Spin bottle opener
open bottles, spins like a top
I’d been wanting to design a bottle opener for about 3 years at this point. I’d come up with previous designs, but found them to be extraneous and they didn’t seem to push the idea of a bottle opener. While exploring bottle opener ideas in VR, I thought it would be interesting to constrain my design by using the revolve tool. This gradually led me to create a spun form and add a handle. The resulting form resembled the classic spinning top toy. It felt like a perfect juxtaposition of functional object and a playful fidget toy.
After settling on the spinning top idea, it was just a matter of iteration to find the best form. I explored forms both with traditional sketching and VR sketching. I was aiming for a form that felt like a top but also felt like a tool.
Refining the Design
I played with many revolved forms and printed out the promising concepts. Surprisingly, I was able to open a few bottles with the plastic prints before they would snap. One crucial feature I discovered was having an undercut on the the bottom lip for optimal opening leverage. This was a challenging feature to mill on a lathe. I worked with a manufacture to prototype the later designs out of aluminum and figure out how much undercut was possible.
After testing the CNC lathe prototypes, I refined the design further. The handle started quite long and I had intended the handle as the leverage point. As I observed my friends test the opener, I noticed that the handle angle wasn’t even optimal for opening. Most people would just grip around the large top surface to open bottles. I shorted the handle to become the main touchpoint for the spinning top feature. The shorter handle also helped lower the center of gravity and make the bottle opener spin longer.
I selected anodized aluminum as the final material as it was the most economical and accessible. The anodized finish gives an extra hardness and the opener holds up just as well as a steel or brass version would. The lighter aluminum is also easier to spin as it takes less effort than a heavier design.
The Spin bottle opener opens bottles and spins like a toy top. Milled out of aluminum, Spin is a fun fidget toy to play with at a party or a perfect desk object for happy hour. Spin can be purchased at almostobject.com .