First you need to gather up all of the materials you will need. Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this project:
- 5 small magnets
- 2 large paper clips
- A plastic, paper or foam cup
- 20 feet insulated 20-gauge copper wire
- Masking tape
- D battery (1.5 volt) in a battery holder
- 2 alligator clip leads
- Wire strippers
Are you ready? Let’s get started. Wrap the copper wire around the broom handle to create a coil with a 1 inch diameter. Be sure to take each end of the wire and wrap it around the coil to hold the coil in place. Strip 2 inches of insulation off both ends of the wire using the wire strippers. Next, grab your cup and attach 3 magnets to the bottom of the cup using the masking tape. Turn the cup upside-down and put the remaining 2 magnets on top of the cup. The magnets on the top of the cup will not need to be taped because there are magnets on the other side of the cup. Unfold one end of each of the paper clips. Tape one of the paper clip ends to the side of the cup so that the rest of the paper clip is standing up above the cup. Repeat with the other paper clip on the other side of the cup. The paper clips will function as a cradle for the coil to rest on. Attach the ends of the coil to the paper clips so that the coil will sit in place (see the diagram for further help). You need to make sure that there is about 1/16 inch in between the coil and the top of the magnets. Place the battery beside the cup and attach one alligator clip to a battery terminal and a paperclip. Attach the other alligator clip to the opposite battery terminal and opposite paperclip. Finally, spin the coil to start it running. Congratulations! You just built an electric motor!
So I bet you’re wondering how all of this will work? Essentially, one end of the coil has become a North Pole and the other a South Pole. Each of the three magnets attracts its opposite pole. And in turn, it repels its own pole of the coil, thus causing the coil to rotate creating an electric motor.