Virginia Tech - Invent the Future

Motor Cosnstruction Project

Image of the simple motor spinning

Supplies Provided By Us

  • Enamelled Wire
  • Sand Paper
  • D Cell Batteries
  • Paper Clips
  • Tape
  • Strong Disk Magnets

Supplies To Be Provided By Requestor

  • None

Subjects Covered

  • Current
  • Torque
  • Magnetic Force
  • Relationship between Magnetism and Electricity

Description and Procedure

This project give students the chance to build their own electric motor to keep! The simple design takes about 30 minutes to construct. The motor shows that moving charge (current) can produce a magnetic field. The current is supplied by the potential difference between the two poles of the battery. When the current runs through the circular loop of wire, it produces a magnetic field that is repelled by(or attracted to depending on the orientation) the strong magnet on the battery. Since only half of the wire leads are stripped, when the wire is rotated by this torque current can no longer flow. This on/off swap of current through the coil allows the magnet to apply pulses of torque in the same direction, accelerating the coil's spin.

  1. Make a coil with the copper wire by wrapping it around the battery
  2. Remove the insulating enamel on one side of the straight ends of the coil
  3. Bend the paper clips to make a stirrup to hold the coil
  4. Tape a paper clip stirrup to both terminals of the battery, ensureing good contact with the metal
  5. Place the magnet on the battery in between the two paperclips
  6. Put the coil in the stirrups