MagSpin - the ULTIMATE Fidget Spinner

Introduction: MagSpin - the ULTIMATE Fidget Spinner

So, what are cool things to play with?

LEDs

Dogs, cats, snakes….

Ball bearings

Marbles (radioactive and not)

Lasers

Magnets!

WARNING: Magnets are not toys – though I love to play with them – and are very dangerous for children. Especially, if these tend to put things into bodily orifices, magnets can actually cause serious bodily harm, even death! Neodym magnets are especially dangerous, due to their high field strength even in small size magnets. Two magnets stuck to opposite sides of an ear lobe might look kinda cool, but this will – luckily - quickly start to hurt, as the magnets draw further and further together and start forcing anything movable out of their way, which would eventually cause an open wound and a hole in the ear lobe – ingested the magnets could puncture the intestines….

But anyway,….

So, my first try at writing an instructable – really quick, during my lunch break….

….so, about 3 years ago, I was sitting at my (then clean) desk, musing about the great concept of globalization, calling up the daily news, when I happened on a note about some kind of new fad about to spill to Europe:

Fidget Spinners!

More ramblings: It seemed a bit fascinating to me, since I was “fidgety” as a kid and still tend towards it today, so I watched a video on it and decided that maybe I should get one myself to check it out....….but at that time you couldn’t get one in Germany - yet.

So I thought about making one myself, which seemed easy enough, and I found some clips on YouTube – of course – where people were explaining in great detail about how they were using CAD programs and expensive power tools to design and tool the “ULTIMATE” fidget spinner from all kinds of media, spanning from apes to zircon (excluding kittens, at least).

It seemed all a bit overdoing things, and I really didn’t want to spend any money anyway, and one bearing with a fixed bit of wood or plastic around it seemed a bit boring anyway, so I checked the deep dark cardboard box beneath my desk, where all the fun things had been discarded to, when the desk had been converted to a “serious” work space.

Since I always enjoyed inline skating, there were several old bearings to be found – gritty and greasy, but anyway.

Since I had to get back to transferring skills, I had no time to saw up wood and find bolts to start building my “ultimate” attempt at a spinner, but at least I had some bearings to fidget with.

A few days later I had long cleaned the bearings and removed the covers and was sitting there again wondering how to make a “real” spinner without any effort, when all the magnets stuck to my desk-drawer – from hard-drives, toys, packaging, motors…. – finally managed to catch my attention.

Of course they interacted quite well with the steel bearings. So for some time, I played around with all kinds of configurations, with plates, blocks, short round cylinders, small 5mm spheres – you name it – when (finally, after about 8 weeks) the 10 mm sphere Neodym magnets I’d ordered for x-mas at Alibaba finally arrived and - needless to say – they were simply The perfect match!!!

That’s why I have to show them to you here:

THE PERFEKT FIDGET SPINNER

The essence of spinners: Cheap components, easily reconfigurable, lots of configurations, no tools needed, no high-tech machinery, no sharp corners, warms quickly in your hand, (almost) unbreakable, washable, ….

Supplies:

5 x 608 Bearings (skateboard/inliners, preferably hybrid)

6 x 10 mm Neodym Magnets

Optional:

1 Rubber Ring (5mm wide, from bike hose)

A drop of superglue (to stick the rubber ring to one oft the bearings)

Tools:

Scissors (careful with them – they’re mean!)

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Step 1: Method / Assembly

Take the magnets and the bearings and mix them – Finished! (the end of the instructable)

No, seriously – that’s it!

OK, as you see from the pictures, I always first remove the covers from the bearings and clean them of oil and grease, before I play with them.

Without the covers the bearings tend to collect all kinds of debris from pockets and other places, but without lubricants those bits quickly fall out/off.

If you take one bearing, you have the simplest spinner.

Combine it with one magnet, you have an off-cantered spinner.

Take a second magnet and it spins more freely.

And now you can freely build up from there….

And you are not stuck with planar arrangements, but e.g. put one of the magnets in the center hole and spin the construct on your desk.

To put them away in an ordered manner, instead of just crumbling things together, you can order them in alternated magnet/bearing/…./magnet array, like a worm, thus also making a different sort of fun fidget toy.

Step 2: Thoughts / Considerations / Improvements / Rambling....

The 10 mm Neodym magnets are simply perfect in size and field strength, where smaller magnets simply cannot hold the bearings together in a stable way.

I found the combination of 5 bearings and 6 magnets the most satisfying, since they combine to a nice symmetrical pattern, that is not too puny small, has a nice weight, fits well in the “standard” hand and spins for quite some time.

The combination of the relative sizes of the magnets and bearings is not absolutely perfect – mainly due to variances in the magnets – so I found it best to take a rubber band and put it around one of the bearings and fix it with a drop of superglue. A ring cut from an old bicycle inner tube – I found in the box beneath my desk – fits the role best.

If you take the thus cushioned bearing as the center one, the various arrangements of magnets and bearings around it are well stabilized, and the spinner spins more smoothly.

Initially I started with the junk bearings I found in the ominous box I told you about. But I meanwhile had received a little package with new hybrid Zirkon bearings for my inlines.

The problem with all-steel bearings arises due to the exact magnetism that you are using to bind the bearings together, because a magnet stuck to the outer Ring of a bearing induces also magnetism in the steel spheres, as well as the inner ring. Sticking more magnets to a bearing simply confounds the problem, leading to a chaotic system.

Using bearings with non-magnetic spheres, in this case ZrO2, greatly reduces the induced magnetic fields, letting the spinner spin far longer. The combination of black rings with white spheres actually adds a certain aesthetic touch to the construct.

ADHS-teens (NOT little children!) whom I tried it on were actually fascinated and focused for quite some time, because you can constantly take things apart and put them together differently….

Step 3: PS....

That’s it!

Hope you enjoyed this presentation – and maybe have some fun with my idea yourselves.

(The writing and rambling on took me a bit longer than my lunch break, but not much and I still got some work done. Posting it took much longer than the writing, but today's a Sunday, so it's ok.)

PS:

I thought about patenting and marketing the spinner, but only managed to register the idea as a product with the german DPMA.

Patents are expensive and not really easy to afford, when you can’t earn money with the idea.

Once again:

MAGNETS ARE DANGEROUS!!!

On the European Market, strong magnets are not classifiable as “toys”, because toys are for kids, so toys have to meet some requirements as to size, chemistry and such.

This is sensible, but sadly prevented me from selling the idea – not even as a sort of nerdy management time wasting something – sad.

In other parts of the world you could sell it, so if you want to, you can – but I’d be happy if you let me know / mention me…. 😊

BUT DON’T GIVE IT TO KIDS!


PPS:

OK, my kids liked it, but they also never thought of ingesting marbles, magnets, mice or other small things….

Our cat brings us mice – without hurting them, mind you – but she shows no interest in magnets, or marbles, so I’m not worried about her too much either. (Actually, this is just an excuse, so I could add a cat photo)


Stay fascinated!

Nils

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    Discussions

    0
    seamster
    seamster

    19 days ago

    Clever ideas, nicely presented : )