Build Your Own Hub Motor

Hub motors put the power inside of the wheel. [Teamtestbot] goes deep into the hows and whys of building these motors, from parts, to windings, to the math behind the power ratios. The working example puts an electric motor inside the rear wheel of a Razor scooter. Past projects used belts to transfer the work of the motor to the wheel of the scooter. By integrating the motor and the wheel you end up with a much cleaner looking product. Check out the motor testing and the scooter test drive after the break.

For more tips on building your own electric motors take a peek at the Fly Electric page we covered back in November.


Hub motor testing


Scooter testing

[Thanks Doug]

52 thoughts on “Build Your Own Hub Motor

    1. Check the Law in your country. Is it OK to speed over 12mph.?
      In Berlin it is forbidden to drive 20km/hr with el.scooter. People still do it and just try not get caught 😉
      (at the same time, Germany is the sngle country in EU without speed limits on the highway. You can drive 300km/h if your car is able. Also, Germany has NO Pay-toll anywhere on highway- it feels like it is for free!! It is not. We pay it over car taxes, insurance etc.

  1. @alex i’m gonna side with both of you because instructables has gone all “become a member to do anything”. it has cool stuff sometimes but generally it’s the youtube of DIY: some clever people putting up really interesting things followed by a billion commentors who shouldn’t be doing anything themselves.

  2. I wish my neighbor across the street would have one of these, instead of the freakin’ 2-stroke gas powered scooter that he likes to go up and down the street with. Up and down, up and down, up and down…

  3. Ryan, how about simply adding a small “trailer” to tag along instead of a heavy backpack that will inevitably ruin your shoulders/neck? You could add a detachable handle so you could carry it away like one of those wheeled backpacks. Hell, using this method you could get one of those nice diesel batteries and run for days.

  4. @Jac

    Lemme guess…he doesn’t have a muffler on it either?

    I’ve got a little two-stroke(An old Yamaha) that I’ve modified including a 60cc cylinder and it’s good to check your work on a quiet street before doing anything else. But doing it without a muffler is just obscene.

  5. Those of you bashing this because it was posted on instructables obviously did not RTFA. I thought that kind of inanity would occur on digg or reddit, but here? Come on guys. Don’t be trollish.

    Unless you were joking, at which point carry on :P.

  6. This is hack-a-day. srs bzns only. Don’t troll, instructables is usually pretty good. This is the internet, get used to the idea of picking through crap in search of diamonds.

    I wanted to build one of these ever since the science channel started kicking these around as “the future” of something. Thank you hack-a-day.

  7. @Alan
    know that we are not bashing the material on instructables. we just hate that site. i for one feel sorry for people who post stuff on there. nobody gets to see your work in its entirety, and instructables is profiting from your ideas.

    how is it a great site if you are forced to cough up your email address (and whatever else they want to know about you) just to see the pictures.

    some of the material on instructables is decent… if we were able to see it. that credit goes to the contributors. gets credit for hiding this info from those who choose not to bow down and make an account. we should be able to learn on the internet without having to fill out silly forms, make accounts.

    true. instructables is full of junk to sift through. i dont know how hackaday finds anything on there.

    im with you. we should all write to their support until they remove the restrictions. better yet, lets stop going to their site alltogether.

    lol yep

  8. @24601 better yet, why not build a social network about hacking around hackaday
    hackaday is already running on wordpress, if the hackaday staff is interested they could build it into a full social network using buddypress. users could post their projects in independent blogs, and the best ones could be featured on the main page.
    here is an experimental social network site i’ve made using buddypress (it’s running an old version, the newest version can be seen at but i don’t find it to be very representative of what it is cabable of)

  9. Jeez, haven’t any of you who are complaining about instructables ever heard of bugmenot? just find a login there and then you don’t have to worry about the popups from instructables. easy as that!

  10. Normally I would complain about instructables as well, but this is a fantastic write up. Definitely worth the time to sign up/login and view all steps.

    Lots of good pictures, equations, and very important tips.

  11. Bad consumption to output ratio. Need something with a transmission if you even want close to energy efficient, or even applicable.

    I’ve seen a concept car from Japan with this and carbon, it never went into production..

  12. if i knew how to build motors from scratch, (how to energize the coils with the right timing) the world would be a better place. because Nikola Tesla wasn’t around to teach me the physics of AC motors.. all i know is DC and im pretty sure my motor design would work but i just dont have the shit to make it with. but someone who has knowledge of electric motor design tell me if it exists? permanent magnets on the inside, electromagnets on the outside, so its brushless, works kinda like a pinwheel. and its stackable. you could put several on the same shaft.
    anyway thats my motor that i bought like 50 dollars worth of magnets for and lost them because they were tiny and my prototype was too complicated to build out of the shit i had lying around, to mount the magnets at identical angles and spacing around the circumference of the rotor. those magnets suck. they looked so big in the picture.

  13. my uncle builds electric bikes&shit with hub motors. one of them running at ~80 volts and can do over 50. he doesnt go through the trouble of winding his own motors but i’m sure once you see it you will note the various hacks in the construction. maybe i should submit that shit on HAD?

  14. @xorpunk:

    You are mostly correct. Hub motors are not as universally applicable as a motor/engine + transmission combo. They must be tailored to the application, and only then can only operate efficiently within a narrow range of deviations.

    Most automotive hub motors still suffer from bulk and unsprung mass issues. I consider direct drive more of a novelty than practical in all situations.

    But they’re COOOOOOOOOOOOL.

  15. @jeditalian:

    Your “stackable pinwheel” motor sounds like an axial flux brushless motor. They are conventional motors, just with all the physics rotated 90 degrees and disc shaped.

    All things considered, they can be easier to make than conventional (“radial”) flux motors.

  16. if there were image posts here, i’d show my bike. it has a motor inside the front wheel, a shitload of lithium ions, 18650s i think. the battery reads 45v when its full and its got a 36v speed controller, so if i want to go faster i will need to throw in some more 18650s and get a 48v controller.
    my uncle built it and he’s got another one running around 80v and 50 something mph.
    He left the pedals intact on mine, and although cars pass me the whole way, i drive it 20 something miles to his house and it barely touches the battery. im sure it could go at least 50 miles, but its been too cold to try something like that.
    HAD-Chan, anyone? all those people building servers & shit, use em!

  17. @teamtestbot ya i looked that up and it sounds pretty similar. my original plan was a DC motor with magnets all around the rotor, at the same angle and spacing, maybe some more at a diff. angle inbetween some of those, as long as its all properly balanced. then coils at the same angle around the outside, and maybe some permanent magnets pointing the same way, although that would make ‘Reverse’ impossible.
    so the plan was just magnets on the inside, coils on the outside. but i never made it happen because there was more fun shit to do in life than build an inside out electric motor

  18. @jproach
    “Definitely worth the time to sign up/login and view all steps.”
    way to bend over

    instructables has nothing to do with the DIY mindset in this country.. other than the fact that they like to profit from the ideas of others. do they even share that $$$ with their contributors?

    1. I thought you could view all the steps for free, you just have to become a member to view them all on one page. Can someone verify please? If you can’t view all the steps for free, I don’t think we need to support them, but I can see them all.

  19. Excellent job by the guys at Teamtesbot they always seem to write nice informative articles. I’ve learned a lot from them.

    BTW these are some of the lamest comments I have seen on hackaday. If you are really so hung up about the instructables page, then you can go visit the teamtestbot website.

  20. Hub motors are terrible for handling due to the massive increase in unsprung mass, plus the wheel is a pretty hostile environment for a motor, your 1 moving part engine will be less reliable then the infernal combustion engine.

  21. @Alan

    I beg to differ. For use in small vehicles, the issue of unsprung weight is practically negligible. Rarely do the vehicles in question even have suspensions. It is true for automotive motors, however.

    Additionally, electric motors are fundamentally simpler and can be made extremely shock resistant and strong. “Less reliable” than the IC engine is an unsupportable conjecture.

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