Fidget Spinner of Death

Yeah… Nothing new here. YAFS (Yet Another Fidget Spinner). So feel free to skip if you have no interest. I’m mostly posting this for other noobs like me to see what the process looks like from another noob’s perspective.

My son Andy’s thing these days is “Daddy, I wanna make something.” He doesn’t have anything in mind. He just wants to make stuff. And I think that’s awesome. Partially because it helps me increase my laser skill. (I’m not usually the idea guy… I’m the guy who makes the ideas reality.) So last night was no exception. I asked him what he wanted to make, and after a minute of thought he said “I think we should try a fidget spinner.” So I DLed a simple spinner svg from Thingaverse. He said “No. I want mine to resemble a throwing star. I want it to actually be sharp.” So we went from scratch. He drew the cut himself! So it’s totally his design! We prototyped on cardboard (which was a first for us) and that worked great and we went through 3 designs before the final. Blew my mind how precise we can cut cardboard!

And here it is! Our first work with acrylic!


Edge on:

We didn’t get a chance to weld the acylics together yet, but get this… the bearing fits so nice and snug it’s not only holding itself in place, it holding both pieces of acrylic perfectly.

Anyway, again, I know this isn’t all that interesting to most. So, thanks for looking! :slight_smile:


Thanks Tom. As another Laser Newbie, I greatly appreciate seeing your steps. I’ve also been more of the “make ideas reality” kind of guy. I’m excited to expand my horizons and do similar things.


I’m excited to see what you make!!!

I’m enjoying the learning process! My Illustrator skills are advancing quicker than I expected. For example, did you know that making that repeating cut around the whole thing took mere seconds to do? Well I sure didn’t! But I do now! And that’s going to help me so much in the future.


I, for one, think this project is fantastic!! Your son must be over the moon with his creation. I bet his friends will be over the moon too.


that’s me! thanks :slight_smile:


Thanks! I’ll let him know! It was his design, after all! :slight_smile:
And, yes… He’s thrilled by his creations so far. He’s texted all of his friends with his Gravity Falls necklace. And he was absolutely beaming when I said “Just think… No other kid in the entire world has a fidget spinner like this.” I’m sure he’ll be showing this off now as well.


Truth be told, I feel something similar every time I finish a project with the Glowforge. I received a Pre-Release unit in January, and I am still just as thrilled printing things in June as I was in January. (Heck, maybe more now that my Illustrator skills have improved.) I cannot believe what I can make with this machine!


Hey @Tom_A, what did you do about the bearing? I have a number of rollerskate bearings that don’t spin nearly well enough for a proper spinner. Were you able to do something to get better results?

That’s great! Hopefully sometime soon I’ll get to know what that feeling’s like… if the kids’ll give me a chance on the 'forge. :wink:


Did you do the degreasing thing with them yet? That seems to be a necessity.

And this is a cool spinner. Love the two color. Makes me think about some whirly pattern add.

And about unique objects: can’t underestimate the power of the Glowforge for something like this.

And AI: I have used Inkscape for about ten years. It’s only been in this past year that I started using the clone tool and then align and distribute tool The clone tool makes rotating objects around a central point so much easier, but it was hard to get right at first. You are leading the way!


Cool! Sort of a fidget spinner shuriken like your little one says :relaxed:

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I haven’t done the degreasing yet, waiting to have the GF in the house first before doing this. Fortunately my daughter is not at an age where a fidget spinner is a necessity (2 yrs old), so I have time to mess around.

I’m picking up Inkscape, and I’m looking forward to learning that in the very near future. I’ve looked at AI many times, but the subscription costs ($50 per month) is really hard to swallow, I can’t justify $600 per year for any software unless I’m using it all the time and I find it EXTREMELY useful. Affinity Design looks really good at a one time cost of $50. But until I get a better grasp about how to design for a laser, I’m even more happy with free.

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We sprayed 'em last night. Somebody… I think Henry? said to let 'em sit for ~24 hours and dry out. So we wrapped them up in paper towel last night and we’ll check 'em out tonight.

The Clone Tool, you say? Didn’t touch it. Real quick, here’s how I did it after finding a tut somewhere in the ether…
Select the object you want to reproduce.
Click the Rotate tool. Alt+Select the point you want to rotate around (for me, that was the center point of the circle I’d drawn for the center bearing). A dialog box will appear.
In that dialog box, you simply enter “360/# of iterations”. So since Andy wanted 5 spikes, I simply entered “360/5” which gave me 72º. Make sure Copy is checked, then click Okay (or whatever the button says. I forget). And you’ll get a 2nd copy at the correct rotation. Then you just Ctrl+D for each of the rest of the iterations.
DONE! That takes seconds. I know there are plenty of people who already knew that, but to me it was like David Blaine telling me how he levitates.


Yes, the duplicate and rotate tool works just fine and is really fast. I use that a lot. The clone tool comes in handy when you are still tweaking the element you want to duplicate or customizing the name on the spikes. So you just have to edit the original and it will propagate across the clones in place rather than having to manually reduplicate. But step by step. Guess I should get a tutorial out!


Oh! I get that now. Thanks for that info!

one of the things I’m seeing that I’ll have trouble with is being able to select the exact center of the circle. From what little I’ve seen, inkscape doesn’t have the helpful “snaps” for precisely placing or selecting things (centerpoint, midpoint, parallel, perpendicular, etc…)

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Same here, Rebecca…only for me from April until now. I find myself thinking of new ideas all the time and I love how much I’ve learned about designing stuff.

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Of COURSE it is! If for nothing else than to see how others design and create things. There’s always something for the rest of us to learn from your experiences. Thank you!

I only looked at Inkscape for a second since I already had Illustrator. But, yeah… Illustrator literally just pops up “Center” when you’re at the center of an object. So it makes it a breeze in that respect. But, believe me, I’m really just muddling through here… I’ve got extremely low Illustrator skills.

Thanks! That’s certainly how I feel, as well. And, yeah… it’s not always about what’s being made, but how it’s made. Kinda like I’ll probably never need to make a water diffuser for a fountain… but your design thrilled me!