How to Build a Cool DIY Electromagnet from Scrap Materials

How to Build a Cool DIY Electromagnet from Scrap Materials


Building an electromagnet is a fun DIY project that allows you to explore the principles of electromagnetism. With just a few cheap and easily available materials, I can make a simple yet powerful electromagnet. In this article, I will provide a step-by-step guide on how to build a DIY electromagnet using scrap materials I have lying around the house.

What is an Electromagnet?

An electromagnet is a type of magnet where the magnetic field is created by an electric current. Unlike permanent magnets, the strength of an electromagnet can be easily changed by varying the amount of electric current that passes through the conducting wire.

The main components of an electromagnet are:

How an Electromagnet Works

When electric current flows through the coil, it generates a magnetic field around it. The direction of this magnetic field follows the right-hand grip rule.

The magnetic field then magnetizes the iron core placed inside the coil, creating a strong magnetic field concentrated at the center of the coil.

The strength of the electromagnet can be controlled by varying the amount of electric current flowing through the coil. A stronger current produces a stronger magnetic field.

Materials Needed

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Make the Electromagnet Coil

Take about 1-2 meters of insulated copper wire. The thicker the wire, the stronger the magnetic field it can produce. Remove insulation from both ends using wire strippers.

Wind the copper wire neatly around the iron nail or bolt to create the coil. Leave around 5 cm of wire free at both ends. The more turns of coil you make, the stronger the magnetic field produced.

Coil with 100 turns wrapped around iron nail

Step 2: Connect the Coil to Battery

Take the stripped ends of the copper wire and connect them to the battery holder terminals. Make sure the connections are secure.

Connecting the coil ends directly across the battery completes the electromagnet circuit.

Electromagnet circuit

Coil connected in circuit with battery

Step 3: Test the Electromagnet

Turn on the battery by inserting 2 AA or C batteries. Your electromagnet should now be ready.

Test it by picking up paperclips or other small metallic objects. The more coils and higher the battery voltage, the stronger the magnetic field and the heavier objects it can attract.

Testing the electromagnet

Testing electromagnet by picking paperclips

Tips for Making a Stronger Electromagnet

Fun Experiments with the Electromagnet

Here are some fun experiments I can try with my new DIY electromagnet:

So with just a few cheap parts and minimal wiring, I have built a cool homemade electromagnet! It's fun to tinker with electromagnetic forces and use science to build creative projects.


By following this guide, you can easily build an electromagnet at home. Feel free to experiment and modify the design to make it even more powerful. Enjoy unleashing your inner inventor!