There’s no single screwdriver that can do everything, which why any worthy toolbox will have a variety of them for different uses, from assembling an engine to fixing a small home appliance. Until now, at least: The inventors of the Spinner Drive claim that their reinvented screwdriver can do all of that and more.
This universal screwdriver, which recently launched on Kickstarter, was created by Mininch, a Taiwanese industrial design company. If the screwdriver doesn’t seem like a problem that needs a solution to you, you’re not alone. They’ve been working perfectly fine since they were first introduced in the late 15th century and perfected nearly 90 years ago by engineers like P.L. Robertson and Henry Phillips, the famous inventor of the eponymous cross-shaped screw head.
Still, you need different screwdrivers for different tasks. It’s not only about the different type of screw heads–slotted, Phillips, Robertson, spline, Tory, or Allen, to name a few–and their sizes. After all, there are already magnetic screwdrivers with changeable bits. It’s about the task itself.
Precision mechanical jobs require screwdrivers with smooth, gentle rotation that can be easily handled with one hand. A standard screwdriver will work in most cases, but sometimes you need a T-handle screwdriver to maximize torque. Unlike a standard handle, a T-handle allows you to apply extra force, thanks to a bigger surface and a different hand position. And of course, for heavy duty, fast-paced work, you need a power tool or electric screwdriver.
The design team, led by Chuo-Ling Chang, took all that into consideration when designing the Spinner Drive. To address the precision jobs, the machine-tooled steel cylinder that forms the body of the Spinner Drive has a built-in rotation mechanism. If you hold the body in a traditional way, with your entire hand, then the Spinner Drive works as any other standard screwdriver. But, when you need extra strength to fight with a tight screw, you can attach the spinner wheel to it. By holding the top with your index finger, you can rotate the central part of the body with your thumb and three other fingers. The mechanism, Chang claims, allows for the tightening or untightening of small screws with minimal force.
The spinner wheel is clever. Its grooves make it easy to grab, and you can use it to add momentum to the rotation while screwing. You just have to spin the top with your thumb and index, and the inertia of the spinning wheel will help you get that screw in with ease.
And if you need to unscrew something really tight, like the screws of an old door lock, you use your fingers around the wheel to provide maximum torque in a similar way that you use a T-handle. The standard, magnetic quarter-inch hexagon bit holder of the Spinner Drive is also compatible with power tools, when you need maximum force and speed. You just need to take it off the body and snap it right into the power pool.
The entire package is completed with a bit storage cylinder reminiscent of the design of a revolver drum, with holes that hold each of the 20 high-resistance steel screw bits included in the $55 package, which also comes with a carrying case. The thing looks pretty, too–so, even though I have more screwdrivers than I can count, I’m getting one.