Moving Parts for your Future City Model

Creating the moving part may be the most difficult part of this project.  I have found that most middle school students do not have background in batteries, electricity, the 6 simple machines, arduinos, etc.


Printer Motor

When we deconstructed a table-top printer in The IDEA Lab, we found the cutest little motor and he turned reallllllyyyyyy sloooooooooowwwwwllllyyy.  We loved him!  So we gave him a new purpose.  Here's a video about how to make this moving part from your absolutely free printer motor.   (The link should take you to my private youtube channel so you can watch this video.  If it doesn't, please let me know.

You should watch this video first (It's less than 4 minutes) so you learn about adding an on/off switch.


This picture is actually a tiny CPU fan from a laptop computer but the video is about a much larger CPU fan from a desktop computer.  There's not a lot you can do with a CPU fan except make it be something else in your Future City model.  The most obvious job for a fan is a wind turbine but I'm sure your students can think of many more creative ideas.  This short video will help your students get that CPU fan moving.  Please let me know if the video link doesn't work.

CPU Fan.jpeg


Worm Gear

The worm gear is a great way to shift the direction of spin on your motor.  Watch this video about a worm gear that we rescued from one of our deconstruction projects.


Motherboard City

Motherboard City


MotherBoard City

When the students found this in a desktop computer, we marveled at how like a mini-city it was!  I used a gear motor to animate the skyway.  Watch this video to learn from my mistakes!


This motor is from an old NXT kit.  If you don't have one of those lying around, you can buy these motors on eBay for a dollar or two.  They are great motors for Future City models because they go pretty slowly when they are connected to a AA battery pack.  

You can see in this picture that we connected the motor to an on/off switch (Home Depot for $.79) and then to the battery pack.  The motor has a spool attached via a lego piece. Then we hot glued a piece of sandpaper onto the spool so that it would grip the string.

Viola!  Moving part!

For a tutorial on how to connect the motor, on/off switch and battery pack, you can watch the Printer Motor video.

small motor.jpeg

quadcopter 2.jpg

Quadcopter Parts

What do you do with your quadcopter after it hits a tree? Turn it into a moving part on your Future City model, of course!

Watch this little video about how to do that.  Be careful! Those blades move REALLY fast!