Want to create your own custom 3D-printed logo spinner? Airwolf 3D Summer Intern Kevin Coulson, a second year engineering major at UC-Berkeley, walks you through the process of designing and 3D-printing your own customized fidget spinner toy.
At this point, everybody knows what a fidget spinner is and how they’re typically designed — one bearing in the middle, usually covered with caps on either side to grip, and two or more fidget spinners equidistant from the center and from each other. Since the trend started, 3D printers have been used for making custom fidget spinners. In this example, I’ll take you through the design process of making a Superman logo fidget spinner with embedded bearings.
A little background: My girlfriend babysits an 8-year-old boy who is obsessed with fidget spinners and his favorite superhero is Superman. I thought it would make a nice gift to combine the two and make him his very own “Superman” fidget spinner.
The Superman logo is three colors: red, yellow, and blue. So my plan was to print the caps in blue and print the logo as a dual extrusion in red and yellow filament. I also wanted to do something else a little different with this spinner.
There are a lot of cool aspects to creating things on a 3D printer, such as the ability to mass customize a product. For me, the coolest things to make are things that simply cannot be created — or created as easily — using other manufacturing methods. This custom 3D-printed logo spinner is a great example of this. While injection molding would require you to assemble the spinner afterwards, 3D printing allows you to manufacture the whole piece in one run. For this print, I simply have to pause the process, insert the bearings, and resume the print on top of them so they will be permanently embedded.
First, I imported the logo into Fusion 360 and traced it out in a sketch, not worrying about scale.
I then extruded it and used Fusion’s “center of mass” analysis to find out where I should place the center bearing — this is critical to having a spinner that spins evenly. If you look off to the left, you’ll see that I separated the bodies into two components: the red section and the yellow section. The reason for this will be explained when we begin the exporting and slicing processes.
Next, I sketched out the center bearing and revolved three bearings around it. I put in the inner and outer radius dimensions and extruded. Here is a cross section of the part after this process:
I then exported the COMPONENTS (not the bodies) as STL files. An STL file doesn’t have to be a continuous body! I brought both components into APEX and used the “Dual Extrusion Merge” option by right clicking the model.
I adjusted the filament setting to ABS Dual Color and turned off the raft before switching to Expert Mode. In order to insert the bearings I’ll have to pause the print — luckily, APEX has a plugin for this. However, we first have to know the height at which we need to pause. To do this, I used the inspect tool in Fusion 360 to measure from the bottom to the top of the pillar. For me, this distance is 9.7 mm.
I moved over to the plugins tab in Apex and clicked on “Pause at Height” and put in 9.7mm. At this point, I was ready to export and print!
Lastly, I went to thingiverse to find caps for my spinner. I found these parametric ones and slightly adjusted parameters to get them the way I liked (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2375961).
Here is the final product! Hope you enjoyed, and I hope that you’re able to take what you learned from this to make your own logo-based spinner or your own embedded bearing spinner!