How to build a toy car using a motor

Written by grahame turner
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Toy cars are fun to build and can be made out of everyday objects in a short time. Making that car move, on the other hand, is actually more fun. If you happen to have a small electric motor, some batteries or a solar cell sitting around, you have everything you need to make a motorised toy car. It's just a simple case of building the car and adding the motor.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wood, cardboard or material for the car base
  • Saw or scissors
  • 2 Straws, pairs of eye hooks or material to hold axles
  • Glue
  • 2 Dowels, skewers, pencils or materials for axles
  • Toy gears or elastic band
  • 4 toy wheels or materials to make wheels
  • Electric motor
  • Wire
  • Electrical tape
  • Soldering iron and solder (optional)
  • On-off switch (optional)
  • Batteries, battery holders or solar cell

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  1. 1

    Cut and shape the car base into the size and shape of your intended car base.

  2. 2

    Glue the axle holders onto the base of the car. Make sure these are attached straight, perpendicular to the sides and parallel to each other.

  3. 3

    Glue both of your axles into one of the toy wheels.

  4. 4

    Slide the axles through the holders.

  5. 5

    Decide which axle will be the drive axle. This is the axle to which the motor is attached. Glue one of the other wheels onto the non-drive axle.

  6. 6

    Attach the motor to the car base just above the missing wheel on the drive axle.

  7. 7

    Connect the motor to the wheels. If you're using gears, attach one gear to the motor, and slide the other onto the drive axle. If you're using a rubber band, slip it around both ends--make sure to use only an elastic that is taut around the axle and motor shaft. Test the motor: when you spin the shaft, the drive axle should turn.

  8. 8

    Glue the final wheel into place.

  9. 9

    Connect two wires to the terminals on the motor. You can loop and twist the wires onto these terminals. For a more permanent hold, you can use solder or electrical tape.

  10. 10

    Attach the battery holders to the vehicle. To give the car better balance, you may want to place them on the opposite side to where the motor is attached. Make sure the wires will reach both ends of the battery.

  11. 11

    Locate the wire connected to the positive (+) end of the motor and connect that to the positive (+) end of the battery, battery holder or solar cell. You can twist the wire on, use electrical tape or solder the two together.

  12. 12

    Attach the remaining wire to the negative (-) terminal on the battery. If you are using an on-off switch, connect one end of that to the wire first, then attach another wire that leads from the switch to the battery. If you aren't using a switch, you should probably just tape it to the battery.

  13. 13

    Look at the wheels as soon as the motor is connected to the battery. The wheels should turn immediately unless the switch is in the "off" position. Your car is ready to roll.

Tips and warnings

  • Pay attention to the voltage of the motor. Make sure you use only batteries that add up to less than that voltage. For example, if you have a 2-volt motor, don't use a 9-volt battery or you will burn out the motor.

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