PROJECT: Make your own motor/generator

Posted: May 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

Here’s a project for all of you. I would like you all to make a small electric motor or a small electric generator. You will find a lot of help on the Internet, including Youtube videos, on how to make small electric motors and generators of different kinds. I am not suggesting any one kind of design over another. Choose any design that you want to try making. Also feel free to experiment and tinker with the given design. You might come up with a simpler or more interesting design yourself.


Faraday’s Disk – the first electric generator

I would suggest Arvind Gupta’s website as one of the resources you might want to take a look at. See the short films under the title ‘ELECTRICITY EXPERIMENTS’ on this page:

We will use these models during our classes on electromagnetism. It will be easier for you to make these models right now during these holidays due to easier availability of resources at home. Do not forget to bring the models to school. It would also form a major part of the ‘internal assessment’ in your physics course. And before you go off on a tangent and spend your valuable time making a model which ‘looks’ neat and beautiful because I mentioned ‘internal assessment’, here’s something for you to think about:

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” — Steve Jobs

In case you are making a motor, try rotating something with your motor. If you are making a generator, try making it work using different sources of energy – water from the running tap, wind, etc. And yes, your generator should be able to at least light up an LED.

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  1. abizar bagasrawala says:

    sir, i’m sorry i didn’t respond for so long. wasn’t busy, i don’t know why i didn’t. i’ve read all the chapters uptil now and noted my questions, shall ask u in school. i’ve decided to make the motor, but i had one question. will simplicity be better (like what you can do with less resources) or elaborateness work better ( as it seems more ‘complex’ that way). I’m asking with reference to marks, so please help me. and sir, try not to be ambiguous, like you know both are good and all. choose one cause i’ve got two designs uptil now. or should i do both?

    • your marks will not depend on the simplicity or complexity of the design. but i would prefer that you work with a simpler design and then tinker with the design and see what kind of changes you can make by changing different components of the motor, e.g. using aluminium wires instead of copper, changing the magnet, etc.

  2. Mehak Dhawan says:

    Ok the Arvind gupta models r to delicate will they be of any use or should we make those only as they will be good enough

    • no, arvind gupta’s models are not that flimsy. they can also be dismantled and put back together quite easily. but you feel free to look at other options and choose.

  3. varshavaddiraj says:

    sir,,,will we be marked on this?is it compulsory as i have a lot of projects to finish …i know this also a subject which is there for me..but u have no time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!seriously with my economic,math,history, English ,geography projects……i know it is there for everyone so i am asking…sorry about the question…..

    • relax. you still have 7-8 days ahead of you. there is enough time varsha, even with ALL the subjects that you have. don’t worry you will be able to finish everything if you plan your work well.

  4. varshavaddiraj says:

    INTERNAL ASSESSMENT?????????????can we do it in school… time at all…very busy…

    • NOOOOOO. Not in school. There will be other assignments to be done in school. You won’t have time here. And as I have mentioned in the post, getting the materials, etc. will also be easier at home than in school.

  5. varshavaddiraj says:

    on the arvind gupta page there are a lot of different experiments on motors and generators , sp can we just choose one and do it?

  6. Mehak Dhawan says:

    vaddi i guess it will be a fun assignment so u can sit with your bro or mom and do it they can help u

  7. varshavaddiraj says: sounds really interesting….the sad part is i don’t have time also i have no other option but to do it….i need my marks…and also can we just choose one from arvind guptas page and do it?please some one answer fast….

    • as heloise has said already, you need to make only one. but you will enjoy making it (and probably learn more as well) if you change your orientation a little bit and not do it only because you need your marks.

  8. Heloise Vyas says:

    varsha we are supposed to choose only “one”! actually it depends how many ever you wanna make, but since you seem to be very busy, i don’t think you’ll be able to make more than one!

  9. Heloise Vyas says:

    sir, is making a spool generator a good idea?

    • i don’t know what a spool generator means but if it is something that generates electric current without using any source of electric current (i.e. battery, etc.), it should be fine.

  10. abizar bagasrawala says:

    sir i’m sorry for the off-topic discussion, but i need to ask you whether we will be needing white kurta pyjamas for asthachal this term… besides the monsoon, i heard that we would be allowed to dress in coloured formal clothes for asthachal henceforth, so please do clarify. sir and if that rule isn’t applicable, could you also look into it :D please reply asap, leaving for a holiday

  11. Tanvi Chitre says:

    Is a homopolar motor okay or is it too simple??

  12. ruchi joshi says:

    Is the wind generator alright? Its in the list of experiments in the arvind gupta website

  13. Mehak Dhawan says:

    Po can we try making a (mini) van Di graph generater in school as an experiment arun sir had explained how it works in seventh

    • you can try making one. it would require sustained effort though. it’s not something you can put together in 2 hours and it will start working. you will need to spend some time making one which can actually work.

    • but that is not what i meant by the electrical generator. van de graaf is an electrical charge collector/generator. what i have asked you all to make is an electrical current generator.

  14. Tanvi Chitre says:

    Okay does anyone know where to buy a neodymium magnet??? If anyone does please reply to this post asap!! thanks!

  15. hetvee says:

    you could try it online maybe…

  16. ok sir this might be out of the box…but i am making a generator using potatoes,so is that fine?

  17. sir when will you be posting the answers to the worksheet on electric current?

  18. varshavaddiraj says:

    okay sir…..
    i will make it , how small or big should it be?

  19. varshavaddiraj says:

    can we use batteries like cells sorta thing…

  20. Heloise Vyas says: sir just check if this is fine, please?

  21. Heloise Vyas says:

    this thing looks a bit nonsensical, i mean is it fine for a project?-

  22. Heloise Vyas says:

    sorry, but this is the last link..sir this was the spool generator i was talking about.

  23. varshavaddiraj says:

    gud then…i finished mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Kritika says:

    is this spiral motor too easy?

  25. rahi says:

    hi pk,
    i was planning to make the wind generator(its on the arvind gupta site). i have got all the materials except the neodinum magnets. Electricity/ science shops only have bar or U magnets. I bought bar magnets but they dont fit inside the coil. i do have smaller magnets but they are too weak. is there any way i can get neodinum magnets in school? in the lab or perhaps it can be ordered? in that case, i’ll fit everything else and get it and fit the magnet part of it in school? do let me know. . .

  26. rahi says:

    if its not possible, i’ll make a generator. . .

  27. rahi says:

    sorry, i meant motor.

  28. sir can i make my motor at school because i will be needing the carpentry hut for it?

  29. Heloise Vyas says: this is the one i’m it fine? and one more question, can i try making the spool generator in school later? (i’ll get all the equipments)

  30. Jai Patil says:

    Pk, can you use have to make the generator, right from scratch with the coils and magnets all wound up manually, or can you dismantle gadgets and use their parts to do so?

  31. Jai Patil says:

    was on a month long vacation, came back only a few days back. can i do some of the work in school ?

  32. Heloise says:

    Sir, can you please get a neodymium magnet for me in school too? :(
    please please. i can’t find an appropriate one here..the one i have is not suitable for the project.

  33. hetvee says:

    umm.. sir i know it’s late but is it alright to make a crank generator?

  34. Aarohi Sinha says:

    Sir, I am planning to make a no magnet motor after watching the arvind gupta video…but I don’t want to use a battery in my design….I know that a battery has two metals and an acid which carries out the reaction….As far as I could remember, Arun Sir had made us do an experiment in which we made a pile having copper and zinc plates placed alternately and put acid between the the plates……when connected the top and bottom of the pile with an LED,it would light up……the only problem is that the reaction would last for few minutes……There is a video on YouTube which tells about how to make a battery using bleaching powder, but I am afraid if it can last for long….if you find any battery replacement please let me know…..By the way can the school provide us with acid if we require it in our project

    • a generator uses motion to create electric current. the zinc-acid pile you are talking about is also a battery. so if you want to make a battery you can, in school and we can provide you with the acid and other things you might need. but for this project, please aim for a generator.

      • Aarohi Sinha says:

        My aim is make a motor and then attach a LED bulb to it which will make it a generator…..if I am not wrong……by the way it becoming difficult for me to find the plates so, I might drop the idea of replacing a battery……I am not about the voltage and how long can it last for…..

  35. Aarohi Sinha says:

    and can replacing the battery make my design complicated?????

  36. Jai Patil says:

    The term generator is really confusing me, could you create an engine or have wind blowing and simply attach a small dc motor and spin it backwards to create electricity or do you have to create the dc motor from scratch as well, …. Pls tell me you need not make the motor from scratch….

    • Jai Patil says:

      Also is it worth creating an engine as well to work the motor or is there just no marks for that at all…

    • No, Jai. Making an engine and using a motor will not do. you will have to construct the whole thing. from the scratch. no shortcuts here. you can, if you want, make the thing in school. it is already 28 may today. but if it’s possible, get the materials from home. it will be more difficult to arrange for things from school.

  37. what do you mean? a generator converts motion to electric current. what else could it be like?

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