How To Machine Tungsten Fidget Spinners
Sometimes you just need a ridiculous heavy fidget spinner. How are you going to get those finger muscles nice and swoll spinning Titanium?
Tungsten weighs almost 4.3 times Titanium and both metals are ridiculously strong metals.
However, there have been very few full tungsten fidget spinners on the market. I wanted to educate you about why that is.
CNC Machining Tungsten Fidget Spinners
So the traditional CNC process uses really expensive drill bits that wear out over time due to friction. A single drill bit can cost several hundred dollars!
Most will last a fairly long time if you’re only machining aluminum, brass, copper, and stainless steel.
When you start to go into exotic metals that are much stronger and denser, it absolutely destroys drill bits. I spoke to another maker who told me that a single $300 drill bit was only able to create 4 tungsten spinners. It just chews up diamond coated drills.
In addition, the tungsten is rather expensive. Tungsten costs around .10 to .35 cents a gram. Depending on the design, that could be around $40-$80 in material cost for a single spinner.
Example: the Stealth Aventador weighs about 95 grams in brass. If it was tungsten, that would weigh 215 grams. That’s absolutely massive. If you assume around 50% material waste, that would be $72 in material alone.
Cost Breakdown of Aventador in Tungsten
Drill Bit Price: $75
Material Cost: $72
Machine Time: $50
Total Cost: $197
Right there, that’s more than the cost of a Stubby at retail just to manufacture!
The high end market isn’t large enough to justify the creation of full tungsten fidget spinners. I looked into. But there’s another manufacturing option!
EDM Wire Cutting
When I hear EDM, I think of ravers and lots of glow sticks. There’s no drugs involved in this EDM.
EDM is short for electrical discharge machining. It’s really the only way to economically machine tungsten.
The desired shape is manufactured using electricity. The tungsten material is removed tiny piece by piece by a bunch of rapid current discharges from the machine.
Every time current flows into the tungsten or other metal material, a small piece of it “sparks” out and is removed from the work piece.
However, this process can lead to some burring which need to be polished after.
I have to do more research about the process in the future, but the machines capable of making tungsten fidget spinners are very expensive and the factories haven’t been super interested in making our high end toys 😛
The reason you see tungsten primarily used as weights and fidget spinner buttons is primarily due to the difficulty of manufacturing.
It’s far easier to use existing CNC factories and sell exotics like Damascus Steel, Mokuti, Titanium, and other alloy hybrids than it is to go into an entirely different manufacturing process.
If I wanted to manufacture tungsten fidget spinners at Stealth, I would need to educate the factory on the many different intricacies involved in creating something perfectly balanced.
At the present, it’s just not worth the hassle for such a small niche based product, BUT you never know.
We might be including some tungsten weights in one of our future designs that can be purchased stock.
Hope this taught you something!