Class 7 – Mounting Motors and Party Box

While it feels a little anticlimactic to have this “party box” be my final project for Intro to Fabrication, I’m glad we were given this assignment.  I was able to get past some of my hang ups as to how to mount a motor, and how to mount something to the motor. Better to get this over with now, rather than during a final project!

My gif may not be loading, so here is:

A video:

And if that isn’t working, here is a link to google drive: If that doesn’t work, here is a link to Google Drive.

giphy_fireworks box





I pretty much only focused on the motor and mounting tasks so that I was sure to learn how to do it, or at least get to the point at which I can understand creating something more complicated next time.  Therefore my project doesn’t have much of a concept. Designed paper helps punch up the box!

It was also really nice to build something super simple with just a battery, wires, rocker switch, and DC motor toy.  Turning something on and off without a microcontroller is a nice change of pace.

Along the way, I did a separate test to see how different LED colors might mix as new colors if spun on cardboard by the motor. Exploring this let me play around with building circuits with copper tape, coin batteries, and LEDs, which is something I had wanted to try just for fun.  But in the end I had enough on my plate to learn how to mount a DC motor.

You can see my process below!


I used a toy DC Motor, mounting bracket, and 2 – 5mm coupling shaft to extend the shaft of the motor to be able to add something to it. I can’t believe I paid a dollar more for the mounting bracket than the toy DC motor itself, considering the bracket didn’t come with screws!

dc toy pic

dc motor bracket



Here is my work after attaching the coupling shaft and additional longer shaft to the motor. I am still not totally clear as to how I would permanently attach anything to the extended shaft, as Tinkersphere didn’t have many parts for me to work with. What I have so far seems like a catch 22… Sure, I made the shaft longer, but I still need something to mount my object to it. Granted, my kit of little plastic wheels didn’t arrive yet. Maybe I could have put one of those on this shaft, and hot glued cardboard to the wheel?


Here it is spinning with a coin battery. It spun a lot faster than I expected.

giphy_coin battery with motor.gif

See below for my experiments with copper tape and coin battery to light up an LED. I had fun. One reason I stopped this side project was because I had to use one coin battery for each LED, which added more weight to the cardboard circle than I could counterbalance for an even spin. I can order some micro LEDs next time.

giphy_coin battery with ledIMG_0295

Below is a video showing what happens when I put a red LED next to a blue LED. The combination creates more of a magenta than purple in person, and in the video/gif still shows the two colors separately.  I’m sure there are examples I can find online to continue this project, and that my classmates have even done this work professionally. I’m interested in how LEDs and lighting projection and pixels work, so I’m on my way…

giphy_spinning LEDs


Back to my main goals… I definitely wanted to be able to turn the motor on and off with a switch. I decided to use a rocker switch.



I saw online that you can complete a circuit with a rocker switch just by twisting wires together, without soldering, as long as the motor and battery share common ground.

As for installing the rocker switch, I used a utility blade to cut the hole for the rocker switch component. But of course in the future, I can use Illustrator and the laser cutter for a more precise job.

You can see my first step needed to be installing the rocker switch from the outside of the cardboard so that it would be flush against the surface. And then I needed to connect the switch to the motor and battery before I could even mount the motor, which seemed counterintuitive… But otherwise the size of the box was too small for my hands to be able to twist the wires as needed.

Here is halfway through connecting the circuit by twisting wires together.



And below shows the circuit completex. I’m missing documentation of my struggles with mounting the motor. I couldn’t believe the motor didn’t come with screws!!!  I was lucky to find tiny screws in the shop. But they fit poorly, which led to a loose fitting. The motor even fell out of the bracket if I stood the box up. As a workaround, I covered the battery in painter’s tape to make it big enough to stay stuck in the bracket. This is NOT a good longterm solution, as the motor wiggles when it’s “on”,  causing it to push itself out of the bracket.

See below for the “before” picture with painter’s tape.


And “after” – the motor’s motion has pushed itself down out of the bracket and will eventually fall out.


Here are other photos of the inside of the box, to show that I used wood only on one side of the box to mounting the motor to, and otherwise used cardboard. I used a glue gun to wallpaper the designed paper I had on hand to the outside of the box.


Here’s the final product again. I added a flag to show the shaft is spinning.  Something to turn on whenever there is a party? New Year’s Eve? Or maybe it can play marching band music, to bring to the local Fourth of July parade.

giphy_fireworks box