Whether you want to put that motor you have in your garage to good use, or you are helping your child with their science project, here are ten creative, low-cost DIY projects you can make using a motor.
1. Automatic Cat Feeder
Tired of your cat nagging you for food at odd hours? This DIY automatic feeder will be a game-changer. It dispenses food on time and in the right amounts, so your cat is healthily fed whether or not you’re around. It’s surprisingly easy and affordable to make too.
It uses Arduino as the brain, a container as the food holder, and a servo motor that rotates to control the opening and closing of the container’s lid, so food is released. To set it up, program Arduino to dispense food at your desired hours and specific amounts and then design the feeder. You’re free to design it however you want as long as you position the servo motor at a rotatable angle.
Related: Great Arduino Projects for Beginners
2. Auto Tinder
This DIY project using a motor gets all the hard work from getting a date on tinder by swiping over for you. Print the auto tinder finger (any design you find suitable), wire the parts together, test, and assemble it all.
You’ll need Arduino (UNO), a stepper motor, touchscreen stylus, and a 3D printable finger. If you can’t access a 3D printing machine, graft a silicon finger, and attach it to the motor instead.
3. RC Car with Arduino
An RC car is even more fun to own when you’re the one who made it. You will first need to dismantle an actual RC car with a battery to get an idea of how everything works and where it goes.
Once you grasp this, move onto the next step and remove all the parts, leaving only the battery and motor intact. The battery remains intact to power the original DC motor and make your work easier.
Replace the car’s original electric module with an Arduino Uno and the receiver with an HC-06 module for better remote control. Lastly, hook up a 9V battery to the unit via the VIN to power the Arduino.
4. Line Follower Robot
For this creative project, you’ll need a chassis with a motor and wheels for the body, Arduino Uno to control how the robot works, switch, proximity sensors, an L293D motor shield, jumper wires, and a battery holder.
Attach the L293D motor shield to Arduino, and hook it up to the chassis. Do the same for the other parts, too, run the Arduino code, and your line follower robot will accurately detect and follow predefined lines.
5. Self-Playing Melodica
This self-playing melodica listens to downloaded melody fragments and attempts to reproduce the sound in real-time. Like most creative DIY projects using a motor, an Arduino is the brain of the project. It controls the DC motor, the electro-valve and makes it possible for the self-playing melodica to receive and process control values.
You will need Arduino Nano R3, Resistor 1Kohm, dual motor drivers (L928), pushbutton switch, 12V 5A power supply, voltage regulator, a solenoid, and a 12V DC motor with encoder to make it.
6. Mini Firefighter Robot
A mini firefighter robot doesn’t just put your old motors to good use; it’s also capable of detecting, approaching, and even putting out a fire. It runs on an Arduino but detects fire through the sensor module to detect fire.
Once detected, the motors move towards the fire through the L293D module, and the robot puts it out by spraying water from a small, pump-equipped container. Right underneath the container is a servo motor to control where water is sprayed.
You’ll need Arduino Uno, three fire sensors, SG90 Servo motor, L293D motor driver module, 5V submersible pump, tiny breadboard, 2-motored robot chassis with two wheels, a small can, and connecting wires. These are easy-to-find items and are equally as affordable.
7. Pranked! Moving Tissue Box
Whether you want to get back at someone who pranked you or want to scare your friend, this moving tissue box will sure get them. All you need is an RC car (you can make yours as described earlier), a regularly-sized tissue paper box, and a pair of scissors. Prepare the box by taking out all tissues and cutting its bottom.
Slip the remote-control car into the box, and if possible, tape it for stability. Add about a third of the tissues you removed earlier, set it on the table, and move the box whenever someone touches it to scare them.
8. POV Clock
Replace your old wall clock by using a motor to make a cool POV clock for your space. It shows time on a consistently updated moving display. As with most creative DIY projects using a motor on our list, it’s easy to make, and you’ll also need an Arduino (Nano R3).
Other components you’ll need include PCB, generic LEDs, 220-ohm resistors, 9V battery, DC motor, and a switching regulator. To make it, first, assemble the LEDs on the PCB (you can use various LED colors for a better effect), and then solder on the resistors next.
The resistor helps protect the LEDs from high voltage. Next, connect your switching regulator to convert the current, and hook the 9V battery up to complete the setup. Finally, connect Arduino to your PC and run the code to get the clock working
9. Secret Door Opener
If you’re always misplacing your keys, this secret door opener is a perfect way to put your old motor to good use and get rid of keys entirely. You’ll need Arduino UNO, stepper motor and stepper driver, buzzer, capacitive sensor, 12V adapter, jumpers, and mounting tape.
With everything ready, use a multimeter to find a conductive surface for the system. Good places to test include the doorknob, keyhole, and peephole. Wire all parts together using jumper wires.
Find a spot near an electric outlet for the 12V adapter, mount your system, plug it in, and voila! Your secret door opener will be ready.
Check out this step by step guide on completing this project.
10. Facial Recognition Ferris Wheel
This project calls for some elbow grease, but the results are worth every second you spent making it. As the name implies, it’s a Ferris wheel with facial recognition capabilities. So you’ll need; a Lego Ferris Wheel Kit, Arduino, L293D driver module, high torque DC motor, breadboard, Raspberry Pi Zero, and a Raspberry Pi Camera Module.
First, set up the code to make the motor turn and build the L293D to drive it. Next, hook up the motor to the Ferris wheel to make it turn.
This last step is a bit technical, and you’ll have to dismantle the lower part of the wheel to create space for some of the components. When complete, the facial recognition Ferris wheel turns when you smile and stops when you aren’t.
Here is the step by step guide to completing this project.
Put Your Old Motors to Good Use
The ten creative DIY projects using a motor above are simple, inexpensive, and fun to make. Put your old motors to good use today by trying out the projects above.