How to Make an Electric Motor

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Electric motors are among the most vital pieces of equipment in today's society. They provide power for endless gadgets and appliances, from refrigerators and dishwashers to the ignition systems in automobiles. While large electric motors require careful engineering and considerable resources, you can create a simple motor using common household items to demonstrate how the principles work.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 D-cell battery 1 small magnet (a refrigerator magnet or the like) 1 length of magnet wire with enamel insulation 1 thick rubber band 2 large paper clips 1 thick felt-tip pen Sandpaper Glue 1 piece of plywood to serve as a base
  • Wrap a length of magnet wire 10 or 15 times around a thick felt-tip pen. You can also use a toilet paper tube or a paper towel tube: something that lets you shape the wire into a coil. Leave at least 3 inches free at both ends of the wire.

  • Slide the coil off the pen and then wrap the loose ends around the coil to keep it stable. Make sure the ends are wrapped around opposite sides of the coil, to provide it with a proper balance. Leave 1/4 inch or so of free wire sticking out of the ends.

  • Using sandpaper, remove the insulation from one end of the wire. Place the other end of the wire flat on a table and sand off the insulation only on one side of the wire.

  • Bend two large paper clips into a hook shape.

  • Place one paper clip hook on each end of a D-cell battery and use a thick rubber band to hold them in place. Make sure the hooks contact the battery terminals.

  • Place a magnet against one side of the battery.

  • Balance the coil along the hooks of the battery and give it a little push. It should begin to spin of its own volition, creating electricity.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may need to adjust the position of the magnet slightly to achieve the best results.

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