Gearing up for another spinner

I was inspired by the spinners I saw at Maker Faire last month and wanted to work on something fun with the different techniques I saw there. I thought the planetary gears from the Steamy Tech people were really cool to play with and wanted to try and do something similar to get some experience with the parts and integration. I also liked how @marmak3261 had used nuts for weights and wanted to use the same solution for weighting mine. I worked out a first draft and cut it out of some 1/8" and 1/4" acrylic.

Then I did some rough assembly to see if it was going to fit together as expected.

I had to update the hole size for the nuts once since it was too tight a tolerance, but after that it worked well. Next I tried the gears to see if they’d fit together.

These also went well. Next I went to find some screws for assembly. Once I had screws and bolts, I could check the size and do some etching to trap the nuts to prevent them from spinning during assembly. I had to do a few tests of that for size and depth that seemed right.

It went together fairly well, but I need to take up some slack in different areas and maybe use some locktite on the nuts so they don’t back out. The gears would probably do a lot better made out of delrin. Not bad for a proof of concept though.


Nice job. Maybe use small bearings for the gears?


This is what I use to hold the bearings in place:

Something similar would probably work for the nuts. The fingers spring out and tension keeps it in place.


Neat design! I like how you are so efficient with space on your material, using the hole inside one of the parts to make a couple washers.


oh, yes! That’s a great idea :smiley:

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People have time for actually fidgeting? (j/k) Looks great! :smile:


Looks great! Is the video working for others? I can’t seem to make it play? I downloaded to my computer, and it only plays audio, no video.

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Nope. Nothing…

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Nifty design!!!

Hey, if you don’t mind sharing, what bearings are you using? The ones I just got really don’t do the job for fidget spinners at all. So I"m returning them. Any suggestion on some cheap ones that really work for this application?



The #608 bearings are going to be the cheapest you will find, because that’s the size used in skateboards, rollerblades, razor scooters, etc. and so now the economy of scale is through the roof on them. Those are the same bearings being used in all these fidget spinners because they are so cheap. They’re even showing up in tools and industrial use items because of it.

If you have that size bearing already and it’s not spinning very freely, it’s because of the weight of the oil or grease used inside it. You can drop them into a container of acetone or other solvent that will attack oils/greases and shake that garbage right on outta there. No need to even re-lube the bearing since it’s going to be used under no load. A dry bearing will spin for days!


I have found that soaking the bearing in WD-40 for a few hours really loosens them up and they subsequently spin fantastically.


Yeah, that’s what I ordered. But they just didn’t give that “minute-long spin” that the kids want. 5 seconds with these at best.

I thought that for a second until I realized that my hands were covered in a thin layer of lube after handling them for a minute. So I think they’re probably sufficiently lubricated, but you might be right.


Actually in this case the WD40 almost acts as a solvent to get the heavy shipping/anti-rust oil out. When i got the misumi bearings for my 3D printer (what an upgrade in quality that was) the first thing you have to do is ultrasonically clean the anti-rust oil out, and repack with lithium grease. Bearings are rarely shipped ready to use (since rust is a major issue in ocean shipping)


Having a weird video display and would like to get some details about what was used to record the video, what was the file format it was saved in, did you have to transcode it before uploading and what format did it get uploaded?

Here is how it displays in the 4 different browsers (cache purged and all current versions):

Edge (actually plays it):

Internet Explorer:



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Spent a lot of time dealing with spinners and designs for the wife. Have several expensive commercially made and some made from skateboards and discarded inline skates. It’s quite interesting the difference that the type of lube or even no lube at all will make. What makes it smooth doesn’t always make it freewheel.

Although a spinner keeps me from losing my train of thought every time a squirrel passes, it is almost medical insurance for the wife. She has a very bad problem picking at the corners of her finger nails with her thumb when mentally occupied. Until they bleed. A Fidget Cube (original not Chinese knockoff) is her favorite medicine. She’s always has it in her hand when not otherwise occupied.


I had the issue with the bearings I got @Tom_A and did the degreasing and they are amazing. I had this discussion with quite a few folks at Maker Faire. I had never seen a spinner before but I figured the kids would love them. I brought 100 bearings and took only four home with me after.

And @dan’s solution is genius. I was gluing them in and it was a mess. I have some 1/4 Delrin that this design would make a robust spinner on.

Excellent job @macphee!


How 'bout that. Thanks for the details on that. Guess it’s worth a shot then before I go ahead and tell Amazon these things suck. :wink:

@dan I really like the lines used as springs. That seems like it would work amazing. I’m sure much easier then glueing like @marmak3261 was talking about. @marmak3261 I’m sure that would have saved you a ton of time and hassle. I am excited to make a bunch of spinners in the future. :sunglasses:

Really cool design @macphee


Misumi was super (SUPER) specific on how to clean theirs. Given how freakin expensive they were, I followed it to the letter, but the aircraft grade ultrasonic part cleaner was not a cheap solution in my ultrasonic cleaner. That being said, man those bearings glide smoothly after (they even specified exactly how to place the lithium grease into the races…


I think I’ll steer clear of aircraft-grade anything. If the WD40 bath doesn’t work for me, I’m not gonna sweat it. :wink: