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A motor in 10 minutes

A motor in 10 minutes

The motor is simply a battery, a magnet, and a small coil of wire you make yourself. There is a secret to making it (which I will of course share with you) which is at the same time clever and delightfully simple.
What you will need:

A battery holder, such as Radio Shack #270-402 (holds a “C” cell) or #270-403 (holds a “D” cell).

A battery to fit the holder.

A magnet such as Radio Shack #64-1877, #64-1895, #64-1883, #64-1879, or #64-1888.

Some magnet wire such as Radio Shack #278-1345. We want enamel coated 22 gauge (or thicker) wire. We will only need about a yard of wire, so the Radio Shack package will make a dozen motors or more.

Some heavier wire such as Radio Shack #278-1217 or #278-1216. We want bare wire of 18 or 20 gauge, so we will be removing the plastic insulation from the wires listed above. We will need less than a foot of this wire per motor.

A quicky motor


We start by winding the armature, the part of the motor that moves. To make the armature nice and round, we wind it on a cylindrical coil form, such as a ball point pen or a small AAA battery. The diameter is not critical, but should be related to the wire size. Thin wire requires a small form, thick wire requires a larger form.

Leaving a couple of inches of wire free at one end, wind 25 or 30 turns arounf the coil form. Don’t try to be neat, a little randomness will help the bundle keep its shape better. The coil will end up looking like the photo.

Now carefully pull the coil off of the form, holding the wire so it doesn’t spring out of shape.

To make the coil hold its shape permanently, we will wrap each free end of the wire around the coil a couple of times, making sure that the new binding turns are exactly opposite each other, so the coil can turn easily on the axis formed by the two free ends of wire, like a wheel.

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