Meet the Spinner


Welcome to the second article in our blog series, Meet the Gadgets. This one is called Meet the Spinner. The goal of this series is to help you create more elaborate and crazier machines by introducing you to the gadgets available to you in Gadgeteer.

We have a special announcement you’ll want to hear about near the end of February 2019! So, if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to the Gadgeteer Newsletter here or by entering the form below:


    In this Meet the Spinner post, we’ll be covering the SPINNER gadget. Much like the domino gadget we recently wrote about, the spinner is an important, versatile gadget you’ll likely be using in your chain reaction machines.



    The spinner gadget is particularly good for:

    • Introducing rotation to your machines
    • Spanning long distances (quickly)
    • Adding kinetic energy
    • Acting as starters
    • Acting as gates

    Let’s talk about each of these in more detail.


    Introducing Rotation

    No one can dispute how relaxing and mesmerizing falling dominoes are, but interesting chain reaction machines have more than just objects falling over each other. They twist and spin and can even throw objects around (we’ll cover the gadget that throws in future Meet the Gadget articles).

    Using different ways to transfer kinetic energy is what differentiates a great machine from a mediocre machine. Use spinners to provide that extra flair in your machines to make them even more interesting.


    Spanning Distances

    Besides helping cosmetically, spinners can help you span long distances horizontally or vertically when placed side by side.


    You can reach dizzying heights by creating a long chain of them against a surface.


    Even spanning short distances vertically could be challenging sometimes. Spinners can help with that.


    Just place a single spinner gadget to get to the upper shelf.


    Spinners are also remarkable for being able to span distances quickly. The closer you place a spinner’s bar against another spinner’s bar, the faster the reaction.

    You can even achieve instantaneous reaction across distances by placing bars right against each other. How neat is that?


    Left: Instant chain reaction with spinner bars touching each other; Middle: A gap in between the bars create a slower chain reaction; Right: Even slower still with more space in between.


    Adding Kinetic Energy

    One of their most important functions is to help you gain vertical distance (i.e. height). With increased height, you can add more kinetic energy back into your machine by using gravity.

    You can achieve this by displacing a gadget with high potential energy, such as a gadget placed high on a shelf (no, we’re not violating the first law of thermodynamics here).


    Although the initial kinetic energy from the ball is low, we can add more kinetic energy into the system by displacing the ball above.


    Acting as Gates (starter)

    Spinner are easily activated. All you need to do is give them a little push and they’ll spin round and round. This gives them the ability to easily start a chain reaction—for example, pushing a ball onto a track.


    This spinner activates the ball & track segment of this machine.


    A lot of people have been asking us about our Story / Puzzle mode. Here’s a sneak peak of a level that asks you to play around with spinners!


    Here’s a level from our Story / Puzzle mode using spinners as starters.


    Acting as Gates (closer)

    Speaking to their versatility, spinners can also end a chain reaction as well—just give the spinner a nudge to put it into position.


    It’s easy to turn a spinner into a starter or gate.


    Wrapping up

    The spinner gadget is one of our favorites for its ease of use and versatility. It complements well with dominoes and it adds extra flair to your machines while providing more interesting mechanics.

    In our next Meet the Gadgets post, we’ll be talking about the ball & track gadgets.

    PS: It’s worth mentioning again—we’re going to be announcing something special near the end of February 2019. Subscribe to the Gadgeteer Newsletter so you don’t miss out! Subscribe by filling out the form below:

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