Science Project: How to Build a Magnetic Motor

Magnetic motors are an integral part of many machines. From children's toys to televisions to roller coasters, magnetic motors are used in countless mechanical devices. Building your own electromagnetic motor is simple and requires few materials. This project is an excellent way to investigate the inner workings of everyday devices and explore the connection between magnets and electricity.

Things You'll Need

  • Magnetic flat head drywall screw
  • Disc-shaped magnet (the same size as the flat screw head)
  • 4 inches copper wire
  • D cell battery


    • 1

      Set the flat head of the screw on the disc magnet. This will magnetize the screw.

    • 2

      Bend the copper wire into the shape of a "V."

    • 3

      Attach the pointed end of the magnet-and-screw combination to the positive end of the battery. The magnetized point will hold the screw and magnet in place.

    • 4

      Press and hold one end of the copper wire to the negative end of the battery with your finger. This creates an electrical connection from the negative end of the battery to the wire.

    • 5

      Lightly touch the free end of the wire to the side of the disc magnet. The magnet-and-screw combination will begin to spin immediately. The longer you hold the wire to the magnet, the faster the screw will spin.

Tips & Warnings

  • The heavier your magnet and screw are, the less friction there will be on the battery and the faster your electromagnetic motor will spin. Simply put, the larger your components, the more powerful your motor will be.
  • As your magnet motor spins, the friction at the point of attachment will make it hot to the touch. Wear hear-resistant gloves to disassemble the motor.
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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images

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