Introduction: Lockdown: Make Simple Wooden Fidget With Basic Tools, Trial and Errors

So it's been a few weeks now since the start of the lockdown, and I think we all start to wonder what to do... How about going to your workshop, find some scrap wood, and make a toy with it?

This way, you will be entertained when you make it, but also when you fidget with it! That's double more fun!



Either a drill press (with a long wood bit) or a Dremel/router (with a "T" bit)


  • Scrap wood
  • Wooden dowel
  • Screw

Step 1: Go to Step 24

This instructable is all about trial and error, so if you don't want to repeat the same errors as me, I strongly suggest you to read it all before beginning to build!

Also, in the last step, I have made a small list of DO/DON'T.

Step 2: Draw the Drill Paths

You will need to draw a hexagon, and all it's diagonals.

Start by drawing a big circle on your wood, and mark one diameter (perpendicular to one side).

Then with your compass still set on the circle radius, mark the edge of the circle, from the two points formed by the crossing diameter (you will mark four points, for a total of six points).

Trace the edges and the diagonals of the hexagon.

Step 3: Mark the Depth

Now you need to know where to drill!

My dowels have a diameter of 10mm, so I choose to drill 8mm below the surface. Since my drill bit is 12mm diameter, it leaves a margin of 2mm (8-12/2).

Step 4: Drill the First Hole

Now you can go to your drill press!

Make sure your drill bit is long enough to drill through the whole piece (mine was not).

Put your wood piece in the wise, adjust, clamp, and bolt.


If your drill bit isn't long enough, flip the piece, and drill from the other side. Important: will you are flipping the wood, do not touch your settings! Or the two holes will be misaligned...

Step 5: Saw the Edges

As you can see, it was a perfect... fail.

As my drill bit is too small, the two holes were misaligned, and they're not below the surface... Time for another method!

First, saw the edges of the hexagon.

Step 6: Make Sure Everything Is Square

Flip the table!

Turn the table of your drill press 90°.

With a bubble level, check that the wise is parallel to the drill bit.

Step 7: Second and Third Hole

Put the piece of wood on the wise, with the help of a clamp.

Always check that your setup is well square, and check if it drifts will you are drilling.

(Notice that I used a longer bit this time)

Step 8: Pre-drill the Dowel

Find some dowels that will fit in the holes, and drill a small hole at the center to put a screw.

Step 9: Holder Design and Test

Then you will need to saw some apertures above the holes, to let the screws move freely.

With a piece of paper, I fiddled to make a correct holder. What I have found is that you have to make an equilateral triangle and that the edge should be greater than the length of a dowel.

Step 10: Make the Holder

Find a thin piece of scrap wood, and mark the three vertexes of the triangle. Drill it and test it.

Once you're happy with it, finish it by removing wood: we want to see the dowels moving!

Step 11: Assemble and Enjoy !

Put the dowels in, add the holder, screw it.


Step 12: Router Version: Tools

Let's try something different!

You will need the same wood and dowel, but this time we will use a Dremel/router instead of a drill press.

I used a straight bit to make a first slot and then a "T" bit, to make the holes for the dowels.

Step 13: Cut a Disk, Mark the Slots

I started by cutting a disk in the wood, and then I added the diagonals of the hexagon, like the first time.

Step 14: Slotting

Then I made the straight slots.

Step 15: Fail...

And when I wanted to cut the T slots, the piece broke... Fail.

Let's try again...

Step 16: Try Again!

But this time, I will start by making the slots, and then cutting out the piece of the wood.

As always, start by marking the diagonals.

Step 17: Mark the Slots

To make things easier, you can start by marking more deeply your lines with a small round head.

Step 18: Slotting, Part 1

And then you can make deep slots with a straight bit.

Step 19: Slotting, Part 2

Finally, use the T bit to cut holes for the dowels, and test if everything is ok!

Step 20: Cutout and Sanding

You can now cut your piece off the wood plank, and sand it a little to have a better touch feel.

Step 21: Making the Holder

As the last time, take a thin piece of wood and pierce the vertex of an equilateral triangle.

Step 22: Assemble

Screw the holder to the dowels. Pay attention to the direction of the holder, or it will not work!

Test if everything turns right.

Step 23: Enjoy!

Remove the excess wood of the holder, and that's it!


Step 24: Tip and Tricks

Here a small list of the problems that I met:


  • The holder needs to be an equilateral triangle with the edge larger than the length of the dowels.
  • Try to make holes that are not too loose around the dowel, or it will not spin correctly.
  • Your holes must be perfectly straight.

For the drill press version:

  • Do not use wood larger than the length of your drill bit
  • Do not rely on the planarity of your wood (especially if it's scrap wood), add margin
  • You have better results by turn your table 90°, but it's more complicated to setup
  • Always check and recheck that everything is square!

For the Dremel version:

  • Slot first, cut after, or the wood will break.
  • Slotting a small mark with a round head helps to have straight lines.
That's it! Thank you for reading it all, and if you encounter any problem, tell me, I will add it here (and help you if I can).
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