Museum of Science and Industry


Build an Electric Motor

Step 10 of 11: Spin the coil

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Give the coil a gentle spin, and watch what happens. Warning: Disconnect the electric motor when not using, or after a few minutes of use because the circuit will get hot.

Building an electric motor requires patience and tinkering. If your motor doesn’t work, check this:

  • Is it on a level surface?
  • Is the coil well balanced? It should spin without wobbling.
  • Try spinning the coil in both directions. It may work in one direction but not the other.
  • Make sure the wires are making good electrical contact with the battery terminals and the paper clips.
  • Flip the magnets over so that the opposite pole is facing the coil.
  • Make sure the insulation is completely scraped off the arms of the coil.
  • Check the clearance between the bottom of the coil and the magnets. It should be about 1 centimeter.
  • Make sure the loops in the paper-clip holders are about the same height.

Museum Hours
  • Extended hours through Sept. 1:
    Daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    Open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas
More Information

Museum Location
Museum of Science+Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
1 (773) 684-1414
Getting Here

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