Electrostatic Motor




3D printed electrostatic motor

Goal: No ball bearings, easy mounting, new different design with low power requirements


1x 3mm screw about 10mm long e.g. unused screw from old PC hardware

1x 50 mm wire ~0.5-1mm e.g. paperclip

1x aluminium foil or copper foil e.g. self-adhesive aluminum tape for sealing or plain foil to glue

1x HV power source e.g. Wimshurst, Van-de-Graaff, Flyback Transformers

3D printed parts:

558.384 base.stl
58.984 electrode.stl - you need at least two printed
287.884 rotor.stl
258.384 screw_top.stl - to fix the wire for the rotor

All files netfabb checked

Step 1: Assembly

Print the parts on your 3D printer - i used 100% infill and only standard settings, no support required

Electrode.stl has to be printed twice. But you can use up to four electrodes with this design

First add the copper or aluminium foil to the rotor and the electrodes as shown in the picture

The electrodes have a sharp edge at one side which will only fit in one direction to the base - towards the rotor blades. The rotor blades need also be covered with foil because it will receive the charge from the electrodes.

When you have glued or used self-adhesive foil for the eight motor blades and at least two electrodes you

can add a piece of wire ~ 50 mm long e.g. the bigger paper clips. The wire has to be strong enough to hold the rotor in place and goes into the middle hole of the base. It will not fall through - just put it in and then take the screw_top.stl (alias the nut) printed part and screw (press fit by closing the screw) it together with the base to fix the wire.

Put the rotor on the wire so the small cylinder of the rotor is on the top side and the wire goes through

Cut the wire just above it is visible from the rotor and then add the 3mm screw to adust the height about the base.

Finally clip the electrodes into the slot you want e.g. 180° opposite from picture or 90° works too.

Attach your HV power source to the electrodes.

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34 Discussions


3 years ago

now i have question about my neon sign transformer - i use it for Jacobs ladder no problem, so i know it puts out the 12kV, but its AC - do i need to use HVDC (like your other example with the flyback transformer and the FET?)


Reply 3 years ago

Print it in a fablab! (or create a fablab in your city!)


3 years ago on Introduction

Hello Nice project!

Cold anyone be kind enough to provide a link to a webshop where i can buy a PSU that is suitable for this project? I have no experience what so ever with this kind of PSUs


Reply 4 years ago

That's not a voltage. did you use 1kV? 10kV? Could you give me an estimate of what voltage range you used or give me a link to the specific power supply that you had?


4 years ago on Introduction

I'm having trouble understanding how this could work with a DC voltage - say from a Van der Graaf. I can see it might work with a high voltage AC source like a neon sign transformer or a fly-back transformer, although I can't see where the torque comes from. What power supply did you use in the demo video?

3 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I was puzzled too. This is a variant of a soda bottle motor. Here is a good explanation: http://amasci.com/emotor/emot1.html


Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Thanks, That was a very good explanation. This design does not seem to have the brushes to put the charge on the rotor, though. I guess there must be corona or sparking between the stator and rotor, followed by electrostatic repulsion. BTW the minimum supply voltage for the bottle motor was 5kV DC.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

It uses DC.

Charges of equal sign e.g. two negative charges will repulse each other.
Positive and negative charge will attract. The rotor is first used as dielectric part in a
capacitor. Then through the rotor blade conductor material configuration the electric field is forced backward against the stator electrode.


4 years ago

I love it. I wasn't going to comment, but feel I need to cast a vote of pure appreciation and adoration. Months ago my brother and I started to recreate an electric motor that we built in our youth. We planned on 3D printing it and making an instructable, but we stalled out on making our design work again. We know what you made here and we applaud it.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Many thanks! I'm not doing this to win anything, it's only a small step for something different and a lot of fun. Building a new type of machine is a great challenge ;)

I once did for example


which only had the small side effect - to be potentially dangerous ...


4 years ago

I believe it can only work if the electrodes and motor parts are close enough that elections can jump across. A very sharp pointed edge will probably allow that. Without any electron transfer I don't think will work at all