own stepper motors and controllers any size you need.


    4 years ago

    Excellent project, well described. I am definitely going to try this.

    1 reply