Guides: Fidget Spinner Buttons
Fidget spinner buttons, or caps as they're sometimes referred to as, are the often overlooked third ingredient to a successful fidget spinner recipe. The body gets all of the limelight, the bearings get the hardcore technical crowd's attention, but buttons can certainly break, though probably don't make, a successful spinner design. So what makes a good fidget spinner button? Let's go over some button basics and then we'll delve into some good a bad designs with a few recommendations of where to buy good buttons online.
What are Fidget Spinner Buttons?
Okay, this is pretty basic, but my writing coach is sitting beside me and whispering in my ear not to assume your audience knows as much as you (which seems impossible given that I lost my car keys in the refrigerator for two days recently). Buttons simply serve to cover the fidget spinner bearing and give you an easy way to hold the spinner rather than trying to delicately place your pinchy little finger tips on the inner race of the bearing (then end up with a circle indentation on your fingers for the rest of the day). They are sort of integral to spinner design at this point and any spinner worth it's shit has them. So, now we're all up to speed.
What Different Types of Buttons are There?
Hand spinner buttons have many different variables. Let's look at some of them.
- What material are they made of?
Buttons come in all of the same types of plastics and metal that fidget spinners are made of. Most commonly, you'll find aluminum buttons as the basic choice for metal spinners (because it's the cheapest option), but brass, stainless steel and other types of more exotic metals are available as well. We'll get to that more a little later.
- How do they attach to the spinner?
This is generally a binary variable from my experience, and 9 times out of 10 it's through a simple threaded design where one side screws into the other. The second option is that they are magnetized as was first seen really broadly in the Thraxx line of spinners.
- What size bearing do they fit?
Different bearings have different inner diameters. The outer circumference of the buttons that fits through the bearing should fit snugly with the inner race of the bearing and press firmly against the flat part of the inner race to help prevent wobbly or loose spins. Most buttons available today are made for either 608 bearings or r188 bearings. Make sure you know what size bearing you have when buying buttons!
- What are the dimensions and characteristics of the button?
This is really in reference to the design of the button, and what makes a button a good design, or bad design. The most important part when selecting buttons really. For me, these are some basic things I look for in a good button design.
- Are they large enough that I can fit my fat Fred Flintstone thumbs on the buttons without it spilling over the side and contacting the spinner?
- Do they clear the body of the spinner by enough distance that my grip doesn't make contact with the body and I can set the spinner on a table and spin it?
- Are they deep/concave enough that the spinner won't fly out of my hand and cause everyone in the boring meeting I'm in to stop and look at me making me turn red and start to sweat profusely from the forehead?
- Do they provide some sort of tactile grip on the face of the button so that the previous scenario doesn't happen?
Where Can I Buy Fidget Spinner Buttons?
Many places are starting to specialize in custom fidget spinner buttons. What a great time to be alive! I'll list a few of my favorites below with links to their websites and some examples of their work.
High End Fidget Spinner Buttons
This is probably my favorite button maker. Ben Pose runs Pose Blades (go figure) and he is most known for his Bluetongue Damasteel Buttons which are some of the freshest (does that word still translate to 2017?) goddamn buttons you can find. He makes some pretty striking Mokume Buttons as well as a host of other high-end and mid-priced custom buttons.
Modus Works specializes in one type of button, but it does that button very well as you can see from the image above. The Bluetongue Damasteel buttons have probably become the #1 cool kid button in the industry at this point. I don't have them. They also offer some slick Zirconium buttons.
Ables Planetary Spinners
I believe Ables started out making planet dioramas for kids who didn't feel like doing their own work for the 5th grade science fair. You might want to fact check that, but I'm pretty sure that's how he got his start. At any rate, now he's making some really cool buttons. His specialty, as you can see from the image above is the etched looked. This is going to provide some nice grip and a very unique look for your fidget spinner.
Budget Fidget Spinner Buttons
Neo Spin has a very popular "Herc" line of buttons that are available to fit both r188 and 608 bearings as well as a few other models. The Herc buttons are very popular and renowned for their deep concave design allowing for a nice ergonomic grip.
NTO Designs offers a variety of buttons in their RevSpin line ranging from aluminum to Mokume. They have both magnetic and threaded buttons and offer a variety of different styles. A little something for everyone I suppose. I'm sort of tired of writing, so I mailed this NTO summary in.
If you know of any great custom button sellers, feel free to leave a comment below and we'll add them to the list. Maybe.