How to Build a Rubber Band Motor

Updated April 17, 2017

When you stretch a rubber band and let it go, it zings across the room. Wouldn't it be great if you could harness some of that energy and use it to move a vehicle? You can. This rubber band motor uses the power of a rubber band to move a spool. You can attach this to a toy car or other vehicle to make it move as well!

Pinch the rubber band between your fingers and insert it into the hole in the spool. Make sure the rubber band is sticking out of both sides of the spool.

Thread the paper clip through one end of the rubber band and tape the clip to the side of the spool.

Put the other end of the rubber band through the washer.

Insert the cotton swab into the loop of rubber band sticking out of the washer.

Twirl the cotton swab around and around until the rubber band becomes very taut.

Let go of the rubber band and the swab to see your motor run.


You can attach this motor to a model plane, a car, or another small vehicle to propel the vehicle forward. This activity works well in explaining potential and kinetic energy to high school or middle school students. (The potential energy is stored in the wound rubber band.)

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber band
  • Spool
  • Paper clip
  • Tape
  • Metal washer
  • Cotton swab
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About the Author

Keren (Carrie) Perles is a freelance writer with professional experience in publishing since 2004. Perles has written, edited and developed curriculum for educational publishers. She writes online articles about various topics, mostly about education or parenting, and has been a mother, teacher and tutor for various ages. Perles holds a Bachelor of Arts in English communications from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.