Mounting Motors

Mounting Motors

This final fabrication project I think has given me the most grief out of all of them and I’m pretty sure it’s my own fault. I still have some trouble making a DC motor function on its own and yet for some reason I still chose it as the one I wanted to try to incorporate this week.

I initially had some trouble thinking of anything to make at all until someone suggested a carousel. After looking into how exactly a carousel functions I scrapped that (The challenge of making individual parts go up and down is super enticing but I figured it probably wouldn’t be feasible at this time) and bought some gears thinking I could at least get a system of independent concentric rings to turn off of the same motor.

That was a little over ambitious…

So I narrowed it down further to just one ring that I hoped to rotate using a gear offset to the side (in order to make room for a center mounted LED). I’m pretty sure I figured out how to do this one! I found the distance between the teeth on my gears by coloring the edge and running it along a piece of paper and then translating that into illustrator.


Unfortunately after that I started to suspect that the laser wouldn’t be able to make this work for me and I’d just end up with burned paper (but I think I’m going to try this method on the paper cutter later and see how it turns out).

Throwing out gears all together, I was now down to one ring attached directly to the motor. And attaching it should have been the least frustrating part? I’d previously attached the gears with a freed up coupler from a screw terminal block, made some small rods from cut down q-tips, and just needed to test a setup before building the entire thing. And then both of the leads on my motor broke off while I was trying to change it…


So I built a rough frame out of mat board around the broken one, and swapped it out for a new motor the next day. This time with some hopefully more secure wires.


But now somehow, despite being the same 3V motor  from the same store, the new one no longer wanted to work off of just a coin cell battery. Or even off of two. I could only get it to spin with a 9 volt. So I attached it to my housing with a couple wires through the screw holes, and sunk a bunch of time into trying to figure out why and how to fix it in order to stop my motor from burning out or flying clear out of the box.


I attached various resistors (and it wouldn’t turn on at all), LEDs (they died a terrible death), and at some point had to take a break from troubleshooting and printed the the strip to make my ring. The stars were intended to be completely cut out but I liked the partial etch and chose not to run the job again.


It’s then attached to the center rod using four different strips of paper.



I would eventually find out that my issues were caused by not having enough current! But by the time someone helped me get to that answer I’d become pressed for time and resigned myself to having a slightly faulty project this week. I’d run some tests with the wheel attached to see if a little weight would slow it down at all.


And the answer to that was no. It still spun far too aggressively but I at least felt comfortable fully constructing the box and attaching my motor with the knowledge that it wasn’t defective and that I could go in later and fix it with a different power set up.

The wheel ended up slightly off center and also a little crooked but at this point I’m just happy it even turns on. Even if it spins so aggressively I may have accidentally created a tiny sander…