The Battle of the Spinners a Harrowing tale by Jake Eckert

Our Problem Statement:

Autism is a complicated condition. Some people with autism have great difficulty with relaxation. Our design team wants to design a device for Robert Eckert, a 25 year old man with severe autism. His mental condition makes it impossible for him to sit calmly. This issue occurs at any point of the day, because his mental disabilities are always present. This can be while he watches television or rides in a car. If the problem is solved, he should have something to draw his attention, and in turn allow him to self-soothe some of his hyperactive tendencies.


We had one main goal in our minds when we began our design process: achieve the maximum weight possible in a limited diameter. Essentially we wanted to create a spinner that is small enough to fit comfortably in the hand while also being incredibly heavy. We believed that more mass = longer spin. We began favoring heavier designs.



VERY rough sketches. Our original design was based on the middle left design with six holes. Our final design is more similar in structure to the design on the right.
Detailed sketch of the final design produced by my team.


This is the spinner that failed. It was too heavy and it broke during an attempt to optimize its weight.
This is our final spinner, it worked, and it spun longer than the failing design despite weighing less.

Test Pieces:

This piece tested the fit of the nickels and the later unused steel precision balls.
The breaking point: failure of the original design.
The final design.

This video represents about one minute of spin time.


The successful design had the following results.

Tier 1: 35.92 s, 42.76 s, 48.66 s.

Tier 2: 1:01.99, 1:01.78, 1:07.94.

Tier 3: 1:06.63, 1:07.54, 1:03.10

Along with these results, we discovered that more weight does not equate to a better performing spinner. The heavy spinner performed poorly. It would slow itself down, rather than carry itself like we imagined it would. A better solution is to distribute weight on outstretched arms or spokes of a spinner. Some other groups did this very well.

A Bit about My Personal Spinner

I designed my spinner before learning about the engineering design process, so the detailed steps are missing. I had a simple idea to make a spinner that looked like Rutherford's model of the atom.

Rutherford Model
A detailed sketch of my idea.
The Onshape model

I don't have any pictures of the final model because I haven't seen it since the art show. You've all seen it anyway.


Created with images by fhwrdh - "IMG_0176"

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