I have no LEGO motors In my collection, what are some household materials I can use?

  • 1
    Pardon me, but if you can't use LEGO motors then why are you asking here?
    – zovits
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 12:57
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    Please be more specific: Do you want to make a remote controlled car out of LEGO, but without using LEGO motors, and you want to know how to interface LEGO powerfunctions with external motors? For this you might want to take a look at @Philo 's excellent page on [Power Functions](www.philohome.com/pf/pf.htm). You'd need to source 9V motors from somewhere and make your own cables (or modify existing LEGO cables). If that is not what you're looking for - please explain your question in more detail.
    – Phil B.
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


It sounds like you are asking how to motorize your own custom LEGO creations using motors that you may already have around the house rather than purchasing official motors.

Before I answer this, I just want to make sure that you are aware that you can purchase the PF motors individually on LEGO.com for fairly cheap. You don't have to buy large, expensive sets in order to get motors. The basic PF motor set which includes a battery box, motor, wiring, and lighting is $30 USD. Unfortunately, as pointed out in the comments, this kit doesn't include a proper RC remote, so you'd need to buy an IR receiver and IR remote as well, which would add another $25 to the cost.

The first thing that you'll need to do is find a suitable motor. Old toys are probably your best bet. If you're going for small, you could also take a pager motor out of an old cell phone. This is what Phillipe used to make a motorized city-scale vehicle in another question:

pager motor vehicle

The main challenges with using custom motors are:

Attaching the motors to LEGO bricks

The strongest connection will likely be created using some sort of glue or epoxy. Most two-part epoxies should be sufficient for small motors. Here's an example from Eurobricks:

motor glued with epoxy

You could probably get away with using screws or even rubber bands, but it's a bit trickier to make everything line up the way you want.

Converting the output of the motor to rotation of a LEGO axle

Assuming that the motor axle is relatively small, it is possible to drill out the center of a Technic axle and slide it onto the motor's axle. This can be a little tricky to get right, but it does work. Here's a video that explains it.

drilling Technic axle

axle mounted on motor

If your motor already has a pulley attached, it's easy to just run a belt between the motor and a Technic pulley.

Powering and controlling the motors

If you don't mind your creation having a tail, the easiest way to power the motors is to simply run a wire to the vehicle from some sort of controller. It's fairly easy to put together a working system if you have old wired remote controlled toys like this one laying around:

old remote controlled car

If you have any radio controlled toys laying around, it's also fairly easy to just rip the electrical parts out, put those on your LEGO model, and wire up your motors. You could also use the motors from the original toy. Then you don't even need to do any wiring. You would have to find a place for batteries and the receiver hardware on your creation, though.

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    That's a thorough answer. I cringe when I see people drilling lego pieces, but will let it slide for the red axle, because who doesn't have millions of those. Also, one nitpick: the motor pack you mention has a glaring flaw that I only noticed after buying two of them: there is no remote control in it. You need to buy the remotes separately, and you'd need two of them to control two motors. Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 14:59
  • That's a great point. I updated the answer to include a note about also needing to purchase the IR remote and receiver separately.
    – jncraton
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 15:28

A few years back I ripped motors, controlcard and batterypack out of a broken car. I then fitted some legopieces to it and got a superfun setup to use with my old technic lego. enter image description here

I mounted a piece of a normal (old black) axle on the motor shaft. But just as @jncraton describes it This can be a little tricky to get right. If you are just drilling freehand as in the video it is very hard to align everything right.

So instead of fastening the drill in the powerdrill I did it the other way and fastened the axle in the powerdrill and the drill in vise. That way I know that the axle is spinning around its own center and that any small misalignment will be automatically fixed by the flex of the thin drill. To get the axle centered in the drill I sacrificed 2 bushings.

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