I have been more hooked on these Fidget Widgets than I ever was any other spinner or top or toy. The fact that they float and can be played with in the pool is just an added bonus! I've been selling and giving these things away faster than I can print them. Alternating the colors on the pieces gives it a really nice effect as they rotate. But adding to that with each piece being two colors really amps it up. I love printing these using the multi-color plugin for OctoPrint so that I can change out the filament and print the pieces in two different colors. But I believe this new "thing" is an improvement over the other models that are out there. I list those reasons further down the page.
I marked this as a work in progress because I'd like to increase tolerances just a bit. It is just a little bit too snug and doesn't rotate in on itself quite as easily as I would like. So a "version 2" might be in the future when I shave off a fraction of a millimeter from the bottom of the piece.
If you print any of these, I'd love to hear how they work out for you and see pictures of them!
Note: I am a big guy with big hands. As such, these fidget widgets are 10% larger than the contributing models. Feel free to scale them back down if you so desire.
A new version of the models was uploaded that have slightly more clearance in the connections so that the completed widget will revolve more freely and silently.
I print these with light infill so that they will float in the pool and hot tub. The adults like playing with them while they relax and visit with each other! :) And because they are just toys and don't have to be super-high quality, I print them at a .3 resolution for faster printing. The added benefit is that these cheap-to-produce pieces are often the recipient's first introduction to 3D printing and they like to see the print layers. If I was going to make these for a hefty profit, I'd probably decrease the layer height. I also print them with a concentric external fill pattern (a nice option in Simplify 3D) because that produces a nice looking external layer. Because the center surfaces of paired pieces were both against the print bed, you could save yourself a bit of time and plastic by decreasing the solid bottom layers. I just print with four solid layers all the way around though so that they are fairly strong without becoming too heavy. Did I mention I need them to float? ;)
At the settings detailed above, I can print a plate of 9 of these in an hour at the cost of 25 cents per plate. This produces 3 complete fidget widgets in 4 hours at the total cost of $1. So they end up costing about 33 cents each, about 50% more than the original one-piece design. Part of that is because they are 10% larger. Part is because they have more outside edges with solid layers. But you can decrease the size as well as the number of solid layers if you wish to bring the cost per unit down a few cents. Personally though, the benefits listed below make the extra few cents worth it to me.
Why another fidget widget?
There are several reasons why this model is superior (IMO) over preceding models. I'll list them.
- Adhesion of original model without sharp corners.
- Comfort of rounded "mod" version with less chance of coming away from print bed.
- Up to 12 colors in each completed widget.
- No requirement for plugins or manual pause in the middle of a print job.
- Flexibility of color choices at time of assembly,
- Finish is consistent on both side of the piece (no indication of which side was on print surface).
- Extra solid layers running down the center of paired up pieces provides extra strength.
- These pieces are tiny and are the perfect thing to print with the last coils of filament on a roll. A set of three of these only use 5.8 grams of filament - less than 6.5 feet.
I personally prefer mixing these with 3 each of 4 different colors. But since they are so quick and easy to print (particularly at higher layer heights), I decided to not include a "batch" of 3. But, since I include a single STL in the upload, you can make one if you so desire. Since a full widget would consist of 12 of these units, it is conceivable that you could print a widget with a dozen different colors. Realistically though, printing four different colors of 6 or 9 pieces would give you enough pieces to mix things up color wise in two or three complete fidget widgets. Or you could print 6 each of 2 different colors (ebony and ivory?) and, by carefully alternating them, end up with a nice striped version that produces the same effect that you can get now with alternating solid-color pieces. It's really all up to you.
As another preference, I like for the main center color you see to alternate between light and dark. In order to achieve this, you will need to pair to light halves together and the dark halves together. This is because what you see in the center convergence of the pieces alternates between adjoining pieces and then the other side of those pieces. So, for example, if you were to place white/yellow pieces together and attach them to black/blue pieces, making sure that you assemble them so that the colors on the sets all face the same direction, you would result in the colors turning white, black, yellow, blue, back to white as you rotate them. I mention this because while you can take these apart and re-assemble them, too much of that will wear on the little posts that lock into the holes and you will not end up with a snug fit.