Tall Motors: Scalable, Cogless Power In Action

With a focus on providing engineered solutions for a variety of high performance applications, ThinGap regularly provides modified versions of its off-the-shelf motor kits to meet customer specifications. Many of these changes include switching a motor’s winding configuration, space rating, high-temperature capability, or custom mounting configurations to create a modified-off-the-shelf product. In some cases, customers request an increase in axial height of an existing motor to improve the torque output of the motor kit without increasing the width.

A graphic showcasing two ThinGap LSI 39 variants, the original 39-10 and taller 39-39, with a caption that reads "Tall Tales," a play on words because this blog is about why ThinGap offers different axial heights, ergo a tale about taller motors, which is a double-entendre on the phrase "tall tales" which is a phrase meaning a lie.

Important to note that with ThinGap’s proprietary slotless motor architecture, torque increases exponentially with the outer diameter, but only proportionally with axial height. So while a larger outer diameter motor is always the better choice, customers often have mechanical constraints that limit their ability to accept a wider motor, making a taller product the next best solution.

ThinGap’s tooling is vertically modular, making it simpler and less expensive to change the axial height of a kit to improve torque output. Tall variants share much of the same material components with their smaller cousins, and can in many case be built in parallel. Many of ThinGap’s tall motor variants began as modified-custom solutions, such as the LSI 39-39, LSI 75-30, LSI 130-40, LSI 152-55, and LSI 267-58. By way of example, several motors sizes offer three different axial highest, such as the LSI 25 that is available in axial heights of 10, 16 and 25mm.

With two decades of experience in the design and production of slotless motor kits, ThinGap leverages its proven designs and analytical modeling that results in highly accurate transitions from predicted performance to real world operation. Furthermore, the process steps needed to produce motors of all sizes are highly scalable and ThinGap has standard products as small as 25mm, up to 393mm in outer diameter.

For a complete listing of our standard products, including our tall variants, please click here.

Space Market Growth and Satellite Constellations

ThinGap’s space related business has been as strong as ever, and its no wonder why.  According to market researcher McKinsey & Company, the space market was $447 billion in 2022, and their estimates put it at more than doubling to $1 trillion by 2030. The growth of the space market, previously the sole domain of wealthy nations, has been attributed in large part to the rapidly decreasing cost and frequency of vehicle launches coupled with the rising demand for intelligence, consumer internet, scientific observations, and high speed communications.

The single largest driver in the explosion of the space market can be attributed to the emergence of NewSpace, which summarily describes all private spaceflight efforts from corporate entities. NewSpace ventures include space tourism, provided by vehicles such as Blue Origin’s New Shepherd, and Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two, as well as private launch vehicles such as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Starship and RocketLab’s Electron rockets. With the expansion of space flight and the related demand for applications tied to orbiting the Earth has come a significant increase in the need for systems, the largest being Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.


Satellite constellations, much like their celestial counterparts, refer to a group of networked satellites working together for a common application, such as defense or telecommunications. The first constellation to be launched was the United States’ Global Positioning System, starting in 1978, which while initially used by the military, later became available for civilian use. Since then, many more satellite constellations have been launched, with a variety of applications such as communications, environmental monitoring, defense, and more recently internet constellations.


The ability to bring broadband connectivity to any point on Earth has been the mission of several internet constellations including SpaceX’s Starlink, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, and Airbus’s OneWeb programs. While most of these satellite constellations aren’t intended for end consumer use, Starlink is unique in that it’s possible to directly buy a receiver from SpaceX for personal use.


While all these constellations have varying missions and designs, there are common needs between the satellites that comprise them. Applications such as Attitude Control systems require high performance motors, with characteristics such as smooth motion, a lack of cogging, highly linear output, and a wide range of speeds, in addition to being lightweight, efficient, and reliable. ThinGap’s TGR Series is the industry’s first motor line designed from the ground-up for Reaction Wheel Assemblies (RWA), along with other ThinGap TG Series motor kits having spaceflight heritage.


Other critical space systems, such as Optical Communications Terminals, use highly collimated light generated by lasers to transmit data at high rates of speed over long distances through free space between satellite-to-satellite, satellite-to-aircraft, and satellite-to-ground. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits is an industry leader for these gimbal applications requiring high performance and efficiency, decisive move-and-hold positioning, and smooth motion for long-range target lock.


Since 2015, ThinGap has supplied thousands of motors for space applications, including a major commercial internet constellation, as well as NASA.  The company’s TG Series and LS Series both have significant space heritage and are ideally suited for a number of applications, mostly in satellites.

Zero-Cogging Motors for Precision Industrial Applications

ThinGap’s permanent magnet motors are widely used in airborne and space platforms, but there are more applications that benefit from their zero-cogging technology. With the insatiable demand for high tech devices, comes an equally high demand for precision equipment used to make integrated circuits. Today’s semiconductor equipment and test platforms need high degrees of force density, and decisive move-and-hold steps. Robust, yet compact semiconductor equipment enable inline process functions, yield enhancements, and higher levels of throughput.

Motors and actuators used in wafer processing and test require the benefits of cogless, absolute precision. Low profile motors are ideal because of the large internal aperture so that optics, cabling, or prisms can be routed through the center, yet be compact, enabling deep system integration. Additionally, precision brushless motors are used extensively in optical systems for applications such as beam steering, delivering micron-level resolution.

The ongoing transition to direct-drive solutions enables system-level advancements needed by today’s semiconductor industry. Frameless, slotless motor kits with high torque are in many cases the ideal solution for semiconductor equipment with low profile, high torque coreless motors being the right fit for metrology and optical-based systems.

Beyond zero cogging, ThinGap’s air core motor kits have near zero Eddy-current, and a harmonic distortion of less than 1%, so torque output is directly proportional to current. The resulting smooth motion, linear output makes them perfect for use in precision industrial applications.

ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits are an industry leader for semiconductor applications. Standard kits range in size from 25-267 mm outer diameter, and a continuous torque output from 0.1- 24.4 N-m. Always cogless, always low profile and with high power density and with standard and modified configurations, the LS Series is ideal for semiconductor applications.

ThinGap Renews ISO 9001:2015 Certification Until 2026

Renewal for three more years underlines ThinGap’s commitment to stringent customer quality requirements and the widely recognized ISO Standards

ThinGap’s ISO 9001:2015 certification has been renewed for another three years, and will remain in effect until March 2026. An audit and renewal of ThinGap’s certificate was completed by American Global Standards, LLC of Montecito, CA as the basis for the Certification renewal.

An image of ThinGap's updated ISO 9001:2015 Certificate, issued March 28, 2023

Based on ISO 9001:2015, ThinGap’s Quality Management System (QMS) serves as the baseline for delivering high quality products to many customers with program-specific QC requirements for a wide variety of industries. ThinGap has a track record of supporting the exacting requirements for its base of Fortune 500 companies, Government customers, including NASA, and regulatory specifications across multiple sectors, be it space, medical, defense or airborne.

With more than two decades of experience in the design and production of slotless motor kits, ThinGap can leverage proven designs and analytical modeling that results in highly accurate transitions from predicted performance to real world operation. Furthermore, the process steps needed to produce motors of all sizes is highly scalable; ThinGap has shipped motors from 19 mm up to 600 mm in size.

High Performance Zero-Cogging Motors For UAS Applications

Unmanned aerial systems of all sizes and shapes have varying requirements in terms of payloads and flight ranges. From Group 1 to 5 UASes, there is a need for electric motors offering high power, efficiency, and light weight for all forms of onboard actuation.

A graphic showing a graphic of a General Atomics MQ4 Reaper, next to the gimbal of a Northrop Grumman MQ-8C and a ThinGap LSI 75 slotless motor kit.

Multiaxial gimbals require high performance motors to directly drive their movements and hold position. In airborne systems, high performance is defined by Size, Weight, and Power (“SWaP”), as well as smooth motion. Gimbal makers have an inherent need for a high amount of torque, in some cases to move large payloads quickly and precisely and stabilize the housing against forces caused by aerodynamic drag. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits is an industry leader for gimbal applications requiring high performance and efficiency, as well as decisive positioning and smooth motion. Their ring architecture allows for optimized optical designs, by allowing critical parts of the system, such as lenses or cabling, to be integrated through the large through hole in the center of the motor.

Another airborne application where ThinGap’s motor technology provides a competitive edge is as a starter-generator. There is a long-standing truism that good motors make good generators, and for starter-generator applications, ThinGap’s TG Series is the industry leader. This is enabled by the light wave-wound composite stator, and weight-optimized rotor with large clear internal aperture, which can be integrated into both piston and turbine engines. The TG Series offers high efficiency, high peak torque, low harmonic distortion, and weight optimization which are all desired traits. In the case of UAS applications, ThinGap motors can start the Internal Combustion Engine with its high peak torque, then switch to act as a generator to supply valuable conditioned power to onboard systems.

With more than two decades supporting airborne applications, ThinGap can produce motor kits to fit all size and power requirements. To learn more about ThinGap’s motors for airborne applications, click here.

ThinGap Demonstrates High Power Motor Capability with 100 kW Motor Kit

Showcasing ThinGap’s highly scalable slotless motor technology, the TGO 385 was designed with renewable energy in mind, but many potential applications exist.

ThinGap has completed its latest large-size motor prototype, the TGO 385 for a commercial customer. The TGO 385 motor kit has an outer diameter (OD) of 385 mm (15 in.), and an axial height of 223 mm (9 in.), making it about the same volume as a 5-gallon bucket.  The power output capability of the TGO 385 is estimated to be 100 kW or more depending on the application.

Showcasing the highly scalable nature of ThinGap’s motor architecture, the TGO 385 is the newest variant of the TG Series of slotless motor kits. The company’s TG motors are unique in having a stator architecture with an ironless coil. Due to the absence of slots or “teeth”, ThinGap’s stators do not saturate during operation, allowing the motor kit to produce more torque as current is applied, without the falloff seen in traditional iron core motors. Combined with a mechanical design that promotes convective cooling during operation means that the TG Series has unrivaled power density.

The TG Series has been successfully used in a wide variety of generator, propulsion, and flywheel applications, ranging from gyro-stabilization in boats and satellites to airborne starter-generators. To learn more the highly efficient, zero-cogging TG Series of slotless motor kits, click here.

The TGO 385 demonstrates ThinGap’s ability to deliver tailor-made high-power solutions.  With more than two decades of experience in the design and production of slotless motor kits, ThinGap leverages its proven designs and analytical modeling that results in highly accurate transitions from predicted performance to real world operation. Furthermore, the process steps needed to produce motors of all sizes is highly scalable, and ThinGap has shipped large class motors of up to 600 mm OD, ranging from 10-400 kW of output power.

NASA’s ERBS and the Future of Weather Satellites

January 2023 marked the quiet end of NASA’s ERBS (Earth Radiation Budget Satellite). Launched in late 1984 from Space Shuttle Challenger during mission STS-41-G, ERBS was launched to study how the Sun’s energy was absorbed and reflected by the Earth, as well as carrying other payloads designed for atmospheric study.

A graphic showing the ERBS satellite in orbit, next to a photo of the liftoff of the Space Shuttle that put it in orbit in 1984, with the caption "NASA ERBS 1984-2023"

Originally designed for just a two year operational lifespan, ERBS far outlived this by 19 years until it was retired in 2005. What made ERBS one of NASA’s most important satellites was the SAGE II instrument, that was critical in observations confirming the depletion of the Ozone layer due to CFC usage, ultimately resulting in their ban. After exhausting its onboard propellant and energy stores, NASA decommissioned the satellite in 2005, and through the end of 2022 it orbited the Earth before burning up during atmospheric re-entry near the Alaska.

Though ERBS’s story may have ended, it helped reinforce the importance of using satellites for atmospheric observations and experimentation. ThinGap is a proud supplier to NASA’s upcoming PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) mission, set to launch from Cape Canaveral in early 2024 aboard a SpaceX rocket. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits are part of the OCI (Ocean Color Instrument) advanced spectrometer designed to measure the color of the ocean in wavelengths from ultraviolet to infrared frequencies.

ThinGap Demonstrates Small Motor Capability With The TGR 29

With the smallest stator yet, the TGR 29-12 demonstrates the scalability of ThinGap’s slotless motor technology

ThinGap has delivered its latest small-size product, the TGR 29-12, to several commercial customers. The TGR 29-12 motor kit has an outer diameter (OD) of 29 mm and an axial height of just 12 mm, providing a continuous in-vacuum torque output of 0.0028 N-m, and a peak torque of 0.034 N-m. A complete datasheet is available on ThinGap’s website.

With a total part mass of 31 grams, and a coil OD of 19.2 mm, the TGR 29-12 has the smallest stator of any ThinGap motor to date, showcasing the company’s highly scalable architecture. Designed for Attitude Control in CubeSat applications, the new part continues the build out of the Space focused TGR product line.

Prior TG Series models have been widely used in Reaction Wheel Assemblies (RWA), due to a patented architecture’s inherent advantages when used in any type of flywheel applications. Because of the efficient lightweight ironless core, zero-cogging stator, and high power-to-weight ratio, the TGR 29-12 offers more than double the torque of the closest competitor with minimal losses and no radial forces between the stator and rotor.

With more than two decades of experience in the design and production of slotless motor kits, ThinGap can leverage proven designs and analytical modeling that results in highly accurate transitions from predicted performance to real world operation. Furthermore, the process steps needed to produce motors of all sizes is highly scalable; ThinGap has shipped motors from 19 mm up to 600 mm in size.

For additional information on custom motor development, please contact us.

Record Breaking Direct Drive Turntables Powered By ThinGap

What do Formula 1 race cars, satellites, surgical robots, and high-end turntables have in common?  All have benefitted from the low profile, smooth motion, and highly linear output of ThinGap’s slotless motor kits. One application that has gotten our attention has been our friends at VPI Industries, who have leveraged the benefits of cogless motors for their turntables.


Over the last decade, music enthusiasts have rediscovered the authentic, warm sound of vinyl records, even in the era of convenient streaming. For high-end turntables, direct-drive motor designs ensure reliable and consistent motion for music playback through Hi-Fi systems. Historically turntables have been belt-driven, which though cost-effective, wear down over time affecting music playback and requiring replacement. While more expensive, “direct-drive” turntables get around this by mounting the record platter directly to the motor, making it more reliable as well as having smoother playback.

Precision direct-drive motors, such as those made by ThinGap are an ideal solution for modern turntables. A high-performance stereo system is nothing without clean input sources, and ThinGap’s smooth, zero-cogging motion profile is key to precise playback. Another contributing factor to the long-standing relationship between VPI and ThinGap has been the shared pride in American-made products. Since the beginning, VPI has been both sourcing components from American suppliers, as well as manufacturing their turntables in-house in New Jersey.

The re-emergence of demand for vinyl records, especially by audiophiles has shown that you can’t be too sentimental, and that when music is played on a modern direct-drive turntable it sounds better than it did when new. No matter if you’re listening to the next phase, new wave, dance craze, so long as there is a ThinGap motor powering a VPI turntable, it’s still rock and roll to us.

Optical Platforms, A Perfect Fit

Central to the deployment of cutting edge technologies that require dynamic sensors and precision photonics, such as self-driving cars, laser communication, and medical equipment, optical stages are at the core of these systems. Optical systems often require precise, highly linear and cogless brushless DC motors to actuate lenses and prisms for directing laser beams, or to collect light need in high speed communications, sensing, or scanning.

An optical platform refers to any instrument that relies on photons to transmit, receive, or direct energy. Common forms of optical platforms include metrology instrumentation, medical diagnostics, inspection equipment, free-space laser communication, as well as LiDAR scanners.

Optical Communications Terminals (OCT), used in both terrestrial and space-based applications are a kind of gimbaling device that transmit and receive data through free space. Mounted on a turret, these devices use highly collimated light generated by lasers to communicate at high rates of speed, over long distances, including in satellite-to-satellite communication. ThinGap’s LS Series of slotless motor kits is an industry leader for gimbal applications requiring high performance and efficiency, as well as decisive move-and-hold positioning, and smooth motion for long-range target lock. LS motors have been widely used in OCT systems and even NASA’s PACE Mission’s optical scanner.

The emergence of self-driving vehicles and other unmanned systems has been enabled by the integration of LiDAR technology. LiDAR is an acronym that stands for Light Detection And Ranging, and operates by projecting out laser energy and then measuring the time it takes for it to be returned. LiDAR platforms benefit from slotless motor technology, such as ThinGap’s TG series that combines extremely precise and controlled movement, high speed, and a large throughhole needed for tight integration.

Broader use of optical systems includes laser guidance and directed energy for the military, scientific spectroscopy, and medical treatment and diagnostics. Industrial segments, like semiconductor wafer processing and test heavily rely on the precision of optical systems, as does material processing. In most cases, to leverage the precision of highly collimated light and highly sensitive sensors, precision actuation is need in the form of smooth motion profiles, highly linear torque constant and little or no hysteresis caused by the motor.

Low profile and high torque air-core motors are a perfect fit for many optical systems. With a large through hole, lenses or prisms can be integrated inside the footprint of the motor. Precision, cogless motion is demanded in both transmission and receipt of photonic signals, and quality, qualification for medical or space and reliability go together with these targeted applications.

ThinGap’s LS and TG Series of motor kits come in sizes from 25 mm up to 267 mm OD, with modified and full custom options are also available. All ThinGap motors are zero cogging and have a thin coil, with a large through-hole. The LS Series are designed for torquer motor applications, and feature a steel lamination stack that retains the stator coil, and ideal thermally efficient architecture for clamping or bonding into systems. The TG Series offers both high speed and high torque performance, and is ideal for haptic feedback because its ironless stator produces no attractive forces when unpowered.