Fidget spinners are everywhere these days, but if you’re looking for ultimate performance, there is nothing like the Saturn Spinner, a marvel of engineering that can spin continuously longer than any other fidget spinner on the market – over 12 minutes.
Dubbed the “Rolls Royce of fidget spinners”, the Saturn Spinner was developed by a subsidiary of NSK, a Japanese precision machining company that specializes in ball bearings for satellites and computer drives. It is designed to resemble a ship’s wheel, with added weights on the outer ring and a light aluminium ball bearing in the center, to increase centrifugal force. It was designed to spin continuously for at least 12 minutes, so each manufactured toy is tested for performance, with those that fail to pass the 12-minute threshold being dismantled, cleaned, reassembled and retested until they can be certified as “compliant”.
The gadget — billed as a stress reliever but banned in some schools as a distraction — has a ball bearing in the center and is designed to effortlessly spin with the flick of a finger.
“We’re confident that ours is the longest spinner around,” said Toshikazu Ishii, president of NSK Micro Precision.
There is no room for error when making the ultimate fidget spinner. Everything has to be calculated to the tiniest detail and even a few dust particles can affect the toy’s spinning ability. So workers at the pristine factory in Fujisawa have to wear special clothing, gloves and medical masks, as well as pass through air showers that blow off even the tiniest dust particles, before entering the work space.
Put to the test inside AFP’s Tokyo bureau, the company’s wheel-shaped Saturn Spinner whirled for 13 minutes and 35 seconds — although it took a few tries.
The secret is all in the design, Ishii says. The gadget, built at a pristine factory near Tokyo, has a heavy brass frame and a light aluminium ball bearing to increase centrifugal force.
But they don’t come cheap at 17,280 yen ($157) apiece, making them the preserve of only the most eager and cash-rich fidgeters. Most spinners cost around $12 or less.
Ishii hopes the pricey gadget will stimulate interest in the often overlooked world of ball bearings.
“Hundreds of bearings are found in products all around us, but most people don’t see them or pay much attention to them,” he said.