How to Build a Motor

Most motors that are commercially built have complicated parts and specifications to optimize their performance. However, on the more basic level almost anyone can build a motor using some cheap and commonly available tools. It is a fun exercise that helps you learn about the underlying scientific principles found in every motor no matter how advanced it may be.


  1. 1
    Wind wire around a cylindrical object like a pen or pencil cell. This coil of wire will be the moving motor armature. If the wire is thick then the diameter of the coil should be larger. A thin wire with smaller coil diameter is recommended for beginners since it is easier to bend. Make approximately 30 loops in the coil so enough power can run through the electric motor.
  2. 2
    Separate the cylindrical object from the wire so all you are left with is the wire coil. Hold the wire tightly to keep it bent.
  3. 3
    Wrap the ends of the wire around the rest of the wire. This will prevent the wire from uncoiling.
  4. 4
    Create another loop that is perpendicular to your previous to secure the wrapped wire. Make the loose ends point outwards at opposite ends of the coil.
  5. 5
    Hold the coil up against a flat surface like a tabletop. It should look like the wheel on a car. This will allow you to get one of the loose ends of the wire flat against the flat surface.
  6. 6
    Scrape the surface of the wire to strip off the insulation only at one side of the loose end. When you are done the scraped side will look shinier than the other side.
  7. 7
    Repeat the process of removing insulation for the other loose end of the motor coil so that the shiny part on both ends is facing upwards.
  8. 8
    Make the axle supports so the armature can be placed on them and spin easily. The axle supports also need to be made of conductive metal wire because they provide the points of contact where electricity will flow through the electric motor. You need 2 axle supports so just take 2 pieces of small wire and make a loop in the middle of each one. Once you have made the axle support it should look like the loop end of a safety pin.
  9. 9
    Place the armature so that the loose ends (with insulation stripped at one side) are going through the loops of the axle supports. Basically, the armature should be in mid-air with nothing touching it except the insides of axle support loops.
  10. 10
    Attach the other ends of the axle supports to the opposite ends of the battery holder.
  11. 11
    Attach the magnet on top of the battery holder so it is near the armature.
  12. 12
    Put the charged battery inside the battery holder.
  13. 13
    Give the armature a gentle spin to get it in motion. Once the armature is set in motion the alternating electricity received from the battery through the axle supports will make it continue spinning.


  • The insulation is only stripped from one side to alternate the conductivity of the wire. The changing conduction of electricity through the wire helps the motor to continue moving.
  • If you find it difficult to tie the coil using the remaining wire you can just use electric tape or scotch tape to hold the motor coil instead.
  • You can use this method to build a motor of any type by replacing the battery and battery holder with other sources of energy and their respective containers. The core idea is to get alternative energy flowing through the motor armature in some way.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire
  • Magnet
  • Battery
  • Battery holder

Article Info

Categories: Cars & Other Vehicles | Electrical Maintenance