I recently wrote an article about the best fidget spinners and fidget cubes and how they can help solve a fidgeting problem. There you’ll also find a link to the most expensive fidget spinner.
Be sure to check it out if you’re looking for a way to fix fidgeting!
Now I’ll show you how to fix a fidget spinner when it stops spinning smoothly and clean a fidget spinner when it gets noisy while spinning. These tips will also show you how to make your fidget spinner spin longer.
Fidget spinners work off momentum and bearings. Momentum doesn’t usually fail, it’s the bearings. So when your spinner gets noisy or doesn’t spin as long as it should, 99% of the time the problem is the center bearing. Remember, the fidget spinner bearing is either made of steel or ceramic material. Each has their own problems that can require cleaning.
Reasons Fidget Spinners Stop Working
One of the primary causes of hand spinners getting noisy or vibrating when used, is dirt or pocket lint getting into the bearing. Bearings typically have grease packed in between them and a rubber or metal gasket shielding them from the elements. Not so with the center bearing on your fidget spinner. The grease and gasket has been removed to allow the bearing to spin faster. The drawback to this is that pocket lint and other material can work its way past the spinner button(part you grasp with your fingers when spinning) and into the bearing tracks. Cleaning a fidget spinner is the first step to fixing a noisy spin.
Here’s how to clean a fidget spinner bearing
- Remove the button by separating the halves. (some unscrew, others just pop off)
- Next, grasp the spinner by the center ring of the bearing and spin it quickly.
- Use a can of compressed air aimed at the circle of bearings to blow out the bearings while they’re spinning. This will get small particles removed from your bearing tracks.
- If that doesn’t resolve the problem, press the complete bearing out of your hand spinner(here’s what it will look like), rinse it in a small bowl of rubbing alcohol and immediately/completely dry it. Don’t use water as it can cause the metal to rust, ruining the bearing.
Fidget spinners with ceramic bearings are more prone to broken bearings than those with steel ball bearings. While ceramic bearings do allow for better spin times, they are ceramic which is very hard but also brittle. It’s possible to drop the hand spinner hard enough to shatter one or more of the ceramic bearings. While steel bearings won’t break, they can rust or break their housing. Bearing replacement is the only option for broken bearings. Follow the instructions below to order and replace the bearing.
The question I’m getting asked the most is how to get rust off a fidget spinner bearing.
This solution is not guaranteed, but it’s a trick used by skateboarders. It can get you a little more use out of a rusty fidget spinner bearing.
Here’s how to get rust off a fidget spinner
- Remove the rusty bearing from the fidget spinner
- Soak the bearing in vinegar for about 30 minutes.
- Rinse in rubbing alcohol (not water, water will rust them)
- Let them air dry, use a hair dryer if you’re pressed for time
- If you see it removed a lot of rust, you might try repeating once more.
Lubricating a Fidget Spinner
You may be tempted to lubricate your fidget spinner to make it spin faster. This usually doesn’t work. Fidget spinners don’t have heat or load on them so an oil will usually just slow them down. It will make them quieter, but it will slow them down. If you do decide to lubricate your fidget spinner, DO NOT USE OLIVE OIL. I am seeing some places recommend olive oil. Don’t do it. It will go rancid, and gum up your bearing. Also, only use WD-40 to remove a lubricant. WD-40 itself is not a lubricant, it is a Water Displacer. If you choose to oil your fidget spinner, use a very light oil like sewing machine oil. It’s not thick so it will slow the spinner down the least.
Ordering New Bearings
Before reading this, understand the most common size bearing you will need is the 608 bearing. It’s used by most fidget spinner manufacturers, the chart at the bottom of this page has multiple grades of bearings that fit these spinners. The second most popular fidget spinner bearing is the R188, slightly smaller bearing
Sometimes you can’t fix the fidget spinner bearing, you just need to order a new bearing and replace the old one. If cleaning your fidget spinner didn’t help, replacing your bearing will help your fidget spinner spin longer. This is VERY simple and all you need is a little information, a few bucks and less than five minutes.
First you need to identify the bearing you’re replacing. Bearings are usually identified by numbers on the gaskets on each side (see pic at right). Unfortunately, most of the center bearings on fidget spinners have their gaskets removed, so a bearing number can be hard to find. If you don’t have the number of the center bearing, compare it to the bearings used as weights on the ends of your fidget spinner. Nine out of ten times, they’re the same bearing size, just a cheaper model since they’re just acting as weights. If they are the same size and have a model number visible, you’re set. If they don’t, you’ll need to get a couple of measurements of your bearing. In millimeters, measure the three spans shown in the picture, inner diameter (ID), outer diameter(OD) and
height. Digital calipers are great for this, but a simple ruler with mm measurements will work too. These numbers in that order indicate the size of the bearing you need. For example, if the measurements collected were 9, 20, 6; the bearing size you need will be listed as a 9x20x6mm or 9*20*6mm.
Once you’ve identified the bearing size, we just need to find the replacement bearing. Before finding the new bearing, here’s something you need to know. Above, I mentioned a couple of letters after the bearing number on the gaskets. These numbers indicate bearing features. As an example, if your bearing is a model 608 RS, that means it is model 608 and has or had a Rubber Seal gasket on one side when shipped. 2RS means it had a Rubber Seal gasket on both sides. When ordering a new bearing, you’ll want a model RS or 2RS, but NOT a Z or ZZ. Z or ZZ indicates the bearing comes with metal gaskets on both sides. They’re not high speed bearings and won’t work well on your fidget spinner.
Use the chart at the bottom of this page to find the right bearings for your fidget spinner.
How to Replace the Bearing on Your Fidget Spinner
Confirm the bearing you ordered and received is the right size for your spinner. Do this first, because we’re about to make it much faster, but we will also void the warranty.
- On the new bearing, use a small screwdriver or plastic tool to pry the edge of the rubber gaskets out from under the metal all the way around the outer edge of the new bearings, then remove the gaskets. Do this on both sides of the bearing, if both sides have gaskets.
- Spray some WD-40 into the bearings to dissolve any grease present. Do it over a sink or something so it doesn’t get everywhere. Get all the grease out. Grease is great if the bearing will be getting hot or under pressure, but a fidget spinner has neither. Some people use acetone, rather than WD-40. It works, but is highly flammable.
- Rinse the bearing by swishing it around in rubbing alcohol to remove the WD-40 and then let it dry.
- While it’s drying, use your thumbs to press the old bearing out of the center of your hand spinner. It will be tight, but it will come out.
- Press the new bearing in its place and you’re done!
That’s the most difficult repair you might ever have to do on your fidget spinner and it takes only a few minutes to get it working again.
If you need more help fixing your gadget, post a comment below!
Replacement Fidget Spinner Buttons / Caps
There’s now a couple companies that make easy to replace metal replacement fidget spinner buttons (second source)for the 608 bearing size spinner. This is the most common bearing size used in fidget spinners. This is great news, as previously, glue, putty or a 3d printed button were the only options.
I’m developing a Replacement Fidget Spinner Bearing Matrix. It will match bearings to spinners and have links to replacement bearings. If you would like to help, use the email address on the contact page(at the top) and send me the name/model of your spinner and the center bearing size it takes!
Replacement Fidget Spinner Bearings
|Brand||Fits Bearing Number||Description||Image|
|ZrO2/Si3N4 Ceramic Bearing||608 (8x22x7mm)||Completely Ceramic bearing.(ZrO2/Si3N4 hybrid) One of the longest spin times for the money|
|"Bones Ceramic Redz"||608 (8x22x7mm)|
Most common size of bearings for hand spinners.
|These are the ceramic version of the Redz bearing above. More expensive, but virtually silent.|
|R188 Bearing||R188 size (1/4"x1/2"x1/8")||Mid-grade replacement bearing for the R188 size bearing|
|Yellow Jacket||608 (8x22x7mm)||Well-rated for fidget spinners, but not as fast as the ceramic bearings above.|