Gatsby Prototype Thoughts & a small update.

Hello, all. How are you? Regrettably, I picked up a night shift the other day and was up from 7 PM to 7 AM. But, I did have some good company. A little while ago, I received the prototypes of the Gatsby.

Seeing the design in person after staring at it on a computer screen for weeks was a funny experience. The prototype Gatsby felt smaller than I expected. Maybe because of how streamlined the design is, because I’ve only ever seen it digitally blown up, or perhaps because it feels like it spins faster than other spinners of the same size. Anyway, if there were a time to change the dimensions, this would be it. But after awhile, I found that I would not have liked it to be any bigger or smaller. As it is, it’s small enough to be discreet, but large enough to have a satisfying spin.

The spin itself is very fast, yet has a lot of inertia behind it. That makes sense since the majority of the spinner starts at 4.75 mm in height and then gets thicker towards the ends. If you’ve ever spun something with removable weights in the arms, it feels something like that, except here it’s to a lesser degree since the “weights” are integrated into the body of the spinner and made of the same metal. And also like those types of spinners, the Gatsby gets a pretty decent spin time. On a cleaned bearing, held vertically by hand, and with a two-handed pull, I got 6 minutes and 5 seconds on a first attempt.

(Note: this spin time test was done on a prototype CuSn8 Gatsby, and the 655 silicon bronze production version will be slightly lighter. More on that later. Also, this test was done using a generic hybrid ceramic – the production version will come with HC2zs, which will likely increase spin time.)

For those who are less interested in spin time and more interested in fidget factor, I have good news for you, too! Because of the stepped design, almost every surface on the Gatsby is primed for a pull or flick. This includes the top, sides, front, back, what have you. Seriously, I designed the thing and even I was surprised by how well the steps work. While testing the prototypes, I found that they actually feel a lot like diagonal flats and give great leverage for hard pulls. The filleted edges have also proven their worth here – not a single area feels anywhere near sharp or out of place. Everything truly flows. This is a spinner that could stay with you 24/7 and never give you so much as a callous. The rounded ends are a dream to pull on, as well. And for people who like slow spins or feeling the momentum of a spinner, the middle layer (also the thickest layer) is an excellent place to be.

All in all, my extremely biased opinion is that I think the Gatsby could find its way into my small and selective collection and stay there. It’s got a good spin time, the design is my cup of tea (hopefully yours too!), its fidget factor is very good, and it’s speedy yet weighty at the same time. The Gatsby will really shine for those that like feeling the resistance of inertia when they spin.

The Gatsby also passes the “hand a spinner to someone who’s never had one before and see how they like it” test, which I just made up. An officer where I work couldn’t put it down after he tried it out. So rest assured you don’t have to be a spin pro to “get” the Gatsby, it just works. But wait, there’s more!

A few changes to note after testing the prototypes:
Material: 655 silicon bronze, changed from CuSn8 bronze.
Button depth: I found the steps a bit too shallow on the protos, so they’re deepened by 0.5 mm on the final model.

Thanks for following along. Next post will be made in a couple days when production starts.

Little Details

Long time no talk. Been a little busy starting a new job, forgive me. But I’ve been thinking of making this post for awhile, so don’t think I’ve forgotten you folks! Today, I want to share some things about the little details in Gatsby’s design. I owe a lot of these things to brainstorming with Dark EDC, and their experience in spinner design has been invaluable. I hope you’ll appreciate the insight and a peek behind the curtain.

Gatsby is a complex design by spinner standards. It took about 50 hours of modeling, with constant tweaking and design changes, to get to where it is now. Let’s start with the least noticeable detail, something that I think we usually take for granted in the designs around us: symmetry.

Every layer is equidistant from one another. The distance from the base layer to the middle layer to the thickest layer is exactly the same. Everything is perfectly centered around the bearing down to the millimeter. This creates an effect that is not only visually pleasing, but also lends itself to a perfectly balanced spin. Here’s a picture that shows what I’m talking about:

Another thing you can see in that photo – all the edges are rounded. This design has three times the amount of edges there would be on other spinners just because of the number of layers. To make sure the spinner would remain ergonomic and not a pain in the…. finger… to spin, Gatsby’s edges are filleted. This introduces more challenges in machining because it requires a different type of tooling than the ones used for chamfers, but it’s well worth it.

And speaking of layers, the distance between each is not arbitrary. Gatsby is compact, but each step is long enough for you to get a decent pull or flick on. This is what I call “modular-adjacent,” where you can “choose” how long you want the spinner to be based on which length is most comfortable for you. It’s not modular in the sense of interchangeable parts, but it does have qualities that allow you to choose what kind of spin you want. In my opinion, the innermost layer would be best suited to flicks, while the outermost layer would be best suited for pulls. But, of course, it’s all up to you on how you want to approach it!

Next, buttons. If you’ve already read my entirely too lengthy and info-filled post about buttons, found here, then you know the reasoning behind the design already. But if you haven’t, a quick little summary is that the steps on the buttons mirror the steps on the body. That’s the outside. Now, here’s what’s under the hood:

There are a couple things of note here: the small indentation between the shoulder of the button (the tiny step on the underside) and the post (the cylinders where the screws go) and the chamfers on both posts. Basically, these are there to keep the spin as “pure” as possible. By “pure,” I mean unaffected by factors other than those from the bearing itself. R188 bearings are surprisingly sensitive and can be ruined by simple drops on the ground or from the hole being bored a nanometer too small into the spinner body. These small adjustments to the buttons would not make or break a spinner, but they do ensure that the pressure from the buttons’ fit into the bearing does as little as possible to affect the spin qualities.

In the same vein, we have this tiny detail here:

This is from an earlier model, but this part remains the same. In case you didn’t see it right away (which I don’t blame you for), I mean the tiny chamfer around the bearing hole. The bearing fits squarely (or round-ly) within the hole, which is the exact height of an R188, and the chamfer makes it easy for you to see when it’s perfectly level. While not strictly “necessary,” it adds a little elegant touch to the overall package. And the Gatsby is nothing if not opulent. 🙂

Thanks for tuning in to the latest segment on the Gatsby. Here’s an update on progress for you: prototypes are set to come in the next week, as long as no unexpected issues arise. If I’m satisfied with how it spins, I’ll move onto production of the full run. COAs and packaging have been ordered, but I’m keeping those a surprise for when you get them in the mail. It might be a little different than what you’re used to 🙂 I’ll probably make a post about them after the drop anyway, just because I like for you folks to know why I do things the way I do. Expect another post in about a week when the prototypes arrive!

Thank you.

Thank you, all, for the warm reception of Gatsby. I can’t wait to get it into your hands, pockets, hearts, etc. If it’s half as nice as the comments made on my announcement posts, we’ll have a fine spinner on our hands.

For the sake of documentation on this journey, I’d like to share some of my favorite comments from the posts:


Scott McCoskery

From the maker of the first spinner himself, so obviously first on the list.

This is gorgeous — the most intriguing design I’ve seen in ages. Great job!

Jeff Klein

Thank you, Jeff! A lot of people commented similar sentiments, each of which I appreciate so much, but this would become too long of a read if I listed everybody here. I’m not quite yet trying to write the next great American novel, so here is just one, equally as meaningful to me as the next.

Reminds me a bit of a toy you would find in Bioshock. 

Vincent Ngo

Bioshock is one of my favorite video games, so this made me happy. Plus, Rapture’s environment has art deco influences which is exactly what I was trying to do with Gatsby.


Sean Vinh Pitetta

And last but not least, because sometimes less is more.