For the past couple of months, I’ve been meeting with colleagues with the goal of designing and 3D printing electric motors in my classes. This is a collaboration between Sonoma State professor Daniel R. Soto, Lawrence Livermore Lab test engineer Jacob Aman, and Roblox software engineer Alex Katz. Jacob designed a working model using FEMM (Finite Element Method Magnetics), and Apple Blossom School is letting us use the 3D printer in their makerspace. We are working on figuring out the current density, how many copper wire windings to have, and how to guide students in tweaking the motor’s design. We are doing some of the work, including some laser cutting for prototypes, at the Chimera makerspace in Sebastopol.

Eventually, the goal is to have students build stuff with the motors they design, such as a device for a solar oven to track the sun.

Daniel uses an oscilloscope to test a motor prototype

Jacob explains how electric motors work in this video: