If you’ve purchased or played with certain micro-drones, you’ll notice that in some cases the motors are actually mounted to the PCB. While an extremely clever use, what if you took things further and actually made the motor out of the PCB itself? While this may seem far-fetched, as seen here, hacker Carl Bugeja has actually accomplished this feat using six coils formed on a PCB to provide the stator — or non-moving part — for the assembly.
On top of the PCB sits a 3D-printed rotor that resembles a tiny barbell weight, with four permanent magnets pressed into it. The six coils on the PCB act as electromagnets, which when carefully coordinated cause the rotor to spin, forming a very simple brushless DC motor. While the current setup has less torque available than one made with an iron core stator, Bugeja notes that it would still be suitable for high-speed applications.
You can see the device demonstrated in the videos below, first with the rotor/PCB by itself on a breadboard, and in the second being tested out driving a propeller. While this design might not be ready to power a drone today, it’s exciting to think about where this kind of build technique could lead in the future!