DIY Robotics Wheel

An Alternative to DC Geared Motors

Padmalaya Rawal

Issue 79, February 2024

A battery operated motorised wheel for robotics made using a Drone motor.

Those of us makers into robotics will be familiar with the commonly-available yellow DC geared motors with rubber tyres. These have been around for years, sold individually and also in kits with acrylic robot chassis.

Electronics Engineer, Padmalaya, was determined to improve on those slow yellow-coloured BO Motors and their boring wheels, and came up with a 3D-printed battery operated motor that uses a motor from a drone.

Please introduce yourself to our readers, Padmalaya.

I am an Electronics Engineer with a passion for robotics, and my journey into the world of technology has been dynamic and diverse. Amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 lockdown during my second year of graduation, I seized the opportunity to explore multiple domains, including CAD Modelling, PCB designing, IoT, 3D Printing, and Drones. This broadened my perspective and deepened my interest in various facets of technology.

As I progressed through my academic journey, I discovered a profound love for working across different domains. Upon proceeding toward completing my graduation, I sought a professional setting that would allow me to continue exploring and contributing to diverse technologies. Despite receiving multiple offers, I found them to be narrowly focused on specific technologies, prompting me to embark on an entrepreneurial journey.

In my third year of graduation (2022), I initiated the establishment of my brand, 'Electroboffin,' with the vision of creating a versatile platform for knowledge sharing. By the end of 2023, Electroboffin had evolved into a comprehensive platform where I not only share my knowledge but also sell my own creations and is accessible at

It serves as a testament to my commitment to sharing knowledge and fostering innovation in the ever-evolving landscape of electronics and robotics. I am enthusiastic about contributing to the technological landscape, and Electroboffin stands as a manifestation of my dedication to empowering and inspiring fellow enthusiasts and professionals in the field. I am excited about the opportunities ahead and the prospect of making meaningful contributions to the world of technology.

What motivated you to make your own motor?

Before pursuing my graduation I was so used to learning more about robots and the robots that popped up on YouTube were the ones built using yellow-colored BO (Battery operated) motor wheels line following robots, obstacle-avoiding robots, etc. And even after the completion of my graduation, they were all the same and slow.

But now I'm exposed to knowledge from wide domains, so I started building my own and my goal was to build it using the widely available components so that I can easily mass manufacture it if people love to buy the assembled one. It took me 5-6 months of tinkering and I have shared detailed articles on Electroboffin, Electromaker.io, Instructables, Hackaday, and Hackster to allow people to make one on their own.

It’s great that you are sharing your build with other makers. Tell us how it works and what parts it uses?

It uses one of the widely available inexpensive Drone motors that I have modified for my use case, a few 3D printed parts, and an ESC to control it. It works the same way as any other BLDC motor does, it can be used with any microcontroller.

How does your build compare to the standard commercial models?

Pros: It's fast, inexpensive, the same size as BO Motor, compact, can have any colour, and is easy to replicate.

Cons: Low torque and power-hungry

Is it a direct replacement or does it need a completely different code to operate?

As such there is no such wheel available yet and if you compare it with the widely available yellow-colored BO Motor. Yes it will need a different code because they are DC motors and have BLDC motors. But it's not at all hard to work with.

How did you go about designing the 3D model?

I spent 5-6 months tinkering on how to make it compact and how to make it widely available components. After multiple design iterations, I started it on multiple platforms.

What prototyping did you need to do and what challenges did you need to overcome?

I have to design a wheel that can be easily replicated. The biggest hurdle was to modify the BLDC motor to make it work for the use case.

Where can our readers go for more details if they want to make some for themselves?

I have shared a detailed article on my own website https://www.electroboffin.com which I will be updating regularly with every new iteration.

But it's not limited to my website, readers can access it on Instructables, Electromaker, Hackaday, and Hackster.

Great. We’re always curious who makers like yourself follow and get inspiration.

YouTube is the go-to place for inspiration followed by Instructables and Hackaday. I follow the work of Carl Bugeja, Maker.moekoe, Michael Reeves, and Aaed Musa.

Anything else we haven't covered that our readers should know about?

Readers can track my latest creations here: https://linktr.ee/padmalaya_rawal

Cheers, Padmalaya. Thank you for your time.

Here’s a summary of the assembly.

Firstly, we remove the drone motor’s shaft holding clip. Do this using a sharp tool to pull the clip sideways. Without the removal of this clip, you won't be able to separate the upper and lower half of the motor.

Pull the upper and lower half of the motor apart.

Note: Be careful while doing this because the magnets inside the motor will try to pull the lower part inwards and may pinch your finger as a result.

Remove the grub screw that holds the shaft in place.

With the grub screw removed, you can place the upper part of the motor on the suitable surface so that the shaft can go down while pressing. You have to apply a lot of pressure here. I used a hammer to do the same.

As the inner section of the motor will rotate at very high speed, I have added four support pins that go inside the holes and help the 3D printed part move with the motor.

Once you have aligned the holes with the support pins, press the motor inside the 3D printed part.

Add the rubber tyre from a DC motor kit on the 3D printed part.

Note that one set of holes has a shorter distance as compared to the other set. We use the holes with a shorter distance to connect our 3D printed mount.

Secure it with the screw that came with the motor.

To avoid tangling of wires, pass the wires through the hole as shown here.

Join the upper and lower half and your wheel is now ready to rock on.

I used an ESC tester to test the motor.