Gluing corner
Breathtaking Spinning Top

Use a roll of tape as a motor for a spinning top? That's no problem with all-purpose glue. We'll show you how it works!

Further material for this article.

Gluing corner: The "breathtaking" spinning top

In our series "Gluing technique", we would like to offer you technically oriented crafting ideas. Hereby, the main focus lies on the subject "alternative motors" and "energy". In the process of building, the students are supposed to gather experience and technical knowhow, such as stability, hardness, load capacity, drive, energy production and energy usage.

You can use crafting material, such as cork, plastic film cans, wood sticks and straws. For more stability of the object, the sort of glue is of decisive importance. Therefore, we recommend the use of all-purpose glue. What makes it special is that many different materials can be glued together, cleanly, strongly and fast. To top this series off, we offer you our tried-and-tested easy download templates that are ready to use in class.

A roll of tape as a motor for a spinning top? No problem with all-purpose glue. We'll show you how it works!

This is what you need:
Download template, piece of strong cardboard (e. g. the backside of your sketch block), 2 cross-head screws (25mm x 2.5 mm), 2 cross-head screws (15mm x 2.5mm), 1 straw, 1 roll of tape with a zigzag pattern (alternatively, an object of the size of the tape roll can be used) and all-purpose glue.

When selecting the materials, keep in mind that the larger cross-head screw (25mmx2.5mm) must fit into the smaller screw (15mmx2.5mm) without friction. Therefore, it is important that the larger screw has a thin tip. A smooth running is important for a good functioning of the spinning top.

This is how it works:

First, print out the download template and transfer it to a piece of strong cardboard. Then cut out all the parts.

Turn the already cut out parts 1 and 2 of the cardboard templates in opposite directions from one another and stick them inside each other. Glue them together where they intersect using all-purpose glue. The figure will now look similar to a ball.
Drill small holes into the parts no. 6 and 7 (approx. 1.5mm). Then install both parts into the cross sections of the ball and glue them together along the corner points of the ball figure.

Screw the small screws into the previously drilled holes (15mmx2.5mm) This is where the rotor will be attached later on. The screws have to be screwed in all the way, so that the rotor can be installed.


Cut out the fan propeller (part 5 of the template) from a piece of cardboard. Make cuts into the wings along the cutting edges and bend them upwards. Next, glue the wheel onto template no. 3 (cardboard). While doing so, make sure that the wings stay bent upwards.
Use all-purpose glue to attach the two big screws as precisely as possible to each other at the heads of the screws to prevent the rotor from turning uneasily. Let it dry for a while to assure its durability. At last, the "wave" will have to withstand enormous rotations. Anyhow, the wave will be able to take the load.

Screw the wave from the bottom into the fan propeller after it is dry.


Cut out the template no. 4 from a piece of cardboard and glue it onto the sticky side of a roll of tape. After it has dried, glue the fan onto the other side of the roll of tape. While doing so, turn the axle through the center of template no. 3. When gluing it on, make sure that the axle is arranged centrically.

To ensure that the tape will stick, it should only be applied to the plastic edge of the tape roll.

Now the rotor can be installed into the ball casing, affixing the tips of the screws into the two external screw heads. If necessary, you can readjust them by screwing them out a little. As soon as the rotor runs trouble-free, the holding screws can be glued on with all-purpose glue.

This is how the breathtaking spinning top works:
Hold the spinning top on the upper edge with one hand. Aim at the opened rotor blades with the straw. Blow air through the straw and a moment later, the spinning top should be spinning on its own.
When the spinning top is spinning really fast, it can even turn on your finger tip. Therefore, a very precise construction is important.