My first attempt at building an electric motor

Let’s find out what happened next when I turned the page to the DC motor chapter. As mentioned previously, I enjoyed building things. As a matter of fact, if you like to build things, take things apart, figure out what makes things work, or why they work then you’re well on the discovery road. You probably like to take old toys apart, maybe build a wooden go-cart, create a flowing volcano, or ask a lot of questions of your older brothers or sisters or your parents or guardians. I’d guess you are inquisitive, some people would call you ‘eager for knowledge!’ That can be a good trait and if guided in the right direction and can be very helpful to you in the future.

Okay, back to DC motors. Besides building things, it was especially rewarding to see things move. So, in following the instructions to make a DC motor, I was able to combine the building aspect and the moving aspect into one project. The first DC motor I tried to build was called “The Tin-Can Wonder.” I was just learning to use basic tools  like a hand saw, tin snips, a hammer, and a knife. The hand saw was to saw a wooden block platform. The tin snips were used to cut the parts for the armature, the field magnets,  and the brushes. The hammer was to hammer a finishing nail through the five pieces of tin. The screwdriver was to wind small screws into the wooden block platform to hold the field magnet, the brushes, and the supports for the armature. And finally, the knife was to remove the insulation from the wire that was used to make the motor windings and to wind the field magnet.

I got really excited because I was coming to the end of the instructions. I could just see it in my imagination – the armature turning after I hooked it up to a dry cell. After all the parts were assembled, I just sat there and admired what I had built; it brought me great satisfaction. My dad didn’t help me on building this as he had helped me build the fort. I held my breath as I attached the dry cell to the field magnets and the brush. When I touched the wire to the dry cell, nothing happened. The motor didn’t turn, it just sat there. What was wrong? Did I wire something incorrectly? I went back and read through the instructions several times, made some adjustments, and still the motor wouldn’t run. After working until 9pm at night, my mom called me to bed. I lay awake contemplating why the motor didn’t turn. Could there be a solution I had not thought about? Next time we’ll learn the solution.

P.S. Please do not use these tools without proper adult supervision. My dad had taught me how to use these tools and I was familiar in using them. Safety must come first.

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