Motor Projects

There are all sorts of fun things to make in the Motor Projects Kit.

For example: 3-wheeler vehicle; Jittering spaceman or creature; Spinning colour wheel; Spinning dice or game; Fan.

Jittering Spaceman


Jittering Penguin

The spaceman or creature is drawn onto some card and then carefully cut out with scissors. It is best to fold the card in half and draw half of the spaceman then when you cut out with the card still folded you produce a symmetrical shape. Now decorate the spaceman by adding features to make it look more realistic eg. space suit etc.
The card spaceman is then stuck onto the foam block containing the motor using doubled over sticky tape - just like using double-sided tape.


This sketch shows a side view of the foam block with motor, battery and wires.
It is best to fit the motor in the opposite way so that the jittering spaceman balances more steadily otherwise he may fall over too easily when he starts to move!
When you take the motor out and fit it in from the opposite side take care to carefully disconnect the wires from the ends of the battery and then replace them so that they don’t get in the way when you stick on the card body.



The motor can have a variety of different parts fixed onto the end of the spinning shaft or ‘spindle’.

A hub can be used to increase the size of the motor axle so that other parts, eg. a wheel, can be attached.

A hub can be made from a plastic cylinder or a piece cut from a glue stick. The hub must have a small hole pierced in the centre so that it is a tight fit on the motor spindle. The centre hole allows the hub to spin smoothly without any vibration.

An OFF-CENTRE HUB has the hole pierced near the circumference. When it spins it causes a shaking or vibrating effect which is very useful in some projects eg. the jittering creature.

An off-centre hub is used in the ‘motorized Battletank project - see ‘world war 1 and 2’ page.







Any object which is attached to the end of the motor spindle but which is unsymmetrical eg. a piece of plastic tubing with a hole pierced near one end, will cause the same vibration as the off centre hub.

pulley scan02


A pulley is a very special mechanical component. It can be described as a cylinder with a depression or groove around it. It has a central hole and can be attached to the motor spindle. An elastic band or ‘drive belt’ can be fitted in the groove and then passed around a wheel or another larger pulley to transmit the motion of the motor. Combinations of small and large pulleys have the same effect as the chain and gears on a bicycle.

Spinning Dice


The motor has to be pushed in as shown in the left-hand picture to allow room for the large circle of card.
The circle was made by drawing around an old cd taking care to mark the centre as well. Then cut out carefully using scissors.
The circle can be coloured in or divided up in order to give six segments each with a number like a dice (die).
A card pointer can be added so that when the motor is switched off and the wheel stops it points at the score.
All sorts of spinners can be designed eg. with colours, shapes, names, forfeits, dares etc.


This sketch shows a foam wheel with a hub in the centre. There are two strips of sticky tape rolled over with the sticky side outwards and they are stuck onto the wheel. A card circle can be stuck on top. Take care to line up the card circle with the centre of the wheel or the whole thing will shake like the jittering model above!
The hub must be fitted so that the small hole in the centre is accessible so that it can be pushed onto the motor spindle - It is best to fit the hub onto the motor first then fit the foam wheel onto the hub! Then the card circle can be stuck on with tape. The card circle can be cut with scissors to make a fan which blows cool air - another invention!!!

Spinning colour wheel

Colour wheels are great fun and some amazing effects can be achieved eg. by using spirals or by concentric circles of colours.
Simply use white or light coloured card and stick onto the foam wheel as for the spinning dice. Then use felt pens to gently touch the card circle while it is spinning. This produces circles of colour.
It’s best not to use paint from a brush or it may splash all over

3 Wheeler vehicle


This picture shows the motor in position ready to have the foam wheel pushed onto the plastic pulley or hub and an extra axle fitted to accept two more wheels.
The model shown has white wires and blue sleeves holding the wires to the paper fastener contacts but various types and colours of wires are used in different models. Your model might have brown or red sleeves and red wires.

A pencil sharpener is used to partly sharpen the ends of the long wooden dowel axle. A sharp point is not required and will make it more difficult to fit the plastic axle clips which hold on the wheels.

Gradually push and twist the dowel (twisting is very important as this helps keep the dowel moving in a straight line) into the foam block in the position shown in the bottom corner of the block.

Care must be taken to ‘miss’ the battery! The dowel will pass near to it but should not touch it! Make sure the axle is straight and that it sticks out evenly on either side of the block.

Push a striped plastic tube (bearing) into the centre of each of two foam wheels. These bearings will help the wheels spin freely on the axles. Now fit the wheels onto the axle and carefully but firmly push on a small plastic tube axle clip onto the ends of the axle to stop the wheels from falling off. Various colours of axle clip are used in the motor projects kit eg. clear or yellow are common.

The metal fastener contact on the top of the battery is ready to hook under the elastic band and touch the battery contact.

The vehicle won’t run very well on rough or uneven surfaces but should pick up speed on a smooth level floor.

Adding a card body is the last part of the project.

It can be quite tricky to cut a body which is the right shape to fit over the foam block but it is easy to hold it on using paper fasteners or ‘rolled over’ tape.

The vehicle can be made to go forward or reverse by swapping over the plus and minus battery wires.


Propeller car


The propeller car is great fun but is quite complicated to make so study all of the pictures and notes several times before starting to build!


Chassis block

Battery block

Wheels with bearings, axles and clips

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There is a right way and wrong way to fit the propeller so experiment with both and find out which way ‘PUSHES’ the air best!

A long axle passes though the hole in the foam chassis and a spare bearing is used as a spacer on the right hand side of the axle to stop the prop touching the wheel.

Two short axles are carefully pushed into the chassis block.

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The battery is placed in the hole in the battery block and an elastic band is doubled over around it. The battery block joins to the chassis block by lining up the axles so that they push into the holes.

A bearing is used as a spacer on both sides of the long axle to stop the wheels rubbing against the battery block.


The completed propeller car looks like this!

The paper fastener connections hook under the elastic bands to make contact with the battery terminals on either side.

You may have to move the elastic band a little either way to get it to keep the fasteners in the right place.

To switch off simply move one of the fasteners away from the battery terminal.

On a flat surface the prop car gradually picks up speed and goes quite fast.

Can you think of anything else to make or invent with the motor projects kit of parts? Why not take a picture and send it in!

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