How to Build a Motor out of a Battery Magnet Paper Clip

Written by diana nolen
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Harness the strength of a magnet and the power of a 1.5-volt battery to create a functioning motor. Building a small motor teaches students the power of motion, as the magnet and battery repel and attract, creating motion that keeps the motor moving.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 30-gauge insulated wire
  • Wire cutter
  • 1 nail file/emery board or sandpaper sheet
  • 2 large uncoated paper clips
  • Pencil
  • Masking tape
  • 1 small round magnet
  • 1 D-cell/1.5 volt battery

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  1. 1

    Cut 12 inches of wire. Leave an inch of wire as excess before winding the remaining wire around your finger. Wind the wire, leaving another inch of wire free at the end (wrap the wire at least three times). Remove the wire from your finger.

  2. 2

    Wrap each of the one-inch ends around the coil three times; taking it through the centre hole to create a ring. The wrapped ends should hold the wire on opposite sides of the ring.

  3. 3

    Use the nail file to remove 1/2 inch of the protective coating on the wire tips. File gently, the wire is fragile. Make sure all of the coating is removed from the tips.

  4. 4

    Straighten the paper clips. Form a small loop at the top of each paper clip by wrapping it around a pencil.

  5. 5

    Tape the paper clips to the ends of the battery; one on each end, with the battery lying on its side. The straight ends of each paper clip should be in contact with the metal ends of the battery. The loop ends should stick up straight, level with each other.

  6. 6

    Take the wire coil from Step 1 and place the filed ends of the wire segments into each paper-clip loop. The wire loop will hang over the battery, between the paper clips.

  7. 7

    Place the magnet on the battery, below the coil. The position of the battery may need to be realigned and adjusted until the coil begins to turn. When the coil turns your motor is complete.

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