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Toy Company Fidgetbase Takes Fidget Spinners Back to Basics with 3D Printing and Affordable STL Files

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[Image: Natasha Lee via Facebook]

As the school year starts wrapping up, it’s time to talk a little more about the year’s hottest toy – or is it a stress reliever and a way to keep kids focused in class? I am obviously talking about the fidget spinner, which usually has two or three paddle-shaped blades attached to a core in the middle. Users squeeze the middle, flick the blades, and enjoy the spinning. They are typically pretty inexpensive and are available in many colors, and as we’ve seen with Airwolf 3D’s kid-designed 3D printed fidget spinners (and any quick search on design repositories), 3D printing technology can certainly be applied to these devices. But what started as a legitimate tool to help relieve anxiety and refocus energy for students with ADHD and special needs soon followed the path of Beanie Babies, Cabbage Patch dolls, and Tickle Me Elmo, and started flying off the shelves. It became the “it” toy of the year, and kids and adults of all ages now have them. Fidget spinners have become so trendy that some people have even devised a way to add them to a manicure (which, I’m sorry, is just weird).

However, a new toy company founded and operating in the US called Fidgetbase wants to take fidget spinners back to basics. Co-Founders Jason Vo, a social entrepreneur and the publisher of online publication The Modern Block, which focuses strongly on makers, and Michael Bianco, a tech enthusiast and mechanical engineering student at the University of Texas at Dallas, have a mission to “create products of superior design and quality through 3D printing.”

Vo told 3DPrint.com, “As we’re getting up and running, we’re tackling our first task at hand: helping people with ADHD get through the day with fidget spinners. We believe in the usefulness of fidget spinners, as well as we believe they should be provided at reasonable prices to those who enjoy them.”

Vo tells us that before co-founding Fidgetbase, Bianco had already created many custom products on his 3D printer at home. His first experience with fidget spinners was actually in the engineering computer lab at UT Dallas, where he noticed many other people using them. Bianco was looking for projects to practice CAD design on, and decided to start making his own 3D printed fidget spinners.

Bianco ended up talking with Vo and showing him one of his first designs, and Vo explains that before long, Bianco had “introduced me to the process of creating a fidget spinner.”

“As a social entrepreneur with a deep rooted love for creative makers, I was immediately intrigued by the endless possibilities 3D printing has to offer, as well as the opportunity it opens up for people to begin building products,” Vo told us.

Fidgetbase was born from Bianco and Vo’s shared aspiration to create products that matter, and also to encourage other people to create products. Vo says that this mission is what makes their company different.

“We aren’t cashing in on a trend, we’ve discovered a very real opportunity to get the attention of people — young and old — and show them that anyone can become a maker by learning to 3D print,” Vo told 3DPrint.com.

Currently, they offer three fidget spinners: the Classic is the Fidgetbase take on the traditional three-blade bearing spinner. It has subtle ridges carved into the outside of each bearing, and comes in white, green, and black, just like the Rigid Spinner. This multifunctional spinner, which offers a few different ways to fidget, has rounded corners at the edges and ridges on all six sides, and features straight handles for an easy, one-handed grasp. The Duet is only available in black and green, and offers a different look than the generic fidget spinners. It’s a double-sided spinner, and was built to be more portable and compact than the other two.

Each Fidgetbase spinner costs $14.99, which is a little pricier than the spinners you may encounter elsewhere. But the company is also offering a 3-Pack Mystery Box, which contains one of each of its 3D printed fidget spinners, in Fidgetbase’s random choosing of colors; therein lies the mystery. The Mystery Box, a $45 value, only costs $34.99. But that’s not all – Fidgetbase is also selling the STL files for its fidget spinners, at the very affordable cost of $1.

Vo told 3DPrint.com, “Because we’re just as passionate about inspiring others to create as we are about sharing our own products, we’re setting out to become the first fidget company to openly share our complete product designs at just $1. For those with a 3D printer, or who are looking to learn about creating their first products, we want to share everything we know with complete transparency. We’re firm believers in the future of 3D printing, as well as the opportunity it opens up for people to get more involved with technology and the process of building products.”

3-Pack Mystery Box

Fidgetbase is currently using PTC’s Creo Parametric 3D modeling software for its design work, though Bianco suggests beginners check out Fusion 360. The fidget spinners are 3D printed using biodegradable PLA material, and Fidgetbase hopes to be able to offer 3D printed products made using various metal PLA and wood PLA soon. All of its products are shipped from the US at a flat rate fee ($6 for domestic and $23 for international) through the USPS.

While fidget spinners have been in the news a lot lately, and not always for good reasons, Vo says that Fidgetbase wants to create these products in order to “stay true to their intent—helping people stay focused.”

“Through a minimal approach towards every design, we hope to cut through the over-saturated fidget industry of colorful and distracting spinners to highlight on the real value of fidgets,” he told us.

Discuss in the Fidgetbase forum at 3DPB.com.

[Images: Fidgetbase unless otherwise noted]


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