Three Magnets Make Fidget Spinners Amazing And Only Engineers Will Appreciate This Hack!

The fidget spinner posts will continue until morale improves. This time, we’re looking at [TannerTech]’s electromagnetic accelerator for a fidget spinner. [Tanner] can spin his fidget spinner electronically using parts he had sitting around and a clever application of magnets and relays! Engineers hate him!

[Tanner]’s build consists of three magnets mounted on the tip of a fidget spinner’s arms, with the North pole facing outwards. The ‘drive circuit’ consists of an electromagnet — an inductor [Tanner] found in an old TV set — a reed switch, and a MOSFET. When the circuit is placed next to the fidget spinner, the reed switch closes, powering the electromagnet, pushing the tip of the fidget spinner forward, and starting the cycle anew. Think of it as the same technology that goes into a particle accelerator or a maglev train. Or a brushless DC motor.

Haven’t gotten your daily fill of fidget spinner hacks and fidget spinner news? Don’t worry, because we got your back, fam. Check out this amazing way to teach STEAM education — the ‘A’ stands for ‘arts’ — with the help of fidget spinner shaped PCBs and a flanged bearing. Is your oscilloscope too boring? Spice it up with some fidget spinner awesomeness. Useless machines are cool, and even [Marvin Minsky], the father of Artificial Intelligence, would say this fidget spinner hack is amazing. Like, share, and subscribe for the latest in fidget spinner news.

It’s great, if slightly ironic, to see people doing something other than fidgeting with their fidget spinners. Who would have thought a fad that began as a few extra skateboard bearings and a 3D-printed blob of plastic would beget so many truly interesting hacks? You can check out [Tanner]’s build video of this amazing hack below.

135 thoughts on “Three Magnets Make Fidget Spinners Amazing And Only Engineers Will Appreciate This Hack!

      1. While I mostly agree with what you’re saying, there is one specific example where I think art can and should be included…

        I think the one perfect example of where hard science and engineering intersects artistic expression is vehicles… Ariel Atom, K-1 Attack, C7 Corvette Stingray, S550 Mustangs, sport bikes, etc. I will admit all day long that cars can be beautiful and can be considered a work of art.

        If the “art” in STEAM is thought of more as “design”, I think it fits. However, adding a “D” to STEM doesn’t make any good words.

        1. Yeah I’m fine with A representing design, and maybe putting an emphasis on a certain sort of creativity into STEM. So long as there’s a healthy dose of applied mathematics and science involved, I don’t care if you finger paint it too.

          I can understand people being suspicious of the A working its way in there, but some of the reactions are way overheated.

      2. Right. They definitely didn’t do that because technology companies like Tesla and Apple became some of the world’s largest companies made most of their money because of their design chops…

      3. Take two products with equal features, one of which integrates some aesthetic sense, the other of which does not. Which one will be more successful? Nature is filled with aesthetics, so many of nature’s most efficient solutions happen to also be aesthetic ones. Is there an aesthetic component to efficient design, or does nature tune us to appreciate aesthetics as a signature of efficiency. If the two are linked, does it really matter?

        To say that art is not as technically practical as STEM is so vague as to be meaningless. Which is more technically practical, superstring theory or origami? One is squarely science, one is art. One has not made a single measurable practical contribution to science, the other has found the most efficient way to fold solar panels for launching into space.

        I’m as appalled by narrow mindedness displayed by some here as I am by the garbage that passes as art in the posted video. You totally ignore entirely impractical fields of science, technology and math, and utterly fixate on only impractical examples in the field of art.

      4. Let’s not forget our favorite whipping boy, Arduino.
        It was designed to let artists do ‘lectronic things they couldn’t do before…
        So, whether it is STEM or STEAM, we’re chained to them.

    1. I think it’s more of an economic thing. The people dishing out funding for schools are looking at the labor pool and saying “Hey, we need more engineers if we’re going to compete globally!”, not “It would be great if we had more artists so we can compete globally!”. There’s enough jokes about it and I’m not trying to crack another one here, but you’re not going to employ a pool of great artists and pay them family supporting wages and still make a profit. You _can_ do that with engineers though. Engineering scales better than art.

    2. meh.. some of us have been mad since they added science, technology, and math… we foresaw the eventual letter-salad that just picked up the letter “A” since art is super important, and it should be taught along side other subjects in school… wait… what were we even talking about? Is it a list of courses? Is it a category of knowledge? Sure, engineering sometimes relies on math to implement science into technology (or other combinations of the three, I suppose)… but is that why they started calling it “STEM”?

      Funny story – it was SMET when Dr. Ramaley coined the term.
      http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2009/02/10/STEM-education-is-branching-out/stories/200902100165
      ^ open in internet explorer since your chrome probably has an ad-blocker and you never got around to adding any extensions to IE.

      1. “^ open in internet explorer since your chrome probably has an ad-blocker and you never got around to adding any extensions to IE.”
        Open it in what? ‘We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969’… I don’t think I would even know where to find a machine with IE on it… or Windoze.. guess I’ll have to pass in that case…. sorry.

    3. Um.. I don’t want to add fuel to anyone who is saying art is unimportant because as I stated above, ALL subjects are important. But.. many of these responses seem to be thought out as though the person that designs a fancy new car’s sleek, ‘sexy’ body is the same person as the one who designs the drive train and the internals of the engine. I don’t think it works that way!

      Leonardo da Vinci was awesome but I think that kind of art & engineering talent don’t normally exist in the same person. Even if they do most companies aren’t hiring the same person for both ends anyway. Most of us will pick one side or the other due to skill or inclination and develop it much further than the other. It’s great when somebody does choose to develop both sides of their skillset but that is likely going to be more of a personal hobby thing, not a labor market need.

      1. Leonardo da Vinci was not an artist, he was a skilled observer of nature, and technical illustrator. There is a big difference between that and what people consider an “Artist” most “artists” are essentially expressing a world view that is both unique and subjective. Leonardo tried hard to be photographic and avoid being subjective, which for a man of his time is astounding. What made an “artist” such as Vincent van Gogh produce such valuable work is the intensity and uniqueness of his (insane/subjective) vision, which allowed it to become a collectable commodity due to supply and demand. It is more about economics but we continue pretend he was a great painter even though artificial intelligence has been able to strip the unique style off a painting and apply them to photographs. We recognise his work, because he had a distinct filter through which he documented his observations, and now we know it really is just a simple filter and nothing profound at all. The dollar value in his work arises from his death, there can never be any more of them, not from how “good” they are technically.

        1. Are you telling us that something that can be reproduced loses its intrinsic value? I would argue the opposite. Something that can be reproduces loses its monetary value, but retains its intrinsic value.

          Also, while AI seems (somewhat) capable of imitating van Gogh, it seems incapable of expanding or adding to the vision van Gogh had. So far, it can only take what he has already created and apply it to something else.

        2. Do you refer to the Leonardo da Vinci that Wikipedia describes as “the Italian Renaissance *artist* ” who painted the Mona Lisa “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of *art* in the world”. I think there may be a terms of reference issue, if a “skilled observer of nature, and technical illustrator” is not an artist , then what? And art doesn’t have to be valuable to be art, you don’t even have to like it, as Monty Python’s pope once put it “I may not know much about art, but I know what I like”

          1. I’ve read his notebooks (have you?) , I studied his life and work, I know what he was trying to achieve with that painting and it’s technique. What you call it has nothing to do with his mindset at all, you are talking about yourself, what you think. Have you ever made a serious attempt to get into the mind of the guy, to see the world from his eyes? I am certain that if he was alive today and was given a camera and a CAD workstation he would have never bother to paint or draw at all. He was a scientist working in secret, a lot of the time, because he lived in an age where you could get executed for investigating some of the things he did, such as his medical dissections, and he just did illustration commissions to fund his actual work. When the church has all the power and money you paint religious images, even when you are really working to undermine the myths the church was founded upon. And he had an unhealthy taste for very young men, if you know what I mean… He was definitely more like Alan Turing than Pablo Picasso.

          2. A discussion with BLOCK BLOCK here is futile, because he offers only opinions as statements of fact and then falls back to the unverifiable insinuation of superior knowledge to justify those opinions.

            Da Vinci was both an artist and a scientist. The two are complimentary when a practitioner knows each’s strengths, and it’s that understanding that made people like da Vinci and others so notable.

      2. You are right, the designers are not the engineers. And the people designing the body are not engineering the drivetrain.

        However, the designers do need to understand many aspects of the engineering that went into the vehicle to design effectively, practically, with the specifications the engineers had in mind, and within many other constraints.

        The body of a vehicle, while needing to look “sexy”, also needs to be functional. Aerodynamics, structural rigidity and stiffness (since most vehicles are unibody construction), safety, cost, repairability, and feature richness all need to be considered and implemented when designing a vehicle. Also, these are all things engineers need to consider in order to be effective at designing what’s under the hood. This all applies to the interior designers as well.

        I see vehicle designers as engineers, but with their focus shifted heavily toward aesthetics. I suspect the engineers and designers work iteratively and in close coordination. They help each other accomplish the same goal – creating a well-engineered, beautiful vehicle with cost in mind. Designers abilities and creativity shouldn’t be trivialized.

        In my opinion… designers != artists. In my mental classification of artist, they don’t work in the gray area between engineering and art. Designers do.

    4. “It’s a masculinity thing, isn’t it?”
      What? It’s about not mixing apples and oranges. If you want to mix Art and STEM you should get into Design Engineering, where you can design things and let loose your artistic vein while taking into account their functionality and feasibility and knowing there are limitations.

      I don’t say there’s no place for subjectivity and artistic expression on STEM, but the whole point of STEM is adhering yourself to the rules of physics, knowing the limitations of the real world and optimize your designs accordingly.
      For Art to be of some use to the STEM field it has to play by their rules. The real world is constrictive. If you just try to apply Art ignoring the rest you end up with Kickstarter tier stuff, things that look good with nice videos and pictures, but that would have to violate the laws of physics in order to work.

      Leonardo Da Vinci was a great artist, but he ultimately was a realist, he tried to describe the world accurately and adhere to the rules that govern it. His art was science in some sort of way, he studied the human body extensively in order to reproduce every vein and muscle and translated that to his paintings and sculptures. I don’t think modern artists can be compared to him.

      1. “his art was science” bullshit, he used his art to explore science, sure but his art wasn’t inherently science, he was a painter first and inventor second and scientist second, not because it was less important, but because painting paid the bills.

        the fascination with Leonardo as a scientist is largely a modern thing.

  1. “Engineers hate him!”
    Brian is onto something here. At 13:24 in the video he says that he could only get 1440 rpm because the inductor got hot and the wire’s resistance increased due to the temperature and limited the current. I don’t hate him for it but it’s hard to resist the temptation :)

  2. The “A” for arts in STEAM is needed, not for art as people tend to think of it, but more for ascetics – if more engineers, etc has some appreciation of it, think of how much better products designed by engineers, etc could be. – I’ve seen enough ‘hacks’ here that people would complain about if not for ascetics – for example, “steampunk” hacks like the latest nixie clock strongly incorporates ascetics in its design.

    1. All these people promoting the inclusion the Art into STEM don’t realize there already exists “design engineering” which deals with designing aesthetically pleasing products which are ALSO functional, a mix of engineering and art.

      I’ve seen many artists try to design a product without taking into account if it’s even physically possible or not. Kinda like all that kickstarter crap, looks pretty and promises the world, but they forgot to ask an engineer if it was even remotely possible.

      You just can’t jam “Art” into STEM, an artist’s limit is the imagination, an engineer’s limit is the real world, and taking into account those limitations makes a huge difference.

  3. Acronyms like STEM, STEAM & STREAM are what you get when experts in industry decide what the education system is lacking and put experts in marketing in charge of fixing it.

    1. Not as easily — it’s easy for the coil to remain energized too long and decelerate the rotor. Still doable, but it’s easier to make them work by repulsion.

      (Though the more I think about it, the less sure I am… my experience with half-commutated motors involves mechanical commutation by stripping the enamel from part of the winding, not this reed-switch approach. The same timing issues may not apply.)

    2. Not as easily — it’s easy for the coil to remain energized too long and decelerate the rotor. Still doable, but it’s easier to make them work by repulsion.

      (Though the more I think about it, the less sure I am… my experience with half-commutated motors involves mechanical commutation by stripping the enamel from part of the winding, not this reed-switch approach. The same timing issues may not apply.)

    1. Who would have tought magnets spinning on a bearing could be used to build a motor? ;-P

      I still love this — kind of like the Pokemon Go stuff from last summer it’s good to see some hacking to make spinners more than just mindless passing of time.

      1. It’s all fun until someone loses an eye.. I seriously wonder about hot glueing magnets and them spinning them at 1440RPM. Todays lesson: Centrifuga …. aaaaaaa crap my eye!

    1. Yet another typical left wing censorship ploy from Brian, basically a widely cast ad hominem attack on people when he has nothing rational to contribute to the dialogue. Count Dankula has a video about that too,

      1. I’m calling Poe’s Law on Mr 010080 010085 here…

        (Dunno what “dank meme” the username is meant to display, but all I see are “I can’t render that” boxes with numbers in them)

        1. Well done you displayed two forms of ignorance in a single comment and served only to belittle yourself.

          FFS are you posting from a machine running DOS and have never seen Unicode rendered correctly?

          1. I conditionally withdraw the statement above, if you are using a computer than you designed and made yourself, using nothing but wires, magnets and paperclips.

        2. [abb] writes:
          “(Dunno what “dank meme” the username is meant to display, but all I see are “I can’t render that” boxes with numbers in them)”
          Oh! I thought they were “boxcars!” as in a pair of die (dice) with six spots on top of each…

      2. First, I am viewing this in Chrome, on windows 7, and can only see two boxes. Second, what Count Dankula is calling the radical left sounds a lot like the radical right in the USA, however radicals are often similar regardless of political leaning.

        1. Right…

          And I would say there are too many dissimilar fields there to be able to pick out one as being uniquely different:

          Science and Mathematics are both pursuits of knowledge and understanding, sometimes tangible, but not necessarily so.

          As technology is the overall collection of techniques, skills and processes used in the production of things, art would fall under that as well.

          Engineering and art are both fields that use technologies to product an end product.

          Look, the nonsense “art” in the Scotish guy’s video has no place in the company of STEM. No one is arguing that. But if you’re opinion that the entire diverse field of art can make no contribution to STEM, you’re shortchanging yourself and the children who the push for STEM is targeting.

          Do I think it should be renamed to STEAM? No, not really. Because art DOES encompass many subfields that have no interest in those other letters. But one shouldn’t actively seek to discourage artists from pursuing STEM fields, so long as their desire is to advance THOSE FIELDS.

          The simplest way I can think to put it is this:

          Poetry really can’t help engineering… but that doesn’t mean poets can’t.

    2. Evidently, Brian, but oh what grand entertainment this has provided tonight!

      Perhaps HaD should consider a total number of comment words allowed per username per story, applied especially to the “self important” comment words. ;-)

  4. “This pills make your penis a magic wand. Pornstars have been hidding this secret from you. You will apreciate this”
    The title of this post sounds exactly the same as the ads in porn sites. And second… i shouldnt say this…. but, not a hack. I saw this already 20 years ago, and probably my father saw this 50 years ago too

  5. Thanks so much Hackaday for posting my creation on your website! It is pretty cool to see how much attention this is getting. My video even got 3000 views in the past hour!

    PS: Why are all the comments about STEAM AND STEM?

  6. I think some are missing the point of the Art in STEAM. Projects like Arduino and Processing exist to enable those who have an idea to implement that idea, even if they are not full on Engineers. Hackaday itself is full of *art* projects, a steampunk nixie clock, infinity mirror devices , halloween pumpkins,giant robots ,even retro multi-chip computers. You don’t build these because of science, tech,eng or math. Art is the motivation for these, the tools to achieve them are the technology and engineering. If you look at something and think “that’s a cool hack” that’s Art . (IMO)

    1. Okay, I enjoy art, I did a lot of work with Mandelbrot’s trying to create art long ago, but at the end of the day they would look cool but I would still see the math while my wife saw the art. I was an industrial mechanic and an engineering technician for many years and I did many a hack to keep a machine running for another 24 to 48 hours while parts were found and downtime was scheduled, most of those hacks required knowledge of material properties and lots of math, but they were ugly as sin and went straight to the recycling bin as soon the real fix was done, not a bit of art was used it was all science, engineering and math(s). STEM was an idea to try and get young people interested in those areas that lets face it are really hard to learn or even understand at some levels and then give them the tools to learn.
      The “PI’s, the Arduino’s, CHIPS, “bits, Et al. are basically learning tools and shortcut development boards that kids, beginning students, and artists can use because the learning curve on them is shorter then designing a complete electrical circuit to blink some light in response to different stimulus. An artist or a beginner isn’t going to want to start with a 555 and try and figure it out but STEM is meant to take the kid that wants to go further than a ‘duino and say here try this rf4ce and see what you can do, or the kid that gets lost for days in wolfram alfa on the pi and figure out just what kind of math they want to do.
      Artists use STEM all the time in creating their art, STEM works very well without any artists being involved, Its ugly but it works. Art has a huge community already supporting it, STEM not so much, Please leave STEM as its own thing and stop trying to justify art as a “HARD” science.

  7. First, This is a cool project, I never would have thought of this circuit.
    Second, Art is important. Modern art isn’t art. Art is supposed to play with your emotions, and provoke thought. Modern art technically does this, but for me, all it provokes is confusion and revulsion.

    1. I like art.
      Modern/post-modern art just makes me wonder why $10mil in taxpayer money was spent on a single I-beam in front of city hall when the elementary school is still running Windows 98.

    2. Plenty of us get a lot out of modern art. We all have those art forms that don’t do much for us, but mean a lot to other people. It’s fine if you don’t care about modern art, but please speak for yourself when you say it’s “not art”

  8. I just realised how retarded and wrong this STEAM argument is, every single “hack” is creative by it very nature, it is inventive. Suggesting there is something missing from STEM is just idiotic and insulting to all of those brilliant and creative hackers who spend there days solving problems that require thinking out side of the box, or at least breaking open the box and making it do stuff that the supplier never imagined! Hackers of HAD, the STEAM promoters hate you because you are more creative than they are! Don’t believe their hype, you are awesome and your work is awesome and you don’t need to change because they don’t approve of how you see the world. Furthermore it is people like you who created the modern world, not liberal arts wielding SJWs with nothing better to do that to raise their importance by putting you down and suggesting you are inadequate and not creative.

  9. I’m an Engineer. I am not offended if you say I’m not artistic because I’m not, I am creative. Once someone studies calculus they can be admitted to the STEM club. (While I’m at it there are are no Sanitation Engineers, there are janitors.) There are meaningful contributions by most passionate people whatever their study is. Everyone can’t be an Engineer. Give them a participation trophy and move on!

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