How To Make A DC Motor (Video)

Electrical devices such as refrigerator, television and vacuum cleaners require electricity to operate.

Do you know how electricity is created?

And how do batteries operate a motor?

Electricity is created using magnetic field.

If you have a strong magnet and a battery, you can make a simple homemade motor.

Try this very cool experiment.

And watch this cool video!

build a motor using battery, copper wire and a strong magnet

How To Build Simple DC Motor

Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

If you like playing with magnets, you will love this building a simple motor experiment.

Warning: It is crucial to emphasize the importance of adult supervision during such experiments, as magnets can pose a hazard if swallowed. Please keep them away from children who still put everything into their mouths.

There is also a risk of short circuits leading to excessive heat when handling battery terminals. Insulated wire is recommended to ensure safety during the construction process.


  • neodymium disc magnet
  • (thick) copper wire or this thinner version that we used (which is more challenging but still doable)
  • alkaline battery such as AA or AAA


  • wire cutter
  • a plastic ring to support the magnet (optional)
  • adult supervision


  1. Cut a piece of copper wire that is roughly 6-8 inches long.

    batter, copper wires, magnet and plastic support for the simple DC motor experiment
  2. Bend the wire in the middle to create a contact point to stand on top of the battery.

    form a small loop using a copper wire
  3. While the middle of the wire stands on top of the battery, bend both sides of the wire downwards.

    bend the two ends of the wire
  4. You can make any shape you want as long as the center can balance on the battery when it spins and the wire frame can touch the magnet that will be placed underneath the battery.

    Place the loop on the battery
  5. (Optional) Place the magnet on top of the plastic ring. I use it because my wire frame is quite long and it will touch the table without the ring.

    Put battery and wire on top of the magnet and plastic support to create the motor
  6. Carefully put the battery in the center of the disc magnet. Since neodymium magnets are very strong, be careful not to pinch your fingers when doing this. If you need to pull the battery away from the magnet, slide it off the disc. Don’t pull the battery directly from above or you may risk breaking the magnet (or making it very hard to do for yourself).
  7. Slowly place the wire frame onto the battery and watch it spin.

Warning: Let go of the wire once it makes contact with the battery terminal. Holding a stationary wire to the battery terminals will cause a short circuit which can generate a lot of heat and burn your hand.



Making a wire frame that can balance and spin without falling can require some trial and error.

But once you get the basics, you can try making frames in other shapes.

One especially artsy version of this experiment is this wire dancer.


You just built a motor. Amazing, isn’t it? 

What you’ve built is called a homopolar motor, which uses direct current from the battery to power rotational movement.

It is called a homopolar motor because, unlike conventional DC motors, the polarity of the magnetic field from the magnet does not change.

When electricity moves through a magnetic field, a force, called Lorentz Force, is generated.

In our experiment, the copper wire conducts electricity from one end of the battery through the magnet to the other end.

As the electric current moves through the magnetic field coming from the neodymium magnet, Lorentz Force is generated which causes the wire to spin.

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The first ever homopolar motor of this type was built by Michael Faraday in 1821.

Michael Faraday was an English scientist who contributed tremendously to the study of electromagnetism.

Do neodymium magnets conduct electricity?

Neodymium magnets do conduct electricity, especially if nickel is plated on the surface. Even though it is a conductor, it is not as good as others such as aluminum copper or iron.

AA size battery stands on a magnet with copper wire touching both the battery and the magnet. An illustration of How To Make A Motor | Electricity And Magnetism Cool Experiment

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