An electric motor can be found at the heart of many devices nowadays. As a result, you can build almost anything at home, from a motorized safe or an attic ladder, to a crawler for pipe cutting, as long as you have a motor to hand. But if not, then you can always make one. We have compiled nine methods for how to build your own electric motor.
1. Brushless DC Motor
A brushless DC motor is one of the best motor choices. It generally has a higher speed and torque than standard motors and experiences little to no power loss, making it perfect for DIY projects. Even better, brushless motors produce minimal noise, making them an excellent option for home automation projects. Check out how to build one in this Hackster guide and then view the YouTube demo for additional clarity on project instructions.
2. Simple Homopolar Electric Motor
A brushless motor is certainly a DIY project worth dedicating time to, but what if time is an issue? In that case, you can build a simple homopolar electric motor, as shown in this Instructables guide. It requires a small magnet, a single remote battery, and a wire. The DIY process is even more seamless as you only need to wrap the wire spirally around your battery and create contact points on each end to get it going. Check out the YouTube video above to better understand how it all works.
3. Aluminum Cans Electric Motor
Do you hate having to trash your soft soda cans but never know how to reuse them? We’ve found a solution for you: a can-based electric motor. It’ll eliminate your can-trashing problem and earn you a capable electric motor. And you don’t need tons of experience to build it; just use the YouTube video above for illustration, and you should be able to do it easily.
4. Basic Electric Motor With Wires and Paper Clips
Want another take on a simplified electric motor? This basic motor is an excellent fit. It uses the same principles as a fully built electric motor but has a much-simplified build featuring only wires, a box, and some paper clips. Start by making your box. You will need to cut out pairs of 7 by 4 inch, 1.8 x 6.8 inch, and 1.8 x 1.8 inch rectangular foam board pieces. Once these are ready, glue the four smaller ones to one of the larger pieces in an overlapping design at each corner, and then follow the rest of the Instructables tutorial to complete the setup.
5. PCB Motor
Need a motor you can carry around with you easily? Maybe it’s for a project you are expected to travel for, or a small gadget you are making. Whatever your intentions are, you just found an ideal one. The PCB motor made in this Hackaday tutorial is micro-sized for seamless use and portability. It weighs not more than 1.5 grams, has a 16mm diameter, and features a 3D printed 1.7mm rotor. Even more fascinating is that the stator (the fixed part) is printed on a four-layer PCB board.
The genius behind it created it for a small drone, so if you’re looking at a swarm project, it’ll fit perfectly. Are you interested in building your own drone? Check out these DIY drones similar to Ukraine’s Black Hornets.
6. DIY Electric Motor From E-Waste
The electronic waste crisis is getting bigger by the day, now representing 2% of the trash found in American landfills. While it may not sound like much, that small percentage equates to a whopping 70% of all toxic waste collected in the country. That’s why you should aim to use every opportunity to prevent one more electronic piece from making it to the trash can.
Build an e-waste-based DIY motor to help you put some of your e-waste to work. For this project, you will need a CNC machine, an old printer, four fluorescent lamp reactors, two bearings, a soldering station, three inducers, copper tape, and this Instructables tutorial.
7. Solar-Powered Electric Motor
Do you have no e-waste to reuse for a DIY project but still want to build one while remaining sustainable? Try making a solar-powered electric motor. It sounds technical and intimidating, but it’s pretty straightforward. Plus, this Instructables guide breaks the process down comprehensively. Additionally, it only requires a few components: a fidget spinner and a coil iron, three neodymium magnet discs, wires, two mini solar panels, and a reed switch.
8. Microwatt Pulse Motor
Ever visited an old-fashioned telephone exchange? The relays from one were used for the copper coils in this microwatt pulse motor, but you can use coils from any other device. Besides its efficiency in getting the job done, the best part about this microwatt pulse motor is that it can even be powered by a potato or salt water! You may also use a regular lithium battery and a solar cell if you lean towards sustainability, or an electrolytic capacitor in motor-generator mode.
All of these methods are based on using a reed switch, but it’s also possible to build the motor with a two-transistor circuit instead. Either way, it’s an easy, fun project to try with your science-geek little ones or buddies. Check out how to build it in this Hackday project. You might also be interested in trying these challenging but awesome DIY projects to spark your kid’s creativity with your science-geek youngsters.
9. Electric Motor Made Using MDF and Speaker Magnet
Got a science project deadline quickly coming up but are stuck in the fog of creativity, so you still have no idea what to build? Whether it’s a work or school thing, stress less because an electric motor made using MDF is guaranteed to impress even the meanest of judges. Even better, it has quite a straightforward build, so you won’t be spending all your days on it either. Check out how to build it in the Instructables guide.
Build a DIY Electric Motor: Final Thoughts
Motors are fun to build. And they are highly practical too, meaning you can make quite a number and keep them in readiness for any project that might pop up on your radar. We researched and compiled a variety of ways to make an electric motor, so you can have one type for each possibility.
For instance, the homopolar electric motor may come in handy when you are outdoors and need a quick-build motor, while the microwatt pulse motor would be a pretty awesome alternative when you’re out of power. Have fun building or tweaking any of the nine electric motor projects above.