Adafruit Components:

Other Components:

  • 2 each 1/16-inch Nylon Cable Clamp, Digi-Key RP322-ND (
  • 1 each reclaimed DC Motor, nominal 6 to 12 volt, 2mm shaft, Nichibo RF-300 or similar
  • 1 each Small (10mm) Pulley, 2mm shaft, Hobbymasters SVM-203 or similar
  • 2 each M1.7 x 4mm Machine Screw (sized to fit DC Motor threaded mounting holes)
  • 2 each M2.0 x 5mm Flat Washer
  • 1 each 15-inch length of 16 gauge Galvanized Steel Wire, Home Depot SKU #396235 (

Supplies and Tools:

  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Stripper/Cutter (for motor power wires), Adafruit PID #147 or similar (
  • Small Screwdriver
  • Sturdy Needle Nose Pliers (for bending steel wire)
  • Steel Wire Cutters, such as Fencing or Ironworker's Pliers

Sourcing the DC Motor

Almost any small DC motor with an operating voltage between 6 and 12 volts can be used for this project. Threaded mounting holes in the face of the motor (the side with the motor shaft) are needed to mount the motor to the bent wire chassis. The DC motor and mounting screws used in this project example were reclaimed from an old DVD drive.

When removing a DC motor from a DVD/CD drive, save the mounting screws in case they aren't a common size. Also, there may be a useable pulley already attached to the motor. Reclaiming and repurposing can be fun and rewarding!

If you are having trouble finding a motor to reclaim, you may consider purchasing one from a vendor such as Jameco. Search for motors with a compatible operating voltage range and a drive shaft diameter of 2.0mm. For example, the Jameco 2173044 6 Volt 2100 RPM motor  ( makes a great general-purpose string car motor. Another option would be to talk to someone in your local makerspace -- there's usually someone there with a box full of reclaimed DC motors.

The wire chassis is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of motor sizes, so feel free to experiment!

This guide was first published on Sep 01, 2017. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Project Components) was last updated on Aug 22, 2017.

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