Prototypes and Experiments

World’s Simplest Motor?

This is usually what you think of when you think of a DC motor (OK, maybe not quite this big). Inside is a rotor turned by a magnetic stator. That turning motion goes out the shaft to whatever it is the motor is driving. But, you know us here at Toasters. If there’s a simpler way to do it, we’ll find it. Thanks to Toaster Friend Jeff Glucker…yes, that Jeff Glucker…we may very well have the simplest motor…in the world. Hit the jump for a video.


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  • OA5599

    I used to have one of these on my desk, but that was at least 8 moves ago.

    [youtube _gDuMyV0hS8 youtube]

  • OA5599
    • But is that "electric"?

      • dmilligan

        Heat, I believe. I can't remember exactly, and don't feel like looking it up.

        • Yup, heat. The black flag absorbs the heat and the white flag reflects it. The temperature difference causes it to move. It's a very simplified Sterling cycle motor.

          While not electric, still damn cool!

          • dmilligan

            Oh, yeah. Elegant, even.

  • dmilligan

    Excellent! That's probably a model of the kinds of motors we'll see in nanobots. I can't wait. Grey goo be damned.

  • BlackIce_GTS

    I have nothing to add, I just wanted to close that italic tag for you. Looks like I can't do that from here.

    • Deartháir

      No, but I can. We'll make sure he's appropriately beaten. And it was an EM tag, not an I tag.

      • dmilligan

        He's been misspelling words too. Are you feeding him properly?

        • Deartháir


          • dmilligan

            Ah, you fool. That's the best laugh I had all day.

  • This not only the simplest but also the oldest electric motor: it is very close to the first one Micheal Faraday built. Having built one of these myself, I can attest that they are a fun way to spend time. It does require some fine tuning to get it to run for any length of time. The wire needs to be stiff enough to keep its shape and balanced enough to stay on top of the battery.
    If you have a strong magnet, a battery and a wire, give it a try: it's worth it. If children happen to be nearby, get them involved…

    • OA5599

      Do you put the children in series or parallel?

  • All right, I could not take it anymore: I had to play with it… Notice the content of my notebook screen 😉
    [youtube MLkrE_kOpDw youtube]

    • You win the internets for today…and all weekend!

    • B72

      Yours appears to have a built in speed governor. Excessive speed causes loss of contact. Very cool!

  • dmilligan

    I see that you've finished your homework early. Well done, you may play until Monday.