Introduction: Gear Thangy Spinner

About: Hello Instructables community! Even though I've been a member since 2012, I just started submitting my own Instructables this year, 2017! I enjoy taking things apart and building new things with the parts. I a…

Tools Needed for this project:

1) 3D printer or access to a 3D printer

2) A metal vise

3) Either 1 or 4 1/4 inch bolts (see details of options in the last step)

4) permanent marker to mark the length of the bolts

5) hacksaw or powered small rotary cutoff saw

6) metric rule

7)Tinkercad account (it's free!) or just download and use my "STL" file

Hello Instructables community!

If you choose this project, your goal today is to build a copy of the "Gear Thangy Spinner"! It's a variation of all the common 3 arm spinners that are available throughout the world.

This is my first Instructable. I created it in order to enter the Fidget Spinner Contest and to learn how to use Tinkercad.

First, BE SAFE. There's only one step where you might use a power tool or hand tool that could cause injury. So, if you're inexperienced or have never used a rotary cutter or hacksaw then get an experienced person to help you with this step!

I used Tinkercad to develop my spinner. It's dimensions are based on most of the common spinners that are available commercially but it has four arms instead of the more common three arm spinners. I chose four arms because it's much easier to align the arms with the center cylinder which holds the bearing.

Im new to Tinkercad. I've only been using it for about 2 months now. So, it's been challenging and rewarding learning how to use this app. I'm also learning Fusion 360 but Tinkercad is a much easier and faster way to start creating things because there are many pre-defined shapes available that can easily be modified for your project. The shapes that I'm using are available from a community of Tinkercad users that have made their shape design(s) public so that anyone using Tinkercad has access to them. Thanks to the community for making these shapes available!

Unfortunately this isn't a Tinkercad teaching moment. I will assume that the reader already has some experience with this app and can do some basic modifications of the objects that I've used to create my spinner. So, you will need to know how to cut holes, do object alignments and how to rotate objects. If you have a grasp on these things or functions then you won't have any problem building the "Gear Thangy Spinner"!

I haven't 3D printed my spinner as yet but I hope to get access to a printer in the next couple of days. I did create an "STL" file of my spinner so that you can test it for yourself. This is the file type that allows you to send your creations directly to a "slicing" app (which determines each and every layer of plastic that the printer will lay down to complete your design) and then to the 3D printer.

So, let's get started and move forward with Step 1:

Step 1: Create All the Parts First and Make the End Caps

As you can see, in the above graphic, I've laid out all the parts that you'll need to create a working version of the spinner. The first two rows of objects represent all the parts involved in making the two end caps that are eventually secured to the middle of your bearing. The bearing that I'm using is one of the common bearings that are used in most of the three arm spinners.

You actually only need to create one row of parts, for the end caps, one small gear, one S Wall and finally one Center Gear where the bearing will reside. The purpose of that graphic is to show you the total number of parts that will make up your spinner. You'll use "Duplication" to save yourself lots of time and effort. You'll only make one end cap, one arm that includes an S Wall and a small gear, and one Center Gear. That's it!

The bearing used is a "Reds" skateboard bearing as described in the tutorial for the Fidget Spinner Contest. It's the common “size” used for most fidget spinners. The actual dimensions, of the bearing, are 22mm total diameter, 8mm bore and 7mm width.

All the objects or parts that I use come from the "Community Shape Generators". Normally Tinkercad starts by displaying "Basic Shapes". You will need to click on the dropdown box to select the "Community Shape Generators". There's only two shapes that I used, from the "Basic Shapes" and that's the "Hole Cylinder"(it's the gray-colored Cylinder) and the "Regular Cylinder" shape. The rest of the shapes come from the community.

I like to open two copies of Tinkercad. That way you can select all the parts you need and paste them onto one "Workplane" and pre-shape and size them. You can then copy and paste the pieces that you want to assembly in the other Tinkercad "Workplane".

So, let's get started on the parts and their sizes. We'll start with the end caps since they are easy to build. Grab a copy of the shape labeled "Cylinder" from the "Basic Shapes" dropdown. Don't worry about the size of it yet. So, Try and duplicate my layout of parts in the above first graphic. Now go to the "Community Shapes Generators" and get a copy of the shape labeled "Useful Gear". I color code each object because it makes it easier to see them and the changes being made to them. Click on an "S Wall" shape an place it on the Workplane.

The Main Gear (center of spinner) Height = 15mm, Width = 28mm, Depth = 28mm and number of teeth is 20. Make a 22.04mm X 22.04mm in the center of the main gear using a gray-colored hole "Cylinder". Make sure the hole is cut completely through the main gear.

For the S Wall pieces, you'll only need one of them. You'll duplicate the other three, later. Rotate the S Wall piece, from it's flat position, to 90 degrees. Look at the second graphic above for the position of the S Wall piece. The S Wall dimensions are Height = 10mm, Width = 25mm, Depth = 5mm. Copy that one and paste it in your other workplane.

The dimensions, of the small gears, connected to each arm ( 4 of them) is Height = 15mm, Width = 15mm, Depth = 10mm. You only need to rotate one of these 90 degrees vertically. The number of teeth is 8. Copy and paste to your other workplane.

Let's build the parts for the end caps. Select the "Useful Gear". You need to change the "bore" size to zero or as close to zero as possible. Set the Height= 2.5mm, Width = 24mm, Depth or Length= 24mm also the number of teeth is 8. You only need to make the parts for one end cap because you'll duplicate it when it's finished.

Next, duplicate this gear and drag it to the right of the first gear to make the center bushing ring. With that gear copy, change it's dimensions to the following:

Center Bushing gear: Height = 7.50mm, Width = 11mm, Depth = 11mm.

The center shaft is made out of a normal cylinder. So, under the "Basic Shapes", in the dropdown box select a Cylinder shapeand change it's dimensions to the following:

Center shaft cylinder: Height = 11.50mm, Width = 7.95mm, Depth = 7.95mm

Now combine these parts and center align them with the end cap.

I added the letters "GT" to the top of each end cap. I did this by cutting a center hole in the top of each cap to a depth of 4mm and a width and length of 6mm each. You'll need to rotate the cap 180 degrees in order to cut the hole and add the lettering. Use alignment to center and cut the hole flush with the top of the cap.

The lettering font is "Multilanguage". The Height = 4mm, width and depth are 4mm each. Align the lettering, in the hole that you cut in the cap. Make sure you flush align the letters with the top of the cap so that they are even with the surface. Don't forget to group all the parts together before you move on to the next step.

Now that you've finished one end cap make sure you rotate it back 180 degrees and make sure it sits flush with the workplace surface. You can now copy it and paste it into your other Tinkercad workplane. While you're in that space go ahead and make a copy of the end cap. You're finished with the end caps! Take a short break and then we'll continue with the main parts.

Step 2: Create the Main Parts

Make sure that you only have the main gear, one S Wall piece and one small gear on your finishing workplane. Set the main gear aside for now. We'll work on it later.

Look at the second graphic above and make sure you have the S Wall piece and the small gear lined up as pictured. Move the S Wall piece and gear close to each other like, in the graphic, and select both of them. Click on alignment. You're going to align them horizontally and vertically. To align vertically, just select the center alignment dot. You now need to move the S Wall piece so that it meshes or becomes a part of the gear. I moved mine so that the vertical end of the arm, of the S Wall, is meshed about half the thickness of the vertical part of the end of the S Wall piece.

Once you've aligned the two pieces then group them together. Now move that combined S Wall and small gear near the Center Gear. They don't have to touch at this point. Highlight them both and click on alignment. Center them horizontally and vertically. Click on the small gear only and slowly move it towards the center gear until it meshes with the gear to a depth of about half the thickness of that turned down part of the S Wall. Just look at my third graphic above to picture the alignment.

Now that that piece is where you want it, click on the small gear only and duplicate the combined S Wall and small gear. Click on the horizontal rotate symbol and rotate that copy 180 degrees. You can use your arrow key to move the copy to the left or right depending on which side you started on. Highlight the three pieces and do an alignment. Now, duplicate the first gear again and rotate the duplicate 90 degrees. You'll have to click on this new copy and move it so that it appears to be aligned vertically with the center gear.

Duplicate the combo of that small gear and S Wall and rotate the copy 180 degrees. You can move that copy down using the down arrow on your keyboard. Move it to the outside edge of the main gear. Highlight the two new vertical positioned small gear duplicates along with the main gear. Click on the alignment button to align the three. Now move each arm so that they connect with the main gear to the same depth as your other two arms.

You've nearly completed your spinner! Select all the gears together(make sure you don't select the end caps) and click on the "Group" icon to group them together. You have just completed your new copy of the "Gear Thangy Spinner". You can now make your own "STL" file so that you can print it on a 3D printer or you can use my copy. It's the last item in the graphics displayed above that says "Gear Thangy Spinner".

Just one more step to go!

Step 3: Add Weight to the Small Gears


This is that step were you'll need an experienced person to help you if you're not comfortable or have never used a hacksaw or small rotary cutter. You will need a metal vise to clamp each bolt to secure it before cutting the metal pieces to length.

I've updated this step so that you can use a 1/4 inch bolt. The hole in each of the small gears is cut to 6.40mm which should accept a 1/4 inch bolt8.5mm in length, of the unthreaded part, of the bolt. You have two options to weight your spinner.

Option 1: You can get one 4 1/2 inch bolt which will be long enough to cut 4 pieces to a length of 8.5mm each . They're cheap and you can get them at Lowe's or Home Depot.

Option 2: You can add even more weight by including the head of the bolt. You'll need 4 bolts to do this. Just measure and mark, with a permanent marker, 8.5mm from the bolt head.

Use super glue to hold the pieces in place. Now, the added weight will allow the spinner to spin much longer!

Hope you enjoy my spinner design. Let me know if you have any questions and have FUN!!!

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