You Won’t Believe That Fidget Spinners Are Obvious Clickbait!

I don’t know why fidget spinners are only getting popular now. They’ve been selling like hotcakes on Tindie for a year now, and I’ve been seeing 3D printed versions around the Internet for almost as long. Nevertheless, fidget spinners — otherwise known as a device to turn a skateboard bearing into a toy — have become unbelievably popular in the last month or so. Whatever; I’m sure someone thinks my complete collection of Apollo 13 Pogs from Carl’s Jr. with modular Saturn V Pog carry case and aluminum slammer embossed with the real Apollo 13 mission patch is stupid as well.

However, a new fad is a great reason to drag out an oscilloscope, measure the rotation of a fidget spinner, take a video of the whole endeavor, and monetize it on YouTube. That’s just what [Frank Buss] did. It’s like he’s printing money at this point.

The measurement setup for this test is simple enough. [Frank] connected a small solar cell to the leads of his $2k oscilloscope, and placed the cell down on his workbench. This generated a voltage of about 28mV. Spinning the fidget spinner cast a shadow over the cell that was measured as a change in voltage. Oscilloscopes measure frequency, and by dividing that frequency by three, [Frank] calculated his fidget spinner was spinning at the remarkable rate of 2200 RPM.

Is this a stupid use of expensive equipment? Surprisingly no. The forty thousand videos on YouTube demonstrating a “99999+ RPM Fidget Spinner” all use cheap digital laser tachometers available for $20 on eBay. These tachometers top out at — you guessed it — 99999 RPM. Using only an oscilloscope and a solar cell [Frank] found in his parts drawer, he found an even better way to push the envelope of fidget spinner test and measurement.

Using this method, even an inexpensive 40MHz scope can reliably measure three-bladed fidget spinners up to 800,000,000 RPM. Of course, this calculation doesn’t take into account capacitance in the cell, you’ll need a margin for Nyquist, and everything within 20 meters will be destroyed, but there you go. A better way to measure the rotation speed of fidget spinners. It’s technically a hack.

You can check out [Frank]’s video of this experiment below. If you liked this post, don’t forget to like, rate, comment and subscribe for even more of the best Fidget Spinner news.

Clickbait? We’ve been here before.

70 thoughts on “You Won’t Believe That Fidget Spinners Are Obvious Clickbait!

      1. If you had a number of them all spinning at certain rotations perpendicular to each other, couldn’t you theatrically (sic) cause it to lift off?

        Bonus points if you ‘prove’ it to be accomplished via ‘free energy’

          1. I modified a fidget spinner so that it would charge a power bank whenever it was spun about a year ago. I found it to be useless as the total amount of energy gained in a day did not provide a noticeable positive benefit at the end of the day especially when taking into account the amount of effort/cost in making it in the first place. Meh.

          2. Have you tried burning the fidget spinner, and using a TEG to convert it into electricity? Make sure to gather everyone else’s. Free Energy.

  1. where’s the clickbait?

    clickbait is usually a teaser headline such as “is the northeast going finally get summer heat and sunshine” or “is the sunshine and summer heat to stay”

    1. Yeah, cheap bearings in all the worst ways. They’re unlubricated and loosey-goosey as all heck, and the “rubber sheilds” are pulled back from the inner race so they don’t contact and cause drag.

    2. The 608zz has always been cheep as it’s the most common bearing coming out of China. They are mass produced in greater proportion than any other bearing. They are the bearing most commonly used in low end and hobby 3D devices.

      The fact that China is now “giving” them away as spinners may well be due to a huge backlog of them and a slowing of the Chinese economy.

      1. OK, as a former economist this kind of analysis is the kind of thing that scares the $#!t out of me. I have grown accustomed to getting digisparks for $0.50 and RPi0s for $5. The China bubble is built on the back of undistracted zero to one-child households, massive subsidies and economic manipulation, and the backbreaking hours and hopeful for wealth optimism of Chinese wage slaves. I suggest everyone look for deals on the tools they need to make the tools and stuff we need as I think the China almost-free gravy train is ending and it has absolutely crushed all the low end competition.
        I can’t wait to feel the bite of planned obsolescence colliding with the absence of cheap manufacturing.
        I can only hope that the repatriation and localization of manufacturing by automation picks up quickly enough to fill the gap, but I don’t think we are there yet. Good news, we could all be wealthy if we can find a way to share the automated output, the bad news is the return of manufacturing from China will bring back few manufacturing jerbs so best if we stop motivating employees by the threat of starvation and homelessness.

        1. OMG you have a direct line to him!

          Apologies to HAD…

          Thank you Sir. Believe you are totally correct in every single last word you have stated, as well as every last sentence you left out NSFW and kindly left out to spare us puny idjits, LONG charged with telling more. I failed and even neglected when called to carry the flag…

          We are all commanded by a “whisper in the ear” to make a whole world where we grew ALL persons and learned all and subdued the earth rather than destroy and waste it, yet be ll equal and share so nation was such to tempt a woman to smother her newborn daughter. Charged as keepers of the Earth… and by our own hands proven unworthy, not even properly keeping our own and getting along…

          Race? Where are the Purple people? None? How about some Blue then? Dang…. we only got white, red, yellow, and black? They aren’t any of the good ones needed to get along in this universe…

          I’m not poking fun. We suck!

  2. Fidget spinner or bare bearing is boring until the moment you open a nozzle with over 8 bar of pressurized air on the poor thing. Got over 20 bar? Fun begins, destruction will be extreme.

    1. I did that with a spinner I made. once. I don’t know the exact pressure, at least 150 psi feeding the nozzle, but then the nozzle compressed it further and concentrated the stream of air to be seemingly higher; the kind of air pressure that stings.

      the spinner used an NTN 608Z center bearing, and NSK 6201 bearings for the 3 “blades”. very high RPMs were reached before the weight of the outer bearings caused the plastic to crack and the whole thing fly apart, cutting my hand open– probably called for stitches, but super glue worked, gotta get back to work before anybody notices.

      one of the flying bearings dented a sheet of .04 aluminum pretty bad, and that sheet was behind a sheet of .063 aluminum, which also was badly dented.

      lesson learned: don’t make the “walls” of the spinner too thin if using acrylic. oh, and don’t hold it while playing with extreme RPMs, I guess.

  3. Also, this gives a very cheap way to measure relative merits of different bearings, lubricants and whatnot. A fidget spinner is essentially an extremely cheap gadget with the right shape to add inertia to a bearing and let it spin.

    1. Well, the thing about bearings is that it is very difficult to characterize them unless they are in a correctly machined bore and under load. I think AVE has a video where he discusses this.

  4. Matt Parker posted a video last Friday where he used an audio spectrum analyzer app on his phone to do the same thing. I think he forgot to post the RPM but came up with 62.5 Hz which comes to 3750 RPM. Not a bad guess using an app if you ask me.

  5. these things got popular fast. seems almost last month mom was talling me about something she read on the internet, and now they are everywhere. i guess its ok. eventually people will start handing them out for free, and i will have an infinite supply of free berings.

  6. What happened to powerballs? Those really amazing exercises devices?

    Are people getting lazy and wasting time with toys when they have usefull devices that can equally enjoy while getting benefits from it?

  7. […]take a video of the whole endeavor, and monetize it on YouTube. That’s just what [Frank Buss] did. It’s like he’s printing money at this point.
    Yes, with ~3k views and half the viewers clicking the ads he’d printed $1 so far.

    1. “monetize” in my view the absolute epitomy of the state of human evolution. “How can I extract money for everything out of life?” Utopian ideals aside, imagine how far along mankind would be if companies co-operated instead of constantly bickering over trivia such as square corners vs round corners, swiping left instead of swiping right, and a slew of other meaningless law suits and clawing of ideas.

  8. I use a regular squash ball. Ie., a ball used for a game of squash. It is robust, can be lobbed against a wall and provides enough resistance to give some exercise.

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