My name is Mike Morris and I am the owner/operator of M3 Metal Creations. I live in Crested Butte, Colorado with my beautiful wife and two wonderful kids. The M3 shop, a cozy little 13’x14’ space, stands about 30 yards from our main house. Even though I am basically a one-man operation, I refer to M3 as “we” because I couldn’t do anything without my wife’s support … and my kids do help me with packaging from time to time.
My goal has always been to machine spinners (and other EDC gear) in my own shop. When I sold my first spinner back in May of 2017, I had no experience with mills, or lathes, or CNC machines … I had very little capital, no marketing experience, and no workshop. Thanks to Joshua Kostreva (Medieval Metals), I met a gentleman in China who helped me get my first design to market … the FBX-Trinity! I had to meet factory’s minimum order quantity so I bought 500 Trinities! It’s a wonder I made it through that terrible decision. I still have Trinities left! LOL. M3 was able to recover with the SWAG spinner, a modular design that had enough success to keep us afloat. With the release of the Aurora and Aurora XL, we were able to buy a hobby lathe and branch out into the spinning top world. Its there, I learned to machine buttons. But I still could not make spinners without at least a manual mill. I impatiently saved money made from Gyradapter sales and spinning top one offs. I recently purchased a mill that had been partially converted to a CNC machine. With no manual and no set of instructions, it took me several weeks and tons of late nights to finally get the contraption running. Once running, it took me several more weeks to learn Gcode, the language used by CNC machines to make parts. After wasting a few hundred dollars worth of aluminum and copper, I started catching on to the process of making a spinner; however, I have also realized that my DIY CNC machine is more of a hobby machine than a full on production machine.
I spend about half my time tinkering with the machine to keep it running correctly and the other half actually creating. Since it’s hard for me to count on the tolerances to be true every time, I don’t think any two of the 30 or so Tranquilizer style spinners I have made are exactly alike. The differences are so small (1,000th of an inch), it’s hard to see with a naked eye. Other differences are very noticeable, like deep chamfers vs medium chamfers or stonewash vs machine finish. I have come to the conclusion that my style as an artist and, more importantly, my CNC machine’s limitations point to M3 making one off spinners… kind of like the way I and other top makers produce and sell spinning tops. At this point, I do not trust the machine I have now to do a large or even medium run of identical spinners. Rest assured though, just like my tops, I will not sell a spinner that is not balanced and does not perform beautifully. If I do post a top or spinner that has a slight wobble, I will make that very clear in the description and the price will reflect that.
Thanks for reading!