Virginia Tech® home

Motor Construction Project

Construted Simple Motor Running

This project gives students the chance to build their own electric motor to keep! This simple design takes about 30 minutes to construct. The motor shows that moving charge (current) can produce a magnetic field. The current is supplied by the potential difference between the two poles of the battery. When the current runs through the circular loop of wire, it produces a magnetic field that is repelled by (or attracted to depending on the orientation) the strong magnet on the battery. Since only half of the wire leads are stripped, when the wire is rotated by this torque current can no longer flow. This on/off swap of current through the coil allows the magnet to apply pulses of torque in the same direction, accelerating the coil's spin.

Subjects covered

  • Current
  • Torque
  • Magnetic force
  • Relationship between magnetism and electricity


Due to their cost, supplies must be discussed with the coordinator before scheduling this project.

Provided by the requester

  • None

Provided by us 

  • Consumed supplies
    • Enamelled wire
    • Sand paper
    • D Cell batteries
    • Paper clips
    • Tape
    • Strong disk magnets 
  • Reusabed supplies
    • Wire clippers
    • Goggles


  1. Make a coil with the copper wire by wrapping it around the battery
  2. Remove the insulating enamel on one side of the straight ends of the coil
  3. Bend the paper clips to make a stirrup to hold the coil
  4. Tape a paper clip stirrup to both terminals of the battery, ensuring good contact with the metal
  5. Place the magnet on the battery in between the two paper clips
  6. Put the coil in the stirrups