Introduction: Soda Bottle Top Fidget Toy

Picture of Soda Bottle Top Fidget Toy

When I saw fidget cubes on the web, it struck me that two soda bottle tops could be used to make a similar toy which would be comfortable to hold and handle, and be of an appropriate size.

The one I then built, can do the following:

1. The two halves can be turned independently of one another.

2. The gear in the middle of the toy can be turned independently.

3. The joystick at one end can pressed and wiggled.

4. The marble at the other end can be rolled.

5. Maybe stroking the ridges on the toy can bring comfort/calmness.

  • I've added a video on Youtube that can help explain the working and construction of the toy.

Step 1: How It Works

Picture of How It Works

The first picture shows how the different parts fit together.

The centre bolt and nut hold the two wooden discs and the gear together, but not too tight, allowing the parts to still turn easily. The two caps is glued to the wooden middle, with the teeth of the gear protruding. Thus the caps and gear can all be moved relative to each other.

On the one cap's top a joystick is fitted, consisting of a bolt, nut and spring. This can be pressed inwards against the pressure of the spring, and move sideways in any direction. The size of the hole through which it is fitted to the cap determines how much sideways movement is possible.

On the opposite side a marble is is held captive between the cap and the wooden centre part of the toy. The part of the marble protruding through a hole enables one to roll the marble with one's fingers.

Step 2: The Parts

Picture of The Parts

All the parts needed are shown in the first picture, together with a short description.

The type of cap is important, because the parts probably won't fit other types of soda bottle tops, unless adapted for them. The second picture shows the correct cap. I chose this one because of its rounded corners, and its inside dimensions. It also looks the nicest to me.

Step 3: Fabrication of Parts

Picture of Fabrication of Parts

In the following steps the different parts of the fidget toy and any fabrication needed are described, starting from the centre of the toy.

Step 4: The Gear

Picture of The Gear

I call this the gear, because it has teeth and I don't know what else to call it.

I made mine from the top of a yogurt container, but a little bit thicker plastic would probably have been better for the comfort of your fingers when using it.

Because it's difficult to draw on the plastic itself, I first covered an area with masking tape (first picture), on which I drew a circle of 35 mm in diameter, and divided the circle in smaller parts to facilitate even spacing between the teeth. Then I punched holes exactly on the line (second pic), and used scissors to cut exactly through the middle of the plastic bits between the holes. Lastly I drilled a 5 mm hole in the centre of the gear.

Step 5: The Wooden Discs

Picture of The Wooden Discs

The two wooden discs are 25 mm in diameter, and I cut them from 4 mm plywood with a hole saw (second pic) fitted with a 5 mm drill bit.

As the caps will be glued to the discs later on, I fitted them with 6 mm hardboard rings of the same diameter to enlarge the gripping area for the glue. I first drilled a 16 mm hole in the hardboard, and then carefully cut out the rings around them using the hole saw with its drill bit removed.

The bolt holding the gear and two discs together must be flat headed, and countersunk into the disc on the marble's side (third pic, disc on the right hand side), to provide space for the marble to fit. I even had to hollow out the head of the bolt a teeny bit (last pic) to gain a little more space. Of course using a smaller marble would make fitment easier.

I used a 5 mm thick bolt because that's the size of the holes made by the hole saw in the centre of the discs.

In my case I had to cut the threaded part of the bolt to 8 mm in length.

Step 6: The Caps and Marble

Picture of The Caps and Marble

All that needs to be done to the caps is to drill a 6 mm hole through the top of one for the joystick, and a 14 mm hole in the other one for the marble.

The glass marble I used was a 15 mm one from an empty can of Rust Oleum spray paint. The usual warnings about opening such cans apply if you also follow that route.

Step 7: The Joystick

Picture of The Joystick

The joystick consists of a 4 mm bolt, the threaded part of which is cut to 13 mm in length. The thread has to be smoothed in some way to prevent it from filing away the cap when the joystick is pushed in and out. I used a piece of heat shrinking tube, with a bit of thread left open for the nut to grab onto on the inside of the cap.

A 10 mm washer with a 5 mm hole prevents the spring from entering the hole in the cap, and damaging the cap.

The spring is from an old ball point pen, cut to 19 mm in length uncompressed. Bend the tip of the spring at the cap end a little open to prevent it from entering the hole in the washer.

Step 8: Fitting It All Together

Picture of Fitting It All Together

Screw the centre discs together, the same for the joystick. Use some kind of thread locking compound to lock the nuts in place. You can also damage the threads a little to make the nuts lock.

Then the two caps can be fitted to the discs with your favourite glue, trapping the marble against the head of the centre bolt. Just be careful to ONLY glue the caps to the outsides of the discs, so that the gear and caps can still move independently of one another.


Daniel11048 (author)2017-05-12

thanks you a lot i finally finished our prototype again thank you a lot you saved me

mxx (author)Daniel110482017-05-12

My pleasure!

YOUTUBEFREEKYOYO (author)2017-03-20


same thing

mxx (author)wooooooooops2017-03-26

Thanks, wooooooooops! (Hope I got the number of o's right.)

wooooooooops (author)mxx2017-05-11

i am sorry to tell you but you did 10 o's i have 9 so you were close

mxx (author)YOUTUBEFREEKYOYO2017-03-26


Daniel11048 (author)2017-05-03

i'm wondering if you can make a video on this because im having trouble making this

mxx (author)Daniel110482017-05-03

Daniel, sorry to hear that you are having trouble. I'll see what I can do.

mxx (author)mxx2017-05-05

Daniel, video is now on YouTube at

Daniel11048 (author)mxx2017-05-04

We are doing this for a school project so we are struggling to finish. We thought this was an amazing idea. We tried it but are struggling to get the resources. For the gear, what did u use and that vido would be helpful. I't is fine if u cant but plz try. We don't wan to get an F!

Daniel11048 (author)Daniel110482017-05-04

and what exact soda cap do we need

mxx (author)Daniel110482017-05-04

I'll also cover that.

mxx (author)Daniel110482017-05-04

Daniel, don't despair. I'll get on it right away!

ethancochran12 (author)2017-04-27

where do you get the heat shrinking tube?

mxx (author)ethancochran122017-04-27

I ordered mine from China (online stores like and but you should be able to get it at a local store that sells electronic components, and sometimes even at the electrical department of a hardware store.

ethancochran12 (author)mxx2017-04-27

Like ace hardware?

mxx (author)ethancochran122017-04-27

Yes, they should have a good selection. Best bet would be a packet with a selection of thicknesses.

Timothee Gillier (author)2017-04-26

Cool project!

mxx (author)Timothee Gillier2017-04-27

Thanks so much, Timothee!

nanaamoah2017 (author)2017-03-28

Awesome work done

mxx (author)nanaamoah20172017-03-29

Thank you, nanaamoah2017!

WilliamL225 (author)2017-03-21

Doesn't anyone use inch measurements anymore instead of mm?

sonebp (author)WilliamL2252017-03-26

Almost whole world use metric measurements.So your question is ......

WilliamL225 (author)sonebp2017-03-27

All I'm asking is that when you post something that has measurements, please post it in inches and mm, like most other people do.

jefflahay (author)WilliamL2252017-03-25

I suppose you don't like how he spells the word "centre" either? ;)
If I need to convert I just put it in (name of favorite (or favourite) search engine here) and that works for me.

mxx (author)WilliamL2252017-03-22

WilliamL225, apologies for the metric measurements, but that is the system we use in our country, so it's unfortunately the only one I'm familiar with.

casey1526 (author)2017-03-23

what a cracker of an instuctable

mxx (author)casey15262017-03-27

Thanks, casey1526!

mxx (author)2017-03-26

Optical kid, I don't have the bottles anymore, but I suspect it is a local brand (Woolworths). However, I did Google the caps beforehand, and I did find the same design, and so I assume it is an international design.

mxx (author)mxx2017-03-26

And as for the wooden discs, I cut them from 3 mm plywood with the same hole saw shown in the instructable.

bmcnabb made it! (author)2017-03-23

Not the exact same thing but, I used your design for inspiration and worked in wood ;)

mxx (author)bmcnabb2017-03-26

Congratulations, and as a wood lover, I really like the look!

volcom1919 (author)2017-03-24

WoW.! You really put a lot of thought and effort into this project- and not only the fidget toy, but putting the entire ible together as well.! Quite the creative mind you must have, I'm so impressed that this is the first comment AND compliment I've ever left, and I browse this site on the daily. Bravo my friend, bravo.

mxx (author)volcom19192017-03-25

Those are kind words, volcom1919, and I really do appreciate it!

JokerDAS (author)2017-03-23

This is fantastic! Well written and explained! I thought your DIY "gear" was extremely clever!!!

mxx (author)JokerDAS2017-03-24

Thanks for your kind words, JokerDAS!

jwzumwalt (author)2017-03-22

The US, Myanmar (Burma) and Liberia, are the only countries in the world not using or switching to the metric system. Congress passed the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 "to coordinate and plan the increasing use of the metric system in the United States". Voluntary conversion was requested.

2wildlife (author)2017-03-21

One of the best, if not best, put together instructables I've seen. Awesome!!!

mxx (author)2wildlife2017-03-22

Thank you 2wildlife! Much appreciated.

bmohr (author)2017-03-21

I will be making at least one of these. I've worked on a couple designs myself, but I really love the simplicity and versatility of this design. Your instructable is very clear and well written too. Lastly I like how you reused items in your build. I think there is one word to describe this project: Genius

mxx (author)bmohr2017-03-21

Thanks for your wonderful words, dear sir! You're much too kind.

shanbop11 (author)2017-03-21

You are brilliant! I am going to make this for my autistic nephew. Thank you.

mxx (author)shanbop112017-03-21

Thanks, shanbop11! I'd be honoured if your nephew find it useful.

jmcgarey (author)2017-03-21

Very cool! One enhancement suggestion would be to use an acorn nut for the joystick, placing the screw in from the other direction. Great making though!

mxx (author)jmcgarey2017-03-21

A great suggestion, jmcgarey! Thanks very much!

richpit (author)2017-03-21

With the prices some places charge for fidget cubes, this is a great idea! It seems pretty simple. Thanks!

mxx (author)richpit2017-03-21

Thank you, richpit! I was afraid people would think it too difficult to build.

OneBirdieMa (author)2017-03-21

Very nice. I shall now overbrain how to turn this into a toy for my parrots....

mxx (author)OneBirdieMa2017-03-21

Lucky parrots to have an owner like you!

About This Instructable




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