How to Build an Electric Motor

An electric motor is tool for changing electrical energy into mechanical energy. The principle behind the device is that when a rod carrying electrical current is placed in a magnetic field, it produces rotational force on the rod. Electric motors and electric generators are both placed under the banner of electric machines.

An electric motor has many applications such as fans, blowers, pumps and drilling tools. They can be run on either DC (Direct Current) or AC (Alternating current) and they are usually classified on the type of source used in their operation.

The home made electric motor usually runs on DC as it is easier to build a DC motor than an AC one, but it can be made to run on alternating power source as well. Making an electric motor is a great learning experience, and they can be used in a science project or do simple house chores.


  • 1

    You can either use a permanent magnet or an electromagnet in this project. Using a permanent magnet is the easier of the two options. The magnet should be small and have a disc shape, and make sure it’s clean and without any forms of rust or corrosion. Purchase ample amounts of copper wire and cut it into three pieces.

    The length of two pieces should be 4 inches and the third wire should be 2 inches long.  Use a wire cutter to strip both edges of the wires. Connect the wires in a way to make a rectangular loop with one side of the rectangle missing.

  • 2

    Arrange a small DC battery or a DC adapter. The voltage of the adapter should be in 5-12 range. Connect ends of the wire pattern with the terminals of adapter. Fix the two magnets about 3 inches away from each other, and place the wire combination between them.

    Put on your safety goggles first, because this motor can achieve rpm upto 1000 and motor parts may fall off due to such high speed.

  • 3

    Connecting the wire ends permanently to the adapter will keep the motor running at all times. So it is recommended to interface a switch in between the circuitry to allow you to take complete control of your motor. You can attach any load with the ends of the motor and the motor will rotate it for you.

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