In this tutorial, you will learn the basics of our modeling interface by designing, publishing, and printing a fidget spinner. It spins just like the idiomatic gears in your mind while deep in thought. This is what we are going for:
We will design the base of the spinner around standard 608ZZ Shielded 8x22x7 mm bearings. You can purchase them here if you would like to print and assemble this spinner. If you haven't already, you should sign up for an account. You will need an account in order to save your work. You will also need to make sure you are using your Chrome browser. If you don't have Chrome, you can download it here.
Once again, we are going to edit an existing design as a template so that our database is not attacked by a rogue swarm of Fidget Spinners. From the browse page, type "Spinner Tutorial" in the search bar to bring up the Fidget Spinner tutorial:
Click on the Fidget Spinner card to load its design page. It is important to point out two things about the design page:
1. Design Tree
The design tree is located on the bottom half of the right side of the Design page. This tree shows the evolution of this design over time. Clicking on any of the nodes in the tree will load that branch on the left side of the screen. So find the very first node of the tree and click it:
2. Edit Button
The Edit Button is located at the bottom left corner of the Design page. It's pretty simple: just click the Edit Button to get started modeling from this branch point!
And now for the fun part.
Delete Current Part
We are going to design this spinner from scratch, so single click on the spinner and then click the Delete button to remove it from the scene. Your scene should be empty now:
Enter Sketch Mode
We will start by sketching the profile of the spinner on the XY plane. Hover your mouse over the origin and click on the blue plane once it appears. That will show the Sketch button. Click on the Sketch button to enter sketch mode:
Draw Construction Hexagon
If you look closely, you will see the Spinner design is hexagonally symmetric. We are going to use that symmetry to our advantage to draw the profile of the spinner. So let's draw a hexagon to help us construct the main profile. Click the Line Tool at the bottom of the screen, and then begin drawing by single clicking your mouse:
You'll notice that as you click to place the second point of one line, you begin drawing another line creating a polyline. This behavior will continue until you close the polyline into a loop or press escape. Don't worry about making the Hexagon perfect, we will do that later. Once you've sketched the hexagon, click the Select Tool at the bottom of the screen. Now while holding the ctrl key (command on Mac), select all of the lines in the hexagon. You will see the Construction button appear at the bottom of the screen. Click that to make all of the selected lines Construction lines:
Construction elements are not actually part of a sketch profile. They are only used to aid in the construction of a profile.
Apply Hexagon Constraints
As you can see, this hexagon is not perfect. We can use constraints and a few more construction elements to make it so. Constraints appear at the bottom of the screen, and they are context sensitive: only applicable constraints are shown based on what you have selected.
Firstly, we will constrain all of the lines in the hexagon to be equal. Multi-select all of the lines and apply the equal constraint. Then select the top and bottom lines and apply the horizontal constraint:
Next is a little trick: to set the angles between each of the lines in the hexagon, draw 3 additional lines each connecting opposing points on the hexagon. Then select all of those lines, apply the Construction attribute and set them all equal:
Now our hexagon is perfectly shaped, but you can see that it is not oriented perfectly around the origin. To center the hexagon around the origin, select any of the three construction lines you just sketched along with the origin and apply the Midpoint On Line constraint. Then select either of the points immediately to the right or left of the origin and apply the Horizontal constraint:
This hexagon is now perfect. It can be resized, but its position and orientation are fixed.
The perimeter of the Spinner is constructed entirely from arc segments. Now that we have our perfect hexagon, it is easy to draw the perimeter of the Spinner. We will draw 6 arcs total. Every arc endpoint will connect to a point on the hexagon. To start, select the Arc tool at the bottom of the screen. Then:
- Single click on one of the points on the hexagon (this will attach the first arc endpoint to that point).
- Move your mouse over to either of the points adjacent to the first point and click again (this will attach the second arc endpoint to that point).
- Finally, move your mouse outward from the center of the hexagon and click a third time to set the radius of the arc
Repeat these steps until your profile looks like this:
Once again, don't worry about the size of these arcs. We will size them all perfectly in a moment.
The connecting arcs are drawn in a similar fashion. The only difference is that the connecting arcs should swing 'inward' toward the center of the hexagon:
You just created the outer loop of the profile!
Apply Perimeter Constraints
Let's tidy up the profile with some constraints. We want the arcs all to connect together to form a smooth profile. We will need to use the Tangent constraint. Here is the procedure for every arc:
- Multi-select the arc and either of the 2 straight construction lines to which its endpoints are attached.
- Apply the Tangent to Arc constraint.
Continue in this manner until you have applied the Tangent to Arc constraint to every arc. As each Tangent constraint is applied, you will see the profile change slightly as it conforms according to the constraint. The finished profile will be a perfectly aligned Spinner profile:
Draw Bearing Holes
With the outer profile finished, we need to add holes for the bearings. This is easily accomplished with the circle tool. The locations for the holes are already set by the origin and the 3 arc center points. So we just need to sketch 4 arcs each with centers at those 4 points:
We need all of these circles to have the same radius. So just select all of them, and then apply the Equal Radius constraint.
To finish this sketch, we need to dimension the bearing holes and the outer arcs around the bearing holes.
- For each bearing, we want a tight fit between it and the inner wall of its hole. This spinner is designed to be 3D printed (see our article about the 5 Design Considerations When Designing for FDM 3D Printing ), and the bearing diameter is 2.2cm. This means we do not want to add any clearance to the radius of the bearing hole. Since all of the circles are constrained to have the same radius, simply select one and enter 1.1cm into the radius dimension. You might need to adjust this parameter depending on how accurate your printer is.
- The outer arc around the bearing holes obviously needs to be larger. We've tested 1.7cm and found that to be a good fit.
This sketch is now complete. Click the large green button with the check mark inside to close this sketch.
Extrude Bearing Holes
Now it is time to bring this sketch to life by extruding it into three dimensions. First, we will extrude all of the bearing hole profiles.
- Multi-select all of the bearing hole profiles.
- Then, click the Extrude tool, and enter an extrude magnitude of 1 cm.
- Click the accept button to apply the extrude.
4. Rotate the camera to view the bottom faces of the bearing hole tools.
5. One at a time, select each of the faces and extrude 1 cm.
These bearing hole tools are now complete.
Extrude Base Profile
Now we will extrude the main spinner profile. We will do this symmetrically about the XY plane so that the spinner is oriented nicely.
- Hover over the Add Shape button in the bottom right corner of the screen.
- Click the Sketch 0 button to toggle the visibility of the spinner profile.
3. Select the outer profile of the spinner, and click the extrude tool.
4. Extrude the profile 0.35cm.
5. Select the bottom face of the profile you just extruded.
6. Extrude the face 0.35cm.
Now, we will use the bearing hole tools to cut the bearing holes from the spinner. Select the spinner base, then multi-select all of the bearing hole tools. Then select the cut tool to cut the holes.
We're almost there! We just need to chamfer the outer edges to avoid any printed overhangs, and make this spinner fit smoothly in your hand. Select the outer edges on the top and bottom of the spinner, then select the Chamfer tool. Enter a Chamfer dimensions of 0.2cm.
You can round the edges further using (0.2-0.3cm) fillets, but otherwise, the Spinner is finished! Let's save it.
Congratulations, you just designed a spinner! Now it is time to publish your design. Click on the tree icon at the top right of the interface to load the save form.
The save form allows you to describe the changes you have made to this design and name any new parts you have added to the scene. The only required fields are the Design name and all part names. Once you are ready, click the save button to publish your design. You will know the save completed successfully when you see this message appear at the bottom of the screen:
If you would like to get a physical copy of the cup you just designed, just hit the back button to navigate back to the Design page. Browse through the design tree until you find the node you just saved. Then you have two options:
- Download and 3D print Yourself: If you have a 3D printer, you can download the STL and print manually. Just click the Download button on the Design page. When your STL has been generated, you will be able to download it:
- Order a 3D print: If you do not have a 3D printer, you can order a copy of this design by clicking the Buy button. This will upload the design to our fabrication service provider where you can browse through a list of fabricators in your area who will print (and ship if you would like) your design.
Ready to give this a shot?