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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.