Introduction: POV Arduino Fidget Spinner

I've always wanted to make a persistence of vision device, but never got around to making the usual clock or desktop display. I decided to take it to the next level and install it on a Fidget Spinner. Why not right?

I designed all aspects of the project. It is an Arduino using the SAMD21 MCu, a shift register controlling the LEDs, and some Hall Latches and magnets for encoding the spin. I wrote a simple program to have some fun with it, but I will continue to improve it.

This project required knowledge in surface mount soldering, unless you somehow managed to get me to send you a completed board(Maybe!)

You also need to know how to install a bootloader on the SAMD21(I have another instructable on this) and how to program the firmware using the Arduino IDE. Of course you can just write your own programs if you so choose!

This project is on HackADay.io and GitHub

Step 1: Watch the Video!

Step 2: Get the Parts/Tools!

Parts

Materials

  • Solder Paste
  • Solder Wire

Tools

  • Soldering Iron
  • Toaster Oven
  • Torx Screwdriver

Step 3: Solder on Components(Warning Surface Mount!)

Add the solder paste, either by hand or with a stencil. I did it by hand as per usual for low quantity boards.

Step 4: Solder on Bottom Components

The bottom components can all be done with a soldering iron. They are easy enough. The USB port is a bit tricky though.

Step 5: Program the Board

You will need to add the Arduino bootloader to the board using the programming header. I've shown this in a previous instructable of mine and will not be detailing it here. It is covered in many places online.

After the bootloader is on(I use the Sparkfun SAMD21 Bootloader) you can program the Arduino Fidget Spinner using the program I have pieces together/written.

Check out my other instructable for more info on this: https://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-YouTube-Play-Button/

Step 6: Test Out the Board

Lets see those LEDs blink!

Step 7: Install Batteries and Firmware

Now its the scary time to put in the batteries and install the firmware using the Arduino IDE. Goodluck, hope no magic smoke comes out!

The Arduino Firmware requires a few libraries. I have included everything in a zip file. There is also a GitHub Repo with all of the files and info: https://github.com/IdleHandsProject/POV_Fidget

Step 8: Assemble Fidget Spinner

First you need to install the small magnets into the cap. Only 2 are required and they need to be right next to each other, with opposing polarities. (NS/SN)

Next Take the circuit board and install it in the 3D printed parts from Shapeways.

Use the plastic threading screws to mount it. Easy enough! Make sure its turned the correct way, the USB only goes through one place.

Step 9: Spin!

Look! It works!

It looks a lot better in person, the camera causes the skipping of the lights, which is not visible to the human eye.

The program I wrote has a number of different modes like RPM and Spin Count. It also goes to sleep when it sits for too long(25 seconds) so it doesn't much power. You need to press the red button to wake it up. You press the blue button to change the current menu option. Some write things, others display metrics.

Step 10: Support These Projects

If you would like to support my projects, Consider subscribing to my YouTube, becoming a Patron, and following on Instagram.

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Be informed the moment a new project comes out!

Comments

author
SimonH36 made it!(author)2017-07-10

The first Instructable which has inspired me to make something, thanks :) I ordered some PCB's from a low-cost supplier, and they've arrived! Now to order the parts and start assembling. I may try to modify the design to use tri-colour LED's later.

Note to others - there is no need to use solder paste and an oven for soldering SMT components; Thin solder and a fine soldering tip is all that is required (and a magnifier if you're over 40 like me)

author
ringmasterow made it!(author)2017-07-03

This is a great project! How do I make use of the board files you have provided? Where did you print your board? How can it be cut to shape? Too many questions! I'm happy to go through the process of building it all myself, but I have no idea where to start. Can you provide some hints/directions? Thanks!

author
seanhodgins made it!(author)2017-07-04

The files are meant to be opened in KiCad if you want to change things, the Gerb files/zip file can be uploaded to a place called PCBWay or OSHPark who will make your boards. The board files include an "board edge" file so it will be cut out the way you see in the video.

If you want to start by trying to make a working board, order a few of the boards, get the components, and start there. Its a bit of a learning curve if you have never soldered(or surface mount soldered) before, but we all start somewhere.

author
Ben-DIY made it!(author)2017-06-28

Dude, this is awesome.

First I thought "Hey, cool headline, let's check". Then I saw the beginning of the video and I was "oh, he just assembles something he bought" and in the I was "wow, he created everything, designed the pbc and the body and let it been manufactured on an industry quality". Super awesome! Most of the time you see bread boards or prototype pcb here. This would obviously not work in such a small scale. Sadly I can't solder smd. I don't have the tools, so my circuits are always on normal, homemade pcb. Btw: nice set of tools I can see in the background ;-)

Anyway: nice work, I like it 120%. You have a new follower ;-)

author
seanhodgins made it!(author)2017-06-28

You can absolutely do SMD components. I know you can. I use a $20 "toaster oven", but I would recommend spending another $20 and get one with convection.

If you can hand solder, you're just a tube of solder paste and a toaster oven away from making the jump. I would even say its actually easier than TH. You will be absolutely surprised when you try how easy it is. Its very hard to hurt the components/board.

I've been making SMD boards for a few years now, those cool tools you see? I only got them a few months ago. Before that I pretty much just had a multi-meter(and occasionally steal some time with my works oscilloscope for trouble shooting) and a good soldering iron. Having a good soldering iron helps you fix any problems with the components after reflowing, a cheap hot air station makes things even easier for fixing and would be a good purchase as well. Some things are hard to fix without it. I don't need to use it very often though.

author
Ben-DIY made it!(author)2017-07-02

Thanks for your nice words and you trust in my skills! To be honest, I never made any researches on how to solder smd. So from your video it looks like:
a) put some solder paste
b) place components
c) put it in the over (for some time at some temperature ^^)
d) solder the other parts the "conventional way"

Is it really that easy? What time and temperature do you recommend? Regarding convection: couldn't you build a metal fan and add it to your oven by yourself? DIY-style ^^

From tool side I have a upper-medium class soldering iron from Ersa. I could need a good regulated one, but mine has a good temperature for pcb soldering and I have several exchangeable tips. But if it will break one day (already several years old and still good) or I can give it to my kids. I also have a cheap logic analyser and an atmel debugger which is super helpful. I still miss an digital oscilloscope. You have a Rigol, right? DS1104Z, right? It looks like one. How much was it? 600USD? Quite some money... But I really need something similar sooner or later :-) time to save some money ^^

But first I will check to get into smd soldering. One last question: where do you order your pcb? I know pcbway.com, they are quite cheap (5€ for 10 pc of 100x100mm) but have some shipping costs (up to 5 times pcb costs) to Germany.

author
seanhodgins made it!(author)2017-07-04

Its really that easy. The hardest part is not putting too much solder paste, which if you do will need to be removed by a soldering iron after.

Temperature, my oven is set to its highest setting "240C/450F". It doesn't actually hit that temperature. I turn it on and just watch the boards, after they have all flowed, I wait a few seconds, shut it off, and pull the tray out to let them cool. I normally have a computer fan blowing on them to cool a little faster. I could put a metal fan in, but it wouldn't be worth the hassle and the cost of the fan, since so many models have them for a little bit more money.

Yeah I recently purchase the Rigol, its only $400 US actually. https://www.amazon.com/Rigol-DS1054Z-Digital-Oscil... quite a good deal and if you feel like it, can easily make it 100mHz.

I order my PCBs normally from PCBway.com - They're so fast and good quality that its worth the shipping. I normally pay about $5-10 for the boards, and $20-30 for the shipping. Just the way it goes! If you have a few projects on the go at the same time, then you can lump the shipping together. That is what I normally do.

author
seanhodgins made it!(author)2017-07-04

Its really that easy. The hardest part is not putting too much solder paste, which if you do will need to be removed by a soldering iron after.

Temperature, my oven is set to its highest setting "240C/450F". It doesn't actually hit that temperature. I turn it on and just watch the boards, after they have all flowed, I wait a few seconds, shut it off, and pull the tray out to let them cool. I normally have a computer fan blowing on them to cool a little faster. I could put a metal fan in, but it wouldn't be worth the hassle and the cost of the fan, since so many models have them for a little bit more money.

Yeah I recently purchase the Rigol, its only $400 US actually. https://www.amazon.com/Rigol-DS1054Z-Digital-Oscil... quite a good deal and if you feel like it, can easily make it 100mHz.

I order my PCBs normally from PCBway.com - They're so fast and good quality that its worth the shipping. I normally pay about $5-10 for the boards, and $20-30 for the shipping. Just the way it goes! If you have a few projects on the go at the same time, then you can lump the shipping together. That is what I normally do.

author
bratan made it!(author)2017-06-28

Great job man! I made my some time in February, but never figured out how to get sync it with magnets and hall effect sensors. Sorry you not the first to make POV spinner, but there were some guys before me as well :) Forget about Kickstarter, there were bunch of similar projects that never got funded :( Appreciate open source!

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author
Alexisgm97 made it!(author)2017-07-02

Cool! I would really like to have the schematics and .brd files! Could it be possible?? Thanks!

author
ShekharSahu made it!(author)2017-06-30

I love this.

author
SidA2 made it!(author)2017-06-27

I always wanted to try and make one of these, but I couldn't figure out how to make the LEDs sync up properly with the speed of the spinner

author
dirty_valentine made it!(author)2017-06-27

First fidget spinner I can actually get behind. Very well done!

author
jcantalupo made it!(author)2017-06-27

+1 on that

author
AlexanderM130 made it!(author)2017-06-27

Do you have one set of circuit boards left as you told in the video?

author
Tally+O made it!(author)2017-06-27

That's well kewl! Wish I had them smarts!

Would be nice with different colour LEDs and have it do two messages (top and bottom) ? Alternative spin message for the left handers?

author
Flying+Squirrel made it!(author)2017-06-27

Can't wait to try this out!

author
AlejandroR26 made it!(author)2017-06-27

Now that is cool! My 7 year old niece is really into spinners and I was hoping to get her intrested in Arduino programing. Thank you for the instructable! I so want one now!

author
kapilsaxena made it!(author)2017-06-27

wao type

author
TomP216 made it!(author)2017-06-27

This is awesome. I have been looking for a way to get my boys excited about Arduino and Making. I would love to do this as a summer project with them. How can I talk you out of some boards?!

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Bio: I'm currently finishing my Masters in Mechanical engineering. I have a bachelors in automotive technology and am a self taught electrical engineer(work in ... More »
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