R/C airplane motors from computer trash

Here’s something that the R/C airplane crowd might think of as old news.  These directions show us how to rework floppy drive and CD Rom motors to be high power airplane motors.  There are several listed, with details on each, but those unfamiliar might want to start with the most basic CD Rom version. It covers winding your own copper and installing the magnets in the “bell”, putting it all together and mounting it. This is a great writeup for those who haven’t seen this done before. If you want something even simpler though, you might enjoy the homopolar motor post. If you’re more advanced, they have tips for you too on machining and balancing the motors as well as winding density.


  1. Daniel says:

    There was a post about a uuv (unmanned underwater vechicle) that used modded CDROM motors to provide a water proof way to transfer power to the props. Very neat idea.

  2. DigitalMind says:

    This is also exactly how a wind turbine works .. if you spun that think backwards it would actually MAKE electricity !! (Probably not much, but enough to charge a cell phone maybe)

  3. Fallen says:

    I’m kinda surprised at the power rating on a couple of those. 400W from a CD rom drive? I know it’s modified. Where are the calculations? Something seems off. 1300W from the croc motor…thats about 2 horsepower…
    Pretty cool!

  4. tulcod says:

    it’s unbelievable… so where’d you read that? what’s your source? i want to learn as much as you know, too!

    ps: please notice a tiny little amount of sarcasm in my message.

  5. tulcod says:


    yeah, it should be more like 400mW… 1300W would seriously heat up the motors, no matter what their efficiency might be.

  6. strider_mt2k says:

    Seriously hard core coolness here.

  7. Josh says:

    this is awesome I’ve got a whole pile of old cdrom drives.. Now I have one more excuse to keep them around

  8. Rachel says:

    I’ve seen plenty of guides for making brushless DC motors, but none for the controller. Everyone assumes you’re going to buy a commercial controller.

  9. tom says:

    they achieve the high power through high pole count, leading to short magnetic path lengths and high overall torque, and high frequency (high RPM).

  10. Nowadays brushless motors for airplanes are common, hobbyking sells great ones for just $7 each. Basically homebrew brushless is dead. However a common practice is to rewind the $7 motors for better performance.

  11. octel says:

    Homebrew brushless is not dead if you’re on a low budget :)

  12. andrew says:

    this is so freaking cool, it’s the epitome of the hacker spirit.

  13. therian says:

    So what that motor now $7 (I dont know where you found it, it 4 times cheaper last time I checked) add 40$ for motor driver. I did it for free sample PIC, transistors and CD drive motor. So it not dead in any way

  14. Lupin says:



    This might be the most popular homemade controller. I’ve seen others, but most of them probably originate from this one.

  15. toni says:

    thank you, you are very good blog, has given me a lot of information

  16. mahesh says:

    I have a cd rom motor want to make a plane. I don’t know how to run the motor help me out

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