I’ve been very intrigued by the recent tidal wave of fidget devices. Back in 2013 I came across something called the Thinket when it was just a Kickstarter project.
Note: The above is the what the Thinket looks like. I’ve altered my Thinket, the remaining images show an altered version the handle and slider.
This is about the Thinket, but let me tell you about the spinners for a moment. I wanted to try a spinner. I found one at a local shop and pulled the trigger. It’s fun. The sensation of it spinning in my hand feels good. My spinner has cheap bearings so it vibrates as it spins. I like the vibration, but it doesn’t spin for long and you have to start it up again. Once it’s spinning, the hand that holds the spinner remains relatively static. I don’t like this fundamental aspect of how spinners work. There is also a level of violence as you are whipping this thing to try to get a strong spin for maximum sensation. They can be spun with one hand, but you can’t generate much horsepower this way. It’s was a glow in the dark spinner by the way, but on to the Thinket.
Why I like the Thinket design
It can be manipulated with one hand
It engages the entire hand
It has super strong magnets (I love magnets, just ask my wife)
The shape fits naturally in the hand
It’s discreet and quiet (after my modification, I’ll explain later)
There are several models, this is what mine looks like. The center rod is called the slider-tube. The ends of the slider tube are called the heads. The body the tube slides through is called the handle. My handle is plastic with a brass tube that lines the inside. The slider-tube is made from stainless steel and the heads are solid brass, coated with a polished rhodium coating.
Size and weight
Here is a couple photos so you can get a sense of the size.
A Duracell C size battery weights 69 grams (2.4oz) The Duracell AA battery weights 25grams. The Thinket weights 48 grams or (1.7oz)
There are several to choose from. I chose the plastic predeep handle design for a couple reasons. One, I wanted the newest shape because I believed it would be the easiest to manipulate. Two, I didn’t want metal because it would hit my wedding ring. I don’t think it would damage the Thinket or my ring, I just didn’t want my ring tapping the metal. For me the handle (the black part) was a bit small in diameter. I’m not convinced the depth of the scalloped ridges along the body add to the ease of manipulation. I made a modification to the body that increases the diameter, and reduces the ridges at the same time. The result is very pleasant, it still has ridges, but they are more subtle now.
Below is a photo of the change I made
In the above photo, I used heat shrink tubing the I purchased from Harbor Freight. I cut the length to reach the ridge just before the edge. This way the tubing once shrunk, blends seamlessly into the handle.
How it works
The slider tube has a strong magnet in the center. The handle contains two metal collars at either end. Pressing the slider overcomes the force of the magnets attraction to one steel collar and it stops at the other steel collar. The slider-tube actually bounces a bit as the magnet comes to equilibrium. This motion causes a “bounce”. In short, it’s a button you press.
Here’s a video that shows some of the ways I like to use it and I illustrate that “bounce”.
What the Thinket does for me
I’ve heard it said, it’s an anxious world. I use my Thinket to help me concentrate. I find it useful when reading for pleasure and even more when reading technical documentation and working on problem solving. It creates focus by burning my additional energy that occurs during concentration or frustration. Some people will bounce their leg, some will click a pen. I’ll Thinket if you don’t mind.
What it sounds like before I made it silent
One thing I didn’t like was the noise it makes. It’s not incredibly loud, but It is metal on metal. The idea came to me after a few days. I wrapped a piece of blue painters tape around the slider-tube. I overlapped the heads just slightly. If you don’t do this it’s quiet but the bottom part of the head still pings against the brass in the handle. 2″ painters tape works perfectly. Now it’s very quiet.
Here is a video demonstration of what it sounds like with the blue painters tape.
I enjoy it much more with the tape, and because it’s quiet I can focus more on the feel. I tried other tapes as well. You can use a clear tape and you won’t loose that fancy shiny look. I used heavy duty packing tape. I think the painters tape works best because it has a waxy surface and this makes it slide through the handle smoothly. Overall I think it has a much improved feel with tape around the slider-tube.
Occasionally the device will grab your skin. The shape of the head combined with the flair of the brass in the handle creates a space that can grab your skin. I would not say this is painful, and the first time it happened I enjoyed the sensation. However it can become a bit annoying. Hand positioning can be adjusted so this does not happen.
Does it table spin?
It depends on who you ask, but it can table spin according to the inventor. The unit as a whole can spin, or you can spin the slider tube. It even spins quite well according to David the inventor who says he likes “shiny things”. Different shapes spin in different ways and some better then others. There are videos online where you can watch him demonstrate this. The Thinket is a hand crafted quality item. I don’t like the idea of spinning it because it could damage the Thinket or the table (depending on the surface), it could also spin off the table.
Overall I love the Thinket, I don’t “Thinkit” there is any fidget device out there that compares. The Thinket can be found at http://www.chessmate.com/thinket.html