How to Build a DC Motor

Building a DC motor is often an assessment task in the HSC Physics Course. The truth is it is easy to do well in this assessment if you follow a couple simple videos and use some critical thinking to get the best result. Often times when teachers are marking, we are looking for novelty to award the top marks to. We want to see something which is different and stands out from the crowd – for all the right reasons. We also want to see you have grown as a result of the assignment or task.

Let’s start simple, watch this video on how to build a simple DC Motor.

Okay, you could probably do this one in 20 minutes so maybe learn the lesson by doing or just know enough by watching that video. Building a bigger and better DC motor will be harder and will require you to trouble shoot. Make sure you know how a DC motor works. Here’s a quick summary:

A DC motor works by converting electrical energy into mechanical energy. It consists of a rotor that rotates inside a stator, a field magnet, and a commutator. The stator creates a magnetic field, and the field magnet creates a magnetic field in the rotor. The interaction between these two magnetic fields causes the rotor to rotate. The commutator changes the direction of the current flowing in the rotor, allowing it to maintain continuous rotation. The speed of the motor can be controlled by adjusting the amount of current flowing through it.

Ok but how will you build one?

o build a simple DC motor at home, you will need the following materials:

  1. A battery or power supply
  2. A cylindrical magnet
  3. A copper wire
  4. Insulated wire
  5. A switch
  6. A nail
  7. A cardboard or plastic disk


  1. Wind the copper wire around the nail to create an armature (rotor).
  2. Connect the armature to the battery or power supply using the insulated wire.
  3. Attach the cardboard or plastic disk to the armature to serve as the commutator.
  4. Place the cylindrical magnet on one side of the cardboard disk and the battery on the other side.
  5. Close the switch to allow the current to flow through the wire.
  6. The interaction between the magnetic fields will cause the armature to rotate.

Note: This is a basic and simplified explanation and may not produce a high-performing motor. It is intended as a demonstration or educational project only.

You can watch how to build a more advanced DC motor here:

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