Which DC Brushed Motor Should I use for this project?

Thread Starter


Joined Oct 22, 2022
Hi, I am trying to build a washing machine that can turn clothes in a large 55-gallon bucket with an RPM speed of 60rpm. I need this motor to be not too heavy, I was thinking of using gears to increase its power. Does anyone know what motor I should use for such a project? and where I can find it? if you are able to provide a link that would be great, Thank you!


Joined Nov 6, 2012
A "Brushed-Motor" would be a very poor choice,
it would be a very "high-maintenance" item, or extremely expensive, take your pick.
A 3-Phase-AC Motor would be the best choice,
followed by, using a Single-Phase-AC Motor.

60 RPM may be too fast.
More speed requires much more Power,
more sophisticated Controls,
and a much stronger supporting structure.
I would start with half that speed, and run it three-times as long.

Will this Washing-Machine have a "Spin" Cycle ?, ( is it for washing clothing ? ).

Will the Drum be mounted horizontally ?, or maybe at a ~45-degree angle ?

Is the Drum made out of Steel ?,
if so, it will very likely get rust on the clothing, and tear clothing.

Will there be "Tumbling-Vanes" inside the Drum ?,
there needs to be for washing clothing.

What is "not too-heavy" for a Motor ?,
25-gallons of water weighs roughly ~205-pounds,
( and the Motor needs to be able to lift at least ~25% of that weight continuously ),
plus the weight of the Drum,
plus the weight of the supporting-frame/bearings/etc.,
plus the weight of the Clothing being washed.
This is obviously not a "portable" device.

What will You be using for the Drum-supporting bearings/wheels ?
How much drag will these wheels produce with a full ~280-pound Drum ?

I would estimate that, with no "Spin-Cycle" required,
You could get away with a ~1-horsepower Motor,
which will probably weigh more than ~30-pounds.

If You plan to have a "Spin-Cycle",
You will probably need more like a ~3-Horsepower Motor with
a proper Reversible-Variable-Frequency-Drive-Controller, ( VFD ).

No "Gear-Box" is required,
a custom ~1-inch "Gilmer-Belt", ( Toothed-Belt ), wrapped-around the Drum will work just fine.
Then it would just be a matter of doing some Math to calculate
the Motor-Pulley-Size, and the RPM-Rating requirements of the Motor, etc..

A Timing / Cycling / Reversing Circuit will be required, if washing clothes,
to prevent tying everything into a big-fat-knot, that You may never be able to un-tie.


Joined Aug 31, 2022
If you are determined to use a DC brushed motor how about an old forklift truck motor? I believe they’ve even been used for DIY electric cars. Gearing won’t give you more power, just more torque at the expense of speed. Toothed belt drive rather than gears, although V belt may be better. Top or front loading?


Joined Jan 23, 2018
We have no information as to what electrical power source is available, and so it is difficult to even make a reasonable guess. In addition, we have no hint as to the amount of torque that will be required to turn the drum. That will vary a whole lot depending on how the machine is arranged. Over the years the simplest wash machine used an inclined drum and a motor that was about 1/3 HP and ran at 1750 RPM. That ran on 115 volts, 60 Hz, and less than ten amps. The machine was made by Westinghouse, around 1960. If the TS is able to find information about those washers it will be very useful. They were about the most durable and long-lasting modern washer machines made. I repaired one for a neighbor back in 1970 is when I learned about them.