Fidget Toys, The next big craze or just plain crazy?
It’s OK to be wrong.
I don’t think I have ever had my opinion on something change more in my life.When I first started researching this article I wasn’t expecting much but I fell so far down the rabbit hole I found the last of Johnny Depp’s sanity. When it was all said and done I ended up with some great stress relievers and some new hobbies. But let’s talk about the start for a minute. I wasn’t a fan of the idea. How exactly is a toy cube,spinner, or top supposed to help with things like ADHD and stress? I was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid and given too many meds to help “calm” me down. In the end, I swore I’d never take another pill for it. My original article was just going to be a quick post about this new snake oil. I’m one of those that doesn’t do anything Halfassed though so I did my research. I joined forums based on certain types of toys and read some of the medical claims made by a few of the companies like the people that made the cube. I started buying different things and well, fidgeting with them. Over a few months, I did notice a change and to be honest I didn’t expect that. I was less anxious and studying for my college classes seemed less of a chore. Even my work days went by a little faster. Now this is just my experience yours may vary but having something I could mess with in class when I got bored actually helped me focus. Even writing this article is a little easier. When I get stuck in thought I take a breath and give a top a spin or fidget with a hand spinner. The point is though I went into this article with the intent of writing something completely different a few months ago.
The Items Paid for
The Fidget cube
This one was a nonstarter for me and if I based my article on the cube I wouldn’t have had my mind changed. The cube just didn’t mesh with me. I like things to have a purpose (Hold the criticism I’ll get to my point) you can say that it’s purpose is to have something to mess with and you’d be right. Quite a few of the later items will be exactly that but the stuff on the cube is meant to simulate other things and that is where things don’t mesh for me. Each side has a different thing it simulates and while fun for a couple minutes it only served to remind me that it wasn’t the thing it was simulating. I ended up giving it away. It’s Cheap so if you want to give it a shot maybe you’ll like it more than I did.
Some of you might think I’d be crazy to carry around a silver dollar in my pocket but this isn’t the most expensive thing on my list. Here was something practical I bought this because it was an Investment and because I love rolling coins over my fingers. I still remember watching tombstone with my father and that scene with Doc Holiday gambling and rolling a silver coin over his fingers. I practiced that so much my hand cramped up. I’m still terrible at it but we can’t all be Doc. I’m buying more silver but that is for a rainy day. If you want something low cost but practical silver coins or silver rounds isn’t a bad option. If you’re going to buy Online JMbullion is the only source I trust for real silver
I may have lost all my pogs but somehow I still have a few of my Slammers. This is a lot like the coins with a bit of added nostalgia. I must have hit every fad going the school as a kid Marbles, Pogs, Card games, even Pokemon. Pogs though came and went almost overnight. I just put them in a box and forgot about them but you can still find them and the slammers always had interesting artwork. So If you like the idea of spinning coins or rolling them over your fingers dig through your closet for those old pogs you forgot about. I’ve found they make great conversation starters.
Magnetic Hematite Singing Marbles
This is one of the more fun items I bought. Magnets are just fun. Roll them around your desk, spin a pair on a mirror or pinch them apart and let them fall over only to be caught by the magnets hanging from your hand.Really there isn’t much to say here. They are magnets that are round. Your options are wide open.
The Pocket Knife
This is another one of those things that need little explanation. Most people these days Have had the experience of flipping a knife out a knife over and over. The problem is knives aren’t widely acceptable and someone seeing you sit around flipping one out over and over again might get the wrong idea. I’m a collector, I love knives I never really thought about them as a fidget toy but I had been doing just that for years. You get a little bored and you just want to flick the blade out. That click is pretty satisfying. That being said I would save this for when you have privacy.
Things I received for review
After a couple months of hanging out on forums and playing with the objects at hand, I decided it was time to look into hand spinners and tops. Given that my feelings on the subject had changed and seeing some of the amazing work people were putting out in some of those communities I asked around to see if anyone wanted to send something to be reviewed and added to the article. I wasn’t disappointed. I was sent some great items. One of them was a bit more than I expected but only because I thought I was being sent something else. More on that later.
The first thing to show up was the Jaunt made by BrothersConcepts. Yes, it’s 3d printed but That really doesn’t effect this type of spinner. The Shorter Bar style spinners are supposed to be flicked a lot. They are working on metal versions though so if you like the style support them through Etsy and they will have metal versions out soon.It fits easily in your pocket and you hardly notice it’s there. I have no complaints. It’s fun to flick. I’ll be buying one in metal when they come out for sure.
The next one to show up was the Tri-Spinner Fidget Toy™ v.2. David was one of the first to sell these on Etsy. What I like about this design is that it will spin a quite a while. It’s the another side of the hand spinner coin. You get good long spins that balance well on your finger. And black and Green are my favorite colors. I carry it Just as much as the Jaunt. While both were sent for the purpose of a review if I had something negative to say about either I would but I don’t. They perform exactly as expected. The fact that both are 3d printed doesn’t make much difference, metal can look better and could spin longer but if you’re looking for an intro to hand spinners you can’t go wrong with either choice. My girlfriend mentioned something the other day that I thought made sense. Hand spinners as a stress reliever are good because they give you a tactile feeling of control. Unlike stress balls where you just squeeze while imagining it’s your bosses head, This gives you something that you can see you have an effect on. You can choose how fast it spins and when it stops. My best suggestion here is, give it a try but don’t spend a lot at first. The same goes for anything on the list. Either of these 2 spinners is a great place to start.
I contacted Rich Stadler of Billetspin because I wanted to get a good metal top in the article. I had thought to just buy the inception top because it was something people would Recognize. I did end up ordering one anyway but at the time of writing this article it still has not arrived. Well, anyway I contacted Rich and a couple other CNC top makers to see if they would be interested in sending a machined top for the article. Rich was the only one to get back to me. Now he makes some amazing tops IMO, the machinist working there is a wizard. Needless to say, when I contacted him I was expecting to receive his first Kickstarter top, which in its own right is a great top. It looks like this.
All I told him was that I was going to write a review on fidget toys and that I wanted to feature one of his tops I left it up to him thinking he’d pick the color. He sent his K2 and it is amazing
The one I received is the K2 Mokume and it is stunning. My camera sucks I can’t do it justice. If you want something that is not just to spin but to show off on a desk or just because you want something that looks good this is the top. I can’t stop spinning it. I’m a car guy so I’ll compare it to a car. If you like power but don’t care what the car looks like (say you’re a mustang owner) any billet machined top will do. Find one that is well known and balanced well and you can have hours of enjoyment spinning them. The tops Rich makes are more like a Ferrari. It will turn heads everywhere it goes and make just about everything else on your desk look plain in comparison. That being said you’re paying Ferrari prices. I want to touch on that a second, though. Rich is a pretty down to earth guy. I asked him about the business and this is what he had to say.
My dad started our company back in 1986. I have been working here since I was 13. I was the plant manager before starting Billetspin. I saw some dice on EBay and traced them back to kickstarter. Loved The format so I made my own design of dice and launch billetdice on KS and while it was running I found tops. Did a KS after the dice called Billetspin and the rest is history.
When you buy one of his tops your not just paying extra because he can charge that. You’re paying for the machine work. Mills and multi-axis CNC cost a lot of money to operate. I could head down to my college’s machine shop (I might just do that actually) and turn a top out on their lathe but it won’t look like this. The point of all this is that his tops aren’t cheap but they aren’t cheap because they take a lot to come out looking like this and spinning as long as they do. I’m up to 9.5 minutes on my spins. I’m sure I could get more if I tried but It’s such a nice top and I have the Stupid Fingers.
This article turned out to be a lot more fun to write than I thought it would be a few months ago. I got talk to some interesting people and I learned a lot about myself and about being an adult playing with what seems on the surface nothing else but toys. Here’s the thing, we are told to grow up by everyone these days. Grow up, get a job, start a family. Well I have a couple jobs and I started my family but I never grew up, not completely anyway. Honestly, I’m happy and I realized I’m happier these days than I ever was when I was of the mindset that I had to act a certain way to be an Adult. A lot of you are going to read this and think I’m off my nut for playing with tops and spinners and you might be right. My son thinks I’m great and he is provided for so I think I’m doing just fine. If anything maybe we all should fidget just a little.
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32 thoughts on “Fidget Toys, The next big craze or just plain crazy?”
I really liked this site. It brings back a lot of memories
Thanks We are going for a Retro feel.
The fidget cube looks awesome lol! It’s the same reason kids will tap their pencil or click their pen during a test, I think it improves your focus.
Very nice, I was reading more or less the same in another web about 3d printing and it’s very interesting.
I have bunch of magnets that I like to fidget with, especially when I’m bored.
I’d play witha fidget toy, lots of people would. Never could play much with that pet rock I had.
LOL I really love the dice!
Pogs and Pog slammers are da bomb. And I’ve carried around a JFK fifty-cent piece in my pocket for years. It’s an odd security blanket, and it’s good to hear somebody else enjoys carrying a silver piece.
First time I read the article I didn’t play the billetspin video, it’s amazing how passionate is the uy about it! but pretty amazing, I think are pretty expensive also.
I guess I have been playing with fidget toys my whole life, but never knew thats what they were called! 🙂 They definitely help keep the hands busy, these new ones are cool!
We’ve got a 3d printer in our IEEE lab, a compressed air hose on the wall, and a guy that love to make things spin etc. We have no peace 😉
Did you know the BIlletSpin’s price is from $150 each??? what that’s a lot of money
There are cheaper options to be sure but billetspins tops are works of art. You are also mostly paying for the mill time. those machines cost a lot to run.
I find myself playing with fidgit spinners and the cubes more than my kids , I get how it can be frustrating for teachers and a distraction but they really are a great tactile tool … and fun to play with too!!
I seriously thought these were so dumb…until I started to play with one! So I understand falling down the “rabbit hole”! haha There is something about twiddling something with your fingers. Ok…that sounded weird, but you know what I mean! I am loving fidget toys now. Ugh…did I just say that? haha
My youngest son has ADHD. I was very skeptical at first about these things. But they do seem to help him. His teachers aren’t too fond of them, but they are slowly warming up to the idea. Good article I didn’t know that there was so many different kinds out there. And this article has giving me a New Perspective.
It was fun reading over this because it’s a year out from when it was written and I just seen a “tops” vid for the first time last week on YouTube. I guess they’re still being sold at a regular pace. they ARE kind of nice. In the video, the guy was talking about all the different metals being used to make them. Some of them really exotic. I own a tri spinner and played with it a few times but it’s nothing I would bring out in public now…haha. I guess I’m a closet spinner (if I spin at all). The fad with the spinners has hit its climax and there’s NO telling what will be next! I’m just happy I don’t have to hear kids in-line at Walmart begging their mothers for the $20 spinner anymore!
As a parent having to constantly buy these fad toys… my kids totally drive me crazy. Also, my kids leave them all over the house, I step on them. My question is why won’t they market more stuff like bikes or basketballs or things that they can go outside and play with. ….moving on
Marketing is not simple but fads tend to sell well. if companies catch a fad early enough they can make millions. Bikes just aren’t “cool”.
Was a big deal for about a minute. Now stores are practically giving them away. Great idea for kids who need to “fidgit”.
Love the fridget toy
Great article. If I weren’t sick and the weather horrible, I’d rush out to buy one.
Fidget Spinners can be annoying but they are also a good destruction when I am bored and have nothing to do.
same shit, different name
Oh man, my husband is a manual machinist and runs CNC as well. I never even thought about him being able to make these types of toys at work 😛 He makes such interesting things and brings them home all the time- might have to get him brainstorming a new design.
My children have ADHD (all but 1 I have 5) I don’t believe in medications for this at this age so we use other things and fidget toys, spinners, pens, ect. have been a life saver they use them in school church doctors office everywhere I also have add (used to be ADHD) and I use these at work in meetings or just sitting around the house if these had been available when I was in school it would have been completely different
Love the spinners
Impressive looking toys I know people will have fun with for sure.