Introduction: Easy Whirligig Toy

Hey guys! Today we are going to be building a whirligig! For those of you that don't know, a whirligig is known as the fidget spinners of the 90's. Or more formally, an object (traditionally a button or another somewhat circular object) that is looped between a string. These toys are so old -having been enjoyed by many people starting around 500 B.C with the Native Americans until today! Once the Whirligig is pulled and released, the strings twist and allow the object to spin quickly. Not only are the whirligigs so addicting and a lot of fun to play with, but they are also so easy and inexpensive to make! What I have found for this project is the rule of 2's. 2 cents of materials and 2 minutes to make! We are going to need the following:

  • Basic String (26")
  • A circular object (I used a jar lid, but you can use cardboard, a button, a bottle cap, woord, etc. we will talk about more possibilities towards the end of the Instructable)
  • A drill to make holes (with the supervision of an adult, you could do this with a fork or a knife depending on the material you are using - but I find the drill to be the quickest, easiest, and the safest.

And that is it! Let's learn how to make it!

Step 1: Drilling the Holes

To make a whirligig work, we need two holes that are going to hold the string together. As easy as it sounds, you just drill two holes next to each other. I used a 5/64" drill bit and drilled the holes 0.2" apart. These measurements will change obviously depending on the object you choose to use for your whirligig but should typically be spaced similarly with other objects. Other objects like buttons will already have these holes pre-made for you.

Step 2: Measure Out String / Assembly

For this project, I found that using about 26" amount of string allows for the best results for this project. In other words, it allows the object to spin very quickly without hurting your fingers or getting snagged on itself. Once you've measure out the string, carefully both string ends through each hole and tie it off on the other end.

Amazingly, you are already done! In the next step, I will teach you how to set it up and play!

Step 3: Making the Whirligig Spin!

Making the whirligig spin is very simple. First you grab each end of the looped string and spin the object over on itself (similar to wringing out a wet towel). Once you've done this, the string should be twisted. Next, you pull the ends of the strings apart from each other so that the string will start to unwind (Picture 1). Once it has unwound itself, gently relieve tension with your hands so the string will twist and wind in the opposite direction - thus returning back to its original state (Picture 2). Finally, you just keep repeating that motion and watch the object spin and spin! (Video) Your hands are the power source so once you are done, just hold your hands in place and the object will eventually unwind itself and stop!

If you like me are unsatisfied with just a household object as the spinner, go to the next step. If you are satisfied, you are all done and have fun playing!

Step 4: Customizing Your Own Whirligig!

Like I said in the introduction, these objects are just as - if not more fun than fidget spinners and are just as versatile. In this "extra credit" step, I invite you to go the extra mile and be creative with the whirligig you've made by either coloring on cardboard, wood, creating new shapes, or with what I'm doing - 3D printing. You can make so many unique shapes easily using Autodesk Fusion 360. It is an awesome tool for people wanting to get into 3D Modeling/ 3D printing and helps enhance your creativity to a whole new level. Pictured is the one I've made with some more options for potential designs as well! (STLs for the other designs are provided here).

Thank you so much for checking out this Instructable! Please leave a like, a comment, and vote for this Instructable on the After School Challenge Contest page here .

Can't wait to see you all on the next Instructable! Happy making!


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