The goal of this instructable is to create a basic electric motor, using mainly simple components you could find around the house. Understanding basic electric motors like this one will give you an idea of how more complicated electric motors work.
- x1 D Cell Battery
- x2 Large Paper Clips
- x1 Arms Length of 26 gauge Magnet Wire
- x1 Magnet
- x1 Rubber Band
- Wire Cutters
Step 1: Bend Paper Clips
- Take the inside loop of the paper clip and bend it back until straight. Then, fold back the upper loop to create the cradle. Repeat this process for both paper clips.
- The image shows the three steps in creating the cradle.
Step 2: Wrap the Magnet Wire Coil
- Leave about a 2-3in. lead and wrap the rest of the magnet wire around the battery in a circular fashion. Leave another 2-3in. excess when you have done as many wraps as possible. Then, take the leads and wrap them around part of the circle to prevent the coil from coming unwrapped.
Step 3: Sand the Leads of the Magnet Coil
- Using sandpaper, completely sand the colored coating off the magnet wire on one end of the coil. On the other end, sand half the coating off, leaving one side insulated by the coating.
Step 4: Attach Paper Clips to Battery
- Use the rubber band to attach the ends of the paper clips to both the positive and negative terminals of the battery. Try to position the paper clips in line with each other with the cradles facing out.
Step 5: Position Magnet
- Place the magnet in between the two paper clips and against the battery.
Step 6: Place the Coil into the Paper Clip Cradles
- Place the half-sanded side of the coil into the cradle coming off the positive side of the battery, and the fully-sanded side of the coil into the cradle on the negative side of the battery. Adjust the coil so that it can freely rotate without hitting the magnet or falling out of the cradle. If the coil does not start to rotate on its own, tap it to begin the spinning and the system will do the rest!
Step 7: Trouble Shooting
- If your coil does not rotate on its own, check to see if the leads of your coil are running through the diameter of the circle. The closer to the diameter and the more equal they are, the better it will spin. Try to find the axis of symmetry.
Step 8: Trouble Shooting 2
- If your coil is all set, but it is still not spinning on its own, check to make sure you have a solid connection between the paper clips and battery. The rubber band should be holding the paper clips against the battery fairly tight. Also, make sure you’re not trying to use a dead battery to create your motor.
Step 9: Trouble Shooting 3
- Another issue can be not sanding close enough to the interior of the coil. Make sure you remove as much coating as you can, especially where the coil leads make contact with the paper clips. Sometimes it's necessary to remove a little more than half of the coating on the positive side of the system, but all the coating must be removed from the negative side of the system.
Step 10: Trouble Shooting 4
- If you’re still having issues, try relocating your magnet. Depending on the size and strength of your magnet, it may do better directly under your coil, or higher up on the battery. Play around with the location of your magnet and see what gets you the best results.
Step 11: Taking it a Step Further
- If you have succeeded in creating an electric motor, congrats! Now, try taking it a step further. There are several things you can do to improve your motor and make your coil spin faster. If you haven’t already, play around with the location of your magnet and see what gets you the best results. Next, try adding more magnets or using bigger ones. Another approach in improving your motor could be to substitute the D cell battery for a higher-output battery. Test how the increase in current output and increase in magnetic pull affect the speed of your motor.