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I am looking for a (rather cheap) low RPM controllable motor. If it could turn in both directions (also controlled) that would be a huge plus. Any ideas?

Right now I'm using a disco ball motor at 1 RPM. It works fine but the problem is I have with this is that sometimes I might want 2 or 5 rpm (especially when lowering it the option to speed it up would be very handy). The disco ball motor has a set RPM of 1 and I cannot alter it on the fly.

Secondly when I power the disco ball motor it turns clockwise, and the next time I power it, counterclockwise, and so on... I have worked around this problem, but if I could somehow control the direction also, that would be a huge plus.

I would like to change these options (speed and direction) by using a lever/knob/handle/whatever on the unit itself (not by using pc or anything). Anyone know of a unit that does this?

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You want something called a gearmotor, which is a modestly-sized DC motor that can run in either direction at a variety of speeds, depending on the voltage you feed it. You select the appropriate gear ratio to yield the RPM you want. See the Marlin P. Jones & Associates on-line catalog for a good selection of inexpensive gearmotors.

Also note that it is easy to program an arduino board to flexibly control such a gearmotor.

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